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OSHA assistant secretary concerned some oil spill workers not receiving proper training (7/8)

July 8, 2010
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OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels issued the following statement yesterday regarding training for Gulf Coast oil spill cleanup:

"Employees hired to be supervisors in the onshore and marine cleanup are required to receive extensive training. A rigorous 40-hour program is required under OSHA's Hazardous Waste Operation and Emergency Response Standard.

"In order to meet the certifications of this 40-hour training, a combination of classroom and hands-on, applicable experience is required. This includes instruction on the makeup and risks associated with the hazardous material(s) involved, and experience with the equipment needed for the work, safety gear and local environment.

"We have received reports that some are offering this training in significantly less than 40 hours, showing video presentations and offering only limited instruction. This training cannot be shortened to anything less than 40 hours. Moreover, computer-based training, which could be offered over the Internet, can be used as part of an overall 40-hour HAZWOPER training course. However, such training alone does not meet the full course requirements.

"OSHA also recommends that the trainer-to-student ratio for this type of training be one trainer for every 30 students in the class.

"If a worker feels the training he or she received by a private company or organization does not meet the HAZWOPER training requirements, he or she may contact the closest OSHA area office to file a complaint or call 800-321-OSHA (6742) for more information."

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