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Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.120


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.


February 4, 2009

Mr. Clay Bedmarz
National Environmental Trainers, Inc.
3812 Shoal Creek Court
Martinez, GA 30907-9431

Dear Mr. Bedmarz:

This is in response to your inquiry regarding a letter from our office sent to you on July 2, 2008. You specifically were concerned about a particular paragraph in that letter that described the use of your "HAZWOPER Hands-On Simulator®" on-line training program.

The paragraph states in part, "If a customer of yours were to follow your counterstatements or use your "HAZWOPER Hands-on Simulator®," as part of their training program, the customer would not be in compliance with our standard."

After reviewing the July 2 letter, we are providing further clarification on the statement. As always, the use of interactive and video training programs as a part of an employer's overall HAZWOPER training program is acceptable. However, an employer may not rely solely on the use of an interactive or video training program to be in compliance with the 40- or 24-hour HAZWOPER training requirements. As was stated in our July 2 letter, "OSHA expects, as part of the 40-hour (or 24-hour) training requirement, that a trainee be able to don, doff, touch, feel, and otherwise manipulate a particular piece of personal protective equipment that an employer of a specific site may require or provide to protect their employees to prevent injury or illness." Therefore, if the "HAZWOPER Hands-on Simulator®" is used as part of an employer's overall 40 or 24-hour HAZWOPER training program, in addition to ensuring that the trainee don, doff, and otherwise manipulate the particular piece(s) of personal protective equipment being used at a specific site, its use would be acceptable.

We thank you for bringing this to our attention. We hope this clarification is helpful to you and your company. If you have any questions, please contact Sven Rundman at 202-693-2190.

Sincerely,



Richard E. Fairfax
Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs



July 2, 2008

Mr. Clay Bedmarz
National Environmental Trainers, Inc.
3812 Shoal Creek Court
Martinez, GA 30907-9431

Dear Mr. Bedmarz:

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Directorate of Enforcement Programs, was recently informed by our Office of Training and Education (OTE) that your company is offering an on-line, interactive 40-hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) training program. Specifically, our agency received an e-correspondence in regards to whether your company's on-line training program would meet the 40-hour training requirement in the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response(HAZWOPER) standard, 29 CFR 1910.120.

It is the responsibility of an employer to provide the necessary HAZWOPER training based on the employee's role and responsibilities (e.g., general site worker) during a site cleanup operation. The HAZWOPER standard is performance based, and as such, allows an employer to decide on a training program that best fits their needs. As a part of the usual classroom-type training, there is also a requirement for trainees to receive hands-on training of personal protective equipment and other types of equipment. It is OSHA's policy to not endorse or approve of any training program or trainer.

On your web site under a link entitled "OSHA Allows Online Training With Hands-on Familiarity for 40-hour HAZWOPER Training," is a copy of a correspondence our office had with a Mr. Ron Gantt in August 2004, along with counterstatements provided by your company. In addition, your company states that it offers the interactive program "HAZWOPER Hands-On Simulator®" that would provide "a student an opportunity to become familiar with personal protective equipment the same as in a classroom setting." Both the counterstatements you make and the statement you have regarding the use of your simulator are misleading and inaccurate.

The use of your "HAZWOPER Hands-on Simulator®," for example, does not provide actual "hands-on" experiences on how to use PPE and other equipment. OSHA expects, as part of the 40-hour (or 24-hour) training requirement, that a trainee be able to don, doff, touch, feel, and otherwise manipulate a particular piece of personal protective equipment that an employer of a specific site may require or provide to protect their employees to prevent injury or illness. This would include the actual donning and doffing of a respirator and/or chemical protective clothing, and not just using a simulator.

If a customer of yours were to follow your counterstatements or use your "HAZWOPER Hands-on Simulator®," as part of their training program, the customer would not be in compliance with our standard. Therefore, we request that you correct the misleading and inaccurate information on your web site.

[This document was edited on 4/7/09 to strike information that no longer reflects current OSHA policy. See the February 4, 2009 clarification letter.]

Our office is taking the step to notify all OSHA Regional Administrators, State Plan Designees, and Consultation Program Managers of the inaccurate and misleading information posted on your website. In addition, we will be posting this letter to the OSHA web site along with our memo to OSHA's field offices.

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss this matter, please contact Melody Sands, Office of Health Enforcement, at 202-693-2190.

Sincerely,



Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs


Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

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