Hazardous Waste Disposal

Definition - What does Hazardous Waste Disposal mean?

Hazardous waste disposal is the practice of safely disposing of waste products that have been classified as hazardous, usually according to a recognized regulatory agency. These waste products are typically either corrosive, reactive, toxic, ignitable, or some combination of the four.

In the United States, hazardous wastes are defined under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, in 40 CFR 261.



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Safeopedia explains Hazardous Waste Disposal

In the United States, industrial workplaces generated 28 million tons of hazardous waste between 2001 and 2011. The significant and continuous generation of hazardous waste makes disposal an ongoing and common concern for many industries. OSHA has two standards which prescribe duties for general industry (29 CFR 1910.120) and construction (29 CFR 1926.65). These standards require employers to publicize all hazardous waste disposal programs and offer sufficient training to workers involved in the disposal process.

Employers are also required to maintain and train employees in procedures for emergency disposal of uncontrolled hazard waste releases. These requirements include the use of proper personal protective equipment (PPE), the use of proper decontamination material (such as sorbents), and the implementation of emergency response and follow-up protocols (such as medical monitoring) if workers are accidentally exposed to harmful wastes.

Environmental Regulations

As hazardous waste can pose significant environmental harm, an employer’s hazardous waste disposal obligations are inevitably subject to additional obligations imposed by the specific jurisdiction they are operating within. For instance, employers operating within cities may be required to hire a municipally-approved third party to conduct all activities related to the transport and disposal of hazardous waste. The employer would then need to meet any hazardous material packaging requirements that the third party may impose as a condition of their service.

Because hazardous waste disposal is an interest to multiple protective agencies other than occupational health and safety agencies, the hazardous waste disposal requirements of occupational health and safety agencies are often attenuated or buttressed by requirements from other government departments. For instance, in the United States, employers are also subject to waste disposal regulations propogated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

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