Hazardous Materials Removal Workers
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.
Sample of reported job titles: Abatement Worker, Asbestos Abatement Worker, Asbestos Hazard Abatement Worker, Asbestos Remover, Asbestos Worker, Decontamination and Decommissioning Operator (D and D Operator), Hazmat Technician (Hazardous Materials Technician), Waste Handling Technician
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Build containment areas prior to beginning abatement or decontamination work.
- Remove asbestos or lead from surfaces, using hand or power tools such as scrapers, vacuums, or high-pressure sprayers.
- Identify asbestos, lead, or other hazardous materials to be removed, using monitoring devices.
- Prepare hazardous material for removal or storage.
- Comply with prescribed safety procedures or federal laws regulating waste disposal methods.
- Load or unload materials into containers or onto trucks, using hoists or forklifts.
- Clean contaminated equipment or areas for reuse, using detergents or solvents, sandblasters, filter pumps, or steam cleaners.
- 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.
- Operate machines or equipment to remove, package, store, or transport loads of waste materials.
- Record numbers of containers stored at disposal sites, specifying amounts or types of equipment or waste disposed.
- Sort specialized hazardous waste at landfills or disposal centers, following proper disposal procedures.
- Operate cranes to move or load baskets, casks, or canisters.
- Drive trucks or other heavy equipment to convey contaminated waste to designated sea or ground locations.
- Identify or separate waste products or materials for recycling or reuse.
- Upload baskets of irradiated elements onto machines that insert fuel elements into canisters and secure lids.
- Process e-waste, such as computer components containing lead or mercury.
- Organize or track the locations of hazardous items in landfills.
- Mix or pour concrete into forms to encase waste material for disposal.
- Apply bioremediation techniques to hazardous wastes to allow naturally occurring bacteria to break down toxic substances.
- Package, store, or move irradiated fuel elements in the underwater storage basins of nuclear reactor plants, using machines or equipment.
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- Data base user interface and query software — Database software
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — SAP
- Facilities management software — Computerized maintenance management system software CMMS
- Internet browser software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- 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.
- 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.
- Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
- 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.
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- 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.
- Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
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- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Extent Flexibility — The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
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- 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.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- 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 materials.
- 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.
- Monitoring 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.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
- Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Assemble temporary equipment or structures.
- Prepare hazardous waste for processing or disposal.
- Inspect work sites to identify potential environmental or safety hazards.
- Record operational or environmental data.
- Operate cranes, hoists, or other moving or lifting equipment.
- Drive trucks or truck-mounted equipment.
- Load or unload materials used in construction or extraction.
- Decontaminate equipment or sites to remove hazardous or toxic substances.
- Mix substances or compounds needed for work activities.
- Pour materials into or on designated areas.
- Apply new technologies to improve work processes.
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- Face-to-Face Discussions — 84% responded “Every day.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 69% responded “Every day.”
- Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection — 69% responded “Every day.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 58% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 42% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 60% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 42% responded “Extremely important.”
- Contact With Others — 42% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Spend Time Standing — 49% responded “More than half the time.”
- Time Pressure — 34% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 35% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 52% responded “Very important.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 60% responded “High responsibility.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 58% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 56% responded “Moderately close (at arm’s length).”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 33% responded “About half the time.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 53% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 43% responded “Important.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 36% responded “More than half the time.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 33% responded “Important results.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 54% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 54% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Deal With External Customers — 57% responded “Important.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 35% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 45% responded “Some freedom.”
- Outdoors, Under Cover
- Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — 33% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Consequence of Error — 26% responded “Very serious.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 62% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 38% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Exposed to High Places — 56% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 35% responded “Very important.”
- Letters and Memos — 30% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 35% responded “Some freedom.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 18% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 35% responded “More than half the time.”
- Spend Time Climbing Ladders, Scaffolds, or Poles — 35% responded “More than half the time.”
- Spend Time Kneeling, Crouching, Stooping, or Crawling — 35% responded “More than half the time.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 30% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 35% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
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|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate’s degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|26||Less than high school diploma|
|25||High school diploma or equivalent
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Interest code: RC Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
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- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
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- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$21.77 hourly, $45,270 annual|
|Employment (2020)||44,500 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Average (5% to 10%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||5,800|
|Top industries (2020)||
Administrative and Support Services
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Laborers’ International Union of North America
- Nuclear Energy Institute
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Hazardous materials removal workers
- United Steelworkers
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