Posted on: January 26, 2024
RCRA Compliance: Navigating Hazardous Waste Regulations with Confidence
It’s an unfortunate reality to think about, but major corporations, businesses, and even government entities produce billions of solid waste every year. However, these organizations can get major citations and fines for not following proper hazardous waste disposal regulations.
However, the laws surrounding hazardous waste disposal are constantly evolving and can be a bit complicated. The proper training can help workers and companies ensure they’re always in compliance. Read more below to find out what RCRA training is and how it can significantly benefit your company.
The EPA has established standards under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) that regulate how hazardous and non-hazardous trash is handled, transported, recycled, and eventually managed. RCRA established national goals for:
- Protecting human health and the environment from potential waste disposal threats
- Conserving energy and natural resources
- Reducing the amount of garbage produced
- Managing waste in an environmentally responsible manner
RCRA enforces "cradle-to-grave" liability on waste generators, which means that until the garbage is properly and safely disposed of, it is still the responsibility of the entity that created it. Additionally, working with hazardous materials imposes training requirements on those who handle it.
Anyone who handles hazardous materials at work must receive annual training, according to the EPA. Managers and workers can take introductory and refresher courses. Training must include:
- Check that the facility complies with RCRA regulations
- Be directed by a person trained in hazardous waste management
- Be relevant to the employees being trained for work duties and job roles.
RCRA training is essential for businesses, facilities, and any worker involved in activities that generate, transport, treat, or dispose of hazardous waste. By undergoing RCRA training, employees and organizations can ensure that they are compliant with the law, minimize risks, and protect the environment.
According to the RCRA, hazardous waste is defined as any waste that has traits that, if in contact with persons or the environment, can cause harm or danger. Because identifying hazardous waste can be difficult, additional regulatory measures must be performed for proper disposal, such as understanding the four major characteristics of hazardous waste.
Hazardous waste can take many forms, including sludges and solids, gasses, and liquids. Waste must have at least one of the following to be considered hazardous:
When waste is identified as hazardous under the EPA's standards, it is separated into different categories depending on its properties, characteristics, and source industry in order to be treated appropriately.
If you and your staff do not receive proper RCRA training, you could be disposing of hazardous material incorrectly, causing long-term environmental damage. More concerning is the civil penalty schedule for RCRA violations, which is currently $81,540 per violation, per day. Prior to this, the penalty was $76,764 per violation, per day. A criminal penalty schedule is also in place, with potential fines of $50,000 per infraction per day and prison terms of up to two years. RCRA violations can quickly build up, and in some jurisdictions, even small generators are at danger, so it makes sense to prepare by providing staff training.
RCRA hazardous waste management training is essential for every industry and business since it ensures that suitable waste disposal methods and protocols are followed. This training not only keeps the staff and employees safe and secure, but it also protects the environment from harm. Get started by checking out our catalog today.