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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

SM 445-2-H CHAPTER 46

Bear Spray Safety Program

Instruction: This is a new chapter to address the use of bear spray for defense against wild animal attacks.

1.  Purpose.  To establish the minimum Occupational Safety and Health Program requirements for the Bear Spray Safety Program at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

2.  Scope.

A.  The requirements covered in this chapter apply to USGS employees, volunteers covered by a properly executed USGS Form 9-2080, Individual Volunteer Services Agreement, and students acquired by purchase orders citing Public Law 106-113 as the authority for the award, that use bear spray for protection against wild animal attacks in the performance of their official duties.  In addition to applying child labor laws and volunteer requirements in the utilization of minors, the USGS prohibits assigning those under the age of 18 hazardous duties involving the use of firearms, explosives, bear spray, or incendiaries.

B.  The USGS does not train for nor sanction the use of bear spray for defense against humans.  The USGS only sanctions use of bear spray that is specifically designed for defense against wild animal attacks. 

C.  Safety training requirements for bear spray devices can be found under section 6 in this chapter.

3.  Authorities.

A.  29 CFR 1910.1200.

B.  29 CFR Parts 570 to 580.

C.  29 USC §201 et seq.

D.  7 USC §136 et seq. (1996), Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

E.  Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended.

4.  References.

A.  USGS Physical Security Handbook, SM 440-2-H.

B.  USGS Volunteers for Science Handbook.

C.  Interagency Aviation Transport of Hazardous Materials Handbook, Department of the Interior and USDA-Forest Service, located at:  http://amd.nbc.gov/safety/library/hazmathb0105.pdf.

 D.  The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) List of Registered Bear Deterrents containing capsaicin (regulated under FIFRA) located at: http://www.epa.gov/region8/toxics/pests/beardeter.html.

E.  Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) Bear Spray Recommendations located at: http://www.igbconline.org/html/safety.html.

F.  Manufacturers of bear deterrents, e.g., Counter AssaultÓ Instructor Training Course.

G.  Other Federal and State laws pertaining to bear spray use, handling, transport, and storage.

5.  Definitions.

A.  Employee.  USGS employees, volunteers covered by a properly executed USGS Form 9-2080, Individual Volunteer Services Agreement, and students acquired by purchase orders citing Public Law 106-113 as the authority for the award.

B.  Bear Spray.  Spray specifically designed for protection against wild animal attacks.

6.  Safety Training Requirements.

A.  Employees must meet the following minimum training standards before being certified to carry and/or use bear spray:

(1)  Successful completion of a USGS-approved bear spray training course.  Local management will maintain files containing bear spray training records for their employees who attend USGS bear spray or other USGS-approved bear spray courses.  Completion of the training must also be documented through the Department of Interior Learning Management System (DOI LEARN).

(2)  The bear spray training shall include hands-on demonstrations and exercises that emphasize safe bear spray use.  For employees taking training via CD-ROM or on-line, this requirement may be met by conduct of a practice spray using an inert canister demonstrating methods of use, holstering, deployment, arming/applying, and disarming in accordance with the directions for method of use in the Bear Spray Student Training Manual.

(3)  Bear spray training may be presented as a part of other safety courses, including USGS firearms safety and animal behavior courses.

(4)  The following topics shall be covered in any USGS-approved bear spray course (see Appendix 46-1, Bear Spray Training Standards):

(a)  General Bear Spray Safety.

(b)  Bear Spray Use in the Field.

(c)  Responsibilities Associated with Bear Spray Training, Issuance, and Use.

(d)  EPA Registration of Bear Spray.

(e)  Bear Spray Chemistry, Characteristics, and Delivery Systems.

(f)  Post-Exposure Treatment.

(g)  Comparison of Bear and Personal Defense Spray.

(h)  Comparison of Bear Spray versus other Methods of Wildlife Protection.

(i)  Defensive Mindset for Defense against Wild Animals.

(j)  Appropriate Practical Exercises.

