I'm not sure which term I should use to generally refer to a person whose job involves handling hazardous material.

Operator first comes to mind, but I'm not sure if it works in certain contexts, to indicate a regular employee who handles such material as part of their regular work routine.

Specifically, does the phrase hazardous waste operator clearly indicate such person, or operator may be understood in a more general sense of a company that deals with hazardous waste disposal?

Also, could the term attendant generally be used as a synonym to operator/handler, as for example in a gas station context: gas station operator/attendant?

  • Technician also may apply.
    – Bookeater
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 11:52
  • Thank you Bookeater! All the suggestions I gave work for you in my contexts?
    – user97589
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 11:59
  • Yes. I looked up some relevant job sites and operator seems prevalent.
    – Bookeater
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 12:04
  • Specialist is also worth throwing into the mix, particularly if it is material that required particular training to handle.
    – Sam
    Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 13:14

1 Answer 1


My Father handled hazardous materials all the time at work. He was a chemical engineer so I think the title a person receives depends on the specifics of the work. I'm sure the military has designation for soldiers who dispose of old chemical weapon stockpiles or nuclear waste. Also I'm pretty sure that truck drivers who transport hazardous material receive some new designation on their license.

  • 2
    Can you actually give what you think the answer is? Right now this is an interesting comment on the OP, but doesn't obviously provide a term that is sought.
    – Mitch
    Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 12:20
  • First time on here for me, but I'm glad you found it interesting. I just don't think that kind of work can be labeled with a single title. I can think of many more examples like cops who have to wear hazard suits when they raid meth labs etc. Credit to you for a good question was fun to think about.
    – Mr. Durden
    Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 15:34
  • Thank you for the answer Mr.Durden, and thank you for commending my question :) In the rulebook setting out safety regulations at a ship terminal which I was translating there's actually a job position which would literally translate to English as "handler of hazardous material", and which involves loading, handling, unloading etc of different sorts of materials hazardous for health and environment. The person covering such job position is licensed to handle a wide range of materials that may cause damage to health or environment when stored, loaded, unloaded or operated with in any manner.
    – user97589
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 12:29
  • Let me add also that in the country where I live there are companies that specialize in hazardous material transportation, and it makes sense that drivers, for example, who drive tank trucks transporting such material must undergo certain specific training and have some specific knowledge regarding the safety measures, practices etc regarding the materials they transport. It also makes sense to me that storage of such materials needs to be performed by someone who is even more aware of the characteristics of the hazardous material being stored at their facility.
    – user97589
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 12:35
  • @RejlanGivens I believe your original term " hazardous waste operator "would work well in the work situation you described. I once worked on an oil and natural gas pipeline operation where there was a similar type position. I'll add that at times other workers who didn't normally handle hazardous material had to do so on occasion and would receive hazard pay for doing so. Hazard pay usually being double their normal hourly rate.
    – Mr. Durden
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 3:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.