What is Hazwoper? How do I get Training and Find a Job?

Hazwoper is the abbreviation for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response. This compiles a set of different guidelines laid down by Occupational Safety and Health Administration for regulating the operations of hazardous waste along with emergency services in the different states of America. The government considers hazardous waste regulation mandatory for the right mode of disposal. Obtaining hazwoper training and certification is a great way to become a competent industrial hygienist.

Hazwoper Job Description

As a Hazwoper worker, one has to perform the task to ensure the right disposal of hazardous wastes. This means that there is a high risk of exposure to chemicals and other hazardous substances. The various stages of the job include-
• Operations for cleanup
• Emergency response operations
• Storage, disposal and treatment of hazardous substances
• Controlling different areas or hazardous waste sites
• Safe of co-workers
• Elimination of waste the right way

Hazwoper Jobs

The jobs in Hazwoper fall under 5 categories, and this also includes individuals who are exposed or are at the risk of being exposed to hazardous substances as specified by OSHA regulations. Due to the constant growth of industries and factories in the states, there has also been a rise in disposal of various hazardous wastes ranging from chemicals to minerals.

These jobs are often created by the industries that have hazardous waste in order to ensure that they are functioning in adherence with the OSHA norms and regulations. The state government often conducts these clean up operations. There are also some voluntary cleanup sites that come under Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA).

Jobs are created not only for the right disposal but also for the correct method of elimination and collection. The substantial disposal of the waste completes the entire process. There is a constant demand for Hazwoper workers and there is also a potential of many new jobs to keep a check on the environment.

Course Description

The Hazwoper course description includes the individual to understand the sole purpose of OSHA along with the vital role it has in regulation of occupational safety. The Site Characterization has to be established in a right way so that hazards are eliminated while disposing hazardous material.

The courses and training includes understanding and solving problems with hazards that one may experience along with-

• Identification of various kinds of hazardous materials that exist and try to identify and prevent such conditions in the future.
• Make use of the MSDS or Material Safety Data sheets to efficiently handle the materials
• Try to get familiar with the different kinds of compounds and their relative natures. For instance, some are inflammable while others could be explosive or radiological in nature.
• Ensure that the right kind of protective gear is used during the procedure in order to eliminate the life threatening risks for both employees and to the environment and surroundings too.
• Workout and lay down a viable Site Control Program for restricting the risks to that particular zone

Different Levels of Training

There are different levels of training available with different institutions but it is vital that the training be approved or recognized with OSHA. There are different levels of dangers faced and hence OSHA-specified topics are available at various levels. The course must be done under the specified time.-

General Site Working

The Hazwoper workers who take up the general site jobs need to have at least 40 hours of instruction. 3 days of supervised training is available along 8 hour refresher training.

Specified Task Working

Specified working includes various kind of characteristic site Workers limited to a specific task or workers on fully characterized sites with 24 hours training, which annually renewed.

Managerial and Supervision

Supervision and managerial posts are also available for those who have the above-mentioned training along with special 8-10 hours courses.

Apart from the above, there are regular worker training available for those handling RCRA wastes. The First Responder Awareness Level involves one demonstrating their duties with 24 hours training. The First Responder Operations Level requires Awareness-Level requires 8 hours, while Hazardous Materials Technicians, Hazardous Materials Specialists and On-scene Incident Commanders require 24 hours training along with additional hours required for their specialized services.

Certification and Testing

There are various kinds of community colleges, labor unions, training companies and even employers offering training for the OSHA-compliant sources. However, the certification id only awarded when the expertise in the particular area is gained. The candidate has to clear different quiz modules along with practical examinations and get at least a score of 70 to head to the next level. The final exam can be taken thrice if needed. Before the testing, it is vital for the training to ensure that all the levels of Hazwoper operations are covered. Online testing may be available in some tests, but there are many states that only have hands-on testing provisions available considering the risks involved in the job.

How to Become an Industrial Hygienist

industrial hygienist

Becoming an industrial hygienist is an exciting and dynamic job which provides a wide range of rewarding opportunities for candidates with a scientific or engineering background.

Recent graduates or career switchers: If you enjoy science, ongoing learning and problem-solving then make sure to check out industrial hygiene!

What is industrial hygiene?

Contrary to popular belief, industrial hygiene has nothing to do with hand washing or toilet cleaning. Industrial hygiene is the prevention of ill health via recognizing, evaluating, controlling and minimizing various risk factors in the workplace. In concrete terms, this involves the implementation of effective preventative measures against hazards or stressors of a biological, chemical, physical, ergonomic (posture etc.) or psychosocial (stress, bullying etc.) nature.

