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.

September 11, 1992

Mr. Anthony Cappella
Corporate Training Manager
Environmental Products and
Services, Inc.
230 McKee Road
Rochester, New York 13209

Dear Mr. Cappella:

This is in response to your inquiry of August 5, concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response regulation (HAZWOPER), 29 CFR 1910.120.

We will answer your questions in the order that you presented them:

1. Must an employee complete three days of field experience on a government-listed site in order to fulfill [the 1910.120 training] requirement? Does any related field experience under the scope and application of 1910.120 satisfy the standard?

Three days of field experience at any uncontrolled hazardous waste site that is directly related to the work the employee will be expected to perform, and that is under the supervision of a trained supervisor, will satisfy the initial training requirement in 29 CFR 1910.120(e). When employees begin work at a new site they would not be required to repeat the three days of supervised field experience, although Environmental Products and Services would need to make them aware of site-specific hazards.

2. Can 40-hour certified employees be given an annual 8-hour refresher certificate by proxy? Must a trainer be present at all times throughout the training? Out-of-country students have asked about maintaining recertification (8-hour certificate) through a correspondence course. Is it possible to hold correspondence courses for overseas personnel that cannot return to the United States? The only reasons these personnel would come to the United States is in the event of an emergency when they need their certification.

Refresher training courses given through a correspondence course are not normally acceptable. In your unique case, however, where employees are permanently stationed outside of the United States, it may be acceptable to complete a correspondence course for their refresher training.

Environmental Products and Services must ensure that employees are provided answers to any questions that may arise from the training to maintain their skills and knowledge. Environmental Products and Services would also have to take extra measures to make sure that their employees are indeed doing the reading and understand the training material.

Hazardous waste site employers are responsible for making sure that their employees are "trained to a level required by their job function and responsibility," as stated in 29 CFR 1910.120(e)(1) and (q)(8). Environmental Products and Services would have to evaluate the competencies of their overseas employees before allowing them to work in the United States at a hazardous waste site or in an emergency situation, to ensure they are trained to perform their job safely.

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