Hazardous spills can occur in almost any facility. Even if there is only a small chance that it could occur in your facility, your employees should be trained on what to do in a hazardous spill situation. OSHA defines five levels of training in the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response regulation.
First Responder Awareness
This level involves everyone who enters a facility including personal who don’t usually deal with chemicals including office personal. These employees need four hours of training and they learn the basics about the chemicals in the facility and their risks. They are also taught how to recognize a hazmat emergency and who to contact.
First Responder Operations
This level is for workers who have the job of keeping spills from spreading and to keep unauthorized personnel away from the spills. The employees at this level are required to take 8 hours of training. They learn hazardous materials terms and risk assessment. Also they learn personal protective equipment use, simple control and containment operations and how to implement basic decontamination procedures.
Hazardous Materials Technician
These employees actually enter the spill area and stop spilled material from spreading. Hazardous materials technicians need 24 hours of training. Their training covers chemical and toxicological hazards and risk assessment techniques. They also learn use of field survey instruments to identify hazardous materials, spill control techniques, plug leaking containers and complex decontamination procedures.
Hazardous Materials Specialist
Hazardous materials specialists are experts on how to handle all of the hazardous materials in your site and they work with federal, state, local and other Government officials if necessary. They receive 24 hours of class training including detailed training on chemical, radiological and toxicological hazards. They learn PPE for unique situations, how to determine what type of decontamination procedure to use and how to perform specialized containment operations.
Incident commanders receive the highest level of HAZMAT training as they are in charge of all cleanup operations. The amount of hours needed for training varies from facility to facility but they are required at least 24 hours of class training. They need to have intimate knowledge of state and local regulations and know how to implement the facilities emergency response plan. The commander is also an expert on decontamination and medical risks
When hazardous spills happen it is critical that every employee at every level works together during the emergency to make sure that there are no injuries and that the facility is as safe as possible. Completing the OSHA required training is the first step in the process.
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