Guide to Online HAZWOPER Training

Guide to Online HAZWOPER Training

Jill James

Jill James

Chief Safety Officer

Jill James brings an unrivaled perspective on risk, regulation and liability. With 14 years of experience as a Senior OSHA Safety Investigator with the State of Minnesota, and nearly a decade in the private sector as a safety program manager, Jill is a passionate advocate for training ROI.


It’s a widely accepted safety acronym for “hazardous waste operations and emergency response”. The corresponding OSHA regulatory standard is 29 CFR 1910.120.

How does the law apply? 

Most commonly to work environments involving cleanup operations of hazardous substances conducted at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites and required by a governmental body.

Which employees need training? 

  • General Hazardous Waste Site Workers

For example, heavy equipment operators, general laborers, and supervisory personnel who perform hazardous substance removal or other work with potential exposure to related health hazards.

Training Requirements: minimum of 40 hours of instruction off the site and a minimum of three days actual field experience under the direct supervision of a trained experienced supervisor.

  • Professional Services Contractors

For example, any worker on hazardous waste sites occasionally such as a professional services contractor performing ground water monitoring, land surveying, or geophysical surveying services, unlikely to be exposed over permissible exposure limits (PELs) and published exposure limits.

Training Requirements: 24 hours of instruction off the site and the minimum of one-day actual field experience under the direct supervision of a trained, experienced supervisor.

  • Workers Regularly on Hazardous Waste Sites

Employees who work in areas where monitored exposures are known to be under permissible exposure limits (PELs) and published exposure limits, where respirators are not necessary, where no health hazards are present, and where the possibility of an emergency developing has been assessed.

Training Requirements: 24 hours of instruction off the site and minimum of one-day actual field experience under the direct supervision of a trained, experienced supervisor.

  • Management & Supervisors

Employees who are on-site with direct responsibility for or who supervise employees engaged in hazardous waste operations.

Training Requirements: 40 hours of instruction off the site training and three days of supervised field experience. 

NOTE: modifications for management and supervisors are allowed as follows:

  • Training may be reduced to 24 hours and one day if (1) the only area of supervisory responsibility is for workers with occasional entry to hazardous waste sites or (2) workers regularly on hazardous waste sites with at least eight additional hours of specialized training at the time of job assignment.
  • Specialized training would be on such topics as employer safety and health programs, employee training programs, personal protective equipment programs, spill containment programs, and health hazard monitoring procedure and techniques, resulting in 32 total hours of training.

Emergency Response Teams (ERTs)

Employees who are tasked with response to emergency situations at hazardous waste clean-up sites that may expose them to hazardous substances.

Training Requirements: 29 CFR 1910.120 (e)(7) does not specify a number of hours, content or frequency of training for these employees. It simply states, “shall be trained in how to respond to such expected emergencies.”

What training is required for workers on hazardous waste sites occasionally and workers regularly on hazardous waste sites when or if they become general site workers, or required to wear respirators? 

An additional 16 hours and two days of training necessary to total the training required for general site workers.

Which type of workers need refresher training? 

  • General hazardous waste site workers
  • Workers on hazardous waste sites occasionally
  • Workers regularly on hazardous waste sites
  • Management and supervisors

What is required for HAZWOPER refresher training?

Eight hours of refresher training annually, including any critique of incidents occurring in the past year that can serve as training examples of related work, and other relevant topics.

What training documentation is required to meet the HAZWOPER standard? 

Employees and supervisors who have received and successfully completed training and field experience shall be certified by their instructor or the head instructor and training supervisor as having completed the necessary training.

A written certificate shall be given to each person so certified.

Any person who has not been so certified or who does not meet the requirements shall be prohibited from engaging in hazardous waste operations. Students completing and receiving completion certificates for HAZWOPER online courses have part one of a two-part certification; the second part is acquired through personal instruction by trained supervisors as specified for field experience. 

NOTE: 8-hour HAZWOPER refresher training does not require supervised field experience. 

What makes a HAZWOPER trainer qualified?  

Trainers shall be qualified to instruct employees about the subject matter that is being presented in training. Such trainers shall have satisfactorily completed a training program for training on subjects they are expected to cover, or they shall have the academic credentials and instructional experience necessary for training on those subjects.

Instructors shall demonstrate competent instructional skills and knowledge of the applicable subject matter. 

29 CFR 1910.120 defines a ‘qualified person’ as a person with specific training, knowledge and experience in the area for which the person has the responsibility and the authority to control.

Where can I find additional resources to learn more about hazardous waste operations and emergency response (HAZWOPER) online safety training?

OSHA has authored numerous interpretations of this law:

To start your HAZWOPER training today

HAZWOPER 8-Hour Refresher | $66.50 | 8 hours

Hazardous Waste Operation and Emergency Response course matches annual refresher requirements in OSHA 29 CFR 1910.120.

HAZWOPER 24-Hour Refresher | $175.00 | 24 hours

Mandated by the government for workers visiting an uncontrolled hazardous waste operation, this course covers OSHA's Hazardous Waste and Emergency Response training Standard 29 CFR 1910.120(e) (3).

HAZWOPER 40-Hour Refresher | $241.50 | 40 hours

This course covers topics included in OSHA 29 CFR 1910.120 and is required for workers who perform activities that expose or potentially expose them to hazardous substances.