263783 Impact of HAZWOPER Training on Employer Health and Safety Programs and Practices

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kevin Riley, PhD MPH , Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Linda Delp, PhD, MPH , Labor Occupational Safety & Health Program (LOSH), University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Carol Rice, PhD, CIH , College of Medicine, Department of Environmental Health, Division of Environmental and Occupational Hygiene, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Mitchel Rosen, MS , Office of Public Health Practice, UMDNJ- School of Public Health, Piscataway, NJ
Craig Slatin, ScD, MPH , Department of Community Health and Sustainability, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA
Linda Alerding , Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Jane Fleishman, MS , Widener University, Northampton, MA
Louise Weidner, PhD , Department of Health Education and Behavioral Science, UMDNJ- School of Public Health, Piscataway, NJ
Background: Under OSHA's HAZWOPER standard, employers are required to provide training to employees involved in hazardous waste cleanup operations and emergency response. While a number of evaluation studies have examined the effectiveness of HAZWOPER training for trainees, little research investigates employers' motivation to provide training and how they incorporate trained workers into health and safety program efforts.

Methods: Four university-based programs receiving funding under the NIEHS Worker Education and Training Program collaborated on this study. In the first phase, semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 28 key informants, i.e., managers who rely on our programs for their HAZWOPER training needs. In the second phase, an online survey was distributed to 400 managers who sent their employees to at least one HAZWOPER training course provided by the collaborating centers between August 2011 and July 2012.

Results: Key informant interviews indicated that compliance with state/federal regulations is the most important factor motivating managers to provide HAZWOPER and other related training. Additional motivators included awareness of the cost effectiveness of training versus injuries and personal concerns about the health and safety of employees. Key informants reported involving HAZWOPER-trained employees in health and safety committee activities, to develop and enforce health and safety plans, and to train other employees in the workplace. The online survey allowed us to quantify these results and compare them across different industrial sectors.

Conclusions: The findings from this study regarding mandated HAZWOPER training shed important light on the social power contexts of workplace health and safety programs and practices.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate impact of HAZWOPER training from the employers’ perspective. Identify employers’ motivations to provide HAZWOPER training to employees and how they incorporate trained workers into health and safety program efforts. Assess the role of regulations in shaping employer behavior regarding programs to support worker health and safety.

Keywords: Hazardous Waste Workers, Workplace Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Coordinator/Evaluator for the Western Region Universities Consortium and study coordinator for this project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.