Career Profile: Hazardous Materials...

Career Profile: Hazardous Materials Removal Workers

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

The world is full of hazardous chemicals and other dangerous materials which can damage the environment and harm people. When manufacturing, mining, or other processes produce hazardous waste, people have to come and clean it up. This job can be difficult and potentially dangerous, but it is essential. If you like the idea of helping in this way, you should consider becoming a hazardous waste removal worker.

When you work on an assignment at school, you might have a computer printout or glue bottle that you discard after using them. Throwing something recyclable into the garbage is harmful in a small way, although the hazards add up quickly. However, the waste coming from processes like mining can be immediately poisonous to people and animals while destroying trees and streams. Hazardous materials removal workers help to clean up these types of materials.

The first step in removing hazardous materials is to find out what they are and how to deal with them. People in this field need to study different types of waste and know what to do with each of them, or they can specialize in one type. They could choose to learn about mining waste or the dangerous substances that come from nuclear plants. Some people can even get jobs sorting out hazardous waste like batteries from the regular garbage like orange peels and chocolate wrappers.

Most hazardous materials removal workers need at least two years of training after high school to get jobs in this fields. Throughout their career, they might need extra training to be able to work with certain types of hazardous waste. If an oil spill happens, for example, someone in this career might need to learn about that type of material.

When disasters happen or hazardous waste builds up, people in this field assess the damage and decide how to deal with the trouble. They use various tools and cleaning solutions to remove the waste and store it in containers where it can be safe. People in this job often have to work long and tiring days, frequently outside in all kinds of weather. Sometimes, however, they need to be prepared to spend hours in an office, making plans, organizing work, and writing reports.

Working with hazardous materials can be dangerous, and people in this field need to know about keeping themselves and others safe. Accidents can happen while people are cleaning up the waste material.

Protective equipment is necessary in this job. Workers might need to wear thick rubber gloves, goggles, and other equipment to keep themselves safe. Even then, they should be careful not to touch the hazardous materials or to breathe in the fumes from them. Besides the dangers, it can be very unpleasant and smelly work. Although it is possible to stay in this job for many years, it can become more difficult as people get older.

Annual salaries for hazardous waste disposal workers begin at about $65,000 and can rise to $87,000. Job prospects are limited right now, but they will likely improve in the next few years as older workers retire. If you like the idea of this job, you could already start to prepare to work in the field by researching further, looking into training, and becoming more aware of the hazardous materials that our modern way of life produces and how they affect us and the planet.



ALIS. “Hazardous Waste Management Technologist.” https://alis.alberta.ca/occinfo/occupations-in-alberta/occupation-profiles/hazardous-waste-management-technologist/.

Career Planner. “Hazardous Materials Removal Worker.” https://job-descriptions.careerplanner.com/Hazardous-Materials-Removal-Workers.cfm.

My Plan. “Hazardous Materials Removal Workers.” https://www.myplan.com/careers/hazardous-materials-removal-workers/description-47-4041.00.html.

PayScale Canada. “Hazardous Waste Treatment and Disposal: Salary.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Industry=Hazardous_Waste_Treatment_and_Disposal/Salary.

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