OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.

December 30, 1991

Mr. David Nicolai
CENEX
Land O'Lakes
Mail Station 370
Post Office Box 64089
St. Paul, Minnesota 55164

Dear Mr. Nicolai:

This is in response to your inquiry of November 18, concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response final rule (HAZWOPER), 29 CFR 1910.120. Your letter was forwarded to this office, the [Directorate of Enforcement Programs], for clarification of the standard.

As you may be aware, the state of Minnesota administers its own OSHA approved occupational safety and health program under the provision of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. OSHA approved state plans must adopt regulations that are equal to, or stricter than, Federal OSHA's standards. If you wish to contact them, the address and phone number are:

Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry
443 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, Minnesota 55155
Phone: [(651) 284-5050]

Your questions concern emergency response training in accordance with HAZWOPER. We will answer your questions in the order that you asked them:

Question 1: "We are unsure where the current level of training we offer has the best fit. We believe it may be the hazardous materials technician but we are not sure. If this is the case, a number of employees who have been through the first two days of training may need or benefit from addition[al] hours of training in order to comply with the 24 hour training guidelines. We are assuming that this training is additive if that is correct."

Answer: First, let us respond to some statements made in passing earlier in your letter. You note that your course is 14 hours, not including breaks and lunch, however OSHA includes breaks and lunches in training time. Therefore, your 14 hour course that runs two full days can be considered 16 hours.

In addition, people trained to the First Responder Operations level do not require training in patching tanks or barrels. (However, training in patching techniques may be helpful if employees are attempting to control an incidental release, or a non-emergency.) Employees trained to the Operations level may only take defensive action, such as placing absorbent and constructing dikes, to defensively contain the release of a hazardous substance. If they are taking aggressive action to stop the release of a hazardous substance during an emergency situation, they need Hazardous Material Technician level training.

To answer your question, training for Hazardous Material Technicians must meet the minimum 24 hours of Operations level training and proven experience in the listed competencies. You may use your current 14 hour Operations level course as a foundation and add the balance of the time by going into more depth.

Employers who may experience an emergency that involves hazardous substances must develop an emergency response plan if they decide to respond to emergencies in-house. An employee must be trained to the proper level, which depends on the procedures that the employer expects that employee to perform. The employer may also opt to develop an emergency action plan, in accordance with 1910.120(q)(1) (which refers to [29 CFR 1910.38]). By creating an emergency action plan the employer will evacuate employees when an emergency occurs, and will not allow employees to assist in handling the emergency. An outside HAZMAT team would be contacted to control the emergency incident.

Question 2: "In addition, is it possible to receive from your office a written letter verifying that we are meeting the current guidelines for first responder operations level or hazardous material technician, and if not what else would be required."

Answer: Currently, OSHA does not certify individuals or approve training programs. 29 CFR 1910.121, "Accreditation of training Programs for Hazardous Waste Operations," is in rule making, but has suffered delays so it is not definitely known when the standard will become mandatory. 29 CFR 1910.121 does not presently propose to accredit training programs for employees engaged in emergency response activities, however you may want to monitor the progress of this new standard and anticipate changes in your training and certification programs to ensure continued compliance. Please find a copy of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking enclosed.

[Corrected 1/20/2005. On August 15, 2002 the proposed 1910.121 "Accreditation of training Programs for Hazardous Waste Operations" proposed rule was withdrawn from the Unified Regulatory Agenda (see Federal Register 67:74749-74785 dated December 9, 2002).]

For suggestions and assistance in developing training programs you may want to contact: the OSHA training Institute at [(847)297-4913]; your OSHA Regional Office at [(312) 353-2220]; your OSHA approved state plan office at [(651) 284-2050]; or the OSHA Consultation Services for the Employer at [(651) 284-5060].

We hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact [the Office of Health Enforcement at (202) 693-2190].

Sincerely,


Patricia Clark, Director
[Directorate of Enforcement Programs]

[Corrected 1/20/05]

 

 


 

 

 

DATE: November 18, 1991
 
TO: DIRECTORATE OF WASTE OPERATIONS
 
FROM: David Nicolai, Agronomist
Cenex/Land O'Lakes
Mail Station 370
P.O. Box 64089
St. Paul, MN 55164
 
SUBJECT: Evaluation of Cenex/Land O'Lakes Emergency First Response training course and material under OSHA 1910.120(e) training

 


Cenex/Land O'Lakes Agronomy Company wholesales agricultural chemicals and fertilizers to rural farmer cooperatives in 15 states of the upper midwest and pacific northwest in the United States.

In addition to the sale of products we also offer training to the employees of these locally farmer owned rural cooperatives such as emergency response training for accidental spills of ag chemicals. Enclosed is a manual and other materials which we use to instruct the employees.

Our initial goal was to provide training as outlined in the first responder Operation level (8 hours) however, the existing course we developed now runs 14 hours, over a two day period (not counting meals and breaks). Since part of the training consists of "hands on" exercises which are intended to simulate spills the primary emphasis is one of containing spills, proper use of absorbent materials and initial use of simple devices to patch holes in plastic drums containing ag chemicals. These employees often work in rural areas where professional hazardous material teams are not present and usually not needed. Most incidents could occur in a warehouse or outside on roadways during transportation to an area farmer.

Our questions or need for clarification exist when we read the description of the first responder operations level and also that of the hazardous materials technician. We are unsure where the current level of training we offer has the best fit. We believe it may be the hazardous materials technician but we are not sure. If this is the case, a number of employees who have been through the first two days of training may need or benefit from addition hours of training in order to comply with the 24 hour training guidelines. We are assuming that this training is additive if that is correct. Would you be able to clarify this situation for us.

In addition, is it possible to receive from your office a written letter verifying that we are meeting the current guidelines for first responder operations level or hazardous material technician and if not what else would be required (we assume additional time on areas such as decontamination, etc).

Please feel free to call me at 1-800-232-3639 ext. 4948 with any questions you may have.

Thank You.