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 https://www.osha.gov.

March 24, 1992

Mr. Herbert W. Miller
General Manager
Safety and Industrial
Hygiene Department
Texaco, Inc.
P.O. Box 1404
Houston, Texas 77251

Dear Mr. Miller:

This is in response to your inquiry of November 25 and January 28 concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response final rule (HAZWOPER), 29 CFR 1910.120. We regret any delay our response may have caused in determining and planning training needs for members of your response team.

Your letter explains Texaco's interpretation of the HAZWOPER standard and requests OSHA's concurrence. Below is a copy of what was sent to OSHA for approval:

"Based on our understanding of the training requirements in paragraph (q), those individuals who remain at the hotel do not require training pursuant to paragraph (q). We believe that those people who go to the site would also not be subject to the paragraph (q) training requirements provided they stay out of the danger area, do not take charge of the incident, and are not "specialist employees" who are subject to the training requirements in paragraph (q)(5). It is also our understanding that "specialist employees" are individuals who possess expertise in the hazards of specific hazardous substances and will provide technical advice or assistance related to these hazards to the individual in charge at the site. If a Team member's expertise does not involve a specific hazardous substance (e.g. Security, Communications, Procurement etc.), then he/she is not considered a "specialist employee". However, any person who is not a "specialist employee" and who takes charge of the incident, or who has to enter the danger area, must be classified into one of the emergency response levels and receive the appropriate training as outlined in paragraph (q)(6)."

Your "company wide emergency response assistance team", by any other name retains the essence of a HAZMAT team. Therefore, Texaco must meet all of the training requirements in 1910.120(q)(6) for employees who will take charge of the incident or who will be in areas where there is a safety and health threat.

HAZWOPER requires that you assign "personnel roles, lines of authority, and communication" in your emergency response plan. While the support personnel described in your letter may not need to be trained in any of the five levels laid out in subparagraph (q)(6), they must understand their roles and responsibilities, the incident command structure, and the company's emergency response plan.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions please contact MaryAnn Garrahan at (202) 523-8036.


Patricia Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs