Posted on: March 4, 2022

What is HAZWOPER Training Certification?

hazwoper certification

If HAZWOPER is a possible requirement of your job, it is important to understand where it came from and who it is for. This blog post provides a comprehensive view of HAZWOPER and the training needed to earn a certification.

Who does the HAZWOPER standard apply to?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), five groups of employees and employers are covered by the HAZWOPER standard. This standard specifically includes any employees exposed to hazardous or potentially hazardous substances.

The HAZWOPER standard also covers those who engage in several operations, including cleanup, storage, treatment, and hazardous waste disposal.

The HAZWOPER standard also applies to those involved in emergency response operations that deal with hazardous waste. This includes workers who must perform duties at a waste site where hazardous contamination is possible.

HAZWOPER 24-hour Course


HAZWOPER 40-hour Course

255 229

HAZWOPER 8-hour Annual Refresher


What is a hazardous substance or situation?

OSHA provides guidance as to how a hazardous substance or situation is defined. OSHA lists the following substances and situations:

  • Areas with large concentrations of toxic materials
  • A situation that is potentially life or injury threatening
  • Impending Danger to Life and Health (IDLH) environments
  • Situations that present an oxygen-deficient atmosphere
  • Conditions that pose a potential fire or explosion hazard
  • Situations that require an evacuation
  • Situations that require immediate attention due to the danger posed to employees

How often is HAZWOPER training required?

It is vital to understand how long your HAZWOPER training is valid. Having training that is no longer valid could keep you from working.

The 40-hour HAZWOPER training is valid for 12 months after you pass the training course. After 12 months, you must take an 8-hour refresher course for the certification to remain valid.

How do you get a HAZWOPER certification?

There are many options to earn your HAZWOPER certification. The most common option is to take an online course and pass the exam.

The online course consists of 24-hour or 40-hour initial training. This training teaches vital information for those working with hazardous materials. It covers everything a worker needs to know to operate around dangerous materials and navigate the complicated situations surrounding hazardous materials. At the end of this course, you must pass a final exam. Once the exam is completed, your training certificate arrives in the mail.

HAZWOPER 24-Hour – This hazard recognition course covers general potential problems at work sites. HAZWOPER 24-Hour is a requirement for individuals visiting an Uncontrolled Hazardous Waste Operation.

HAZWOPER 40-hour – This course covers details on remaining safe on a hazardous job site. This course is for those involved in cleanup operations, disposal, emergency response operations, voluntary cleanup operations, storage, and treatment of hazardous materials or uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.

HAZWOPER 8-Hour – This is an annual refresher course for those who are already certified.

After passing the online course exam, workers must undergo at least three days of supervised field experience before entering the job site. A qualified instructor teaches this training.

Who can teach HAZWOPER training?

This is the requirement according to 29 CFR 1910.120(e)(5):

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 teaching the subjects they are expected to teach, or they shall have the academic credentials and instructional experience necessary for teaching the subjects. Instructors shall demonstrate competent instructional skills and knowledge of the applicable subject matter.

OSHA does not approve, endorse, or certify individual HAZWOPER trainers or training programs as stated in the above excerpt. The employer’s responsibility is to determine if the trainer or program meets the above requirements and has the required qualifications under HAZWOPER.

Is HAZWOPER the same as OSHA?

OSHA distributes Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) requirements to protect workers and allow them to safely work with hazardous materials.

OSHA initially issued HAZWOPER regulations in 1986. This education provided rules that ensured protection for any workers employed in hazardous waste jobs. HAZWOPER aims to prevent and minimize the likelihood of worker injury and illness due to potential contact with hazardous materials.

HAZWOPER includes employers performing the following operations:

  • Hazardous waste cleanup operations
  • Operations that involve hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal
  • Emergency response operations that involve hazardous substance releases

What are the levels of HAZWOPER training?

1. For responders who are the initial observers of hazardous material release. These responders are typically on-site and work at a warehouse,  laboratory, plant, or similar hazardous areas. These workers must know how to start an emergency response sequence that notifies the correct parties.

2. First Responder Operations Level Training. This trains those responding to the possible and the actual release of a hazardous substance to preserve assets and defend people and the environment.

3. Hazardous Materials Technician Hazwoper training is for those assigned as “emergency response technicians” accountable for the response to the release of hazardous substances and for acting to patch, plug, or otherwise prevent additional release.

4. The Hazardous Materials Specialist training is provided to those who are accountable for providing additional support to hazardous material technicians.

5. On-Scene Incident Commander training. These incident commanders are accountable for the supervision of any emergencies that arise. They strategize, develop, and implement preventive measures, safety objectives, and tactics that control risks from hazardous materials.