Survey Manual

445.1 - Occupational Safety and Health Policy and Responsibilities

To establish the U.S. Geological Survey (Bureau or USGS) Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Program and define program policies, requirements, and responsibilities.

Date: April 5, 2017

OPR:  Office of Administration

Instruction.  This Chapter is revised to add penalty guidance for failure to comply with safety requirements.

1.  Purpose.  To establish the U.S. Geological Survey (Bureau or USGS) Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Program and define program policies, requirements, and responsibilities.

2.  Scope.  The Bureau OSH Program applies to all Bureau activities and operations as well as its employees, volunteers, contractors, and visitors.  Components of the Bureau OSH Program include:

A.  Organizational Policy and Program Administration.  Develop organizational policy, plans, guidelines, and rules relating to the Bureau OSH Program; interpret occupational safety and healthpolicy and procedures, including accountability of management and other personnel; establish councils, committees, and work groups to address occupational safety and health issues; and designate appropriate resources for effective implementation of the Bureau OSH Program.

B.  Standards.  Ensure personnel are aware of and have access to applicable policy, documents, codes, regulations, and program standards.

C.  Occupational Safety and HealthProgram Assessment and Program Planning.  Perform annual evaluations of program elements, including personnel and financial resources.  Provide management with information on program effectiveness.  Establish short- and long-term goals for program enhancement and implementation.

D.  Inspections.  Conduct operational and facility surveys, inspections, evaluations, and staff visits to identify hazards within the workplace and to determine the level of organizational compliance with standards.

E.  Hazard Identification and Abatement.  Report and correct unsafe and unhealthful working conditions.  Identify and correct workplace hazards through job hazard analyses.

F.  Accident and Incident Investigation, Reporting, and Analysis.  Investigate, report, and analyze accidents.  Provide recommended corrective actions.  Track corrective measures through abatement to prevent recurrence.

G.  Training.  Identify, develop, coordinate, schedule, and conduct required training for target audiences.  Provide training for the professional development of safety and health personnel.

H.  Promotion and Awareness.  Ensure compliance with standards and regulations.  Promote awards and recognition programs.  Develop occupational safety and health promotion and awareness plans.

I.  Industrial Hygiene and Occupational Medicine.  Evaluate and control potential health hazards in the workplace using appropriate means.  Promote employee health through, but not limited to, occupational medicine programs, hearing conservation, respiratory protection, personal protective equipment (as applicable), and laboratory safety.

J.  Fire Protection, Prevention, and Response.  Ensure that facilities and operations are compliant with established fire safety practices and policies.

K.  Motor Vehicles and Motorized Equipment.  Ensure that operators of motorized vehicles are identified and trained and that equipment is maintained in safe working condition.

L Contractor, Concessionaire, Volunteer, Public, and Off-the-Job Safety.  Provide equivalent occupational safety and health protections for subject personnel.

M Specialized Safety Program Assistance and Coordination.  Assist with aviation, dive, firearms, large vessels, and watercraft activities.

N High-Hazard Operations.  Promote safety in the areas of blasting, confined space entry, electrofishing, rocket netting, electricity use, and field operations.

3.  Authorities.

A.  Executive Order 12196, Occupational Safety and Health Programs for Federal Employees.

B.  Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, as amended.

C.  29 CFR Part 1960, Basic Program Elements for Federal Employee Occupational Safety and Health Programs and Related Matters.

D.  43 U.S. Code Section 1457, regarding public safety.

E.  Department of the Interior (DOI) Manual Part 485 Safety and Occupational Health Program.

4.  Policy.  This chapter sets forth the policy for administering the Bureau OSH Program.  It is the policy of the USGS to:

A.  Provide and maintain a workplace that is free from recognized occupational safetyand health hazards, to protect personnel and visitors from injuries and illnesses, and to protect property from accidental damage.

B.  Include occupational safety and health as an integral part of every operation.

C.  Hold managers and supervisors accountable and provide them with recognition for successful implementation and management of the program within the scope of their authority and responsibility.

D.  Establish and maintain a staff of safety and health professionals meeting Office of Personnel Management standard GS-018/803/690 and collateral duty safety program coordinators at appropriate levels within the organization to advise management in the development and implementation of an effective occupational safety and health program.

