Under the authority of Section 126 of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed workplace health and safety standards to protect employees engaged in hazardous waste operations and emergency response activities (HAZWOPER). OSHA's rules benefit private (private businesses and nonprofit organizations) sector employees only. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued identical health and safety standards to cover public (state and local government operations) sector workplaces.
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HAZWOPER rules for general industry and construction are identical. The HAZWOPER regulations for general industry workplaces (29 CFR 1910.120) and construction operations (29 CFR 1926.65) are identical except for citation numbers.
HAZWOPER standards cover employers (a person engaged in a business affecting commerce who has employees, except federal agencies) with one or more employees and who engage in any of the following operations:
Cleanup operations required by federal, state, or local governments at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites (including sites on EPA's National Priorities List (NPL), state priority site lists, sites recommended for the NPL, initial investigations of government-identified sites that are conducted before the presence or absence of hazardous substances has been determined), and where an accumulation or suspected accumulation of hazardous substances creates a threat to the health and safety of people or the environment (all parts of 29 CFR 1910.120 and 29 CFR 1926.65 except sections (p) and (q))