The following presents the 3 main Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) Work Zones for personnel engaged in cleanup of contaminated sites. These zones can also be used for the two other types of HAZWOPER operations: emergency response and remediation work at hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities.OSHA HAZWOPER Work Zones HAZWOPER Exclusion Zone The Exclusion Zone is the area where contamination does or could occur.

The primary activities performed in the Exclusion Zone are:

• Site characterization, such as mapping, photographing, and sampling.

• Installation of wells for groundwater monitoring. Cleanup work, such as drum movement, drum staging, and materials bulking. The outer boundary of the Exclusion Zone, called the Hotline, should be established according to the criteria listed in OSHA 29 CFR 1910.120. It should be clearly marked by lines, placards, hazard tape and/or signs; or enclosed by physical barriers, such as chains, fences, or ropes. Access Control Points should be established at the periphery of the Exclusion Zone to regulate the flow of personnel and equipment into and out of the zone and to help verify that proper procedures for entering and exiting are followed.

If feasible, separate entrances and exits should be established to separate personnel and equipment movement into and out of the Exclusion Zone. The Exclusion Zone can be subdivided into different areas of contamination based on the known or expected type and degree of hazard or on the incompatibility of waste streams. This allows more flexibility in safety requirements, operations, decontamination procedures, and use of resources. HAZWOPER personnel working in the Exclusion Zone may include the Field Team Leader, the work parties, and specialized personnel such as heavy equipment operators. All personnel within the Exclusion Zone should wear the level of protection required by the Site Safety Plan. Within the zone, different levels of protection may be justified based on the degree of hazard presented. The level of personal protection required in each subarea should be specified and marked. The required level of protection in the Exclusion Zone varies according to job assignment. For example, a worker who collects samples from open containers might require Level B protection, while one that performs walk-through ambient air monitoring might only need Level C protection. When appropriate, different levels of protection within the Exclusion Zone should be assigned to promote a more flexible, effective, and less costly operation, while still maintaining a high degree of safety.

HAZWOPER Contamination Reduction Zone

The Contamination Reduction Zone (CRZ) is the transition area between the contaminated area and the clean area. This zone is designed to reduce the probability that the clean Support Zone will become contaminated or affected by other site hazards. The distance between the Exclusion and Support Zones provided by the CRZ, together with decontamination of workers and equipment, limits the physicaltransfer of hazardous substances into clean areas. The boundary between the CRZ and the Exclusion Zone is called the Hotline. The degree of contamination in the CRZ decreases as one moves from the Hotline to the Support Zone, due both to the distance and the decontamination procedures. Decontamination procedures take place in a designated area within the CRZ called the Contamination Reduction Corridor (CRC). They begin at the Hotline. At least two lines of decontamination stations should be set up within the CRC: one for personnel and one for heavy equipment. A large operation may require more than two lines. Access into and out of the CRZ from the Exclusion Zone is through Access Control Points: one each for personnel and equipment entrance, one each for personnel and equipment exit, if feasible.

• Visually survey the immediate site environs.

• Determine the locations of:

- hazardous substances

- drainage, leachate, and spilled material

- visible discolorations

• Evaluate data from the initial site survey indicating the presence of:

- combustible gases

- organic and inorganic gases, particulates, or vapors

- ionizing radiation

• Evaluate the results of soil and water sampling.

• Consider the distances needed to prevent an explosion or fire from affecting personnel outside the Exclusion Zone.

• Consider the physical area necessary for site operations.

• Consider meteorological conditions and the potential for contaminants to be blown from the area.

• Secure or mark the Hotline.

• Modify its location, if necessary, as more information becomes available.

HAZWOPER Support Zone

The Support Zone is the location of the administrative and other support functions needed to keep the operations in the Exclusion and Contamination Reduction Zones running smoothly. Any function that need not or cannot be performed in a hazardous or potentially hazardous area is performed here. The Command Post Supervisor should be present in the Support Zone. Other personnel present will depend on the functions being performed, and may include the Project Team Leader and field team members who are preparing to enter or who have returned from the Exclusion Zone. Personnel may wear normal work clothes within this zone. Any potentially contaminated clothing, equipment, and samples must remain in the CRZ until decontaminated. Support Zone personnel are responsible for alerting the proper agency in the event of an emergency. All emergency telephone numbers,  evacuation route maps, and vehicle keys should be kept in the Support Zone. Support facilities are located in the Support Zone.

To place these facilities, consider factors such as:

• Accessibility. Topography, open space available, locations of highways and railroad tracks, ease of access for emergency vehicles.

• Resources. Adequate roads, power lines, telephones, shelter, and water.

• Visibility. Line-of-sight to all activities in the Exclusion Zone.

• Wind direction. Upwind of the Exclusion Zone, if possible.

• Distance. As far from the Exclusion Zone as practicable.

HAZWOPER Command Post

Supervision of all field operations and field teams. Interfacing with the public: government agencies, local politicians, medical personnel, the media, and other interested parties. Monitoring work schedules and weather changes. Maintaining site security and sanitary facilities. Maintenance of communications, including emergency lines of communication.

Recordkeeping, including:

- accident reports

- chain-of-custody records

- daily logbooks

- manifest directories and orders

- medical records

- personnel training records

- site inventories

- site safety map

- up-to-date Site Safety Plans

- providing access to up-to-date safety and health manuals and other reference materials.

Medical Station

The special area is responsible for first-aid administration, medical emergency response, medical monitoring activities, sanitary facilities, equipment and supply centers.


Back To Top