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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

SM 445-2-H CHAPTER 9

Occupational Safety and Health Councils, Committees, and Working Groups

Instruction:  Changes to this chapter were made to reflect changes made to the organizational structure during Bureau realignment.

1.  Purpose.  To specify the minimum program requirements for the structure and function of the U.S. Geological Survey (Bureau or USGS) Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Council, 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 at its Bureau and field locations 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 Bureau has established the following formal 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 council and committee charter and are approved by management.

(1)  Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Council.

(2)  Bureau Aviation Advisory Committee.

(3)  Bureau Dive Safety Board.

(4)  Bureau Firearms Safety Committee.

(5)  Bureau Large Vessel Safety Committee.

(6)  Bureau 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’s 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.  Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Council members shall receive appropriate hazard recognition training within 6 months of their appointment.  To meet this requirement, all Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Council 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.  Science Centers and National Capabilities OSH Committees.

A.  Locations with over 20 employees shall establish an occupational safety and health committee to enhance effective communications between employees and management.  The committee shall consist of a membership of no fewer than three members, with each member serving 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.  Facilities having fewer than 20 employees have the option of foregoing the implementation of a formal safety 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 Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinator.

6.  Occupational Safety and Health Working Groups—General.

A.  Working groups designated by the Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Council and/or a Bureau Specialized Safety Committee shall be composed of a minimum of one Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Council 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 Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Council.

B.  When the Office of Management Services Occupational Safety and Health Management Branch drafts new policy or significantly changes old policy, the Chief, Office of Management Services, as Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Council Co-chair, will send said policy or changes to current policy to the Field Managers Team, Business Leaders Team, and the Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Council for subsequent review, providing for a minimum of 2 weeks to respond.  The Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Program Manager will review and incorporate comments as applicable and forward through the Chief, Office of Management Services and Chief, Office of Policy and Analysis, to the Bureau Designated Agency Safety and Health Official for final approval and release.

7.  Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Council.

A.  Serves as an advisory body to the Bureau Executive Leadership Team through the Bureau Designated Agency Safety and Health Official on occupational safety and health program matters.

B.  Provides a focal point for oversight and coordination of Bureau occupational safety and health 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 Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Council, Bureau Specialized Safety Program committees, national capabilities and regional safety and management/field representatives.  Charters and bylaws of the Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Council and Bureau Specialized Safety committees are detailed in SM 308.64, Appendix A, Charter, Bureau Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Council, and SM 308.66, Appendices A-E, Aviation, Dive, Firearms, Large Vessel and Watercraft Committees or Boards.

8.  Responsibilities.

A.  Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Program Manager.

(1)  Establishes a Bureau-level Occupational Safety and Health Council to address occupational safety and health issues at the national, regional, and local levels, as appropriate, with cross organizational representation; e.g., Office of Management Services, national capabilities, regions, Human Resources, Office of Communications, etc.  Provides recommendations for program implementation and advises the Executive Leadership Team and Designated Agency Safety and Health Official through the Committee Chair(s).  The Chief, Office of Management Services and Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Program Manager serve as the Bureau Designated Agency Safety and Health Official Council Chair designees.  The OMS Occupational Safety and Health Management Branch staff shall provide Council support by publishing meeting agendas and minutes from the quarterly meetings.

(2)  Establishes an Aviation Advisory Committee, which advises the Bureau Designated Agency Safety and Health Official through membership on the Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Council, to address aviation safety and related aviation issues at the Bureau level.  Reviews accidents related to aviation, and makes recommendations for preventing recurrence of similar accidents.  Ensures that Committee membership is representative of national capabilities and regional science centers that have aviation activities as well as the Bureau Aviation Manager, Regional Aviation Managers, and the Bureau OMS Occupational Safety and Health Management Branch designee.  Ensures that meetings are held a minimum of twice a year, with agenda and minutes published.

