RCRA Annual Refresher Training

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 40 CFR 262.34(a)(4) RCRA training states that large quantity generator (LQG) waste management personnel must be trained in accordance with the requirements of 265.16. 40 CFR Parts 264.16 and 265.16 require facilities to train waste management personnel. Facility personnel must complete a program of classroom instruction or on-the-job training that teaches them to perform their duties in a way that ensures the facility's compliance with the requirements of Section 265. The program must teach facility personnel hazardous waste management procedures (including contingency plan implementation) relevant to the positions in which they are employed. At a minimum, the program must ensure that employees are able to respond to emergencies and must include training on emergency procedures, equipment and systems. Personnel must complete the training within six months of employment and take part in annual refresher training. For each employee, the owner or operator must maintain documentation of the job titles, employee names, job description, and the type and amount of training provided. This must include documentation on RCRA Annual Refresher Training.

Drum of hazardous waste in open field

Generally, RCRA training requirements for Part 265 facility personnel will include:

- Elements of the RCRA Contingency Plan

- Communications or alarm systems

- Standard operating procedures for using, inspecting, repairing and replacing facility emergency and monitoring equipment

- Key parameters for automatic waste feed cut-off systems

- Use and limitations of personal protective equipment

- Response to fires, explosions, groundwater contamination incidents andshutdown of operations.

The EPA small quantity generator (SQG) regulations do not specify or give additional guidance on training requirements. Training for SQG facilities is generally less detailed than for Part 264/265 facilities. We believe that the burden associated with RCRA training could potentially be reduced by eliminating RCRA requirements that overlap with OSHA's. Two types of OSHA requirements exist; those applicable to any facility and those establishing Hazardous Waste Specific Training.

OSHA training requirements that may be applicable to any facility include the Hazard Communication Program (29 CFR 1910.1200), which requires training in the physical and health hazards of chemicals in the work area; protective measures including work practices and personal protective equipment; and an explanation of labeling systems and safety data sheets (SDSs). Facilities that have the potential for an emergency to occur due to an uncontrolled release of hazardous substances or hazardous raw materials are required to provide training required under HAZWOPER 29 CFR 1910.120 paragraph (q). Employers who have hazardous waste storage areas must provide training required under either 29 CFR 1910.120 (p)(8) or (q) for those areas. However, both paragraphs provide exemptions from the basic requirements if the employer intends to evacuate all employees in the event of and emergency and call in a trained emergency response team. In this case employers must provide an emergency action plan and training in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.38(a).

The RCRA training requirements of 29 CFR 1910.38 are minimal, requiring the training of a sufficient number of persons to assist in the safe and orderly evacuation of employees in the event of an emergency. The basic requirements of OSHA HAZWOPER paragraph (q) include the provision that all employees who work in and are where there is a potential for an uncontrolled release must have sufficient awareness training to recognize that the emergency response situation exists an to initiate emergency response procedures. This "Awareness Level" training typically takes 4 hours to complete and includes training in the following areas: (A) An understanding of hazardous substances and the risks associated with a release. (B) An understanding of the potential outcomes associated with an emergency created when hazardous substances are present. (C) The ability to recognize and identify the presence of hazardous substances in an emergency.

Other tiers of training are specified and may be required depending on the duties and function of the employee. For employees who may have to respond to a release to protect persons, property, or the environment, "Operations Level" training is required. This level typically takes 12 hours to complete and includes the training provided in Awareness Level plus additional training. Other training levels include Hazardous Materials Technician and Hazardous Materials Specialist. Facilities that are required to provide training under RCRA can include this training with OSHA HAZWOPER training without an extension in the number of training hours (per an OSHA policy directive). The big difference is in how records are kept. For OSHA, records must merely show the employee name and date of training. For RCRA, the records required under 264.16(d) and 265.16(d) require much the same. However, permitted and interim status facilities must maintain documents as specified at 264.15(d)(1) through (3). EPA could consider providing detailed guidance regarding the crosswalk between OSHA and RCRA training requirements, taking into consideration the existing OSHA guidance and the need to ensure adequate training of personnel. The following provides a summary of RCRA training online requirements and the corresponding OSHA 1910.120 requirements where they exist. OSHA has other job-specific training requirements that may apply, depending on job activity and function. As can be seen from the following table, the RCRA and OSHA requirements are very closely aligned. It is anticipated that burden reductions can be instituted through changes in the record retention and recordkeeping requirements. For almost all other RCRA training elements, it may be possible to defer specific requirements to those specified in OSHA regulations.


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