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Become A Lead Abatement Worker

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Working As A Lead Abatement Worker

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • $39,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Lead Abatement Worker Do

Hazardous materials (hazmat) removal workers identify and dispose of asbestos, lead, radioactive waste, and other hazardous materials. They also neutralize and clean up materials that are flammable, corrosive, or toxic.

Duties

Hazmat removal workers typically do the following:

  • Follow safety procedures before, during, and after cleanup
  • Comply with state and federal laws regarding waste disposal
  • Test hazardous materials to determine the proper way to clean up
  • Construct scaffolding or build containment areas before cleaning up
  • Remove, neutralize, or clean up hazardous materials that are found or spilled
  • Clean contaminated equipment for reuse
  • Package, transport, or store hazardous materials
  • Keep records of cleanup activities

Hazmat removal workers clean up materials that are harmful to people and the environment. They usually work in teams and follow strict instructions and guidelines. The specific duties of hazmat removal workers depend on the substances that are targeted and the location of the cleanup. For example, removing lead and asbestos requires different actions than does cleaning up radiation contamination and toxic spills, and cleaning up a fuel spill from a train derailment is more urgent than removing lead paint from a bridge.

The following are examples of types of hazmat removal workers:

Asbestos abatement workers and lead abatement workers remove asbestos and lead, respectively, from buildings and structures, particularly those which are being renovated or demolished. Most of this work is in older buildings that were originally built with asbestos insulation and lead-based paints—both of which are now banned.

Asbestos and lead abatement workers apply chemicals to surfaces, such as walls and ceilings, in order to soften asbestos or remove lead-based paint. Once the chemicals are applied, workers cut out asbestos from the surfaces or strip the walls. They package the residue or paint chips and place them in approved bags or containers for proper disposal. Lead abatement workers operate sandblasters, high-pressure water sprayers, and other tools to remove paint. Asbestos abatement workers also use scrapers or vacuums to remove asbestos from buildings.

Decommissioning and decontamination workers remove and treat radioactive materials generated by nuclear facilities and power plants. They break down contaminated items such as “glove boxes,” which are used to process radioactive materials, and they clean and decontaminate closed or decommissioned (taken out of service) facilities.

Emergency and disaster response workers clean up hazardous materials in response to natural or human-made disasters and accidents, such as those involving trains, trucks, or other vehicles transporting hazardous materials.

Radiation-protection technicians measure, record, and report radiation levels; operate high-pressure cleaning equipment for decontamination; and package radioactive materials for removal or storage.

Treatment, storage, and disposal workers prepare and transport hazardous materials for treatment, storage, or disposal. Proper treatment of materials requires these workers to follow U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. Using equipment such as forklifts, earthmoving machinery, and trucks, these workers move materials from contaminated sites to incinerators, landfills, or storage facilities. Workers also organize and track the locations of items in these facilities.

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How To Become A Lead Abatement Worker

Hazardous materials (hazmat) removal workers receive on-the-job training. They must complete up to 40 hours of training in accordance with Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standards.

There are no formal education requirements beyond a high school diploma.

Some hazmat removal workers must be licensed. Positions in nuclear facilities require candidates to be U.S. citizens, pass a security background investigation, and pass drug and alcohol abuse screening.

Education

Hazmat removal workers typically need a high school diploma. Although not required, associate’s degree programs related to radiation protection may help candidates seeking positions in nuclear facilities.

Training

Hazmat removal workers receive training on the job. Training generally includes a combination of classroom instruction and fieldwork. In the classroom, they learn safety procedures and the proper use of personal protective equipment. Onsite, they learn about equipment and chemicals, and are supervised by an experienced worker.

As part of this training, workers must complete up to 40 hours of training in accordance with OSHA standards. The length of training depends on the type of hazardous material that workers handle. The training covers health hazards, personal protective equipment and clothing, site safety, recognizing and identifying hazards, and decontamination.

To work with a specific hazardous material, workers must complete training requirements and work requirements set by state or federal agencies on handling that material.

Workers who treat asbestos or lead, the most common contaminants, must complete an employer-sponsored training program that covers technical and safety subjects outlined by OSHA.

Decommissioning and decontamination workers at nuclear facilities receive extensive training. In addition to completing the OSHA-required hazardous waste removal training, workers must take courses on nuclear materials and radiation safety as mandated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. These courses may take up to 3 months to complete, although most are not taken consecutively.

Organizations and companies provide training programs that are approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, and other regulatory agencies.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

In addition to completing the training required by OSHA, some states mandate permits or licenses, particularly for asbestos and lead removal. Workers who transport hazardous materials may need a state or federal permit.

License requirements vary by state, but candidates typically must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Complete training mandated by a state or federal agency
  • Pass a written exam

To maintain licensure, workers must take continuing education courses each year. For more information, check with the state’s licensing agency.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Although previous work experience is not required, some employers prefer candidates with experience in the construction trades, such as construction laborers and helpers.

