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Standards Interpretation and Compliance Letters

OSHA Does Not Certify Individuals Or Approve Training Programs For HAZWOPER

OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. OSHA's interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that their enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time they update their guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.

February 5, 1992

Dr. Donald Alberts
Spill Response Inc.
Suite 215
2550 Eisenhower Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316

Dear Dr. Alberts:

This is in response to your letter of January 17, concerning oil spill response training required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response standard (HAZWOPER), 29 CFR 1910.120.

Currently, OSHA does not certify individuals or approve training programs. It is the employer who must show by documentation or certification that an employee's work experience and/or training meets the requirements in HAZWOPER. There must be a written document which clearly identifies the employee, the person certifying the employee, and the training and/or past experience which meets the requirements. One possibility would be to include this information in the employee's personnel file. The preferred method is to include this information on a separate certificate for each employee.

The Accreditation of Training Programs for Hazardous Waste Operations standard (29 CFR 1910.121) is currently in rule making. You may want to monitor the progress of this new standard and anticipate needed changes in your training and certification programs to ensure continued compliance. Please find a copy of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking enclosed.

The training programs required to be accredited under this proposed regulation are found in the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response standard, 29 CFR 1910.120, paragraphs (e) and (p). These training programs are required for employees involved in clean-up operations required by a governmental body involving hazardous substances; corrective actions involving cleanup operations at sites covered by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); voluntary clean up operations at sites recognized by a governmental body; and operations involving hazardous waste that are conducted at RCRA permitted treatment storage and disposal (TSD) facilities. 29 CFR 1910.121 does not propose to accredit training programs for employees engaged in emergency response activities, although the final decision on this has not been made.

Enclosed, please find a the compliance directive for post emergency response operations, CPL 2-2.51, intended specifically for oil spill response organizations. Also enclosed are the OSHA instruction STP 2-1.154C; the Hazard Communication Standard; and the HAZWOPER standard.

For suggestions and assistance in developing training programs you may want to contact: the OSHA Training Institute at (708) 297-4810; your OSHA Regional Office at (404) 347-2281; or the OSHA Consultation Services for the Einployer at (904) 488-3044.

We hope this information has helped you. If you have any further questions regarding current HAZWOPER training please feel free to contact MaryAnn Garrahan at (202) 523-8036.


Patricia Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs

More information on "Letters of Interpretations" can be found on OSHA's Website at www.osha.gov