Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response

Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response

Hazard Overview

Hazard Overview

This occupational safety and health topic page covers two subjects: hazardous waste site operations and emergency response to the uncontrolled release of chemicals. To begin this discussion, we will define two terms, "hazardous waste" and "emergency response."

What is hazardous waste?

Hazardous waste is defined as:

  • a waste or combination of wastes as defined in 40 CFR 261.3, or

  • those substances defined as hazardous wastes in 49 CFR 171.8

What is meant by emergency response or responding to emergencies?

"Emergency response" or "responding to an emergency" is defined as a response effort by employees from outside the immediate release area or by other designated responders to an occurrence which results, or is likely to result, in an uncontrolled release of a hazardous substance. An emergency response does not include a response to incidental releases of hazardous substances where the substance can be absorbed, neutralized, or otherwise controlled at the time of release by employees in the immediate area or by maintenance personnel. Also not included are responses to releases of hazardous substances where there is no potential safety or health hazard,

What are the hazards associated with hazardous waste?

Occupational exposure to hazardous waste can result in acute and chronic illness, and death, due to lack of training and protective clothing and equipment. In addition, uncontrolled release of hazardous waste can also result in property damage when incompatible chemical wastes are allowed to mix.

Solutions

Solutions

What can I do to protect myself?

Employees should never attempt to clean up chemical spills unless they have received the appropriate training and are equipped to respond to the spill. If a chemical release is observed from outside your work area, notify your supervisor and evacuate the area.

What resources are available to assist employers?

A hazardous chemical emergency response plan,  hazard communication program, respirator program and PPE hazard assessment can be downloaded and customized to fit an individual workplace. In addition, presentations on hazard communication, respiratory protection, and PPE can be used for employee training.

More resources can be found on the A-Z safety and health topics pages for hazard communication, respiratory protectionprocess safety management and personal protective equipment.

In addition, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC). The education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request.

Regulations

Regulations

Which standards apply?

OSH has adopted the following standard for hazardous waste operations and emergency response in North Carolina:

In addition, North Carolina has added the following state-specific rule for hazardous waste operations and emergency response:

Other standards that may apply to hazardous waste operations and emergency response:

 

Learn More

Learn More

Where can I learn more?

If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to ask.osh@labor.nc.gov or by calling 919-707-7876.