(3)  Establishes a Dive Safety Board, which advises the Bureau Designated Agency Safety and Health Official through membership on the Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Council, to address underwater diving issues.  Reviews accidents related to underwater diving and makes 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 Bureau Dive Safety Officer, Regional Dive Safety Officers, and the Bureau OMS Occupational Safety and Health Management Branch designee, with at least two-thirds of the Board’s members being certified underwater divers.  Ensures that meetings are held quarterly, with agenda and minutes published.

(4)  Establishes a Firearms Safety Committee, which advises the Bureau Designated Agency Safety and Health Official through membership on the Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Council, 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 Bureau Firearms Manager, Regional Firearms Managers, and the Bureau OMS Occupational Safety and Health Management Branch designee, with at least two-thirds of the members trained and certified in firearms.  Ensures that meetings are held quarterly, with agenda and minutes published.

(5)  Establishes a Large Vessel Safety Committee, which advises the Bureau Designated Agency Safety and Health Official through membership on the Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Council, 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 that Committee membership is representative of national capabilities and regional science centers that have large vessels as well as the Bureau Large Vessel Safety Program Manager, Regional Large Vessel Safety Program Managers, and the Bureau OMS Occupational Safety and Health Management Branch designee, with at least two-thirds of the members being trained and certified in large vessel operation.  Ensures that meetings are held quarterly, with agenda and minutes published.

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

B.  Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Council.  (See SM 308.64, Appendix A, Charter, USGS Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Council for additional responsibilities.)

(1)  Monitors the performance of the Bureau occupational safety and health program and makes policy recommendations to the Director through the Designated Agency Safety and Health Official regarding the program.

(2)  Assists in the development of established Bureau-level safety committees and monitors their operation.

(3)  Reviews Bureau safety programs as deemed appropriate by the Council.  Program activities that may be reviewed include reports of inspections, internal and external evaluation reports, occupational safety and health training programs, proposed Bureau policies, plans for abating hazards, reports of hazardous conditions, program deficiencies, and allegations of reprisal.

(4)  Monitors and recommends changes in the resources allocated to the entire Bureau occupational safety and health program.

C.  Specialized Safety Program Committees.  Responsibilities of Bureau-level Specialized Safety Program Committees are described in the respective program chapters within this Handbook and paragraphs 9.8A (2-6) in this chapter; SM 308.66 Specialized Safety Program Committees and SM 308.66, Appendices A-E.


D.  Office of Management Services Operations Occupational Safety and Health Managers.

(1)  Coordinate the establishment and conduct National Center, Denver Federal Center, and Menlo Park location-specific occupational safety and health committees and activities.  Ensure that meetings are held quarterly, with agenda and minutes published.

(2)  Serve as or designate the chair and provide administrative support for the subject committees addressed in D.(1) above.

(3)  Assist national capabilities’ management and Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinators (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.

(4)  Conduct monthly meetings or conference calls with their respective national capabilities Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinators 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.

(5)  Publish and distribute national capabilities’ meeting or conference-call agendas and minutes.

(6)  Coordinate national capabilities’ review and comment on Bureau policies, standards, and processes, as appropriate.

(7)  Actively participate in the Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Council.

(8)  Conduct monthly conference calls with Regional Safety Managers.

E.  Regional Safety Managers. 

(1)  Assist regional science center managers and Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinators 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 Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinators 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 Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinator 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, OMS Operations Occupational Safety and Health Manager, Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Program Manager, or Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Council, as appropriate.

(5)  Coordinate regional science center review and comments on Bureau occupational safety and health policies, standards, and processes, as appropriate.

(6)  Actively participate in Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Council and monthly conference calls with their respective OMS Operations Occupational Safety and Health Managers.

F.  Local Occupational Safety and Health Committees.

(1)  Local management or the Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinator 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 Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinator, 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 Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinator assumes this responsibility.

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

/s/ Diane K. Wade                                                                              November 5, 2013
___________________________________                                      ________________
Diane K. Wade                                                                                               Date
Associate Director for Administration and Enterprise Information
and Acting Associate Director for Human Capital


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