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6 Clear Benefits Of HAZWOPER Training

If you work at a hazardous site, or plan to, training is available that will prep you for many disasters you might face at the workplace. Called HAZWOPER, it stands for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response, and this particular training is designed to get you certified to handle such crises in 40 hours or less. If the training happens to be optional for you and you're on the fence about its importance, here are six distinct advantages to jumping on board and getting trained and certified.

1. Boosts your marketability. In this day, when applying for jobs, you're competing with a lot of others in your field. You need to stand out, and having your HAZWOPER certification will certainly do that. In fact, with a little help from grants, professors from NIU's Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, have offered the training to their students as a way to make them more marketable once they graduate. This was good news for one student who admits that when job hunting, many ads clearly stated "HAZWOPER preferred."

Daniel Horvath, owner of an environmental consulting firm, claims that his employees routinely deal with hazardous substances and petroleum. Although they are not regularly tossed into the path of an oncoming risk, he admits that seeing an applicant who has already been through the training means that he or she will be ready to hit the ground running. It also means that he won't have to send the applicant—or some other employee—to training, ultimately missing work for up to a week. This makes the training a win-win for both employer and potential employee. 

2. Prepares you for disasters. Most employees take the training because it's required for the workplace. But one major advantage that deserves recognition is the fact that you will learn effective emergency preparedness—not just for dealing with hazardous substances while on the clock, but also life-threatening situations that could be encountered anywhere, anytime, such as exposure to:

  • Oxygen deficient areas
  • Areas that are prone to fires or explosions
  • Disease causing and biological warfare agents such as anthrax and Ebola

3. Increases average salary. According to, environmental health and safety managers with HAZWOPER training earn about $2,000 more per year than their non-certified counterparts.

4. Develops critical thinking skills. Any time you're in a situation in which you or your co-workers are exposed to toxic waste or any hazardous substance, being capable of isolating the incident and disposing of the substance is vital. You must be able to not only act swiftly, but think critically, and the HAZWOPER course is designed to teach just that.

For example, suppose you work at a facility that houses toxic materials, and one of the containers breaks, spilling its contents along the floor. With the right training, you will learn how to think logically through the steps needed to resolve the issue, whether that involves evacuating the area immediately or simply isolating the spread of the substance before the appropriate cleanup method is implemented. This is vital to your company, as an unnecessary company-wide evacuation can cost countless dollars and man hours.

5. Fosters an understanding of your field. Most anyone can grasp the concept of staying away from hazardous chemicals and situations. But the whys and hows often go unnoticed. You see, it's easy for the real world significance of what you do daily at your workplace to slip through your fingers. And once that happens, going to work becomes a doldrum, day-to-day task that you just want to get over with.

Anything you can do to increase your knowledge of your chosen field will impact you greatly in the workplace. Understanding the impact of an oil spill and what can happen when not properly cleaned can make you appreciate the importance of the steps required to minimize the damage. This can improve inter-office relationships and boost your morale.

6. Allows you to take it with you. There are many things you must leave behind when jumping ship from one employer to another. But your HAZWOPER certification is one thing you can take with you. Even if the company pays for your certification, it is yours to show off to the next boss.