Hazardous Waste Management Training

Written by Shirley Parker
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Hazardous waste management training is conducted by local and state government agencies, with the responsibility for actually handling such waste often belonging to the fire department. One or more fire stations in the community will have a HAZMAT response vehicle. This vehicle is often a heavy-duty, 36-foot trailer towed by another fire department vehicle, such as a Ford Bronco or similar, assembled to fire department specs.

In some cities, HAZMAT is part of the police department. A black van, resembling the old Black Mariah or police paddy wagon, is emblazoned with requisite identification and contains all necessary protective clothing and other gear. Cities sometimes require their public safety departments to bid on providing the HAZMAT service, which is probably not the best way of encouraging cooperation between them. Friendly rivalry in football games or on the ski slopes should be enough to boost morale, if there's any joshing going on.

Of necessity, federal agencies and private businesses and institutions also invest in hazardous waste management training. Employees who have a need to know, because it's their departments that are fined for infractions and accidents, are sent to private schools where each class ranges from half a day to a week or more, depending on the specific topic. It's almost always required that certification be renewed on an annual basis.

What Is Hazardous Waste Anyway?

Waste considered hazardous can be categorized in various ways, such as by characteristic (flammable, reactive, oxidizer, etc.), or whether it's on the lengthy list maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency. However, unknown chemical waste is also considered hazardous, until and unless it can be tested. Not always mentioned are batteries (all kinds), fluorescent tubes, photo-fixer from the lab, TVs, computer parts, calculators, telephones, and automotive fluids.


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