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What Do You Learn in HAZWOPER Training? A Guide

Did you know that almost 800,000 needlestick injuries occur annually with healthcare workers? Nearly one-third of these instances happen at the time of disposal.

Needlestick injuries can expose workers to bloodborne pathogens and put their health at risk. HAZWOPER training outlines how to correctly handle hazardous materials and supplies. It can prevent bloodborne illnesses and keep workers safe from other exposures.

Have you wondered what is involved in HAZWOPER training and if you or your employees need it? Luckily, we have put together a complete guide to HAZWOPER training and how you can get started today. Keep reading for more information!

What Are Hazardous Substances?

Hazardous substances are biological or disease-causing agents. When they are released into the environment, there is a risk for exposure, ingestion, or inhalation. It can lead to disease, death, and even cancer mutations.

Some hazardous substances can even negatively impact the environment and destroy ecosystems. The release of deadly toxins and agents can kill organisms, animals, and plants. There are two types of toxins as outlined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including:

  • Acute toxicity
  • Chronic toxicity

Acute toxicity is when damage occurs after a single episode. Prolonged exposure to a substance is classified as a chronic toxicity.

Although, both can negatively affect health. Each potential hazardous substance has a reportable quantity (RQ). The federal government uses this as a benchmark.

If a specific substance exceeds its RQ, it must be reported. In return, there are restrictions to help protect humans and the environment.

Release of Hazardous Substances

Improper release of hazardous substances can cause:

  • Fires
  • Explosions
  • Toxic atmospheres

Minor events can create subtle changes in the atmosphere. These changes lead to irritation or increased sensitization.

However, more substantial events can cause immediate chemical burns. Longer exposure leads to genetic mutations or infertility.

What Is HAZWOPER Training?

Have you asked the question, 'what is HAZWOPER?' HAZWOPER stands for the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard. It is a term outlined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Who needs HAZWOPER training? Employees and employers who fall under this category are those involved with:

  • Standard clean-up operations
  • Corrective actions involving clean-up
  • Voluntary clean-up operations
  • Operations involving hazardous waste
  • Emergency response operations

Most unexpected releases of hazardous substances are from operation failures or natural disasters. Even terrorist attacks can cause exposure.

Proper training includes preparation for emergency events. It also entails a basic understanding of handling hazardous material.

Responsiveness during an emergency can mitigate health risks and potentially save lives. OSHA requires specific training for employees listed in the categories above before starting work. It ensures that all workers meet health and safety guidelines. The ultimate goal of OSHA training is to minimize the risk of injury and illness.

Online HAZWOPER Training

There are three different online HAZWOPER training courses, including:

  • 8-hour refresher
  • 24 hour HAZWOPER training
  • 40 hour HAZWOPER training

Completing these courses will provide the employee with a certificate. Any entry-level employees must complete the 24 hour or 40 hour HAZWOPER training course.

The eight-hour refresher course is designed for annual training requirements outlined by OSHA. All employees who complete the 24 and 40 hour courses must complete annual refreshers. What do these courses highlight?

  • Hazard recognition
  • Risk evaluation
  • Exposure limits
  • Proper equipment
  • Safety concerns

Both lengthy courses require on-site training in addition to the online course materials.

40 Hour HAZWOPER Training

The HAZWOPER 40 certification is for workers who face the highest hazard risk. They must have a completed certification before starting their work duties. These are job-related exposures beyond outlined limits, including workers with tasks such as:

  • Hazardous substance removal
  • Clean up
  • Emergency response

In addition to online training, it requires on-site fieldwork for completion. At a minimum, it will take 40 hours to complete, but there are no time limits, and participants can pause or bookmark the course before returning. After completion, employees will need the annual refresher course before their initial training date.

24 Hour HAZWOPER Training

How is the 24 hour HAZWOPER training course different from the 40 hour online course? The main difference is the type of risk and exposure to hazardous materials your employees will have.

For example, if employees are not directly working with hazardous materials, they will not need the 40 hour training. Instead, if they are in the vicinity of hazardous materials, you can opt for the 24 hour course. These workers have minimal daily hazard exposure but will still need additional training.

Here are some examples of workers who take this HAZWOPER course:

  • Equipment operators
  • General laborers
  • Supervisory personnel

During activities, workers may have exposure to hazardous materials, but it is not above permissible levels. It also requires in-person exposure for more experience and on-site instruction.

Like the extensive HAZWOPER training course, the minimum time to complete it is 24 hours. Participants can bookmark their progress and take longer to complete it.

However, it should be finished with the certification before workers start their on-site job duties. These workers will also be required to complete annual, eight-hour training on or before their anniversary date.

How To Enroll in HAZWOPER Training

If you or your employees need HAZWOPER training, you can enroll at Compliance Training Online. We cover all the materials outlined by OSHA for handling and being around hazardous materials through our in-depth courses.

HAZWOPER training is critical in industries such as construction and healthcare. These industries have higher risks of hazardous exposures. Providing in-depth and online training allows employees to go at their own pace while still meeting the certification criteria.

Are you ready to get started? Check out our website for complete details on OSHA online training certificates!

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