Private company offering Hazwoper training - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Private company offering Hazwoper training

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

By Doug Walker – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Class began with a greeting from one of the owners of 1st Environmental Response, Jay Sanders. Then, the work started, notes were taken and eyes paid close attention to the presentation on the screen. 

It's serious business, and this training involved more than just working on the oil spill, according to Jay Sanders with 1st Environmental Response.  

"But we figured that if they have to sit through the 40-hour class, they might as well get the full blown Hazwoper license," Sanders said. "It entails the oil spill clean-up, but after the oil clean-up is over, they can go work at Chevron or Exxon or the refineries and chemical plants in this area."

Then comes more training on real life scenarios. Paying attention is the best advice in a class like this. Tyler Rutland is one of the students, and he saw this training as a way to jumpstart his career. 

"I'm trying to better my life. I did have a job, but I lost it. And I've been trying to look for another job. Finally, someone said just come on down here and take your Hazwoper test, and you can get a job on the oil spill."  

While some of the people taking this class have been unemployed for quite some time and are looking for work, they view the oil spill as a new opportunity to become productive again and rejoin the workforce. 

One of those people is James Miller, a man who has a masters degree but does not have job.  Miller said that could soon change. 

"I hate that a disaster has to be a reason to have work, but it is a disaster," Miller said. "This is a help to our country, so I guess it's worth it."

And with stiff regulations in place, Sanders said having this training is not just good for the wallet either.

"Now that the oil is here and the toxins are in the water with the dispersants, OSHA and the government are requiring them to have their Hazwoper license for health and safety reasons." 

Classes run from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., for three consecutive days. After passing the final test, the students are given their EPA approved Hazwoper cards. The cost of the course is $350.

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