Some classic examples of occupational hazards are asbestos, bacteria, noise levels, heat and radiation. In years gone by, these physical factors were the predominant concern for industrial hygienists. However, the world of work has evolved and more Americans now find themselves in office environments. Consequently, there are now other hazards to consider such as work-related stress, bullying, overwork, information overload and blurred work/home boundaries. As such, industrial hygiene continues to play a vital role in keeping workplaces safe.
What does an Industrial hygienist do?

Being an industrial hygienist involves advising organizations regarding their health and safety standards in the workplace. You will recommend measures to be taken with the goal of improving existing organizational norms. Your work may take place in a variety of environments including factories, hospitals, offices or construction sites. In fact, anywhere where people work. Site visits give you a chance to get out of the office and behind the scenes of different workplaces. It’s definitely a job for the curious – there are few career paths (except journalism) that allow this kind of privileged access!

Your precise role will depend upon the organization and industry, but typically includes:

– Conducting workplace surveys to identify current and potential health and safety issues
– Measuring and sampling exposure to hazards and stressors
– Developing action plans and recommending measures to decrease workplace risk
– Consulting on the development of optimal work procedures and organization-wide policies to improve safety and reduce the risk of chronic (occupational) disease
– Creating and updating organizational health & safety programs
– Providing safety training to staff and managers
– Working with employers to find effective solutions and equipment that fall within a reasonable budget

The role of an industrial hygienist is an exciting one that is also varied and highly dynamic by its nature. In fact, one of the big advantages of working in this field is the exposure that you will gain to different industries and organizations. Industrial hygiene is now increasingly important within private firms and public corporations as well as governmental agencies, academia and NGOs. As a job seeker, it follows that industrial hygienists have a lot of options to choose from. If you enjoy travel and variety then give this career path a closer look!

The field of industrial hygiene also provides tons of room for personal growth. You will deal with new challenges on a daily basis. By visiting workplaces, you can identify any health and safety risks and co-operate with the employer towards improving the working environment. As a result of your expert consultation, the organization should become a safer place to work in. You might even save lives. Making a positive impact on the lives of others is a highly rewarding aspect of this role. You will interact with people at all levels (i.e. anyone who works) so you will develop excellent soft skills as well as “detective” skills.

Industrial hygienist salary

You may be wondering about typical compensation within the industrial hygiene sector. The good news is that this can be a lucrative field for industry specialists with some experience. According to payscale.com, the median salary of an industrial hygienist in the US is just over $70,000. Of course, you may start out on less than this level, but it’s a career with a great deal of upside potential. Indeed, once you gain certification as a CIH (Certified Industrial Hygienist), your earning potential will increase rapidly. There are a significant number of certified industrial hygienists who are netting more than $100,000 per year. Senior hygienists with the requisite experience and industry contacts often opt to become consultants. This is a very plausible goal for any ambitious hygienist!

Industrial hygienist training

So how do you go about becoming an industrial hygienist? Well, first of all you’ll need a bachelor’s degree. Typically, your major will have to be in a science or engineering subject. The American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) accepts (for the purpose of sitting the CIH exam) majors including occupational health, safety, biology, chemistry, engineering and physics. Alternatively, you may have earned a different major but completed a minimum of “60 semester hours in science, math, engineering or science-based technology”.

Other than your major itself, you are also required to take 180 hours of academic contact hours in industrial hygiene courses. At least half of these hours must be taken in Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene, Toxicology and Measurement and Controls.

Industrial hygienist certification

Though not required for some roles, professional certification is the key to opening up a lot of doors for your career as an industrial hygienist. A CIH will have deep knowledge, skills and experience in a wide range of relevant topics including air sampling, biohazards, ergonomics, noise and radiation among others.

In order to secure a more senior role as an industrial hygienist, you will usually need to be fully certified as a CIH. In addition to the academic requirements discussed above, you also need 4 years of professional experience in industrial hygiene as well as 2 references from current or previous supervisors, or a CIH who is familiar with your professional background. Further specialized study in industrial hygiene, such as a master’s degree, will help to improve your prospects for leadership roles.

Industrial hygienist jobs

It’s a long and hard road to becoming a fully certified industrial hygienist, but don’t be discouraged! The challenge represents ample opportunity if you are willing to work at it. Less determined candidates may be put off by the stringent requirements to gain work experience and CIH certification. However, if you can successfully navigate the various hurdles then industrial hygiene can be a great career choice.

While studying, it would also be prudent to gain internship experience dealing with the various stressors. Internships are helpful in any career path but even more so for this field. Industrial hygiene is not just a theoretical undertaking – much of it comes down to its daily application! It’s an incredibly practical field, meaning that many of the skills developed are transferable. Experience as an intern will prepare you well for your future career. In addition, you will be able to build a network of contacts for later on.

As a final note, industrial hygiene is also known as “occupational hygiene” in some parts of the world. Qualification routes are broadly similar, so international work is a definite possibility!