Friday, August 3, 2012

ASSE: Time to Update Federal OSH Job Description

It's been 32 years since the federal employee job classification for the GS-0018 Safety and Occupational Health Management job series was updated. That's way too long, ASSE says in calling on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to accept recent recommendations to update the qualifications to better reflect the job’s increased responsibilities. Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (FACOSH) has recommended that OPM:
  • Delete the option of using experience alone as a qualification and require education and/or professional certification such as the CSP, CIH or certified health physicist.
  • Place the GS-0018 job series in the professional series. 
  • Include the phrase “from an accredited college or university” with the education requirements, such as a bachelor’s or higher level degree, or an associate’s or higher level degree in occupational safety, from a college or university accredited by an accrediting agency.
ASSE President Rick Pollock, CSP, notes that the profession has change greatly since 1980 and says that the classification needs to reflect "the increasing recognition of the vital role [safety professionals] play in advancing the bottom line mission of any organization, whether in government or the private sector. Today’s safety and health professional confronts complex risks that did not exist a decade ago, much less in 1980 when the GS-0018 series was written."

Nancy McWilliams, CSP, ARM, director of the Office of Occupational Safety and Health at the U.S. Department of Commerce, a member of the FACOSH Training Subcommittee and a past ASSE president adds, “The FACOSH recommendations are specifically aimed at helping make sure that safety professionals hired into the federal workforce in the future have the sophisticated knowledge of hazards recognition, the ability to identify measures to control those hazards, the skills to defend the budgeting for and implementation of those controls to management, as well as the planning and organizational strategies to protect employees from work-related injury and illness.”