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Standards Interpretation and Compliance Letters

Qualifications For Instructors Under The Training Requirements Of OSHA's
Hazardous Waste and Emergency Response Interim Final Rule

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.

June 29, 1988

Dr. Hildegard
L.A. Sacarello
Manager, Environmental Health Services
900 Valley Forge Road
Post Office Box 859
Valley Forge, Pennsylvania 19482

Dear Dr. Sacarello

This is in response to your inquiries to several OSHA regional offices concerning the qualifications for instructors under the training requirements of OSHA's Hazardous Waste and Emergency Response interim final rule (29 CFR 1910.120).

You referenced paragraph (e)(4) of the interim final rule which states: "Trainers shall have received a level of training higher than and including the subject matter of the level of instruction that they are providing."  There is no specific criteria or level of education that each trainer must have in order to be qualified. Since training content may vary depending on the job duties and responsibilities of the employees, the qualifications of the instructors may also vary.  The intent is that instructors are knowledgeable of the applicable subject areas and capable of teaching the information.  For enforcement purposes, OSHA will be looking at the qualifications of the instructors on a case-by-case basis depending on the training needs of the employees.

It is expected that in the future OSHA will have more specifications on the qualifications of instructors and the content of courses.  The directions for issuing 29 CFR 1910.120 is given in Section 126 of the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act of 1986.  In December of 1987, this section was amended by requiring OSHA to accredit training programs.  OSHA intends to issue a separate proposal specifically addressing the training certification process, and hold hearings to allow all interested parties to provide their input into such regulations.  OSHA expects to issue the proposal this summer and hopefully have the regulations finalized by the time the permanent final rule on hazardous waste and emergency response takes effect a year from the date it is published.  (The permanent rule is scheduled to be published this summer.)

I hope this information is helpful.  If I can be of further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.


Thomas J. Shepich, Director
Director of Compliance Programs

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