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Hazardous Materials Removal Workers Career Video

Description: 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.

Video Transcript

At old factories, power plants, and other facilities… hazardous materials —or hazmat—removal workers… clean up and remove materials that would be harmful to people and the environment. Hazmat workers remove lead or asbestos from structures that are undergoing renovation or demolition. They apply chemicals to surfaces, and cut out the material from surfaces or strip the walls, then package the waste. They may use sandblasters, scrapers, and vacuums to remove paint, often working in confined spaces or at great heights. They may build scaffolds or containment areas before cleanup. Hazmat workers also clean up landfills, incinerators, and industrial furnaces. Some work at nuclear facilities and power plants, where they measure and record radiation levels and package radioactive materials for storage. Hazmat workers are also called in to clean up spills from train or truck accidents. Hazmat work is dangerous, and guided by strict safety procedures. Workers wear protective suits and respirators for hours at a time. Most hazmat workers are employed full time, and overtime and shift work are common. When a disaster occurs, they may travel to work on location for several days or weeks. While a high school diploma or equivalent is the only formal education required, hazmat workers receive in-depth on-the-job training. Workers at nuclear facilities must take courses mandated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.