The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has guidelines for those working with hazardous materials. It is recommended by OSHA that companies with employees and contractors who work with and around hazardous materials, should take safety training courses and the applicable certifications. It has been found that those who take these training courses have fewer workplace injuries.

OSHA HAZWOPERWhen considering OSHA HAZWOPER, the amount of daily exposure to hazardous materials will determine which course needs to be taken.

  • There is a 24 hour HAZWOPER course, for those who work near or with hazardous materials under permissible exposure limits.
  • Those who work with or near hazardous waste that is above permissible exposure limits must take the 40 hour HAZWOPER course. This course is covers topics dealing with Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response. This includes hazardous chemicals, radiation hazards, personal protective equipment, and decontamination methods.

Also, taught are best practices for responding to emergencies and the safe handling of hazardous waste.

The 24 hour HAZWOPER Course

Those who deal with exposure to hazardous waste, which falls under the permissible limits, can take the 24 hour HAZWOPER course in order to pass certification. Those taking this course may come upon hazardous materials during their workday, and need to know how to deal with them professionally, handle them correctly to prevent sickness or injury. Common products which are considered hazardous are paint, asbestos, solvents, and pesticides. If dealing with any of these products, as long as they are under the permissible exposure limits, it is necessary for workers to receive 24 hour HAZWOPER training. Since these trainings are valid for only 12 months, works will need to take an 8 hour HAZWOPER course to revisit and refresh training. This course also includes any new information necessary for safety. Once this 8-hour OSHA HAZWOPER course is completed, the worker will maintain certifications.


Employees must follow specific work guidelines, policies, procedures and practices in order to protect workers on the job who could be exposed to hazardous materials. All workers must be trained in each of their fields, so they can perform their duties safely. The goal is to complete a job without danger to the employee or others. As mentioned, there are different levels of OSHA HAZWOPER guidelines, depending on the type of work done. There are 22 State OSHA-approved plans for local government, state workers, and the private sector. These state plans are constantly monitored by OSHA and must prevent workplace death, injuries and illnesses. Learn more about all OSHA HAZWOPER courses or call 1-866-265-5813.