HAZARDOUS WASTE OPERATIONS EMERGENCY RESPONSE

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Introduction

The dumping of hazardous substances poses a significant threat to the environment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data show that over 18 million tons of hazardous substances covered by TRI were disposed of or released into the environment from 1998 through 2004. 1 Hazardous substances are a serious safety and health problem that continues to endanger human and animal life and environmental quality. Discarded hazardous substances that are toxic, flammable, or corrosive can cause fires, explosions, and pollution of air, water, and land. Unless hazardous substances are properly treated, stored, or disposed of, they will continue to do great harm to living things that contact them, now and in the future.

Because of the seriousness of the safety and health hazards related to hazardous waste operations and emergency response, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard, Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 1910.120 and 1926.65 (see 54 Federal Register 9294-9336, March 6, 1989) to protect employees in this environment and to help them handle hazardous substances safely and effectively.

The HAZWOPER standard for the construction industry, 29 CFR 1926.65, is identical to 29 CFR 1910.120. For brevity, the HAZWOPER standard is referenced as 1910.120 throughout the remainder of this publication.

The HAZWOPER standard covers all employers performing the following three general categories of work operations:

■ Hazardous waste site cleanup operations [paragraphs (b)-(o)] (e.g., SUPERFUND cleanup),

■ Operations involving hazardous waste that are conducted at treatment, storage, and disposal (TSD) facilities [paragraph (p)] (e.g., landfill that accepts hazardous waste), and

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