What does a Hazardous Materials Worker do?

 Hazardous materials workers (253H) identify, remove, package, transport, and dispose of asbestos, radioactive and nuclear waste, arsenic, lead, mercury, or other dangerous materials. These workers often respond to emergencies where harmful substances are present, and are sometimes called abatement, remediation, or decontamination specialists.

Trade Code 253H  NOC Classification Not yet available Red Seal No Journeyman: Apprentice Ratio n/a

You may find additional information about  and applicable standards at the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) website - Construction sector link: www.collegeoftrades.ca/trades/training-standards1/construction.

Job-Related Skills, Interests, and Values

  • Interested in protecting the environment
  • Able to apply safe working practices and procedures
  • Able to construct and set up enclosures, decontamination chambers and waste chutes
  • Able to perform routine inspections
  • Knowledgeable about biological and physical hazards

What Preparation and Training do You Need?

Grade 12 or equivalent (GED or ACE) is the minimum requirement for entry into this trade. Please note that although education beyond Grade 12 in high school is not required, workers must be able to perform basic mathematical conversions and calculations when mixing solutions that neutralize contaminants and should have good physical strength and manual dexterity. under the Ontario College of Trades Apprenticeship Act (2009). Please note that minimum entry requirements to this and other trades are currently under review by the Ontario College of Trades. Completion of a apx. 3,000 hour apprenticeship will include a combination of on-the-job and in-school training, before successfully writing an examination to obtain your Certificate. Because of the nature of the work and the time constraints sometimes involved, employers prefer people who are dependable, prompt, and detail-oriented. Since much of the work is done in buildings, a background in construction is helpful. Many people who become Hazardous Materials Workers are already employees of a particular company, and are required to obtain their Hazardous Materials certificate in order to retain employability, and in order for the company to remain competitive.


What's Your Future as a Hazardous Materials Worker?


With growing societal concerns about both environmental protection and the rising cost of health care, these workers will be required to remove or contain hazardous materials. Increased pressure for cleaner electric generation facilities could drive employment growth. In addition, renewed interest in nuclear power production could lead to the reactivation of additional facilities, resulting in the need for many new remediation workers.

Wage Rate

  • Apprentices usually start at a wage rate less than that of a journeyperson
  • This rate increases gradually as you gain more skills and expertise 
  • Hazardous Materials Workers can earn in a range from $12.00-$35.00/hr, with most workers earning between $15 and $24 per hour.
  • sometimes with employee benefits and opportunities to work overtime


Ask Yourself: Is Working as a Hazardous Materials Worker for You?


Do you enjoy working with your hands using a variety of tools and equipment?

Yes      No

Are you physically able to stand for long periods, stoop, bend, crouch, and pull wires through walls?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy figuring out what's wrong with something and then finding a solution?

Yes      No

Are you concerned about the environment?

Yes      No

Are you a careful and thorough worker?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy keeping up with and learning about new technology?

Yes      No

Can you communicate effectively as a member of a team with supervisors and co-workers?

Yes      No


If you answered Yes to most of these questions, a career as a Hazardous Materials Worker may be for you!


You may also want to explore other careers that require similar interests and skills, such as:

  • Sprinkler and fire protection installer
  • Heat and Frost Insulator
  • Power Lineworker

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