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.

August 27, 1992

Dr. Douglas Brugge
Massachusetts Coalition for
Occupational Safety and Health
555 Amory Street
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts 02130

Dear Dr. Brugge:

This is in response to your inquiry of July 9, concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response final rule (HAZWOPER), 29 CFR 1910.120.

Thank you for enclosing the brochure on HAZMAT courses and for expressing concern about compliance with the training requirements in 29 CFR 1910.120.

As you know, 24 hours of training for HAZMAT technicians is a minimum. 29 CFR 1910.120(q)(6) requires hazardous materials technicians to receive 24 hours of first responder operations level training and have competency in the areas listed. Therefore, depending on an employee's competencies, more than 24 hours will more than likely be required.

Employers are responsible for ensuring employees are provided with training to perform their job duties safely. OSHA compliance officers will inspect facilities' Emergency Response Plans and interview employees on the training they have received. Employers who have not provided training or have not ensured that employees have mastered the competencies listed in the HAZWOPER training requirements may be cited by OSHA. In fact, statistics on OSHA citations for HAZWOPER indicate that employers are most often penalized for their deficiencies in Emergency Response Plans and training.

The proposed rule, "Training Accreditation for Hazardous Waste Operations," intends to require accreditation by OSHA for some or all of the training programs required by HAZWOPER. Currently, the proposed rule does not include training programs required in 29 CFR 1910.120(q); however, OSHA is reviewing comments that have been entered into the docket on this issue. (Please find a copy of the proposed rule enclosed.)

Again, thank you for expressing your concern. We hope this information is helpful. If you have any questions please contact the Office of Health Compliance Assistance at (202)523-8036.


Patricia Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs