ASSE URGES FEDS TO UPDATE 1980 JOB DESCRIPTION FOR ITS OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY PROFESSIONALS
DES PLAINES, IL (August 2, 2012) – The last time the federal employee job classification for the GS-0018 ‘Safety and Occupational Health Management’ job series was updated was in 1980. Today, 32 years later, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is urging the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to accept recent Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (FACOSH) recommendations to update the qualifications of these federal positions to better reflect the job’s increased responsibilities.
Noting that many ASSE members are federal employees, ASSE President Richard A. Pollock, CSP, in his letter to OPM Director John Berry said, “These recommendations were adopted to address the current classification’s inability to keep up with both changes in the practice of occupational safety and health and the increasing recognition of the vital role they 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,” Pollock went on to say. “Today’s safety professionals must be highly educated and committed to continual advanced training. Along with expertise in a wide range of hazards, controls, and assessment methods in occupational safety and health, their practice requires expert knowledge and abilities in engineering, business, operations, education and training, laws and regulations, human behavior, and computer and Internet technologies.”
ASSE Past President Nancy McWilliams, CSP, ARM, director of the Office of Occupational Safety and Health at the U.S. Department of Commerce and a member of the FACOSH Training Subcommittee which first developed the recommendations, noted, “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.”
The three FACOSH recommendations for updating the qualifications of the GS-0018 safety and occupational health management job series include: deleting the option of using experience alone as a qualification and requiring education and/or professional certification such as a Certified Safety Professional (CSP), an Industrial Hygienist (CIH) or a Certified Health Physicist (CHP); that OPM put the GS-0018 job series in the Professional Series; and OPM 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 recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the oldest professional safety society and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its 35,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental. Go to http://www.asse.org/professionalaffairs_new/communications/federal/ for a full copy of the letter and to the Federal Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health for more information on the committee, established by Executive Order 41 years ago to advise the Secretary of Labor on matters relating to the occupational safety and health of federal employees.
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