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.

May 13, 1992

Mr. Joseph A. Gispanski, Jr.
Hygiene, Safety and Training, Inc.
Post Office Box 837
Kittanning, Pennsylvania 16201-0837

Dear Mr. Gispanski:

This is in response to your inquiry of March 3, concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response final rule (HAZWOPER), 29 CFR 1910.120.

We will address your questions in the order that you asked them:

1) After completing a 40-hour hazardous waste training course, an employee wishes to take both the 8-hour refresher course and the 8-hour supervisory course the very next year, must this employee complete 16 hours of training to satisfy this requirement? If no, why?

In general, OSHA would expect a general hazardous waste site worker who is becoming a supervisor or manager to receive at least 16 hours of training the year they become a supervisor: 8 hours of supervisory training in addition to 8 hours of employee refresher training.

Employers are given sole flexibility in developing the best approach for training their employees. OSHA recognizes that there may be some overlap in the objectives of the training for supervisors and the refresher training, and we do not expect a duplication of effort. Employees may also critique incidents that have occurred in the past year as part of their employee or supervisory refresher training. In the final analysis, though, the employer must demonstrate that all topics required to be covered are conveyed to employees.

2) Besides the 40-hour hazardous waste training course, is there any other prerequisite for employees who wish to complete the 8-hour supervisory training course?

HAZWOPER requires that supervisors and managers be trained and given supervised field experience to at least the level of the employees who they will oversee, and have at least eight additional hours of specialized training on the topics listed in (e)(4). Training courses must cover the provisions listed in paragraph (e) as a minimum; further site specific training may be necessary. Paragraph (e) stipulates that "employees shall not be permitted to participate in or supervise field activities until they have been trained to a level required by their job function and responsibility." In other words, employees must be instructed in the procedures they will be expected to perform, and informed of the safety and health risks of those procedures, before they begin work.

We hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us at (202) 523-8036.


Patricia Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs