Let’s face it—there are hundreds of options for completing HAZWOPER training – either through online courses or onsite courses, and a mix of both when you add in-site and equipment specific training. Employers and students alike may wonder, “What is the best possible method of training?” That will depend on the employer and student training needs. Many students are disciplined and can self manage online courses and complete the course as required to get their certification. Other students may perform well in a classroom environment and complete training in a week compared to several months. Many employers like the convenience of online courses and feel their students are internet savvy.
HAZWOPER applies to five distinct groups of employers and employees. The standard includes employees exposed or potentially exposed to hazardous substances and engaged in the following operations per OSHA.gov https://www.osha.gov/html/faq-hazwoper.html :
- Clean-up operations — required by a governmental body, whether federal, state, local, or other involving hazardous substances — that are conducted at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites;
- Corrective actions involving clean-up operations at sites covered by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) as amended (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.);
- Voluntary clean-up operations at sites recognized by federal, state, local, or other governmental body as uncontrolled hazardous waste sites;
- Operations involving hazardous wastes that are conducted at treatment, storage, and disposal facilities regulated by Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 264 and 265 pursuant to RCRA, or by agencies under agreement with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement RCRA regulations; and
- Emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances regardless of the location of the hazard.
How do we know which online HAZWOPER course to enroll in?
Employers, consider if the training institution will can provide onsite HAZWOPER training; or if you will be the one to provide onsite training right after you finish your course. Remember that hands-on training is necessary as it will give you practical experience and site specific equipment and hazards will be discussed.
An effective online HAZWOPER training program should allow students to have the opportunity to ask questions on things that are not clear to them. This can be done through the phone or email if the method of teaching is computer-based. Online training can help get the bulk of the training out of the way so you can focus on site specific hazards.
What do I do after taking my initial HAZWOPER training? How do I maintain my certification current?
Employees should take an 8-hour refresher course one year after completing the training. OSHA understands that employees may miss taking the course, and if that is the case, workers should take the next available course. OSHA.gov instructs employers to assess “the need to repeat initial training must be determined based on the employee’s familiarity with safety and health procedures used on site. The employee should take the next available refresher training course. There should be a record in the employee’s file indicating why the training has been delayed and when the training will be completed.”