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Certain industry or employer types
  • Whether an employer is in the construction, shipyard, marine terminal, longshoring, or healthcare industry poses special issues relating to HAZWOPER.
  • EPA adopted 1910.120 in 40 CFR 311 for public employees who are both compensated and non-compensated (volunteers) in states where no OSHA-approved State Plan.


Hazardous waste operations and emergency response for construction sites are covered by 29 CFR 1926.65 (a standard identical to 29 CFR 1910.120, except for its references to other Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, regulations). Work for construction, alteration, and/or repair, including painting and decorating, is considered “construction work” according to 29 CFR 1910.12 and must comply with the Construction Safety and Health Regulations within 29 CFR 1926.

For construction, all requirements of Part 1926 apply pursuant to their terms to hazardous waste and emergency response operations, whether covered by 1926.65 or not. If there is a conflict or overlap between 1926.65 and another Part 1926 regulation, the provision more protective of employee safety and health applies.

Shipyards, marine terminals, and longshoring

OSHA directive CPL 02-02-073 states, “HAZWOPER is also applicable to shipyard work under [Part] 1915.”

Employers are required under 29 CFR 1917.30 and 1918.100 to develop and implement emergency action plans to ensure employee safety from fires and other emergencies. However, if employees are directed by their employer to respond to an emergency beyond the scope of an emergency action plan, then paragraph (q) of 1910.120 applies (see footnotes at bottom of 1917.30 and 1918.100).


First receivers include hospital-based staff (e.g., triage, decontamination, medical treatment, and security) that receive and treat contaminated victims from mass casualty incidents. These personnel are removed from the site of the emergency and the point of release and do not need to be trained — or equipped — for control, containment, or confinement operations, as is required for a HAZMAT team.

First receivers are still considered to be part of an emergency response and are required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and be provided effective training based on the duties and functions to be performed.

State and local government employers

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted 1910.120 in 40 CFR 311 (Federal Register June 23, 1989) for public employees who are both compensated and non-compensated (volunteers) in states where no OSHA-approved State Plan is in place, and, therefore, there is no OSHA coverage for state and local government employees.

Part 311 says, “The substantive provisions found at 29 CFR 1910.120 . . . apply to State and local government employees engaged in hazardous waste operations, as defined in 29 CFR 1910.120(a), in States that do not have a State plan approved under section 18 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.” The term “hazardous waste operation” means any operation conducted within the scope of 1910.120.

EPA specifically includes “non-compensated workers” (i.e., volunteer workers) who work for governmental agencies engaged in emergency response, such as volunteer firefighters. Therefore, volunteers who will take part in operations involving hazardous substances must be trained in accordance with the applicable sections of 1910.120.