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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

SM 445-2-H CHAPTER 9

Date: 12/19/2016

Occupational Safety and Health Councils, Committees, and Working Groups

Instruction: Changes to this chapter were made to reflect the newly formed Designated Agency Safety and Health Official Council and changes in the name, role, and membership of the former Occupational Safety and Health Council.

1.  Purpose. To specify the minimum program requirements for the structure and function of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Designated Agency Safety and Health Official (DASHO) Council, USGS Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Committee, USGS Specialized Safety Program Committees, science center occupational safety and health committees, and occupational safety and health working groups.

2.  Reference. 29 CFR Part 1960, subpart F, identifies requirements for certified committees and should be considered in establishing noncertified committees within the USGS.

3.  Acronyms.

A.  CDSPC - Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinator.

B.  CFR - Code of Federal Regulations.

C.  DASHO - Designated Agency Safety and Health Official.

D.  DOI - Department of the Interior.

E.  ELT - Executive Leadership Team.

F.  OMS - Office of Management Services.

G.  OSH - Occupational Safety and Health.

H.  OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

I.  USGS - U.S. Geological Survey.

4.  OSH Committees and Councils—General.

A.  Occupational safety and health councils and committees and their purposes are varied, depending on the complexity and size of the organization and the nature of its operation. Councils and committees are an integral part of the overall management effort. The USGS uses councils and committees to enhance workplace occupational safety and health compliance.

B.  Occupational safety and health council and committee members are balanced with employees knowledgeable of scientific operations and activities and (or) members knowledgeable of occupational safety and health policy, regulations, standards, rules, and procedures. This mix is essential to facilitate and guide realistic approaches and application of program requirements.

C.  The USGS has established the following council and committees to ensure that safe and healthy working conditions are established and maintained, including safe work habits and methods. Chairpersons shall strive for a balance of management, employee, and technical representation on their respective councils and committees. Members serve as advisors to their respective management, and as such, shall enhance communications between management and personnel. Scope of responsibility and involvement are defined in each of the following council and committee charters:

(1)  Designated Agency Safety and Health Official Council.

(2)  Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Committee.

(3)  Aviation Advisory Committee.

(4)  Dive Safety Board.

(5)  Firearms Safety Committee.

(6)  Large Vessel Safety Committee.

(7)  Watercraft Safety Committee.

D.  Councils and committees have the authority to establish working groups for the purposes of research, investigations, inspections, or special safety projects.

E.  Council and committee meeting minutes, recommendations, and management responses shall be in writing and retained for at least 2 years. Copies of these records shall be provided to the next higher level manager for review.

F.  USGS DASHO Council Members and OSH Committee members shall receive appropriate hazard recognition training within 6 months of their appointment. To meet this requirement, all DASHO Council and OSH Committee members shall complete the Department of the Interior (DOI) and USGS general safety orientation courses for their specific employee group within the DOI LEARN Management System. In addition, all full-time occupational safety and health staff shall complete the OSHA 6000 equivalent collateral duty safety courses within the DOI LEARN Management System.

5.  Local Science Center and Mission Area OSH Committees.

A.  Locations with 20 or more employees shall establish an OSH committee to enhance effective communications between employees and management. Committee members shall serve a minimum of 1 year. Meetings will be conducted on a quarterly basis, as a minimum. The chair of the committee is elected by the committee.

B.  Locations having fewer than 20 employees have the option of foregoing the implementation of a formal OSH committee by requiring quarterly safety meetings with all employees in attendance. During these meetings, safety problems and resolutions, project assignments, status reports, and safety awareness activities will be discussed. Such meetings are intended to be a safety forum where meaningful safety business is conducted and positive results achieved and presided over by the organizational management and supported by the CDSPC.

6.  Occupational Safety and Health Working Groups—General.

A.  Working groups designated by the OSH Committee and/or a Specialized Safety Committee shall be composed of a minimum of one OSH Committee or Specialized Committee voting member to provide group direction and oversight and representatives who have agreed to work together to develop occupational safety and health program element guidelines or other documentation, to conduct research on specific occupational safety and health issues, or to perform other tasks on behalf of the OSH Committee.

B.  When the Office of Management Services (OMS) Occupational Safety and Health Management Branch (OSHMB) drafts new policy or significantly changes old policy, the Chief or Deputy, OSHMB, as OSH Committee Co-chairs, will send said policy or changes to current policy to the Field Managers Team, Business Leaders Team, and the OSH Committee for subsequent review, providing for a minimum of 2 weeks to respond. The OSHMB will review and incorporate comments as applicable and forward through the Chief, OMS and Chief, Office of Policy and Analysis, to the DASHO for final approval and release.

7.  Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Committee.

