Throughout history, mankind has used materials to build homes and offices that were later found to be unsafe. In recent years, the dangers of once-common building materials such as lead and asbestos have been discovered. The discovery of these hazards led to a call for their removal from the buildings that they were used in. At the same time, the dangers of chemicals like mercury have led to increased calls for the removal of these chemicals from places where they could cause adverse health effects. As people living in the “nuclear age,” we must also be cautious about the way we handle radioactive materials. The collection and disposal of these types of items is the responsibility of the hazardous materials removal worker.
Hazardous Materials Removal Job Responsibilities
The job of the hazardous materials removal worker is to collect and dispose of materials from a home, office, work site, public place, or other location that may cause harm to others. These are known as hazardous materials, or HAZMAT. Materials such as asbestos, lead, and mercury were commonly used in buildings in the past. These materials were later discovered to be harmful to humans, with many people dying from exposure to these dangerous materials. The hazardous materials removal worker makes the world around him or her safer for others by properly removing these materials from the environment.
Hazardous Materials Removal Training and Education Requirements
The job of the hazardous materials removal worker does not require any formal education other than a high school diploma or GED. This does that mean that the job is an untrained position, however. On the contrary, hazardous materials removal workers are required to undergo specialized training for each type of hazardous material that they may be asked to remove. This training must meet the standards of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, or OSHA. Because of the dangerous nature of this job, the training must focus on the safety of the worker doing the removal of this harmful material. The proper use of the personal protective equipment, or PPE, that is used by the removal worker is one of the primary focus points of this training. Identification and proper disposal procedures for the specific type of hazardous material being taught is also an important part of these training modules.
One of the most dangerous types of objects that are disposed of by hazardous materials removal workers are radioactive materials. In addition to the basic hazardous materials training, removal workers who wish to become qualified in radioactive material removal must undergo specialized training. A number of federal agencies, including OSHA, The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the United States Department of Energy all have a part in the regulations governing the safe removal of radioactive materials.
After the initial training is completed, employees in hazardous material disposal are also expected to complete annual recurrent training. This training serves as a refresher to the materials learned, and helps combat the complacency that often results in accidents.
Hazardous Materials Removal Salary and Wages
Hazardous material removal workers are typically paid hourly. The average hourly wage for this type of work is approximately $18 an hour. The pay varies based on the type of work being done and the severity of the hazardous material being removed. Those who specialize in the removal of radioactive material, for example, earn significantly more money that those who specialize in the removal of lead of asbestos.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
The job outlook for workers in the field of hazardous materials removal is very positive. The need to clean up buildings after the mistakes of the past mean that there will be demand for people trained in safely removing these dangerous materials from our homes and offices for years to come. This is especially true of radioactive removal technicians.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Hazardous Materials Removal Certifications
As stated previously, in order to become a hazardous materials removal worker, one must complete training through their employer that has met the standards set by OSHA. If the worker is going into the field of emergency response or disaster relief, they must become licensed by OSHA in order to perform that work. This training may either be conducted by the employer, or by an outside training center that has an approved program.
Mold removal is not regulated by the federal government. Each state has its own requirements for certification in mold removal.
Hazardous Materials Removal Professional Associations
There are a number of professional associations and organizations for those in the hazardous materials removal field. One such association is the Alliance of Hazardous Materials Professionals. The AHMP describes itself as the sole association dedicated to the advancement of the profession of hazardous materials management. The AHMP is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, and has chapters in over 35 states, as well as Washington, DC. It has also started an international effort with a chapter in India. Hazardous Materials Removal Professional Associations
There are a number of professional associations and organizations for those in the hazardous materials removal field. One such association is the Alliance of Hazardous Materials Professionals. The AHMP describes itself as the sole association dedicated to the advancement of the profession of hazardous materials management. The AHMP is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, and has chapters in over 35 states, as well as Washington, DC. It has also started an international effort with a chapter in India.
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