David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for the agency, said employees hired to be supervisors in cleanup must receive extensive training, including a 40-hour program required under the Hazardous Waste Operation and Emergency Response Standard. In order to meet the certifications of the training program, applicable experience is required. The training includes classroom instruction on the makeup and risks associated with the hazardous materials, and experience with the equipment needed for the work, safety gear and local environment.
"We have received reports that some are offering this training in significantly less than 40 hours, showing video presentations and offering only limited instruction," he said. "This training cannot be shortened to anything less than 40 hours. Moreover, computer-based training, which could be offered over the Internet, can be used as part of an overall 40-hour Hazardous Waste Operation and Emergency Response Standard training course. However, such training alone does not meet the full course requirements."
OSHA also recommends that the trainer-to-student ratio be one trainer for every 30 students. If a worker feels the training he received by a private company or organization does not meet the OSHA requirements, Michaels urged the employee to contact the closest agency area office to file a complaint or call (800) 321-6742 for more information.
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September 2, 2010
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