What is 40 Hour HAZWOPER Training & Why Do I Need It? – Compliance Solutions

What is 40 Hour HAZWOPER Training & Why Do I Need It?

What is 40 Hour HAZWOPER Training & Why Do I Need It?


OSHA 40 applies to all workers involved with the cleanup (mitigation) and restoration of hazardous sites. OSHA (The Occupational Safety and Health Administration) states these workers must have 40 Hour HAZWOPER Training to work on these dangerous sites.

This HAZWOPER Training is made for workers dealing directly with hazardous materials, unlike The 24-Hour HAZWOPER Training, where workers aren’t required to work directly with these materials and are most likely “occasional site workers.”

40 Hour HAZWOPER is the highest form of HAZWOPER Training and gives students the most protection and best techniques for handling hazardous waste and materials. People who work at Superfund Sites and chemical discharges that aren’t part of emergency response operations both fall under 40-Hour HAZWOPER.

The HAZWOPER Standard

40 Hour HAZWOPER falls under the HAZWOPER standard. The HAZWOPER standard applies to five distinct groups of employers and their employees. This includes employees who are exposed or may potentially be exposed to hazardous substances-- including hazardous waste--and are engaged in one of the following operations as specified by 1910.120(a)(1)(i-v) and 1926.65(a)(1)(i-v):

  • Clean-up operations required by a governmental body, whether federal, state, local, or other involving hazardous substances, are conducted at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.
  • Corrective actions involving clean-up operations at sites covered by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) as amended (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.).
  • Voluntary clean-up operations at sites recognized by federal, state, local, or other governmental body as uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.
  • Operations involving hazardous wastes that are conducted at treatment, storage, and disposal facilities regulated by Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 264 and 265 pursuant to RCRA, or by agencies under agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement RCRA regulations.
  • Emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of release of, hazardous substances regardless of the hazard's location.

Work that Requires HAZWOPER Training

Workers that are involved in the following work are required to receive OSHA 40:

  • Handling contaminated soil and/or groundwater.
  • Removing or handling underground tanks and/or piping.
  • Conducting subsurface investigations.
  • Participating in construction work in which hazardous substances may potentially be present.
  • Working at an uncontrolled hazardous waste site as listed by a Federal or State Regulatory agency.
  • Performing work at a listed or proposed for listing on the Superfund National Priority List (NPL).
  • Performing work at a listed site or proposed for listing on a State priority list.
  • Conducting operations at corrective action sites covered by U.S. EPA's Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
  • Working at sites that pose Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH) conditions (This is rare for General Site Cleanup workers, but we list it because of the seriousness). OSHA regulations define the term as "an atmosphere that poses an immediate threat to life, would cause irreversible adverse health effects or would impair an individual's ability to escape from a dangerous atmosphere."

Levels of HAZWOPER Training

HAZWOPER regulations contain three training levels that all fall under 29 CFR 1910.120 (Code of Federal Regulations).

  • General Site Cleanup - 29 CFR 1910.120 (e)
  • Emergency Response – 29 CFR 1910.120 (q)
  • RCRA (Resource Recovery Act) for TSDF (Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities) – 29 CFR 1910.120

For more information on OSHA 29 CFR 1910.120, visit OSHA

40-Hour HAZWOPER falls under General Site Cleanup (29 CFR 1910.120 (e)). If you need Emergency Response Training, Try:
Emergency Response Training Online Refresher (Technician Level 3)
Emergency Response Classroom Training (Technician Level 3)
Emergency Response Refresher Training Classroom (Technician Level 3)


Workers that are required to have OSHA HAZWOPER 40 must-have annual refresher training to maintain certification and stay up to date on new training updates, changes made to the standard or improvements in technology. Refresher training also helps employees retain their original knowledge and tools to keep safe on the job.

Do you need HAZWOPER Refresher Training?

8 Hour HAZWOPER Online
8 Hour HAZWOPER Classroom Training
Also, consider our Virtual Instructor-Led Training HAZWOPER Refresher

OSHA State Plans

As of the date of this article, 22 U.S. states have their own OSHA State Plans covering private-sector employees and state and local government workers. Six states have OSHA State Plans covering ONLY state and local government employees. If you are in one of these states, you are required to follow the state plan, regulations, and rules as they supersede Federal OSHA requirements. Check state requirements before training to insure you get the proper certification.

Want the full list of states that have state plans? Check out our OSHA Federal regulations VS State Plans Blog Post!


This post covers a lot of topics! In summary: We first discussed what is 40 Hour HAZWOPER and What is 40 Hour HAZWOPER Training. We covered "Who needs HAZWOPER Training" including the work environments that require OSHA 40-Hour HAZWOPER  and, we also reviewed "The HAZWOPER Standard" and "Who The HAZWOPER Standard applies to".

Not to forget, we reviewed "Levels of HAZWOPER Training" (including General Site Cleanup (29 CFR 1910.120 (e)), Emergency Response (29 CFR 1910.120 (q)), and RCRA (Resource Recovery Act) for TSDF (Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities) – 29 CFR 1910.120.  Finally, we discussed "HAZWOPER Refresher Requirements" and "How OSHA State Plans" operate in relation to HAZWOPER.

If you have questions or comments, please use the space provided below. You can also contact us by using the "Chat" button at the top of the page or contact our Toll-Free number during business hours (M-F 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM Mountain). Either way, we'll be sure to help in any way we can. If it's after hours, we'll get back to you as soon as possible!

For more information on 40-Hour HAZWOPER and OSHA Standard 1910.120? Visit OSHA

Do you need 40 Hour HAZWOPER Training?

OSHA HAZWOPER 40 (Online Training)
OSHA HAZWOPER 40 (Classroom Training)

We also offer a 40 Hour HAZWOPER Hybrid Course!
(for those who need to take the 40-hour course but can’t attend in person right away due to scheduling conflicts) The hybrid course is only recommended for those who do not encounter IDLH environments or who are in remote areas where taking the hands-on training (which IS required for full-OSHA certification) right away. While both our online courses INCLUDE hands-on training, the hybrid contains 40-Hours on online content (meeting the hours requirement0 and the flexibility of taking our hands-on training at a later date. Either way, both the Standard and Hybrid 40-Hour online courses INCLUDE hands-on training (required by OSHA) at no additional charge!

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