29 CFR 1910.120 is the key OSHA regulation that aims to protect the safety and health of workers

29 CFR 1910.120 is a regulation issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that covers hazardous waste operations and emergency response in the United States.

Here is a summary of the key points from 29 CFR 1910.120:

  • This code of federal regulations covers hazardous waste operations and emergency response. It establishes standards for the safety and health of employees involved in cleanup operations at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.
  • It requires training for employees exposed to health and safety hazards, including 40 hours of off-site instruction and 3 days of supervised field experience. Refresher training is also required annually.
  • It establishes requirements for site characterization and analysis to identify hazards and risks. A written safety and health program must be developed to address hazards.
  • It sets requirements for proper use of personal protective equipment, including specification, maintenance, inspection, testing, decontamination and disposal.
  • Medical surveillance programs are required for employees engaged in hazardous waste operations based on potential exposures.
  • Detailed requirements are provided for air monitoring, respiratory protection, engineering controls, handling drums and containers, sanitation, etc.
  • It establishes requirements for emergency response planning and operations. An emergency response plan must be developed and implemented.


Also, keep in mind the absolute need for decontamination after exposure.litllewalkinsmokeoutside.jpg

Proper decontamination is critical when handling releases of hazardous materials to avoid spreading contamination. Per 29 CFR 1910.120, a decontamination area must be set up with stations for disposal of contaminated clothing and equipment. Warm, soapy water is typically used for initial washdown, followed by a rinse station. All runoff must be contained for proper disposal. Having the right supplies ready for deployment allows for rapid, effective decontamination during emergencies involving chemical spills or releases.

First Issued: 1989 initially, with revisions in 1994, 1996, and most recently in 2019.

29 CFR 1910.120 is the key OSHA regulation that aims to protect the safety and health of workers handling hazardous wastes and responding to chemical emergencies. It is a comprehensive standard that covers training, hazard analysis, procedures, equipment, and planning requirements.

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