Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response
The HAZWOPER standard covers 5 specific areas of operations, including:
Clean-up operations required by a governmental body, whether federal, state, local, or other involving hazardous substances that are conducted at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites (including, but not limited to, the EPA's National Priorities List of sites (NPL), state priority site lists, sites recommended for the EPA NPL, and initial investigations of government identified sites which are conducted before the presence or absence of hazardous substances has been ascertained);
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 bodies as uncontrolled hazardous waste sites;
Operations involving hazardous waste that are conducted at treatment, storage, disposal (TSD) facilities regulated by 40 CFR Parts 264 and 265 pursuant to RCRA; or by agencies under agreement with U.S EPA to implement RCRA regulations; and
Emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances without regard to the location of the hazard.
Hazardous wastes are defined by the standard as:
[A] A waste or combination of wastes as defined in 40 CFR 261.3, or
[B] Those substances defined as hazardous wastes in 49 CFR 171.8.
The term HAZWOPER recently has been referenced in international cleanup, mostly where U.S. military bases are still being cleaned up, or in some cases with NATO allies such as Canada, particularly when U.S. firms are involved with Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response. While the OSHA standard does not apply to these operations, some of the countries involved are working on adopting similar standards to protect workers. In some cases it has proven difficult because they lack the safety infrastructure that the HAZWOPER standard is built on