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.

December 30, 1992

Mr. Harold E. Durbin
College of Instrument Technology
9819 East Palm Street
Bellflower, California 90708

Dear Mr. Durbin:

This is in response to your inquiry of October 26, forwarded to OSHA's federal office from OSHA's Office of Training and Education, concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) regulation, 29 CFR 1910.120.

Your question concerns clarification on training certification. The standard clearly states in paragraph (e)(6) that employees who have successfully completed their required off-site instruction:

"shall be certified by their instructor or the head instructor ... as having successfully completed the necessary training. A written certificate shall be given to each person so certified."

Therefore, a "certificate of attendance" as described in your letter is not sufficient to meet the requirement of the standard; the instructor must assess whether the individual has achieved the training objectives set forth in paragraph (e)(2) of the standard and certify that individual accordingly. While it is ultimately the responsibility of the employer to ensure that employees are adequately trained, the employer relies on the professional judgement of the instructor in making the determination as to whether the employee has completed the necessary training successfully.

Paragraph (e)(6) of the standard further requires that employees shall not be permitted to engage in hazardous waste operations until they have been certified by their field supervisor as having successfully completed the required supervised field experience.

As you may be aware, the State of California operates its own OSHA-approved state safety and health program which must provide protection that is "at least as effective" as that provided by OSHA standards, but may be different or more strict than OSHA requirements. Twenty-three states operate their own State plan programs. The California program may be contacted at:

           California Department of Industrial Relations 
           455 Golden Gate Avenue
           4th Floor 
           San Francisco, California  94102

We hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions please contact us at (202) 219-8036.


Roger Clark,
Directorate of Compliance Programs