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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

SM 445-2-H CHAPTER 33

Contractor Safety and Health

Instruction:  Chapter 33 is revised to ensure that specific hazard information unique to the site location is provided to contractor personnel working in U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) facilities.  Training requirements for USGS employees who develop requirements for construction, facilities maintenance, and the use of hazardous chemicals or pesticides to be performed by contractor personnel are included in this policy

1.  Policy.  Workplace safety applies to all employers as a matter of law and is enforced by the Government as the sovereign through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  Enforcement of workplace safety statutes are not the responsibility of the USGS as a contracting party.  However, the USGS does have an obligation to ensure that contractors and subcontractors perform their duties in a manner that will not endanger the safety and health of USGS employees, volunteers, the public, or themselves as they work in or visit USGS facilities.  To this end, the USGS is responsible for ensuring that contractor personnel are made aware of safety issues affecting their work; e.g., work in confined spaces or building-specific conditions such as exposure to potentially hazardous working conditions or hazardous materials. 

End users having requirements for construction to be performed by contractor personnel are responsible for notifying the contracting officer of safety factors, issues, or concerns to ensure that the necessary contract language is included in the award document.  

2.  Purpose.  This chapter outlines specific requirements for employees with responsibility for construction projects that bring contractor personnel into contact with USGS facilities; e.g., laboratories, offices, or field worksites.  The provisions of this chapter also apply to requirements that may expose contractor personnel to hazardous working conditions or materials.

3.  Authorities/References.

A.  Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR); 48 CFR Parts 1-53.

B.  485 DM Chapter 24, Contractor Safety and Health.

C.  Acquisition Operating Procedure for Specifications and Performance Based Statements of Work.

D.  Acquisition Operating Procedure for Purchase Requests.

4.  Definitions.

A.  Contractor.  A company or individual that has entered into a binding contractual agreement with the USGS to provide goods or services.

B.  Contractor Personnel.  Individuals employed by a contractor to perform work in accordance with a contractual agreement with the USGS.

C.  Contracting Officer (CO).  A USGS employee in the contracting office warranted under the procedures of SM 205.4.  In this chapter, the term specifically refers to the CO assigned responsibility for administration of the contract or order.

D.  Contracting Officer Representative (COR).  A USGS employee formally designated under the procedures of SM 404.11 to perform technical monitoring on a particular contract.  For simplicity, the term as used in this chapter also includes the technical representative or inspector for contracts/orders with no formally designated COR.

E.  Cooperative Agreement.  An assistance award to sponsor a recipient's participation in a cooperative activity, with substantial involvement by the USGS in carrying out the activity along with shared performance responsibility.

F.  Competent Person or Designated Government Representative.  A USGS employee responsible for assisting the COR in technical oversight of contractor performance.

G.  Government Inspector.  The contracting technical representative or other authority responsible for daily monitoring of the contract.

H.  Interagency Agreement.  An agreement or ordering document between Federal agencies in which one agency transfers its appropriated funds to another agency for the purpose of obtaining products or services.  This term includes inter-service support agreements, as discussed in Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76, and transfers to other Federal agencies for orders against other agency contracts, including Government wide agency contracts.  These agreements are also referred to as interagency transfers or interagency acquisitions.

I.  Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  OSHA, a bureau of the Department of Labor, assures the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. 

5.  Responsibilities.

A.  Bureau, Regional, and Headquarters Safety and Health Staff.

(1)  Serve as principal technical experts on safety and occupational health issues, providing subject matter expertise to the CO, COR, or Government Inspector, and other employees, as applicable, in developing contractor requirements documents and/or contract language to address USGS building or worksite-specific safety issues such as:

(a)  Lockout/tagout procedures.

(b)  Unique facility operations, chemicals, and other activities specific in scope to that facility.

(c)  USGS-unique policies that protect the safety, health, and well-being of all persons within USGS owned or leased facilities that affect contracted work.

(d)  The conduct of USGS field operations that affect contracted work.

(2)  Review program compliance with safety and occupational health policies during safety reviews.  Ensure that the CO and COR are notified in writing of any violations noted during these reviews that may affect contractor performance since only the CO can  issue a stop work order for imminent danger situations.  A project COR does not have the authority to terminate, for any cause, the contractor’s right to proceed.

(3)  Upon request of the contracting officer, provide contractors and subcontractors with on-site briefings/training concerning safety policies and procedures specific to the USGS that may affect the performance of the contracted work.  This briefing/training will outline possible hazards in the workplace to which contractor personnel might be exposed.  The briefing/training may be part of any post-award orientation requested by the CO, or may also be provided to new or replacement contractor personnel at the request of or upon advance approval of the CO, to avoid unauthorized labor charges or Government-caused delays to performance and delivery schedules.

(4)  Provide advice/assistance to employees developing construction requirements in proximity to hazardous operations or chemicals in use that may impact the safety and health of contractor personnel or performance of contracted work in a USGS owned or leased facility or in field locations.  Please note that the contractor is required to provide, at its own expense, any safety or protective gear contractor personnel may require in performance of the contracted work.

(5)  Ensure that contractor accidents and incidents are reported to the local safety staff and documented within the Department of the Interior’s Safety Management Information System (SMIS), as applicable.  The SMIS entry should clearly note that the data entered is for a contractor employee working in a Government facility or at a Government field site.  The name of the contractor employee should also be identified.