E.  Require that no personnel be subjected to restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal for filing a report of an alleged unsafe or unhealthful working condition or otherwise participating in the program.

F.  Provide personnel with the supervision, knowledge, and skills necessary to safely perform their assigned tasks.

G.  Require personnel and supervisors to identify and correct unsafe and unhealthful conditions and to know and follow safe and healthful work rules and practices.

(1) The Table of Offenses and Penalties in Appendix B of 370 DM 752 Discipline and Adverse Actions provides guidance to disciplinary information.

(2) Employees, supervisors, or managers that fail to comply with safety requirements, could be subject to the penalties listed below:

(a) Nature of Offense. Failure to comply with safety regulations, instructions or prescribed safe practices; failure to use proper safety equipment; failure to report accident or injury.

(b) Penalty for First Offense. Written reprimand to 14-day suspension.

(c) Penalty for Second Offense. 14- to 30-day suspension.

(d) Penalty for Third Offense. 30-day suspension to removal.

H.  Use occupational safety and health committees, as appropriate, to enhance the Bureau OSH Program.  (See SM 308.64, SM 308.66, and SM 445-2-H.9.)

I.  Comply with applicable program requirements and adopted national consensus standards.

J.  Promote off-the-job safety and health of personnel through on-the-job safety and health activities.

K.  Incorporate and enforce appropriate occupational safety and health performance clause(s) in contracts with concessionaires and contractors.

5.  Responsibilities.  The Bureau OSH Program responsibility is shared by all levels of supervision.  Detailed management and occupational safety and health support staff responsibilities for establishing and implementing the Bureau OSH Program are detailed in SM 445-2-H.2 and in SM 445-3-H.

A.  Director.  

(1)  Ensures the establishment and implementation of a comprehensive occupational safety and health program. 

(2)  Holds line managers and supervisors accountable for fulfilling the requirements of the Bureau OSH Program.


B.  Associate Director for Administration

(1)  Serves as the Bureau Designated Agency Safety and Health Official (DASHO), exercising delegated authority from the Director for the overall management of the Bureau OSH Program.  

(2)  Directs program activities and ensures that adequate staff and funding resources are provided to develop and administer the program.

(3)  Assigns Bureau OSH Program responsibilities to the Chief, Office of Management Services.

(4)  Serves as the USGS representative on the DOI DASHO Council.

C.  Chief, Office of Management Services (OMS).

(1)  Assists the Bureau DASHO perform the responsibilities of representing Bureau OSH Program interests.  Serves as the DASHO designee on the DOI DASHO Council upon request. Co-chairs the Bureau OSH Council.

(2)  Assigns OSH responsibilities to the Bureau OSH Program Manager with sufficient authority and resources to effectively support and represent the interests of the Bureau in the oversight, management and administration of the Bureau OSH Program including occupational safety and health program internal controls, program management, and operational management of national capabilities and specialized OSH programs.  Ensures that the Bureau OSH Program Manager has direct access to the Bureau DASHO for any OSH program issue.  

D.  Associate Directors and Regional Directors.

(1)  Coordinate Bureau OSH Program implementation and ensure compliance within their respective organizations consistent with the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), DOI, and USGS requirements; SM 445-2-H.2, and SM 445-3-H, as applicable.

(2)  Provide oversight and guidance on issues related to the implementation of the Bureau OSH Program in science projects and activities within their respective organizations.

(3)  Appoint personnel to provide advice and assistance in administering the Bureau OSH Program within their respective organizations.  Full time positions shall meet Office of Personnel Management standards for GS-018/803/690 career occupational series. 

(4)  Delegate occupational safety and health management and administrative authority, as appropriate, to safety personnel within their respective organizations.  The designated safety personnel shall have sufficient authority to effectively represent the interests of, and provide support to national capabilities and regional science and field organizations.

(5)  Designate appropriate financial resources to facilitate respective occupational safetyandhealth program implementation.

(6)  Ensure that OSH self-inspections of national capabilities or regional science centers are conducted annually as applicable. 

