|One of the questions we get asked frequently by our clients is, “Why do we need Hazardous Waste Training? The easy answer is because the government says so; however, let’s look closely to see where the training requirement comes from.|
Let’s start with the basics. Since we are talking about hazardous waste, it is the EPA (or an equivalent state agency) that we begin with. So, let’s look at the EPA first and then take a closer look at specific CA regulations.
NOTE: Because we currently offer the CA Hazardous Waste Training at Ingenium, the CA-specific requirements are listed below. If you are located in another state, please reach out to our EHS Consulting Department if you have questions about the regulations for your individual state or to schedule a private training.
EPA has regulations about generators of hazardous waste in 40 CFR Part 262. It is important to note that these regulations were updated a few years back with the Generator Improvement Rules (GIR) (https://www.epa.gov/hwgenerators/final-rule-hazardous-waste-generator-improvements), and these new rules changed where the training requirements could be found in the regulations.
The training requirements can be different based on your generator status. The EPA has three hazardous waste generator statuses: large-quantity generator (LQG), small-quantity generator (SQG), and very-small-quantity generator (VSQG).
For large-quantity generators, Section 262.17(a)(7) details the training requirements for facility personnel. If you read through Section 262.17, you will note that the training requirements for large-quantity generators are pretty detailed.
For small-quantity generators, Section 262.16(b)(9)(iii) states, “The small-quantity generator must ensure that all employees are thoroughly familiar with proper waste handling and emergency procedures relevant to their responsibilities during normal facility operations and emergencies.” It seems a little easier for the small-quantity generators.
What about the very small-quantity generators? Oddly, the EPA does not explicitly require training for a VSQG; however, it is a good idea to ensure that these employees are familiar with hazardous waste regulations as they pertain to them.
Some states do things a little differently. Take California, for example. The California State Agency regulating hazardous waste is the Department of Toxic Substances Control or DTSC. California has two statuses for a hazardous waste generator. It is either a large-quantity generator (LQG) or a small-quantity generator (SQG). https://dtsc.ca.gov/business-hazardous-waste-generators/#SQGLQG
Many of the hazardous waste regulations in California can be found in Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR). The training requirements for large-quantity generators come from 22 CCR 66265.16, as referenced by 66262.34(a)(4), which states that the generator must comply with 66265.16. These training requirements for large-quantity generators mirror the detailed training requirements from the EPA.
For small-quantity generators, join me as we head down the regulatory rabbit hole. The DTSC regulation on training for SQGs is from 22 CCR 66262.34(d) and references 40 CFR 262.34(d). This section of 40 CFR is no longer in existence. Well, where did it go? It was outdated with the EPA’s Generator Improvement Rules. It is important to note that California has not yet adopted the GIRs, so they have to explain that “small-quantity generators of hazardous waste must ensure that all employees are thoroughly familiar with proper waste handling and emergency procedures relevant to their responsibilities during normal facility operations and emergencies. [40 CFR section 262.34(d)(5)(iii), as that section existed before U.S. EPA adopted the Generator Improvements Rule…].* That old section reads, “The generator must ensure that all employees are thoroughly familiar with proper waste handling and emergency procedures relevant to their responsibilities during normal facility operations and emergencies.” Notice that it is essentially the exact requirement the EPA has at 40 CFR 262.16(b)(9)(iii)…just a very convoluted way of getting there.
Other FAQs regarding EPA Hazardous Waste Training:
How long is the training good for? 40 CFR 262.17(a)(7)(iii)
Recurrent training. (Note that the following is for LQGs; however, training for SQGs, MQGs, and VSQGs is recommended to be repeated annually). Facility personnel must take part in an annual review of the initial training required in paragraph (a)(7)(i) of this section.
How soon does a new employee need to be trained? 40 CFR 262.17(a)(7)(ii) Initial training. (Note that the following is for LQGs; however, it is recommended that training for SQGs, MQGs, and VSQGs be provided ASAP and before they are allowed to work unsupervised). Facility personnel must complete the program required in paragraph (a)(7)(i) of this section within six months after the date of their employment or assignment to the facility or to a new position at the facility, whichever is later. Employees must not work in unsupervised positions until they have completed the training standards of paragraph (a)(7)(i) of this section.
What recordkeeping requirements are there? 40 CFR 262.17(a)(7)(iv)
Recordkeeping. (Note that the following is for LQGs – however, it is recommended that training records for SQGs, MQGs, and VSQGs showing the trainee’s name, the date, and the training subject be maintained). The large-quantity generator must maintain the following documents and records at the facility:
(A) The job title for each position at the facility related to hazardous waste management and the name of the employee filling each job;
(B) A written job description for each position listed under paragraph (a)(7)(iv)(A) of this section. This description may be consistent in its degree of specificity with descriptions for other similar positions in the exact company location or bargaining unit but must include the requisite skill, education, or other qualifications and duties of facility personnel assigned to each position;
(C) A written description of the type and amount of both introductory and continuing training that will be given to each person filling a position listed under paragraph (a)(7)(iv)(A) of this section;
(D) Records that document that the training or job experience required under paragraphs (a)(7)(i), (ii), and (iii) of this section has been given to, and completed by, facility personnel. So, that’s it in a very large nutshell! If you’re understandably overwhelmed by all the information you just read through, no need to worry! The EHS professionals at Ingenium are here to answer questions or provide any clarification you need. We’re just a phone call (760)745-8780 or email away.
Our job is to make your job easier!