Companies who are concerned with the impact their business might have on the environment often hire a hazardous waste manager to help them manage harmful substances. This person is typically responsible for keeping an inventory of hazardous materials and making sure they are stored properly. She might also consult local environmental regulations before disposing of hazardous products. A manager might also respond to emergency spills or train workers how to clean them up.
It is very important to store hazardous products safely. A hazardous waste manager is responsible for ensuring chemicals, explosives, or other dangerous materials are properly secured. This could involve making sure products are placed in the right container and labeled properly. It could also require keeping safety equipment, such as a fire extinguisher, in good working condition.
When chemicals need to be transported, a hazardous waste manager might be asked to oversee this task. She might check to see that containers are properly loaded and secured in the vehicle. Other times, this worker might provide material safety data sheets (MSDS) and emergency contact information to drivers in the event there is a spill on the truck.
In many locations, environmental agencies routinely inspect buildings known to contain hazardous products. A hazardous waste manager is typically responsible for ensuring an organization's compliance with these regulations. During an inspection, she will represent the company, escort inspectors as they perform a walk-through examination of the premises, and answer any questions they might have. After the visit is over, she might prepare a report of the inspection for management and make proposals on how to correct deficiencies.
Even when safety measures are strictly followed, hazardous materials can sometimes leak or spill. Should this happen, a hazardous waste manager could be called on to respond. She may be responsible for cleaning up the materials herself or overseeing a team of workers who do this. After performing the clean up, she might inspect the site to make sure there is no remaining residue.
The requirements for becoming a hazardous waste manager often include an associate's degree in hazardous waste management or environmental science. College courses in chemistry and math could be extremely helpful. Many workers receive on-the-job training or attend special seminars devoted to new methods of handling and storing hazardous materials. Other qualities that might be desirable are an ability to react to emergencies calmly and quickly, as well as good public speaking skills.