(7)  Ensure that external compliance inspections of regional science centers are conducted based on high-risk activities, high rates of accidents, occupational hazards, past program history, personnel turnover, the time since the last formal review, and similar criteria. 

E.  Supervisors.

(1)  Demonstrate personal commitment and actively participate in providing a safe and healthful workplace for employees, contractors, concessionaires, volunteers, and visitors.

(2)  Implement occupational safetyandhealth program requirements within their areas of responsibility.

(3)  Appoint appropriate resources to support field personnel inoccupational safety and healthprogram implementation.

(4)  Facilitate employee compliance with applicable Bureau policy requirements, as described in SM 445-2-H.2 and SM 445-3-H.

(5)  Provide or arrange for appropriate employee occupational safety and health training and education.

(6)  Perform job hazard analyses for high-hazard operations and activities and mitigate identified hazards.

(7)  Conduct routine inspections of work areas and abate identified deficiencies as soon as practicable.

(8)  Investigate all job-related accidents, including taking appropriate corrective action to prevent recurrence of similar accidents.  Record incidents and accidents in the Safety Management Information System.

(9)  Establish a personal protective equipment (PPE) program, including PPE issuance and employee training.  Ensure compliance with applicable safety and health rules and regulations.

(10)  Provide for employee participation in the occupational safety and health program without fear of restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal.
F.  Employees.

(1)  Observe all safety precautions and practices applicable to their assignments and report any hazardous conditions or procedures to their immediate supervisors.

(2)  Wear required PPE and use provided safety equipment, as applicable.

(3)  Immediately report to their supervisors any accident or incident that results in, or could result in, personal injury or property damage.

(4)  Participate in all aspects of the occupational safety and health program, including safety training, inspections, occupational safety and health committee activities, and collateral duty safety program coordinator activities, as appropriate.

(5)  Exercise rights and responsibilities as granted by the Bureau OSH Program without fear of restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal for reporting an unsafe or unhealthful condition, or otherwise participating in the Program.

(6)  Actively participate in occupational safety and health education and training activities.

G.  Employee Representatives (Union), as applicable.

(1)  Participate in formal annual inspections of establishments and in the identification of unsafe or unhealthful conditions.

(2)  Review proposed occupational safety and health work rules and regulations.

H.  Bureau OSH Council, Specialized Safety Program Committees, and Work Groups.

(1)  The Bureau OSH Council serves as an advisory body to the Bureau Executive Leadership Team and Bureau DASHO on Bureau OSH Program matters.

(2)  The Specialized Safety Program Committees serve as advisory bodies to the Bureau Executive Leadership Team and Bureau DASHO on Bureau OSH Program matters.  These committees make recommendations related to aviation, dive, firearms, large vessels, and watercraft.

(3)  In lieu of regional safety committees, Regional Safety Managers shall conduct monthly meetings or conference calls with collateral duty safety program coordinators and use this forum to address program gaps and develop initiatives for continuous improvement.   Regional safety and management representatives on the Bureau OSH Council shall represent and communicate local or regional implementation needs identified in monthly meetings to the Regional Executive Leadership Team, OMS Operations, Bureau OSH Program Manager, or Bureau OSH Council, as appropriate.

(4)  National capabilities organizations shall be represented by membership on the Bureau OSH Council.  National capabilities management representatives on the Bureau OSH Council shall communicate national capabilities program implementation needs identified through facility based committees; e.g., National Center Safety Committee; and/or organization requests.

(5)  Field-level committees, required for organizations with 20 or more employees, serve as advisory bodies to local managers on local occupational safety and health program matters.

(6)  Councils, committees, and work groups provide focal points for coordinating the Bureau OSH Program activities and for exchanging program information between headquarters, regional, and field-level managers and safety personnel.

(7)  Councils, committees, and work groups encourage employees to comply with pertinent occupational safety and health requirements and practice safe procedures during off-duty hours.

(8)  Councils, committees, and work groups assist in developing drafts of program guidelines and other documents.

/s/ Jose R. Aragon                                          04/05/2017 

Jose R. Aragon                                                    Date
Designated Agency Safety and Health Official