For a complete list of all modules please go to full table of contents. Listed below is an overview of the modules for the 40 hour HAZWOPER course.
These modules provide an introduction to HAZWOPER and focus on the revised Global Harmonization System (GHS) and Hazard Communication (HAZCOM) standards. Roles and responsibilities are presented along with Site Control and Zones.
The topics for this set of modules are Medical Surveillance, Hazard Recognition and Respiratory Protection. Medical surveillance for general site workers is critical in providing adequate health and safety. Medical monitoring of workers who are exposed to hazardous substances at or above the OSHA PEL’s at or above must be performed by the employer. The HAZWOPER Medical Surveillance Program is a regulatory requirement designed to ensure the health of employees working on hazardous waste sites is, at a minimum, monitored and documented before, during, and at termination of work on the site.
Next, an overview of physical properties of chemicals is presented. These include Boiling Point, Vapor Pressure, Flash Point, Density, pH, Vapor Density, Oxidizers, and Lower/Upper Explosive Limits. When engineering controls alone do not mitigate the exposure to hazardous substances, the next step is to provide workers with adequate respiratory protection. Respiratory protection is key in protecting workers from dangerous exposures to hazardous substances that are released into the air. Many different types and levels of inhalation hazards exist on a contaminated site. Waste site workers need to thoroughly understand the different types of respiratory equipment available, protection factors, and fit testing so they can select the best respirator for the hazards they will encounter.
These modules focus on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and worksite Decontamination. The first and foremost protection from hazardous substances/chemicals is to employ the appropriate engineering controls to minimize the hazards. Frequently though, this will not offer the correct amount of worker protection and PPE must be utilized. In accordance with EPA guidelines, PPE to protect the body from chemical hazards has been divided into four categories – Level A, Level B, Level C and Level D.
Topics covered in this set of modules are Drum Handling and Excavations. These module defines practices and procedures for safe handling of drums and other hazardous waste containers at a contaminated site. The discussion is intended to aid personnel in setting up a waste container handling program. Also, these modules give an understanding of incompatible chemicals that should not be packaged together. The OSHA excavations standard became effective March 5, 1990. The Standard is explicit in intent and prescribes precautions which should be applied to all excavation sites for the safety of workers in or near the excavation.
Modules 41 thru 50 discuss Confined Space Entry and Site Characterization relating to HAZWOPER sites. All confined spaces must be identified and classified as either non-permit-required confined spaces or permit-required confined spaces. The degree of hazards that confront entrants determines the classification of the confined space. A hazard assessment should be performed and documented by industrial safety and hygiene personnel for each confined space.
The topics covered are Toxicology, Hazard Recognition and Chemical Awareness. Hazardous chemicals, hazardous materials, or hazardous substances, as they are variously called, have long been used for many purposes in homes, business and industry. Often the people who use such materials become lax and careless around chemicals. Working with the same chemicals every day, brings on the comfort of the commonplace. A basic knowledge of chemical hazard classes, chemical terms and terminology used relative to hazard classes, and a basic chemical hazard awareness is presented.
The focus of these modules is Air Monitoring at HAZWOPER sites. Site workers need to be familiar with the different types of air monitoring they will be using on the work site. They need to understand the advantages and limitations of the equipment and how to interpret the data they obtain. This information will be used to make many important decisions concerning worker safety. The atmosphere may be sampled in a potentially contaminated work area to identify and quantify (i.e., measure) any gases, vapors, or particulates to which workers may be exposed. Such information may be obtained by two methods: Area sampling, which involves placing collection devices within designated areas and operating them over specific periods of time. Personal sampling, which involves collecting samples from within the breathing zone of an individual and sometimes by the individual wearing a sampling device.
The topics for these modules are Hazardous Materials Sampling, Site Emergencies and Compressed Gas Cylinders. Workers must know how to collect samples from the different mediums in which hazardous materials may be present (drum sampling, soil sampling, groundwater sampling, etc.). Workers need to understand sampling procedures and sample storage so that the samples they collect will be valid for testing. Accurate records for the samples and their chain of custody must be documented carefully.
The purpose of sampling is to determine the characteristics of a source material based on testing a small selected amount. In order for those characteristics to truly describe the source, sampling procedures must be carefully planned and performed, and the sample must be representative of the waste from which it was taken. EPA specifies how to determine where to take samples so that they are representative of the entire area or container. On a hazardous waste site, a sample can come from one of two sources: the environment or hazardous waste.
The final exam consists of 65 multiple choice questions. The passing grade is 70% or higher and the exam is not timed.