What is the Job of an Abatement Worker?

An Abatement Worker removes lead and asbestos from buildings and structures, particularly those being renovated or demolished. Most of this work happens in older buildings built with asbestos insulation and later painted with lead-based varnish. Both of these are now banned because of their hazardous nature. 

Abatement workers use various types of chemicals on walls. Also, ceilings of the building to soften the asbestos and to remove lead-based paint. But lead abatement workers remove paint using sandblasters, high-pressure water sprayers, and other tools. They also use vacuums or scrappers to remove asbestos from buildings.

Education of an Abatement Worker

Abatement removal workers typically gain most of their education on the job. This is because training usually includes a mixture of lecture room education and fieldwork. In the classroom, they examine safety methods and the proper use of personal protective equipment. They learn about devices and chemicals and are supervised using a skilled worker.

  • Abatement workers need a high school diploma or equivalent.

Certification or Licensing for an Abatement Worker

In addition to mandating the completion of education required with the aid of an abatement worker, abatement workers must acquire a license. This is particularly for asbestos and lead elimination. Also, workers who transport unsafe substances may need a kingdom or federal grant.

  • Abatement workers need certification after completion and work from an EPA (environment protection agency)-accredited program.
  • A valid class diver’s license

Training for an Abatement Worker

They receive training on the job. It includes a set of classroom instructions and fieldwork.

In the classroom, they learn the proper use of personal protective equipment and other safety procedures. 

Onsite, they learn about chemicals and equipment under the supervision of an experienced worker. 

Primary Responsibility of An Abatement Worker

Abatement workers carry out the following essential services:

  • Dispose of harmful materials from home, worksite, office, public place, or other locations.
  • Research and training for removal of harmful materials, for example, mercury, lead, asbestos, lead-based paint, waste oil, fuel, and contaminated soil.
  • Ensure that all the procedures meet OSHA standards. 
  • Remove radioactive material. 
  • Identify materials to dispose of and collaborate with the construction site manager.
  • Load waste onto trucks.
  • Use monitoring devices to identify harmful materials.

Job Outlook 

The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026 is 17% higher than average. (The average increase for all occupations is 7%)


In addition to mandatory training required by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), it is obligatory to keep permits or licenses in some states, especially for asbestos and lead removal. Workers transporting hazardous materials may also need a state or federal permit. 


On average, hazardous materials removal workers make a $40,640 annual salary of $3386 per month. On hourly terms, it is $19.54 per hour.

Also, Payscale for the salary of asbestos abatement workers is approximately $32,365 ($15.56 per hour) 

Careers For Hazardous Materials Removal Workers

There are a plethora of fields for abatement workers where they can fit in:

  • Asbestos removers
  • Decontamination technicians
  • Environmental cleaners
  • Decommissioning and decontamination workers (D&D)
  • Emergency and disaster response workers.
  • Hazard waste handlers
  • Hazmat technicians
  • Lead abatement workers
  • Radiological control and safety technicians
  • Radiation protection technicians
  • Treatment, storage, and disposal (TSD) workers.

Final Word

So, we may be unaware that hazardous materials are all around us. Therefore, it is an abatement worker’s job to treat these materials while keeping themselves and their surroundings safe. Such locations are present all around the country but are more in large metropolitan areas. But, abatement workers are doing a crucial and respectful job.

Read more: How to Maintain a Healthy Work or Life Balance

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