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Part 1, Chapter 9: Manual Exhibit 1-9-A

Safety Officer Qualifications and Training
Title Section
Objective 1
Qualifications Policy and Recommendations 2
Training Policy and Recommendations 3

1.   Objective.To provide more explicit, and current information regarding Safety Officer (SO) qualifications and training recommendations.

2.   Qualifications Policy and Recommendations.

  1. Policy: According to 29 CFR § 1960.25, OSHA requires that the SO be qualified and competent. IHS will follow the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) established minimum criteria for Safety and Occupational Health Specialists.
  2. Background: Safety Officers must have appropriate education, training, and experience. Candidates for Safety Officer positions should possess a degree in safety, occupational health, industrial hygiene or other related fields; certification as Certified Safety Professional, Certified Industrial Hygienist, or Certified Healthcare Safety Professional; or certification in a nationally approved safety management system.
  3. Position Descriptions:
    1. Full-time SO positions
      1. IHS strongly recommends these positions be performed by 0018 series, 0601 series, or equivalent series employees.
      2. The minimum grade level should be at least GS-9. Hospitals are strongly encouraged to require a minimum of a GS-11/12.
    2. Collateral Duty SO positions
      1. For ambulatory facilities at which the workload does not justify a full-time SO, it is recommended an individual be appointed who is already holding a position managing regulatory affairs at the Service Unit (such as the quality manager, risk manager, or infection preventionist) and is at a grade GS-9 or higher.
        1. The SO position may also be assigned to a nurse, dentist, pharmacist, or Environmental Health Officer who possesses the appropriate education, training and experience.
        2. Facilities are cautioned about assigning SO duties to departments or non-professional/management level staff where potential conflicts of interest or supervision could occur.
    3. Temporary SO positions
      1. Safety duties should be assigned to individuals holding a position at a grade GS-9 or higher with appropriate education, training, and experience.

3.   Training Policy and Recommendations

  1. Policy: Section 1-9.4G(4): Training and competency for facility SOs and Institutional Environmental Health Specialists (IEHSs) within the IHS shall be commensurate with the scope of their duties and responsibilities, the services provided, and the inherent risks of their facility and/or program. All SOs and IEHSs are encouraged to seek and maintain professional certification. (Refer to IHM Part 4, Chapter 7 regarding training.)
  2. Positions:
    1. Full-time SO positions
      1. In the absence of a qualifying degree or certification as mentioned above, the SO should complete the OSHA Training Institute (OTI) 6015 course - OSH Course for Other Federal Agencies, OSHA 30-hour for general industry & OSHA 500-OSHA Standards for the Construction Industry, or an Environmental Health Support Center OSH course within 90 days of hire;
      2. Ongoing training, technical references, and equipment resources made available to SOs and IEHSs should be sufficient and timely to ensure they are prepared to perform the necessary technical monitoring, consulting, testing, inspecting, designing, and other tasks related to Service Unit and IHS-wide program development and implementation.
      3. Training shall be provided in the topical areas of:
        1. Hazard recognition and assessment;
        2. Evaluation and control;
        3. Equipment and facility design;
        4. Compliance and accreditation standards;
        5. Analysis of incident, injury, and illness data;
        6. Use of appropriate equipment and testing procedures to identify and evaluate hazards and suggest abatement procedures; and
        7. Preparation of documentation and reports to support hazard inspection findings.
        8. (Additional training on the Incident Command System and other emergency preparedness topics may also be required per IHS policy if these additional duties are assigned to SOs.)
    2. Collateral Duty SO positions
      1. Required training will include the Occupational Safety and Health Administration OTI 6005 course - Collateral Duty Course for Other Federal Agencies, or comparable course (OSHA 30-hour for general industry);
      2. Newly assigned CDSO should complete the training within 90 days of appointment.
    3. Temporary SO positions
      1. Recommended training should include the Occupational Safety and Health Administration OTI 6005 course - Collateral Duty Course for Other Federal Agencies, or comparable course (OSHA 30-hour for general industry).