Samples must be secured in a manner ensuring the safety of the sampler, all others working in the area, and the surroundings.

If the source and nature of the hazardous waste are known, the sampler should study the properties of the material to determine the necessary safety precautions, including protective clothing and special handling precautions.

If the nature of the hazardous waste is unknown, such as at an abandoned waste disposal site, then the sampler should take additional precautions to prevent direct contact with the hazardous waste. Stored, abandoned, or suspect waste will often be containerized in drums and tanks. Such containers and materials buried under abandoned waste sites pose special safety problems (De Vera, Simmons, Stephens, Storn, 1980; EPA 1985). Care must be exercised in opening drums or tanks to prevent sudden releases of pressurized materials, fire, explosions, or spillage.

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