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 http://www.osha.gov.

 

 

April 6, 1995

David L. Barber, IHIT
Lamb Associates
6121 Indian School Road, N.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110

Dear Mr. Barber:

This is in response to your letter requesting clarification of the recently published OSHA guidance on Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) training. You listed "Implementation of 29 CFR 1910.121," as the subject of your letter; however, each of your questions appeared to relate to the non-mandatory Appendix E, training Curriculum Guidelines, to OSHA's HAZWOPER standard (29 CFR 1910.120). Accordingly, the responses provided below, keyed to your specific questions, relate to and provide clarification of Appendix E to 29 CFR 1910.120.

Question 1. Is the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) document intended for development of HAZWOPER training programs?

Answer: OSHA interprets your reference to the NIEHS document to mean the non-mandatory Appendix E to OSHA's HAZWOPER standard, which was based in part on the NIEHS sponsored document, "Minimum Criteria for Worker Health and Safety training for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response." The purpose of Appendix E is to provide non-mandatory general criteria to assist training providers and employers in developing training curriculum to meet the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.120(e), 1910.120(p)(7), 1910.120(p)(8)(iii), 1910.120(q)(6), 1910.120(q)(7), and 1910.120(q)(8).

Question 2. Should HAZWOPER training include performance-based evaluations?

Answer: Although your question does not specify the purpose of the performance evaluations (i.e., what is being evaluated), we assume that you are inquiring whether or not performance-based evaluations are necessary to determine if an individual has successfully completed a required training course. The HAZWOPER standard does not mandate a specific method or methods to evaluate the successful completion of HAZWOPER training. Appendix E, Item 7, "Proficiency Assessment," however, provides guidance on acceptable evaluation methods including written assessments and skill demonstrations. The training provider can use the methods discussed in the Appendix E or other means of evaluation provided that the methods selected adequately ensure that individuals are sufficiently trained on the elements required in the HAZWOPER standard and have the knowledge and skills necessary to perform their expected duties in a safe manner.

Question 3. Will Appendix E become mandatory after a certain period of time?

Answer: OSHA has no plans to make Appendix E of the HAZWOPER standard mandatory.

Question 4. Can other training such as respiratory protection, confined spaces and other safety programs be counted for HAZWOPER and thereby be subtracted from the training hours required (for example: 40 hours - 2 hours radiation = 38 hours)?

Answer: OSHA does not intend for the employer to duplicate efforts in complying with the standards. training provided to employees in order to comply with other standards may be considered "equivalent training" as long as all of the applicable training topics of the HAZWOPER standard are addressed. A one-to-one correspondence between training hours for other standards and for equivalent topics under the HAZWOPER standard, however, should not be presumed. For instance, two hours of radiation safety training may not reduce a 40 hour HAZWOPER training requirement to 38 hours, but it would reduce the length of time necessary to ensure that all required topics of the HAZWOPER standard are sufficiently addressed. To fulfill the training requirements in the HAZWOPER standard, the total training time must equal or exceed the minimum training requirement of 40 hours.

Question 5. Can the program be managed without a program director?

Answer: The use of a program director is recommended in Appendix E, Item 2. A program director is not, however, a required element of the HAZWOPER standard.

Question 6. Can objectives be written generally and specific training be left up to the site-specific training later?

Answer: Yes. The HAZWOPER standard does not establish specific requirements for how the training curriculum should be developed. Employers or training providers can develop their training curriculum by any method they choose provided that the training covers the required elements of the standard. As discussed above, Appendix E of the standard provides guidelines on the development of training curriculum to assist employers and training providers in meeting the training requirements of the standard. OSHA acknowledges in the opening paragraph of Appendix E that the Appendix provides generic guidelines for training programs that must be supplemented to address site-specific needs.

We hope these responses address your questions regarding the HAZWOPER standard. If you have additional questions, please contact the [Office of Health Compliance Enforcement at (202) 693-2190].

Sincerely,


Ruth McCully, Director
[Office of Health Enforcement]

[Corrected 1/20/2005. On August 15, 2002 the proposed 1910.121 "Accreditation of training Programs for Hazardous Waste Operations" proposed rule was withdrawn from the Unified Regulatory Agenda (see Federal Register 67:74749-74785 dated December 9, 2002).]

 

 



Mr. James F. Foster
Office of Information
U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210

Subject: Implementation of 29 CFR 1910.121, HAZWOPER

Sir,

After reviewing the new OSHA guidance concerning HAZWOPER training, I first want to congratulate Mr. Dear on the excellent regulation. Second, I need clarification for clients in the following areas:

A. Is the NEIHS document intended for development of HAZWOPER programs?

B. Should HAZWOPER training include performance-based evaluations?

C. Will appendix E become mandatory after a certain time period?

D. Can other training such as respiratory protection, confined spaces and other safety programs be counted for HAZWOPER and thereby be subtracted from the training hours required? (For example: 40 hours - 2 hour radiation = 38 hours.)

E. Can the program be managed without a program director?

F. Can objectives be written generally and specific training be left up to the site-specific training later?

As a consultant, we believe that the underlining reason OSHA codified these requirements is to ensure that HAZWOPER training programs provide quality training to workers and as a result, prevent injuries and illnesses. However, some clientele, in the interest of economics, desire the training, but not to the same extent as we understand the regulation.

Please provide guidance and direction in these areas. Our intent is not the re-iteration of the regulation simply the clear understanding of the "gray" areas, so to speak, and future intents of OSHA.

David L. Barber, IHIT
Industrial Hygienist