Hazardous Materials Removal Workers

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Also known as:
Asbestos Abatement Worker, Asbestos Remover, Decontamination Worker, Hazard Waste Handler, Hazmat Technician, Irradiated Fuel Handler, Lead Abatement Worker, Radiological Control and Safety Technician

ABOUT HAZARDOUS MATERIALS REMOVAL WORKER CAREERS
Video transcript

The first century of the industrial revolution left a legacy of hazardous waste that government and environmental experts are trying to clean up. Hazardous materials and waste technicians are at the forefront of this effort.

Some hazardous waste technicians work on-site. Others work in a hazardous materials center called a "hazmat facility." There they perform a variety of tasks including transportation, treatment and storage of hazardous wastes.

Hazardous waste technicians must have specific and detailed training to get a hazardous waste worker certificate. This requires completion of an EPA-approved course, annual updates and medical supervision provided by the company. They learn painstaking procedures to protect worker health and community safety.

A high school diploma or equivalent is the minimum education in this field. Increasingly sophisticated equipment, complex processes and scientific techniques may require further education. Hazmat technicians who can adapt to new duties and procedures should be able to increase their earnings and move into supervision.

Above all, the hazmat technician knows he or she is helping to make the world cleaner for future generations.

SNAPSHOT
Identify, remove, pack, transport, or dispose of hazardous materials, including asbestos, lead-based paint, waste oil, fuel, transmission fluid, radioactive materials, or contaminated soil. Specialized training and certification in hazardous materials handling or a confined entry permit are generally required. May operate earth-moving equipment or trucks.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
MED
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
MED
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
MED
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
MED
Daily tasks

Remove or limit contamination following emergencies involving hazardous substances.

Clean mold-contaminated sites by removing damaged porous materials or thoroughly cleaning all contaminated nonporous materials.

Remove asbestos or lead from surfaces, using hand or power tools such as scrapers, vacuums, or high-pressure sprayers.

Operate machines or equipment to remove, package, store, or transport loads of waste materials.

Clean contaminated equipment or areas for reuse, using detergents or solvents, sandblasters, filter pumps, or steam cleaners.

Build containment areas prior to beginning abatement or decontamination work.

Load or unload materials into containers or onto trucks, using hoists or forklifts.

Comply with prescribed safety procedures or federal laws regulating waste disposal methods.

Prepare hazardous material for removal or storage.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Transportation Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Building and Construction Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
TOP SKILLS
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Operation and Control Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.