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Career and Education Opportunities for Hazardous Materials Handlers in Thornton, Colorado

Thornton, Colorado provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for hazardous materials handlers. About 940 people are currently employed as hazardous materials handlers in Colorado. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 18% to about 1,110 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for hazardous materials handlers are expected to grow by about 14.8%. Hazardous materials handlers generally identify, remove, or dispose of hazardous materials, including asbestos, lead-based paint, waste oil, fuel, transmission fluid, radioactive materials, contaminated soil, etc.

Hazardous materials handlers earn approximately $17 per hour or $35,670 annually on average in Colorado. Nationally they average about $17 hourly or $37,310 per year. Hazardous materials handlers earn less than people working in the category of Waste Management generally in Colorado and more than people in the Waste Management category nationally.

There are fifty-nine schools of higher education in the Thornton area, including one within twenty-five miles of Thornton where you can get a degree to start your career as a hazardous materials handler. Hazardous materials handlers usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time training to become a hazardous materials handler if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Hazardous Materials Handler

Hazardous Materials Handler video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, hazardous materials handlers identify, remove, or dispose of hazardous materials, including asbestos, lead-based paint, waste oil, fuel, transmission fluid, radioactive materials, contaminated soil, etc. They also specialized training and certification in hazardous materials handling or a confined entry permit are generally required.

Hazardous materials handlers follow prescribed safety procedures, and comply with federal laws regulating waste disposal methods. They also load and unload materials into containers and onto trucks, using hoists or forklifts. Equally important, hazardous materials handlers have to clean contaminated equipment or areas for re-use, using detergents and solvents and steam cleaners. Finally, hazardous materials handlers operate machines and apparatus to remove or transport loads of waste materials.

Every day, hazardous materials handlers are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they maintain precise control of objects and devices through a range of movements.

It is important for hazardous materials handlers to record numbers of containers stored at disposal sites, and specify amounts and types of equipment and waste disposed. They are often called upon to drive trucks or other heavy apparatus to convey contaminated waste to designated sea or ground locations. They also construct scaffolding or build containment areas before beginning abatement or decontamination work. They are sometimes expected to clear away asbestos and/or lead from surfaces, using hand and power tools such as scrapers and high-pressure sprayers. Somewhat less frequently, hazardous materials handlers are also expected to follow prescribed safety procedures, and comply with federal laws regulating waste disposal methods.

Hazardous materials handlers sometimes are asked to identify asbestos or other hazardous materials that need to be removed, using monitoring devices. and package and move irradiated fuel elements in the underwater storage basin of a nuclear reactor plant, using machines and equipment. And finally, they sometimes have to unload baskets of irradiated elements onto packaging machines that automatically insert fuel elements into canisters and secure lids.

Like many other jobs, hazardous materials handlers must be reliable and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Thornton include:

  • Glazier. Install glass in windows, skylights, and display cases, or on surfaces, such as building fronts, interior walls, and tabletops.
  • Mine Cutting and Channeling Machine Company Miner. Operate machinery--such as longwall shears, plows, and cutting machines--to cut or channel along the face or seams of coal mines, stone quarries, or other mining surfaces to facilitate blasting, separating, or removing minerals or materials from mines or from the earth's surface.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Hazardous Materials Handler Training

Emily Griffith Opportunity School - Denver, CO

Emily Griffith Opportunity School, 1250 Welton Street, Denver, CO 80204-2197. Emily Griffith Opportunity School is a small school located in Denver, Colorado. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 2,148 students. Emily Griffith Opportunity School has a less than one year program in Construction Trades, Other Specialties which graduated seven students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Environmental Technician: NREP provides an Environmental Registry listing for individuals conducting environmental technician job functions.

For more information, see the National Registry of Environmental Professionals website.

LICENSES

Asbestos Worker

Licensing agency: Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment
Address: 4300 Cherry Creek South Drive, Denver, CO 80246-1530

Phone: (303) 692-3620
Website: Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment

LOCATION INFORMATION: Thornton, Colorado

Thornton, Colorado
Thornton, Colorado photo by bonjourpeewee

Thornton is located in Adams County, Colorado. It has a population of over 113,429, which has grown by 37.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Thornton, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Thornton are priced at $176,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred ninety-five new homes were constructed in Thornton, down from four hundred eighty-four the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Thornton are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 29 minutes. More than 19.9% of Thornton residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Thornton is 6.3%, which is less than Colorado's average of 6.6%.

The percentage of Thornton residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 30.4%, is less than both the national and state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Lutheran Church.