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How do I get Hazardous Materials Training?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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Quality hazardous materials training is essential for individuals who work in the removal, disposal, transportation, or storage of different types of hazardous waste. Professionals must be knowledgeable about the environmental risks, handling strategies, and personal and public safety measures involved in properly dealing with dangerous materials. Most individuals who work around harmful substances are required by local and federal laws to receive detailed, formal hazardous materials training. Training programs are usually provided to new employees as part of a larger training regimen, though certain types of hazardous materials training can be obtained through accredited classroom and online programs. Depending on specific job requirements, a person may take training courses in asbestos and lead abatement, radiation and nuclear waste management, or emergency response procedures.

An individual who removes lead, asbestos, and mold from construction sites and condemned buildings is required by law in most areas to receive hazardous materials training, which is usually provided by employers. Individuals typically attend at least 40 hours of classes on proper handling, removal, and disposal techniques of these substances. They learn about safety equipment, including masks, gloves, and specially-designed suits. Most employers are required by law to administer examinations upon completion of training courses to ensure that workers fully understand the details of asbestos, lead, and mold removal.

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People who want to work at nuclear power plants or waste isolation and disposal plants usually need highly specialized training. Federal government officials are often placed in charge of training classes, where they provide workers with information and resources about waste handling, transportation, and emergency evacuation procedures. Depending on the nature of a job and federal laws, training may last anywhere from 40 hours to several weeks of full-time instruction. Organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA) in the United States usually oversee training of nuclear waste handlers.

Emergency response workers, including firefighters, police officers, and disaster relief workers, are often required to obtain hazardous materials training. They generally receive at least 40 hours of on-the-job training and frequent refresher courses throughout their careers. Firefighters and other emergency response workers must learn how to safely enter hazardous conditions and protect individuals in rescue attempts.

Some people are able to get hazardous materials training and certification from private or government-sponsored organizations outside of job settings. Accredited institutions can provide classroom or online instruction similar to what is received in employer-regulated training programs. The completion of a training program that is accredited by OSHA, EPA, Department of Transportation, or similar national agencies can greatly improve an individual's chances of gaining employment.

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