Do All Hospital Workers Require First Responder HAZWOPER Training?
When there is a hazardous waste spill or contamination event, the idea is that injured people can be helped. Whether it's by on-scene workers with medical training or outside emergency workers and hospital staff, health and safety are important factors. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set up guidelines for those rendering assistance. One of the main goals of assisting and treating others is that the emergency workers themselves don't become victims.
There is special training required and offered for doctors, nurses and other hospital and healthcare workers. A few things to keep in mind include minimizing or eliminating contamination and toxicity while treating the patient. Some workers require special OSHA training and Hazardous Waste and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) training, which we provide. When skilled support personnel are involved, they are required by OSHA to have the appropriate training. If they are not considered skilled support personnel, they may be briefed on proper procedures before joining the situation.
Training needed is determined by the likelihood of the individual coming into contact with hazards, as well as the specific role that person would play in the event of an emergency. For hospital workers, some are expected to assist with patient decontamination while others may need to treat patients prior to full decontamination. According to OSHA, they do not require first responder training, but must be briefed on what equipment to wear, the emergency hazards involved and what precautions must be taken to remain safe.