A.  Serves as an advisory body to the DASHO Council on occupational safety and health program matters.

B.  Provides a focal point for the development and coordination of USGS OSH policy and programs.

C.  Provides policy and program interpretation, coordination, and assistance to cost center management to facilitate program implementation and compliance.

D.  Provides a forum for the exchange of information between the OSH Committee, Specialized Safety Program committees, mission areas and regional safety and management/field representatives.

E.  Charters of the OSH Committee and Specialized Safety committees are detailed in SM 308.64, Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Committee, and SM 308.66, Aviation, Dive, Firearms, Large Vessel and Watercraft Committees or Boards.

8.  DASHO Council.

A.  Provides executive level involvement in the formulation of policy and the management of the OSH Program, fostering OSH best practices in order to preserve and enhance the Science Mission of the USGS.

B.  Serves as the approval authority for OSH Committee recommendations and provides direction for implementation of OSH Program initiatives and enhancements.

C.  Determines collective action to achieve program objectives and goals in concert with the DOI/USGS OSH Strategic Plan.

D.  Serves as a focal point for coordination and direction for the OSH Program and provides oversight for and direction to the OSH Committee for development of initiatives that ensure continuous OSH Program improvement while addressing Mission Area, Region and local OSH Program needs.

E.  Operates under the guidance of the Associate Director, Office of Administration, who is the Director's Designated Agency Safety and Health Official appointee for the USGS. As the executive lead, the DASHO has the authority whether or not to implement DASHO Council recommendations.

9.  Responsibilities.

A.  Director. Directs Occupational Safety and Health Committee Program activities through the DASHO, who, for the USGS, is the Associate Director for Administration.

B.  Designated Agency Safety and Health Official (DASHO). Provides appropriate personnel and budgetary resources to establish and maintain occupational safety and health committees. Additionally, the DASHO advises and acts on behalf of the Director on matters concerning the safety and health of USGS personnel and property. Chairs the DASHO Council.

C.  Associate Directors and Regional Directors. Designate management and safety staff appointees to the DASHO Council and OSH Committee.

D.  Chief, Office of Management Services. Ensures OMS staff has sufficient authority, resources, and qualifications to effectively administer and support the OSH Committee. Co-Chairs the DASHO Council.

E.  USGS Occupational Safety and Health Program Manager/Deputy.

(1)  Establishes an OSH Committee to address occupational safety and health issues at the national, regional, and local levels, as appropriate. Provides recommendations for program implementation and advises the DASHO on relevant safety and health matters.

(2)  Serves as Chair of the OSH Committee and provides Committee support by publishing quarterly meeting agendas and minutes.

(3)  Establishes an Aviation Advisory Committee (AAC), which advises the DASHO through ad hoc membership on the OSH Committee, to address aviation safety and related aviation issues at the USGS level. Reviews accidents related to aviation, and makes recommendations for preventing recurrence of similar accidents. Ensures that AAC membership is representative of mission areas and regional science centers that have aviation activities as well as the USGS Aviation Manager, Regional Aviation Managers, and the USGS Occupational Safety and Health Management Branch designee. Ensures that meetings are held a minimum of twice a year, with agenda and minutes published.

(4)  Establishes a Dive Safety Board, which advises the DASHO through ad hoc membership on the OSH Committee, to address underwater diving issues. Reviews accidents related to underwater diving and make recommendations for preventing recurrence of similar accidents. Ensures that the Board membership is representative of national capabilities and regional science centers that have underwater diving operations as well as the USGS Dive Safety Officer, Regional Dive Safety Officers, and the USGS Occupational Safety and Health Management Branch designee, with at least two-thirds of the Board members being certified underwater divers. Ensures meetings are held quarterly, with agenda and minutes published.

(5)  Establishes a Firearms Safety Committee, which advises the DASHO through ad hoc membership on the OSH Committee, to address all firearms issues. Reviews all accidents related to firearms and makes recommendations for preventing recurrence of similar accidents. Ensures that Committee membership is representative of national capabilities and regional science centers that have firearms activities as well as the USGS Firearms Manager, Regional Firearms Managers, and the USGS OMS Occupational Safety and Health Management Branch designee, with at least two-thirds of the members trained and certified in firearms. Ensures meetings are held quarterly, with agenda and minutes published.

(6)  Establishes a Large Vessel (LV) Safety Committee, which advises the DASHO through ad hoc membership on the OSH Committee, to address all large vessel issues. Reviews all accidents related to large vessels (greater than or equal to 26 feet) and makes recommendations to prevent recurrence of similar accidents. Ensures LV Safety Committee membership is representative of national capabilities and regional science centers that have large vessels as well as the USGS Large Vessel Safety Program Manager, Regional Large Vessel Safety Program Managers, and the USGS Occupational Safety and Health Management Branch designee, with at least two-thirds of the members being trained and certified in large vessel operation. Ensures meetings are held quarterly, with agenda and minutes published.

