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.
What they do:
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.
On the job, you would:
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.
Safety and Government
public safety and security
movement of people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road
Engineering and Technology
building and construction
keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
listen and understand what people say
communicate by speaking
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
group things in different ways
Hand and Finger Use
keep your arm or hand steady
hold or move items with your hands
quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Enterprise resource planning ERP software
no high school diploma/GED or high school diploma/GED usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.