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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
  • $53,359

    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
Driver Transportation Manager Planning Manager
Business Planning Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Account Representative Collector
Collections Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Custodian Maintenance Technician Production Manager
Continuous Improvement Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Production Manager Senior Buyer Senior Contract Administrator/Contract Administrator
Contracts Administration Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Forklift Operator Operations Manager Safety Manager
Corporate Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager Operations Director
Director/Operations Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Senior Project Manager Program Director
Division Director
10 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Property Manager Compliance Manager
Environmental Compliance Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Engineer Project Engineer
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Carpenter Construction Manager Project Executive
Executive Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Foreman Service Technician Maintenance Supervisor
Facilities Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Custodian Housekeeper Supervisor Food Service Worker
Food Service Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Technician Foreman
General Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Material Handler Production Supervisor General Foreman
Lead Generator
5 Yearsyrs
Material Handler Supply Technician Logistics Analyst
Logistics Lead
7 Yearsyrs
Foreman Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Technician Registered Nurse Staff Nurse
Patient Care Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Production Supervisor Quality Engineer
Quality Manager
11 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Lead Abatement Worker?

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Do you work as a Lead Abatement Worker?

Lead Abatement Worker Demographics

Gender

Male

61.7%

Female

36.4%

Unknown

2.0%
Ethnicity

White

62.2%

Hispanic or Latino

16.1%

Black or African American

10.6%

Asian

7.5%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

51.1%

French

10.6%

Carrier

6.4%

Arabic

4.3%

Italian

4.3%

Cheyenne

2.1%

Portuguese

2.1%

Filipino

2.1%

Chinese

2.1%

Vietnamese

2.1%

Welsh

2.1%

Somali

2.1%

Norwegian

2.1%

Hindi

2.1%

Urdu

2.1%

Korean

2.1%
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Lead Abatement Worker Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

10.7%

Washington State University

10.7%

Liberty University

6.3%

Grand Canyon University

6.3%

California State University - Fullerton

5.4%

Ashford University

5.4%

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

5.4%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

5.4%

University of Washington

4.5%

Iowa State University

4.5%

Texas State University

3.6%

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

3.6%

Florida State University

3.6%

Southwest Tennessee Community College

3.6%

Central Connecticut State University

3.6%

Strayer University

3.6%

Kaplan University

3.6%

American InterContinental University

3.6%

Western Illinois University

3.6%

Western Michigan University

3.6%
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Majors

Business

27.1%

Psychology

8.2%

Criminal Justice

7.7%

Social Work

5.7%

Management

5.2%

General Studies

4.8%

Human Resources Management

4.6%

Computer Science

3.9%

Accounting

3.6%

Education

3.2%

Kinesiology

3.0%

Elementary Education

2.7%

Information Technology

2.7%

Sociology

2.7%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.5%

Precision Metal Working

2.5%

Nursing

2.5%

Medical Assisting Services

2.5%

Health Care Administration

2.5%

Photography

2.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

35.0%

Other

31.4%

Masters

11.8%

Associate

11.3%

Certificate

6.9%

Diploma

1.8%

License

1.0%

Doctorate

0.7%
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Top Skills for A Lead Abatement Worker

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  1. Safety Procedures
  2. Asbestos
  3. Removal
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Comply with prescribed safety procedures or federal laws regulating waste disposal methods.
  • Licensed Asbestos Worker Responsible for calibration of all air monitoring equipment.
  • Established safe environments through the professional demolition and removal of hazardous buildings affected by asbestos.
  • Provide park information and quality customer service.
  • Supervised and delivered all aspects of home and commercial repairs as required as a result of environmental emergency disaster.

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Top Lead Abatement Worker Employers

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