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Hands-On Training Essential For Hazwoper Certification

by Antonin Fontai

In the age of the Internet, accessible online training is readily available for many types of worker certifications. While you can gain knowledge and absorb information from online coursework, if you deal with hazardous materials on a daily basis you are required to perform hands-on exercises as part of your certification process.

Hazwoper courses, which you can find from companies like National Environmental Trainers, build a solid foundation using some online study blended with hands-on learning to keep you certified, but most of all safe. Below is an explanation of why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) deems it essential to take part in live instruction to maintain the necessary certifications for working with hazardous materials.

 Hands-On Experience Required

Online study can be very beneficial in helping you become better acquainted with different aspects of working with hazardous materials. But, OSHA not only does not recommend exclusive online study, but also will not approve, or certify programs that lack hands-on training.

OSHA believes that relying on only computer-based training is not enough to meet industry standards for safety. The OSHA mandate for hands-on experience to receive recognized certifications is based on two principles.

1. To receive OSHA approved Hazwoper certification, you must be exposed to first hand experience. You learn from this valuable experience through exercises that help you become familiar with the equipment used in handling hazardous materials.

This hands-on instruction is performed in a non-hazardous classroom type setting. You are able to learn in a safe environment, helping insure that you are able to deal with situations where you will be handling hazardous items that could prove dangerous.

2. OSHA also believes strongly that for a Hazwoper training program to be successful, it must provide you with an opportunity to ask questions where the material, especially the equipment used, is unfamiliar to you. While a computer-based certification program can provide you with answers to many questions, you will not discover the same questions that you would during hands-on training. Only in a live classroom setting can you physically be exposed to the tools you will be using to handle hazardous materials.

You may be correct in your belief that a great deal of knowledge about working with hazardous materials can be learned from the comfort of a computer. But, to meet OSHA requirements, you must take part in a hands-on program to receive legal certification. Learning from direct experience is essential to working with hazardous materials, because you and your coworker's safety depend on it.