Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.120; 1910.120(p)(1); 1910.120(p)(7); 1910.120(p)(8); 1910.120(q); 1910.120(q)(6)(iii); 1910.120(q)(6)(v)

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

May 10, 1991

Mr. William Murray
Safety Coordinator
Christian Salvesen Inc.
One Enterprise Avenue
Secaucus, New Jersey 07094

Dear Mr. Murray:

Thank you for your inquiry of March 12, concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response final rule (29 CFR 1910.120). Please accept my apology for the delay in this reply.

Your specific question relates to the scope of the rule specific to your company, the ability of your engineering personnel to conduct in house training and previous experience in regards to the 24 hour training requirement.

Christian Salvesen, Inc., as an employer of employees who may potentially be involved in "emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of release of, hazardous substances, without regard to the location of the hazard" (i.e., ammonia from your refrigeration system), does fall under the scope of 1910.120. Your status as a "conditionally exempt small quantity generator" allows exception from requirements under Section 1910.120(p)(1) through 1910.120(p)(7). However, this does not exempt the employer from the requirements in Section 1910.120(p)(8) or 1910.120(q). If your emergency response plan calls for evacuation of all employees in the danger area you may be exempt from the requirements in 1910.120(q). Please refer to enclosures A and B for an in depth discussion of exceptions from 1910.120 and whether Sections 1910.120(p)(8) or 1910.120(q) applies.

If Christian Salvesen Inc. believes that a "staff engineer with an Engineering degree", satisfies the language of Section 1910.120(q)(7), that engineer can conduct an in house training program. The exact language of the regulation concerning trainers can be found in 1910.120(q)(7). The final rule states:
"1910.120(q)(7) Trainers. Trainers who teach any of the above training subjects [Section 1910.120(q)(6)(i)-(v)] shall have satisfactorily completed a training course for teaching the subjects they are expected to teach, such as the courses offered by the U.S. National Fire Academy or they shall have training and/or academic credentials and instructional experience necessary to demonstrate competent instructional skills and a good command of the subject matter of the courses they are to teach."
You mention in point 2 of your letter that you intend to have the engineer train your employees through the requirements for a hazardous material technician (Section 1910.120(q)(6)(iii). This raises concern at OSHA as it makes no allowance for training of the "on scene incident commander", who will direct the emergency response beyond the first responder level. This individual is the key player of the Hazmat team. Section 1910.120(q) requires that someone be identified as the on scene incident commander and trained to a level commensurate with his duties as such (the level of training required is described in Section 1910.120(q)(6)(v)). Perhaps, your "staff engineer with an Engineering degree", who will perform your in house training program should be trained to on scene incident command level and designated as such.

Prior to the arrival of outside assistance, the senior emergency response official responding to an emergency shall become the individual in charge of the incident command system. The note to Section 1910.120(q)(3)(i) in the final rule clearly delineates from that point forward.
Note to 1910.120(q)(3)(i) — The "senior official" at an emergency response is the most senior official on the site who has the responsibility for controlling the operations at the site. Initially it is the senior officer on the first due responding emergency apparatus to arrive on the incident scene. As more senior officers arrive (i.e., battalion chief, fire chief, state law enforcement official, site coordinator, etc.) the position is passed up the line of authority which has been previously established.
Section 1910.120(q)(1) requires a written emergency response plan. This emergency response plan "shall be developed and implemented to handle anticipated emergencies prior to the announcement of emergency response operations." This plan would identify the "on scene incident commander" and clearly delineate lines of authority and procedures to be followed. Section 1910.120(q)(6) has different training requirements because different roles are to be assigned to different employees in anticipation of an emergency response to release of a hazardous substance. Those employees that will be required to notify the proper authority of the release and take no further action would only be required to have "first responder awareness" level training. Those informed of the incident and who take an aggressive role to stop the release of hazardous substance must be trained at least to the "hazardous materials technician" level. In your specific situation, i.e., having only one hazardous substance, there is really no difference between the "hazardous material technician" level and the "hazardous materials specialist" level. Ultimate responsibility for directing the emergency response is in the hands of the "on scene incident commander."

