Refresher Training Requirements

California Specialized Training Institute
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Hazmat Refresher Training

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 frequently
misunderstood. Although the applicable paragraph in the OSHA
regulation is straight forward and clearly worded responders are often
given 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 responders
guidance on how to meet the refresher training requirement.
If you have any questions or comments you can contact me at the
phone number or email address listed below.

Vance Bennett
© 2013 CalOES/CSTI

Refresher Training—CalOSHA Hazwoper Regulation

The OSHA regulation on Hazardous Waste Operations and
Emergency Response (Hazwoper) is found in Title 8 of the California
Code of Regulation §5192. This regulation addresses waste site
cleanup, operations at treatment, storage and disposal facilities
(TSDF) and emergency response.

This document discusses the
requirements of Title 8 §5192(q), Emergency Response.
The regulation states:

(8) Refresher training.

(A) Those employees who are trained in accordance with
subsection (q)(6) of this section shall receive annual refresher
training of sufficient content and duration to maintain their
competencies, or shall demonstrate competency in those areas at
least yearly.

(B) A statement shall be made of the training or competency;
and if a statement of competency is made, the employer shall
keep a record of the methodology used to demonstrate

That’s it. Do it, document it.

This regulation doesn’t specify any minimum duration for this
training. It doesn’t have any requirements for course content. It
doesn’t even require a refresher class. And no, your certification
doesn’t expire if you don’t get refresher training.


Refresher Training—OSHA Policy

There is a directive from OSHA that tells their compliance staff how
to enforce this regulation. They also publish letters of interpretation
that answer specific questions about the regulations.

The directive is CPL 02-02-073, Inspection Procedures for 29 CFR
1910.120 and 1926.65, Paragraph (q): Emergency Response to
Hazardous Substance Releases. It “…updates policies and provides
clarification to ensure uniform enforcement of paragraph (q) of the
Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard
(HAZWOPER), 29 CFR 1910.120 and 1926.65, which covers emergency
response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releases
of, hazardous substances without regard to the location of the
hazard.” They have published several letters of interpretation on this
subject in the past. Most have been incorporated into this directive.
© 2013 CalOES/CSTI

CPL 02-02-073 provides the following guidance about refresher
training for hazmat emergency response: (I’ve inserted comments
after each paragraph. They are in italics.)

“Provisions for employee training must be incorporated into the
ERP (Emergency Response Plan). This might include a general
outline of the training to be completed for each of the various
levels of emergency responders addressed in the ERP, or a
reference 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 will
conduct refresher training.

“Time spent by emergency response employees reviewing
incidents can be credited toward their refresher training
requirements under 1910.120(q)(8).”
You don’t need a class! You need “training” and this is not just
semantics. It’s an important distinction.

“Compliance Safety and Health Officers must evaluate the
adequacy of emergency responder training…by interviewing the
employer, employee representatives, and employees who may be
involved in an emergency involving hazardous substances in
order to determine their ability to perform their designated
response roles and responsibilities.”

Yes, they will ask. If you can’t give adequate answers to these
questions then press hard, four copies. (Tell this to your training
person if they deny your request for refresher training.)

“OSHA's intent is that employees should complete their
refresher training within twelve months of their initial training,
although sometimes courses may be missed due to unavoidable

In such an event, employees should take the next
available refresher training course. However, there should be a
record in the employee's file indicating why the training has been
delayed and when the training will be completed. If the employee
has gone without refresher training for more than twelve months,
the employer must evaluate whether the initial comprehensive
training needs to be repeated.”

You have to do it once a year. Your certification doesn’t expire if
you don’t get the training.
© 2013 CalOES/CSTI

“Refresher training may be given in segments throughout the
year so long as the required training has been completed by the
employee's anniversary date. Time spent by emergency response
employees reviewing incidents can also be credited toward their
refresher 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. you
don’t need a “class”).

“The employer must have a "statement of training" or
"statement of competency" for annual refresher training or
competency 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-

It says:

“It is important to note that training required under 1910.120(q)
is dependent upon the anticipated duties and functions of the
responder. Training and competencies must be consistent with
each employee's anticipated role. For example, while the course
topics you outlined could be suitable for operations level or
HAZMAT technician refresher training, they may not provide
proper refresher training for personnel assigned as incident
commanders, i.e., individuals who assume control of the incident

What must your refresher training include? It depends. Depends
on what? It depends on what you do. Can you attend a one-size-fitsall
training session? No. It must be tailored to “…the anticipated
duties and functions of the responder.” Generic refresher training
won’t cut it.

Refresher Training—FAQ

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

Refresher Training—Summary

Yes, you have to do it. How long it takes, when you do it and what
it must include are up to your employer. There is no requirement for
minimum hours nor is there a standard course. If anyone tells you
otherwise they are simply wrong.

An employer has four options for conducting refresher training.

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, “Choose


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