May 7, 1998
Paul W. Jonmaire, Ph.D.
Corporate Health & Safety Director
Ecology and Environment, Inc.
368 Pleasant View Drive
Lancaster, NY 14086
Dear Dr. Jonmaire:
This is in further response to your letter
of march 4, 1998, concerning refresher training
accordance with paragraph (e)(8) of 29 CFR
1910.120, Hazardous Waste Operations and
Emergency Response (HAZWOPER). I apologize
for the delay in responding to your letter.
Your first question concerns the adequacy
of sending employees to outside commercial
organizations for refresher training. Specifically
you ask, "Is an outside trainer obligated
to provide employer-specific information
when required by paragraph (e)(8)?" The employer
(not the outside trainer) has the ultimate
responsibility to ensure that employees'
refresher training meets the requirements
and to decide how to meet the employer-specific
information required by paragraph (e)(8).
Employers have various options for
these responsibilities. One possible
is for the employer to contract with
commercial trainer to design a course
for employees and hazards at a particular
site. Another option is for the employer
to supplement outside training with
training. The employer can supplement
commercial training by holding a site-specific
session at a later date, so long as
of required training (including commercial
training and the site-specific session)
completed prior to the employee's training
anniversary date. Another option is
employer to provide refresher training
on-site health and safety briefings,
may occur at intervals throughout the
With this option, the accumulated hours
count toward the 8-hour HAZWOPER refresher
training requirement provided that
covered meets the requirements of 29
1910.120(e)(8). In preparing the site-specific
session or any other portions of the
training, the employer may want to
Paragraph A.2. under the heading "Suggested
Training Curriculum Guidelines"
Appendix E of HAZWOPER, which provides
on refresher training topics.
You also asked in your letter, "How
should the critique of incidents be presented
commercial trainer does not have the experience
base of all the employers whose employees
present in the commercial class?" Again,
the determination of how training is provided
employees is left to the employer. The critique
of incidents, however, could be discussed
during the site-specific training or the
on-site health and safety briefings mentioned
Your second inquiry is whether refresher
training concerning medical surveillance
is to be
presented generically or whether company-specific
medical surveillance requirements that are
part of the employer's safety and health
program required by paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(E)
are to be
provided. Medical surveillance requirements
must include company-specific/site-specific
information. The basis for the company-specific/site-specific
information is contained in the
medical surveillance training requirement
in paragraph (e)(2), which requires employers
instruct employees on how to recognize "symptoms
and signs of over exposure to hazards" on
the job and make them aware of specific parts of the site safety and health
The medical surveillance topics of HAZWOPER
refresher training should include, but are
limited to, the following:
A review of "symptoms and signs of overexposure
to hazards" on the job
The provisions of the medical surveillance
program at the job site
Updates to the above information as needed
The purpose and intent of the medical surveillance
program, which is a benefit to employees
and is designed to protect the employees'
You also asked, "If the commercial trainer
fails to provide any of the aforementioned
employer- specific information, how
it be conveyed to the employees (e.g.
writing or verbally)?" Again,
up to the employer to determine how
the information; written or verbal
or a combination thereof are all acceptable
forms of training.
Lastly, you asked, "What additional
documentation is required to satisfy the
employer should document in the employee's
file the successful completion of the required
refresher training. The form of the documentation
is up to the employer and may be a
certificate, a letter, a memo, or other written
documentation; the documentation must include
the date(s) of completion of the training.
If the refresher training does not take place
anniversary date of the employee's initial
training, there should be a record in the
file indicating why the training has been
delayed and when the training will be completed.
that OSHA does not rely solely on this documentation
in assessing compliance with the standard.
OSHA compliance officers apply professional
judgement and utilize employee and employer
interviews, and observation of work practices
to determine whether employers have met the
of the standard that workers have the necessary
knowledge and skills to perform their assigned
duties without danger to themselves or others.
OSHA's ultimate concern is that workers
are competent to perform their assigned duties.
achieved through initial HAZWOPER training,
annual refresher training, and informational
programs that are required in paragraph (i)
of the standard. It is beneficial for employers
assess the training needs of workers on an
ongoing basis and adjust both training schedules
training topics accordingly.
I hope this information is useful to
you. If you need any further clarification
of this letter,
please contact Ms. MaryAnn Garrahan of my
staff at (202) 693-2190.
John B. Miles, Jr.
Directorate of Compliance Programs