Hazardous substances pose a significant environmental threat that can lead to serious safety and health problems. Toxic, flammable or corrosive substances can cause fires, explosions and pollution of air, water and land. Hazardous substances must be properly treated, stored or disposed of to eliminate or greatly reduce potential harm to human and animal life and the environment.
Because of the seriousness of the safety and health hazards related to hazardous waste operations and emergency response, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) Standard, Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 1910.120 (General Industry) and 1926.65 (Construction), to protect employees and to help them handle hazardous substances safely and effectively.
Employee training is a key requirement of any HAZWOPER program. Employers must develop training for employees who are exposed to health hazards or hazardous substances during hazardous substance cleanup; all operations at treatment, storage and disposal (TSD) facilities; and emergency response operations. Comprehensive training is critical to ensure that employees can perform their assigned duties and functions in a safe and healthful manner that does not endanger themselves or others.