The issue of training requirements for experienced current employees is addressed in Section 1910.120(q)(6)(i) through 1910.120(q)(6)(v). Sections 1910.120(q)(6)(i) and 1910.120(q)(6)(ii) require training "or" "sufficient experience" whereas Sections 1910.120(q)(6)(iii) through 1910.120(q)(6)(v) require "at least 24 hours of training" in addition to demonstrating competencies. Therefore, if Salvesen Inc. concludes based on documentation its current employees can objectively demonstrate competency in the areas described in Section 1910.120(q)(6)(i) and 1910.120(q)(6)(ii) they may certify those employees as trained to the first responder awareness level or first responder operations level respectively. However, the hazardous material technician, hazardous material specialist, and on scene incident commander levels all require a minimum of 24 hours training regardless of experience.

This guidance pertains to a current interpretation of the HAZWOPER final rule (1910.120). OSHA is working on a new regulation concerning certification of HAZWOPER training programs (1910.121), which will be promulgated in the future. Currently, this new rule is in rule making. Hearings have already taken place. Therefore, Salvesen Inc. may want to monitor the progress of this new standard and anticipate needed changes in your training and certification programs to insure continued compliance by your training division.

We hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact [the Office of Health Enforcement at (202) 693-2190].


Patricia K. Clark, Director
[Directorate of Enforcement Programs]

[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).]


Attachment A

Exceptions from Section 1910.120(p) of the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Final Rule (1910.120), as amended April 13, 1990.

HAZWOPER was amended April 13, 1990, and the following exceptions to training requirements were more clearly delineated in corrected paragraph 1910.120(a)(2)(iii). The exceptions sub paragraph reads as follows:
Notes and Exceptions: (A) All provisions of paragraph (p) of this section cover any treatment, storage of disposal (TSD) facility regulated by 40 CFR parts 264 and 265 or by state law authorized under RCRA and required to have a permit or interim status from EPA pursuant to 40 CFR 270.1 or from a state agency pursuant to RCRA.
(B) Employers who are not required to have a permit or interim status because they are conditionally exempt small quantity generators under 40 CFR 261.5 or are generators who qualify under 40 CFR 262.34 for exemptions from regulation under 40 CFR parts 264, 265, and 270 ("excepted employers") are not covered by paragraphs (p)(1) through (p)(7) of this section. Excepted employers who are required by the EPA or state agency to have their employees engage in emergency response or who direct their employees to engage in emergency response are covered by paragraph (p)(8) of this section and cannot be exempted by (p)(8)(i) of this section. Excepted employers who are not required to have employees engage in emergency response, who direct their employees to evacuate in the case of such emergencies and who meet the requirements of paragraph (p)(8)(i) of this section are exempt from the balance of paragraph (p)(8) of this section."
(C) If an area is used primarily for treatment storage and disposal any emergency response operations in that area shall comply with paragraph (p)(8) of this section. In other areas not primarily used for treatment storage or disposal any emergency response operations shall comply with paragraph (q) of this section. Compliance with the requirements of paragraph (q) of this section shall be deemed to be in compliance with the requirements of paragraph (p)(8) of this section.
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act defines a conditionally exempt small quantity generator in section 261.5, which reads as follows:
(a) a generator is a conditionally exempt small quantity generator in a calendar month if he generates no more than 100 kg of hazardous waste in that month. (b) Except for those wastes identified in paragraphs (e), (f), (g) and (j) of this section a conditionally exempt small quantity generator's wastes are not subject to regulation under parts 262 through 266, 268 and parts 270 and 124 of this chapter and the notification requirements of section 3010 of RCRA, provided the generator complies with the requirements of paragraphs (f), (g) and (j) of this section.
Section 262.34 of RCRA, covers accumulation time and criteria for exception from various parts of RCRA:
(a) Except as provided by paragraphs (d), (e) and (f) of this section, a generator may accumulate hazardous waste on site for 90 days or less without a permit or without having interim status, provided that:
"The provisions include storing wastes in RCRA approved tanks and containers, which must be labeled with the start date of accumulation, and have a sign identifying the container as containing "Hazardous Waste."
For more information in the specific provisions entailed in (a) above, or for general information concerning the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) call the RCRA Hotline at 1-800-424-9346 from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. eastern standard time.

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