3 Important Considerations of Hazard Waste Workers
There are some industries that have positions that are more risky and require specialized training. One of these industries is in the hazardous waste business. These are jobs that require entering confined spaces and handling potentially hazardous and dangerous materials. These are some of the most important components for jobs that require entering confined spaces.
In depth training programs
Fortunately, there are many programs that offer advanced training on handling hazardous materials. These training programs educate those in jobs that require entering confined spaces how to identify and handle specific materials. Most Hazmat workers complete up to 40 hours of training that is mandated by OSHA and some of them have state specific licenses. However, some businesses do require that their workers have advanced training. This is especially true of those employees that are involved in training and extremely hazardous of materials.
There are also many other training programs available in addition to the OSHA Hazmat training. Other training programs include DOT hazardous materials training, DOT hazmat certification, and even a full ATA online training. These trainings are provided to all employees in jobs that require entering confined spaces, even those involved in supervisory and shipment tasks.
Appropriate safety gear
It is also important that hazardous waste employees have the appropriate safety gear. There is some overlap with the training programs that touch on proper safety gear. Otherwise, it is the duty of the employer to provide each and every employee with the necessary safety gear.
Additionally, as safety regulations are updated, so should the safety gear that is provided. Appropriate safety gear consists of hazmat suits, air blocks masks, and protection to the eyes and ears. Proper footwear is also necessary and usually includes rubber construction grade work boots. Any part of the uniform that can be penetrated can break down the air barrier and expose employees to the hazardous waste.
Even with the best training and the safety of uniforms, waste accidents can and do occur. For these situations, it is important to have an emergency plan in place. Not only do workers need to know specific details about the different hazardous materials, but they also need to know how to handle them. What do they do when there is an oil spill? What about when a truck with hazardous waste is dumped into a local waterway?
Businesses are often judged based on their emergency response plans. Many fail and receive negative judgments because they are left looking for an appropriate response after the emergency and do not actually have an emergency plan in place.
Flammable liquids, primarily gasoline, are the most transported hazardous materials in the United States. They total 86.4% by value, 85.4% by weight, and 66.5% by ton miles. The Department of Transportation has broken hazardous cargo down into 9 classes. Ideally, each business should have an emergency recovery plan for each one of those 9 classes of hazardous waste types. Each of the employees working with these specific materials should then be trained on the proper recovery plan.
The planet produces a significant amount of hazardous waste each day. While there are proper regulations in place on how to dispose of these materials, there is some form of transportation required. The employees that are tasked with the removal and disposal of these hazardous materials face a potentially dangerous situation every day. This means that those working in jobs that require entering confined spaces daily should have in depth training, the appropriate safety gear, and a detailed emergency plan.