(5)  Upon review and approval of employee curricula, the Bureau Firearms Safety Program Manager may offer or approve reciprocity to bear spray courses provided by other entities.  As a minimum, any USGS-approved bear spray course must cover the bear spray training standards specified in Appendix 46-1Any contracted instructor shall work directly with the Bureau or Regional Firearms Safety Program Manager to ensure that the training is relevant to the objectives of the USGS.

B.  Instructors.

(1)  Instructors who teach bear spray courses to USGS employees shall be certified by the Bureau or Regional Safety Program Manager and must successfully complete the following training elements:

(a)  Bear Spray Course for Defense against Wild Animals.

(b)  Bear Spray  Instructor (BSI) Course or similar accredited pepper spray instructor course.

(c)  An accredited, non-Government pepper spray instructor training course can suffice for certification if approved by the Bureau or Regional Firearms Safety Program Manager.

(d)  In addition to the above training, all USGS BSI must be able to demonstrate the ability to independently and effectively teach the fundamentals of bear spray safety and usage.

(2)  USGS employees who serve as assistant bear spray instructors and instructor candidates shall have successfully completed the appropriate bear spray course and have demonstrated proficiency in the safe use and handling of bear spray.

(3)  Prior to approving, the Bureau or Regional Firearms Safety Program Manager shall evaluate non-USGS bear spray courses to ensure that they meet the criteria of Appendix 46-1, and that:

(a)  Adequate bear spray student manuals or texts are provided.  The USGS Bear Spray Student Manual is accessible via the USGS CD ROM Bear Spray Training and/or the USGS Firearms Safety Website at http://internal.usgs.gov/ops/safetynet/smofirearms.html.

(b)  All instructors have certification in good standing from a reputable organization that is recognized in the industry as a provider of bear spray training for instructors in non-law enforcement applications.

(c)  Offers a curriculum that contains lesson plans that stress the potential hazards and post-exposure treatment associated with bear spray training and use.

(d)  Provides a curriculum that establishes and implements appropriate safeguards to minimize the risks and liabilities to both students and instructors.

7.  Record Keeping.  Local management will maintain files containing:

A.  Bear Spray Certificate of Need/Completion of Training for Use/Issuance of Bear Spray (see Appendix 46-2) for all employees who attend USGS bear spray or other USGS-approved bear spray courses.  Completion of the training must also be documented through DOI LEARN.

B.  Bear Spray Discharges.

(1)  Any discharge resulting in injury or property damage will be reported to the appropriate Bureau or Regional Firearms Safety Manager.

(2)  Bear spray accidents or incidents that involve injury or property damage will be recorded in accordance with Chapter 7, Incident/Accident Reporting and Serious Accident Investigation, of this handbook.

8.  Bear Spray Use, Storage, Shipping, Transport, and Disposal.

A.  All field employees carrying bear spray shall be provided with unused canisters.  Partially discharged canisters should only be used as a back-up to unused canisters or for the Bear Spray Training Program.

B.  Only bear spray that specifically meets IGBC recommendations for defense against bears or other wildlife shall be used. 

C.  Annual chemical inventories shall include bear spray.

D.  All bear spray not being used in the field or under the direct control of a trained and certified employee shall be stored in a locked flammable chemical storage cabinet in accordance with USGS Physical Security Handbook, 440-2-H (10-4 to 10-7).  Bear spray shall not be stored in employee offices or in other unsecured areas.

E.  Bear spray is classified as a hazardous good and may not be delivered by regular mail.  Bear spray can only be shipped as Other Regulated Materials – Domestic (ORM-D). 

F.  The minimum volume for bear spray canisters is 7.9 ounces and, therefore, may not be legally transported in checked luggage.  Bear spray may be shipped by ground or air by a certified hazardous materials carrier.

G.  The pilot of DOI-sanctioned aircraft must be notified verbally of all hazardous materials loaded aboard the aircraft and the Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods must indicate U.S. Department of Transportation exemption number 9198 in the authorizations column of the Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods.

H.  In accordance with the DOI Interagency Aviation Transport of Hazardous Materials Handbook, employees are allowed to transport bear spray aboard field aircraft for official purposes.  The bear spray must be transported in a container/canister wrapped in cloth/foam and placed in a box or commercially available transport container specifically designed for bear spray to eliminate unintentional discharges.

