RCRA-OSHA Training Requirements Overlap

There are many different training requirements for facilities owner/operators depending on the industry you serve.  Both EPA and OSHA have detailed training requirements that require substantially the same  curriculums.  For example 40 CFR 262.34(a)(4) states that large quantity generator (LQG) waste management personnel must be trained in accordance with the requirements of 265.16. 40 CFR Parts 264.16 and 265.16, which require facilities to train waste management personnel.  Facility personnel must complete a program of classroom instruction or on-the-job training that teaches them to perform their duties in a way that ensures the facility’s compliance with the requirements of Section 265.

The program must teach facility personnel hazardous waste management procedures (including contingency plan implementation) relevant to the positions in which they are employed.   At a minimum, the program must ensure that employees are able to respond to emergencies and must include training on emergency procedures, equipment and systems.  Personnel must complete the training within six months of employment and take part in annual refresher training. For each employee, the owner or operator must maintain documentation of the job titles, employee names, job description, and the type and amount of training provided.

Similar types of OSHA training requirements also exist; specially those applicable to any facility and those establishing Hazardous Waste Specific Training.  OSHA training requirements that may be applicable to any facility include the Hazard Communication Program (29 CFR 1910.1200), which requires training in the physical and health hazards of chemicals in the work area; protective measures including work practices and personal protective equipment; and an explanation of labeling systems and material safety data sheets (MSDSs).   Also required is Safety and Health Hazards training, which can include training on:

  • Confined Space Entry
  • Lock Out-Tag Out
  • Respirator Use
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Powered Vehicles
  • Fall Protection

Facilities that have the potential for an emergency to occur due to an uncontrolled release of hazardous substances or hazardous raw materials are required to provide training required under HAZWOPER 29 CFR 1910.120 paragraph (q).   Employers who have hazardous waste storage areas must provide training required under either 29 CFR 1910.120 (p)(8) or (q) for those areas.   However, both paragraphs do provide exemptions from the basic requirements if the employer intends to evacuate all employees in the event of and emergency and call in a trained emergency response team.  In this case employers must provide an emergency action plan and training in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.38(a).  The training requirements of 29 CFR 1910.38 are minimal, requiring the training of a sufficient number of persons to assist in the safe and orderly evacuation of employees in the event of an emergency.  Other training may be required depending on the duties and function of the employee.

Facilities that are required to provide training under RCRA can include this training with their OSHA HAZWOPER training without an extension in the number of training hours (per an OSHA policy directive).  The big difference is in how records are kept.  For OSHA, records must merely show the employee name and date of training.  For RCRA, the records required under 264.16(d) and 265.16(d) require much the same.   However, permitted and interim status facilities must maintain documents as specified at 264.15(d)(1) through (3).   In my opinion EPA should consider providing more detailed guidance regarding the crossover between OSHA and RCRA training requirements, taking into consideration the existing OSHA guidance and the need to ensure adequate training of personnel.

If you have specific questions about your facilities training needs, call your nearest OSHA or EPA area office, or contact me, I will be happy to discuss your situation and offer any guidance necessary.

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