In addition, some employers at nuclear facilities prefer to hire workers with at least 2 years of related work experience. Experience in nuclear operations in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear technician or power plant operator or experience working as a janitor at a nuclear facility may be helpful.

Important Qualities

Decisionmaking skills. Hazmat removal workers identify materials in a spill or leak and choose the proper method for cleaning up.

Detail oriented. Hazmat removal workers must follow safety procedures and keep records of their work. For example, workers must track the amount and type of waste disposed, equipment or chemicals used, and number of containers stored.

Math skills. Workers must be able to perform basic mathematical conversions and calculations when mixing solutions that neutralize contaminants.

Mechanical skills. Hazmat removal workers may operate heavy equipment to clean contaminated sites.

Physical stamina. Workers may have to stand and scrub equipment or surfaces for hours at a time to remove toxic materials.

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Lead Abatement Worker jobs

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Lead Abatement Worker Career Paths

Lead Abatement Worker
Material Handler Forklift Operator Security Officer
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Carpenter Service Technician General Manager
Area Director
8 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Operations Manager General Manager
Area Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Night Auditor Front Desk Supervisor
Assistant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Material Handler Technician Service Manager
Branch Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Office Manager General Manager
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Driver Dispatcher Operations Manager
Chief Operating Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Driver Instructor Case Manager
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Field Service Technician Service Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Foreman Technician Operations Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Assistant Director Office Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Instructor Program Manager General Manager
President/Chief Executive Officer
10 Yearsyrs
Foreman Maintenance Technician Production Supervisor
Production Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Engineering Technician Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Forklift Operator Warehouse Manager General Manager
Property Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Sales Consultant Leasing Consultant
Resident Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Forklift Operator Security Officer Account Manager
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager
Senior Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Carpenter Maintenance Technician Production Supervisor
Warehouse Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Lead Abatement Worker Demographics

Gender

Male

62.2%

Female

35.8%

Unknown

2.1%
Ethnicity

White

78.6%

Hispanic or Latino

12.1%

Asian

7.1%

Unknown

1.5%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.0%

French

11.4%

Carrier

6.8%

Arabic

4.5%

Italian

4.5%

Cheyenne

2.3%

Filipino

2.3%

Chinese

2.3%

Vietnamese

2.3%

Welsh

2.3%

Somali

2.3%

Norwegian

2.3%

Hindi

2.3%

Urdu

2.3%

Korean

2.3%
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Lead Abatement Worker Education

Schools

Washington State University

11.9%

University of Phoenix

9.9%

Liberty University

6.9%

California State University - Fullerton

5.9%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

5.9%

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

5.0%

Grand Canyon University

5.0%

Ashford University

4.0%

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

4.0%

Florida State University

4.0%

University of Washington

4.0%

Central Connecticut State University

4.0%

Sam Houston State University

4.0%

Strayer University

4.0%

Kaplan University

4.0%

Iowa State University

4.0%

Western Illinois University

4.0%

Western Michigan University

4.0%

University of Northern Colorado

3.0%

Northeast State Community College

3.0%
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Majors

Business

27.5%

Criminal Justice

8.5%

Psychology

7.8%

Social Work

5.4%

General Studies

4.9%

Human Resources Management

4.4%

Management

4.1%

Computer Science

3.9%

Accounting

3.9%

Kinesiology

3.1%

Education

3.1%

Sociology

3.1%

Elementary Education

2.8%

Precision Metal Working

2.6%

Photography

2.6%

English

2.6%

Information Technology

2.6%

Medical Assisting Services

2.3%

Health Care Administration

2.3%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

2.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

36.2%

Other

30.9%

Associate

11.6%

Masters

11.2%

Certificate

7.2%

Diploma

1.6%

License

0.8%

Doctorate

0.5%
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Top Skills for A Lead Abatement Worker

SafetyProceduresAsbestosISORemovalCustomerServiceHazardousMaterialsOshaPayrollHandToolsDataEntryPersonalProtectiveEquipmentFoodPreparationSpecialProjectsAdditionalDailyOperationsStaffMembersNewStaffCustomerSatisfactionCrewMembersHazmat

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Top Lead Abatement Worker Skills

  1. Safety Procedures
  2. Asbestos
  3. ISO
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Give instructions, safety procedures, math and computer skills.
  • Performed lead, asbestos and hazardous waste abatement under NYC & State regulation.
  • Assist the Supervisor with office duties as well as providing support to division victim/witness counselors.
  • Established safe environments through the professional demolition and removal of hazardous buildings affected by asbestos.
  • Provided excellent customer service to both internal and external agents, staff and to ensure accuracy of paperwork.

Top Lead Abatement Worker Employers