Depending on your circumstances and the job you hold, you may need at least some level of training in how to stay safe around hazardous materials. The hazardous materials training term is usually shortened to hazmat training for the sake of convenience. Companies like AHLS have people with all the knowledge, skills and expertise to provide whatever level of training you or your employees may need.
Training is required by EPA, OSHA and DOT regulations. Terms used in the regulations include hazardous chemicals, hazardous materials, hazardous waste and hazardous substances. While these terms seem like different words to describe the same things, a little understanding of their origins can clue you in on which set of regulations to check first when looking for specific regulatory training requirements.
The term “hazardous chemicals” is most commonly used by OHSA in the employee right-to-know regulations that are spelled out in the hazard communication standard. This is the one that requires Safety Data Sheets and proper labeling as a means of communicating the potential hazards to employees who are handling the product. It requires employers to develop a written hazard communication program.
“Hazardous Materials” is a term that the Department of Transportation (DOT) uses frequently. However, you shouldn’t be confused by the thought that because it is a DOT requirement, it only applies to employees of transportation companies. That is not the case. If you work for a company that receives hazardous materials or offers them for shipment, you fall into the DOT’s training requirements.
“Hazardous waste” and “hazardous substances” are terms that are most frequently used by the EPA. They dictate steps to take to protect the environment against things like improper disposal of waste products and the prevention of harmful releases to the environment that may pollute the ground, water or air.
These terms are not used exclusively by only one of the regulatory agencies, however. For example, OSHA borrows the hazardous waste term from the EPA in its regulations commonly referred to as HAZWOPER. This stands for hazardous waste operations and emergency response. It is OSHA’s requirement for keeping the people safe while responding to situations that could harm the environment, with the environmental impact being EPA’s concern.
Training in how to deal with hazardous materials ranges from the basic hazard communication training that all employee are likely to need to the more detailed training required for first responders. You should check the regulation to find out which ones apply to your particular operation.