B.  Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinators.

(1)  Assist organizational managers and supervisors in meeting safety and occupational health requirements and development of safety and health procedures specific to USGS unique operations at certain local facilities.

(2)  Perform periodic inspections of contractor worksites on USGS owned or leased facilities to ensure that contractor personnel are not creating hazards that can affect on-site personnel.  Notify local safety staff, the CO, and COR/Government Inspector in writing of any contractor safety violations noted during inspections for OSHA notification, enforcement, and follow-up.

C.  Employees.

(1) Employees who initiate contracts will include in the requirements documents the USGS safety policies and procedures addressing building- or worksite-specific safety issues.  For example, if, in the course of contract performance, contractor personnel are expected to evacuate USGS buildings when a fire alarm activates or participate in USGS conducted on-site practical drills and exercises.

(2) Employees who oversee contractor performance involving hazardous operations or hazardous chemicals will have adequate training in OSHA standards that pertain to the work being performed.  Documentation of an OSHA 10-hour General Industry Outreach class or OSHA 10-hour Construction Industry Outreach class will meet the minimum requirement for the OSHA training, but additional training may be required depending on the location of the work, site conditions, and materials required.

(3) Employees will ensure that the requirements documents task the contractor with assigning an on-site Competent Person, who meets applicable certification/licensing standards defined in 29 CFR 1926.32(f), to oversee work activity, as required.

(4) Employees will ensure that the requirements documents stipulate that construction, renovation, repairs, or change of occupancy; e.g., office space converted to a laboratory; at USGS facilities meet applicable Federal, State, or local codes prior to occupancy, and require the contractor to provide a document or inspection record certifying code compliance, to be retained by each USGS owned or leased facility.  See 29 CFR 1960.34 and USGS 445-2-H, Chapter 6, Inspections and Abatement, regarding pre-occupancy inspection requirements. 

(5) Employees who draft requirements documents or contract language that may involve workplace safety issues will obtain the advice and counsel of local USGS safety officials for subject matter expertise, where necessary.

(6) Employees who develop construction requirements to be performed by contractor personnel are responsible for providing accurate and comprehensive information regarding facility and operational hazards to the CO so that appropriate contract language is included in award documents informing prospective contractors of existing site-specific conditions that can affect performance.

(7) Employees are also responsible for keeping the CO and COR/Government Inspector apprised of any changes in activities or issues that can affect the potential safety and well-being of contractor personnel or require the contractor to adjust its performance to accommodate such changes.  This information should include, but is not limited to, the following:

(a)  The location and existence of potentially hazardous conditions at the job site where contractor personnel may be exposed.

(b)  A list of hazardous substances and material safety data sheets found in the USGS workplaces which may affect on-site contractor personnel, as required by OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.1200, Hazard Communication.

(c)  The locations of permit-required confined spaces where contractor personnel might be working and USGS policies concerning entry into these spaces, as required by OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.146, Permit-Required Confined Spaces.

(d)  The existence and location of asbestos-containing material and presumed asbestos-containing material, as required by OSHA standards 29 CFR 1910.1001, Asbestos; 29 CFR 1915.1001, Asbestos; and 29 CFR 1926.1101, Asbestos.

(e)  When applicable, provide information about the facility's lockout/tagout procedures and request information regarding the lockout/tagout procedures of the contractor and subcontractors, as required by OSHA standard, 29 CFR 1910.147, Control of Hazardous Energy.

(f)  When the contractor and/or subcontractor provides services at hazardous-waste sites, communicate information regarding the site emergency response procedures and any potential fire, explosion, health, safety, or other hazards of the hazardous-waste site operation that have been identified, including those identified in the information program, as required by OSHA standards 29 CFR 1910.120, Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response, and 29 CFR 1926.65, Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response.

D.  Contracting Officer.

(1)  Ensures that award documents address hazardous materials, site conditions, and/or hazardous work that contractor personnel may encounter while working at USGS facilities or field sites.  Contracts for onsite performance not involving contractor personnel exposure to hazardous materials or working conditions should identify and address routine office-related hazards, as applicable.

(2)  Where appropriate, considers historical contractor accident rates in making an award determination.  Prospective contactors with lost time and overall accident rates above the Federal average, based on using the most recent 3-year period, should provide an explanation for the negative accident history or risk receiving an overall unacceptable rating.

(3)  Maintains official communication and notification with the contractor concerning any safety or injury incidence involving contractor personnel.

(4)  Issues a stop work order for imminent danger situations, as applicable.

(5)  Informs OSHA, or other appropriate Federal, State or local officials, of instances where the contractor has been notified to take immediate action to correct serious or imminent dangers.

E.  Contracting Officer Representative (COR)/Government Inspector and Employees.

(1)  Keep CO apprised of any safety- or health-related issues that have a direct impact on the oversight and/or performance of contracted work.

(2)  Consult Bureau, regional, or local safety staff to obtain assistance in addressing safety and health issues in statements of work.

(3)  Coordinate safety/health briefings, with the advance approval of the CO, when a new contract is awarded involving compliance with USGS unique safety and health requirements.

(4)  Report to the CO and Bureau or regional safety staff, where contractor safety violations are noted, to initiate OSHA enforcement and follow up to correct serious or imminent danger.


___/s/ Karen D. Baker__________________             __Oct 2, 2008_____________
Karen D. Baker                                                                   Date
Associate Director for Administrative Policy and Services


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