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 refresher training annually to remain up to date on training and any changes made to the standard or the training. The refresher course helps workers retain the knowledge and tools to keep them safe on the job.

Do you need HAZWOPER Refresher Training?

8 Hour HAZWOPER Online
8 Hour HAZWOPER Classroom Training
Try our new Virtual Instructor-Led Training HAZWOPER Refresher

OSHA State Plans

Right now, 22 states have OSHA State Plans that cover private-sector employees plus state and local government workers. Six states have OSHA State Plans that only cover state and local government workers. If you are in one of these states, you will be required to follow the state plan, regulations, and rules they supersede the OSHA requirements. So check the state requirements before you get training to find out what you need.

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


We have gone over many topics today. First, we discussed what is 40 Hour HAZWOPER or what is 40 Hour HAZWOPER Training? We went over who needs HAZWOPER Training, including what work environments require OSHA HAZWOPER 40. We reviewed The HAZWOPER Standard and who The HAZWOPER Standard applies to.

Next, we went over the 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. Last we went over HAZWOPER Refresher requirements and how OSHA State plans work relating to HAZWOPER.

If you have any questions or comments, please comment below, call us or use the chat button at the top of the page and we will get back to you as soon as possible!

Want 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!
(The hybrid course is made for those who need to take the 40-hour course but can’t attend in person due to COVID and state rules, you will be able to get the hands-on training portion when you can attend in person again.)

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