Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response HAZWOPER


The dumping of hazardous waste poses a significant threat to the environment. In 1995, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) managed about 277 million metric tons of hazardous waste at licensed Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) sites. Hazardous waste is a serious safety and health problem that continues to endanger human and animal life and environmental quality. Hazardous waste — discarded chemicals that are toxic, flammable or corrosive — can cause fires, explosions, and pollution of air, water, and land. Unless hazardous waste is properly treated, stored, or disposed of, it will continue to do great harm to all living things that come into contact with it now or in the future.
Because of the seriousness of the safety and health hazards related to hazardous waste operations, OSHA developed the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard, found at §1910.120, specifically to protect workers in this environment and to help them handle hazardous wastes safely and effectively.

Scope

The standard covers workers employed in clean-up operations at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites and at EPA-licensed waste treatment, storage and disposal (TSD) facilities; as well as workers responding to emergencies involving hazardous materials (e.g., spills). State, county, and municipal employees such as police, ambulance workers, and firefighters with local fire departments, are covered by the regulations issued by the 25 states operating their own OSHA-approved safety and health programs. EPA regulations cover these employees in states without state plans.
Specifically, HAZWOPER covers employees involved in:
  • 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 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA);
  • Voluntary clean-up operations at sites recognized by federal, state, local or other governmental bodies as uncontrolled hazardous waste sites;
  • Operations involving hazardous wastes that are conducted at treatment, storage and disposal facilities licensed under RCRA;
  • Emergency response operations for release of, or substantial threats of release of, hazardous substances.
Exceptions are permitted if an employer can demonstrate that the operation does not involve employee exposure or a reasonable possibility of such exposure to hazards.
The following information discusses OSHA’s requirements for hazardous waste operations and emergency response at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites and TSD facilities and summarizes the steps an employer must take to protect the health and safety of workers in these environments.

1 comment:

nobody143 said...

Not just to the environment but also for the people who's living in/near the community to which the hazardous waste were dump!

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