HAZWOPER Certification: All You Need to Know

A Danger sign put on a construction site

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Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response or HAZWOPER is an OSHA-certified training required by any architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professional who performs emergency response, cleanup, or corrective actions that deal with the uncontrolled release of hazardous and harmful chemicals or substances. 

Exposure to hazardous substances may result in life-threatening health disorders and safety risks, including explosions, infections, toxins, fires, and burns. This is why AEC professionals are required to gain HAZWOPER certification to handle and manage to work in an environment with harmful chemicals and substances.  

If you’re an aspiring AEC professional, here’s all you need to know about the HAZWOPER certification, including its importance and requirements. Continue reading to find out how Certis Solutions can help you find your next dream job. 

Do I need to be HAZWOPER certified? 

If you belong to any one of the five following groups of employers and their employees, you need HAZWOPER certifications. This also applies to employees or workers engaged in the below-mentioned operations: 

  • Cleanup operations conducted by local, state, federal or any other governmental body involve cleaning or dealing with hazardous substances at chemical waste sites.
  • Regardless of the hazards’ location, emergency response operations involve the release of or potential threat of release of hazardous substances.
  • AEC operations generate harmful waste but aren’t hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal (TSD) facilities. 
  • Hazardous waste operations conducted at TSD facilities are managed under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). 
  • Corrective actions and operations involve cleanup operations at hazardous waste sites covered under RCRA. 

Moreover, if you’re in any of the following job roles, acquiring an OSHA HAZWOPER certification becomes even more significant to work in the related field:

  • Geophysical surveyors 
  • Hazardous material specialists
  • Equipment operators
  • On-site management and supervisors
  • On-scene incident commanders
  • General laborers 
  • Supervisory personnel

HAZWOPER certification: Requirements

To gain HAZWOPER certification, you need to fulfill four major requirements.

1. Baseline physical medical exam 

The HAZWOPER training begins with a medical examination that includes a pulmonary function test (PFT) to test your lung capacity for respiratory use. You must complete the mandatory OSHA medical evaluation and questionnaire with questions related to your previous or pre-existing medical condition and basic health-related questions. 

2. Training based on job classification 

If you’re a general site worker, emergency response worker, or resource conservation and recovery act worker, you must take up to forty-hours of HAZWOPER training courses. The course length and curriculum may vary depending on your job responsibilities. 

3. Respirator fit test 

This testing process involves two types of tests:

  • a qualitative test that relies on a candidate’s response to a test agent; and
  • a quantitative test to measure the concentration of particles both inside and outside of the mask.

A positive and negative fitting follows this while the candidate cleans up hazardous substances. 

4. Site-specific or on-the-job training 

Going on-site or on-the-job training is a major part of OSHA HAZWOPER certification. The set-up with actual equipment and chemicals offers a real-life situation for participants to take necessary measures while conducting operations to deal with hazardous chemicals.

How long does the HAZWOPER certification last?

A HAZWOPER certification is valid for up to twelve months. You need to take refresher training to maintain certification after it expires. The refresher training helps workers learn about the latest training program advancements to comply with the changing workplace environment. It also enables you to optimize your skills to remain safe at hazardous waste sites or while conducting challenging operations involving hazardous substances and chemicals. 

Based on your job requirements and responsibilities, you can also opt for computer-based refresher training as it covers topics about employees’ assigned duties at a chemically exposed worksite. Please make sure to gain hands-on training to deal with all the tasks involved at a workplace to renew your HAZWOPER certificate. 

Get ready for your next role with Certis Solutions

A technical staffing agency like Certis Solutions advocates for your skills and other work competencies to major AEC firms to provide you with an opportunity to work on some of the industry’s biggest projects. 

The team of skilled recruitment managers and consultants at Certis Solutions help you build your resume, optimize your skills, and connect you with the industry’s leading professionals to find a job that matches your personal and professional goals. Visit our website or contact us today to learn more about our services or to search for your dream AEC job. 

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