Who, what, when and how.
California Emergency Management Agency (CalOES)California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI)Hazardous Materials Section© 2013 CalOES/CSTI
The subject of refresher training for hazmat responders is frequentlymisunderstood. Although the applicable paragraph in the OSHAregulation is straight forward and clearly worded responders are oftengiven conflicting and incorrect information. This can lead to unnecessary or improper training—wasting scarce training dollars.This document seeks to explain this subject and give respondersguidance on how to meet the refresher training requirement.If you have any questions or comments you can contact me at thephone number or email address listed below.Vance BennettCalOES/CSTI805firstname.lastname@example.org© 2013 CalOES/CSTI
The OSHA regulation on Hazardous Waste Operations andEmergency Response (Hazwoper) is found in Title 8 of the CaliforniaCode of Regulation §5192. This regulation addresses waste sitecleanup, operations at treatment, storage and disposal facilities(TSDF) and emergency response. This document discusses therequirements of Title 8 §5192(q), Emergency Response.The regulation states:(8) Refresher training.(A) Those employees who are trained in accordance withsubsection (q)(6) of this section shall receive annual refreshertraining of sufficient content and duration to maintain theircompetencies, or shall demonstrate competency in those areas atleast yearly.(B) A statement shall be made of the training or competency;and if a statement of competency is made, the employer shallkeep a record of the methodology used to demonstratecompetency.That’s it. Do it, document it.This regulation doesn’t specify any minimum duration for thistraining. It doesn’t have any requirements for course content. Itdoesn’t even require a refresher class. And no, your certificationdoesn’t expire if you don’t get refresher training.
There is a directive from OSHA that tells their compliance staff howto enforce this regulation. They also publish letters of interpretationthat answer specific questions about the regulations.The directive is CPL 02-02-073, Inspection Procedures for 29 CFR1910.120 and 1926.65, Paragraph (q): Emergency Response toHazardous Substance Releases. It “…updates policies and providesclarification to ensure uniform enforcement of paragraph (q) of theHazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard(HAZWOPER), 29 CFR 1910.120 and 1926.65, which covers emergencyresponse operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releasesof, hazardous substances without regard to the location of thehazard.” They have published several letters of interpretation on thissubject in the past. Most have been incorporated into this directive.© 2013 CalOES/CSTICPL 02-02-073 provides the following guidance about refreshertraining for hazmat emergency response: (I’ve inserted commentsafter each paragraph. They are in italics.)“Provisions for employee training must be incorporated into theERP (Emergency Response Plan). This might include a generaloutline of the training to be completed for each of the variouslevels of emergency responders addressed in the ERP, or areference to the location of the training manual. The plan should also address a schedule for required annual refresher training.”Your agency must have an official policy on how they willconduct refresher training.“Time spent by emergency response employees reviewingincidents can be credited toward their refresher trainingrequirements under 1910.120(q)(8).”You don’t need a class! You need “training” and this is not justsemantics. It’s an important distinction.“Compliance Safety and Health Officers must evaluate theadequacy of emergency responder training…by interviewing theemployer, employee representatives, and employees who may beinvolved in an emergency involving hazardous substances inorder to determine their ability to perform their designatedresponse roles and responsibilities.”Yes, they will ask. If you can’t give adequate answers to thesequestions then press hard, four copies. (Tell this to your trainingperson if they deny your request for refresher training.)“OSHA's intent is that employees should complete theirrefresher training within twelve months of their initial training,although sometimes courses may be missed due to unavoidablecircumstances. In such an event, employees should take the nextavailable refresher training course. However, there should be arecord in the employee's file indicating why the training has beendelayed and when the training will be completed. If the employeehas gone without refresher training for more than twelve months,the employer must evaluate whether the initial comprehensivetraining needs to be repeated.”You have to do it once a year. Your certification doesn’t expire ifyou don’t get the training.© 2013 CalOES/CSTI“Refresher training may be given in segments throughout theyear so long as the required training has been completed by theemployee's anniversary date. Time spent by emergency responseemployees reviewing incidents can also be credited toward theirrefresher training requirements.”You have to do it once a year but you get to pick when you do it.Reviewing past incidents counts as refresher training? Yes (i.e. youdon’t need a “class”).“The employer must have a "statement of training" or"statement of competency" for annual refresher training orcompetency for all employees trained in emergency response.”The job’s not done until the paperwork’s finished!OSHA published an interpretation letter after they issued CPL 02-02-073. It says:“It is important to note that training required under 1910.120(q)is dependent upon the anticipated duties and functions of theresponder. Training and competencies must be consistent witheach employee's anticipated role. For example, while the coursetopics you outlined could be suitable for operations level orHAZMAT technician refresher training, they may not provideproper refresher training for personnel assigned as incidentcommanders, i.e., individuals who assume control of the incidentscene.”What must your refresher training include? It depends. Dependson what? It depends on what you do. Can you attend a one-size-fitsalltraining session? No. It must be tailored to “…the anticipatedduties and functions of the responder.” Generic refresher trainingwon’t cut it.
What training do you need? It depends on what you do.How often should you receive this training? Annually.What must this training include? It depends on what you do.Does OSHA require you to receive refresher training? Yes.Do you need a “class?” No. (A 24-hour class? No.)How long must the training be? It’s up to your employer.© 2013 CalOES/CSTI
Yes, you have to do it. How long it takes, when you do it and whatit must include are up to your employer. There is no requirement forminimum hours nor is there a standard course. If anyone tells youotherwise they are simply wrong.
1. Conduct formal refresher training (i.e. a class).2. Document response activities (i.e demonstrate competency.)3. Participate in exercises (i.e demonstrate competency.)4. Review past incidents.How you choose to do that is up to you.As the knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade said, “Choosewisely…”