(7)  Establishes a Watercraft Safety Committee, which advises the DASHO through ad hoc membership on the OSH Committee, to address all watercraft issues. Reviews all accidents related to watercraft and makes recommendations to prevent recurrence of similar accidents. Ensures the Watercraft Safety Committee membership is representative of national capabilities and regional science centers as well as the USGS Watercraft Safety Program Manager, Regional Watercraft Safety Program Managers, and the USGS Occupational Safety and Health Management Branch designee, with at least two-thirds of the members being DOI-certified motorboat operators. Ensures meetings are held quarterly, with agenda and minutes published.

(8)  Coordinates the establishment and conduct National Center, Denver Federal Center, and Menlo Park location-specific occupational safety and health committees and activities. Ensures meetings are held quarterly, with agenda and minutes published. Serves as or designates the chair and provides administrative support for the subject committees.

(9)  Assists mission area management, Points of Contact, and CDSPCs at geographically dispersed centers; e.g., Hydrologic Instrumentation Facility, National Water Quality Laboratory, Earth Resources Observation and Science Center; in establishing local-level occupational safety and health committees in accordance with the requirements of this chapter to facilitate implementation and compliance with occupational safety and health program requirements.

(10)  Conducts monthly meetings or conference calls with respective mission area Points of Contacts and CDSPCs to identify and address occupational safety and health program needs, incorporating a review of self-audit and external inspection reports, abatement logs, accident history and rates, training programs, and reports of hazardous conditions in order to address program gaps and develop initiatives for continuous improvement.

(11)  Publishes and distributes mission area meeting or conference-call agendas and minutes.

(12)  Coordinates mission area review and comment on USGS policies, standards, and processes, as appropriate.

F.  Regional Safety Managers.

(1)  Assist regional science center managers and CDSPCs in establishing effective field-level occupational safety and health committees that facilitate implementation and compliance with occupational safety and health program requirements.

(2)  Conduct monthly meetings or conference calls with their respective regional science center CDSPCs to identify and address field needs, incorporating a review of self-audit and external inspection reports, abatement logs, accident history and rates, training programs, and reports of hazardous conditions to address program gaps and develop initiatives for continuous improvement.

(3)  Publish and distribute CDSPC meeting or conference-call agendas and minutes.

(4)  Monitor operations, performance, and resources of regional and local occupational safety and health program implementation and communicate regional and local occupational safety and health needs and recommendations to the Regional Director and regional staff, USGS OSH Program Manager, or OSH Committee, as appropriate.

(5)  Coordinate regional science center review and comments on OSH policies, standards, and processes, as appropriate.

(6)  Actively participate in the OSH Committee.

G.  Local Management, Collateral Duty, and Safety Program Coordinators.

(1)  Local management or the CDSPC chairs the local committee, with membership supplemented by appropriate science center management and non-management positions.

(2)  Assist in effective implementation of the occupational safety and health program at their respective establishment level, by reviewing the policies and making recommendations for safe operations of the program.

(3)  Monitor findings and reports of workplace inspections to ensure that appropriate corrective measures are implemented. (4) Participate in inspections of the establishment when requested by organizational management or when the committee deems it necessary for effective monitoring of established inspection procedures.

(5)  Review internal and external evaluation reports and make recommendations concerning the implementation of occupational safety and health programs.

(6)  Review and recommend changes to procedures for handling occupational safety and health suggestions and recommendations from employees, as appropriate.

(7)  Establish local procedures for the safety of employees as appropriate or when the committee deems it necessary.

(8)  Monitor and recommend changes, as required, in the level of resources allocated and spent on the occupational safety and health program.

(9)  Review organizational responses to reports of hazardous conditions, program deficiencies, and allegations of reprisal.

(10)  Assist supervisors in the development of local safety plans covering organizational facility layout, activities, environmental factors, and emergency procedures that are non-duplicative of other pertinent instructions and contain complete instructions for emergencies, precautionary measures concerning any unabated hazards or situations unique to the station, safe procedures and techniques for station activities, provision for assisting the visiting public, and other appropriate matters, in conjunction with the CDSPC, Chemical Hygiene Officer, supervisors, and employees.

(11)  Annually review and/or coordinate the review of the local safety plan and update as necessary. If a local committee is not established, the organizational CDSPC assumes this responsibility.

(12)  Review and analyze local science center accidents and recommend changes to operating procedures to prevent future accidents.


/s/ Jose R. Aragon                                                   December 19, 2016
_____________________________________             ______________________________                   
Jose R. Aragon                                                       Date
Designated Agency Safety and Health Official


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