I.  Employees who are authorized to use bear spray in the field as a part of their duties shall follow all State and municipal laws concerning the transportation and mode of carry of bear spray in motor vehicles.  In vehicles designed with separate passenger and storage compartments, bear spray shall not be transported in the passenger compartment.  During transport, canisters shall be wrapped in cloth/foam and placed in a box or commercially available transport container specifically designed for bear spray to eliminate unintentional discharges.

J.  All bear spray canisters shall be replaced as recommended by the manufacturer and based on maximum shelf life.  Outdated, unused, or dented canisters may only be used for training purposes.  All bear spray in local inventories shall be labeled with date of purchase.

K.  Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendation and State and local laws for disposal. Bear spray should not be arbitrarily emptied in field locations as the bear spray is an attractant.

L.  Report lost or stolen bear spray immediately to a supervisor. 

9.  Responsibilities.

A.  Bureau Safety Manager.

(1)  Designates an individual as the responsible person for all bear spray training and certification activities within USGS, i.e., the Bureau Firearms Safety Manager (BFSM).

 (2)  Establishes a Bureau Firearms Safety Committee to advise the Bureau DASHO and BSM on all bear spray issues, reviews all accidents related to bear spray inclusive of accidental discharges, and makes recommendations to prevent recurrence of similar accidents.

(3)  Provides final concurrence on substitutions to other bear spray training programs after review and approval by the Bureau Firearms Safety Committee and the Bureau Firearms Safety Manager.

(4)  Provides administrative support to the BFSM as appropriate.

B. Bureau Firearms Safety Manager (BFSM).

(1)  Develops and recommends bear spray related policies for review by the Bureau Firearms Safety Committee.

(2)  Oversees all USGS bear spray training programs.

(3)  Serves as an advisor to the Bureau Safety Manager, Regional Firearms Managers, and bear spray instructors on all bear spray related issues.

(4)  Reviews all accidents, incidents, and notifications of discharges related to bear spray.

C. Regional Firearms Safety Manager (RFSM).

(1)  Oversees all regional bear spray activities.

(2)  Serves as the principle bear spray technical expert in their respective region.

(3)  Coordinates regional bear spray training activities in conjunction with regional program management.

(4)  Oversees all regional bear spray training programs including contracted training and monitors all to ensure consistency, accuracy, content, and overall quality.

(5)  Maintains regional bear spray training records as appropriate.

(6)  Serves as an advisor to the Regional Safety Manager on all bear spray issues.

D.  Supervisor.

(1)  Authorizes use of bear spray as part of an employee’s official duties using the Bear Spray Certificate of Need/Completion of Training for Use/Issuance of Bear Spray (see Appendix 46-2).

(2)  Authority to approve an employee's training, issuance, and use of bear spray shall be contingent upon the supervisor's knowledge of the employee’s needs and training in bear spray safety.

E.  Collateral Duty Safety or Environmental Program Coordinators shall be responsible for overseeing the disposal of old or damaged bear spray canisters.

F.  Employee.

(1)  Shall complete the appropriate bear spray safety training courses and remain up to date with all training requirements as specified in this chapter.  Documentation of training shall be through completion of a Bear Safety Certificate of Need/Completion of Training for Use/Issuance of Bear Pepper Spray (see Appendix 46-2).

(2)  Shall ensure that bear spray is used and carried in such a manner as to eliminate the possibility of an injury. 

(3)  Follows all guidelines for bear spray shipping and storage.

G.  Bear Spray Safety Instructor.

(1)  Serves as a bear spray technical expert for their respective office or center.

(2)  Maintains local bear spray training records.

(3)  Coordinates training activities in conjunction with the Regional Firearms Safety Manager.

(4)  Maintains a level of instructional and technical proficiency as described in this chapter.

(5)  Teaches the USGS-approved bear spray courses.

 

______/s/ Karen D. Baker_______________________                     __2/16/09_________

Karen D. Baker                                                                                 Date
Associate Director for Administrative Policy and Services

 

 


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