Program Requirements

OSHA Standards addressing Field Federal Safety and Health Council (FFSHC) organization and operation are located in 29 CFR 1960, Subpart K.

FFSHC Operations:

  1. FFSHC Background:
  2. FFSHC Membership and Organization:
  3. FFSHC Officers:
  4. Administrative Requirements and Support:
  5. Training and Education:
  6. Reports and Awards:

  1. FFSHC Background:

    This guidance for Field Federal Safety and Health Council (FFSHC) operations applies to OSHA headquarters, regional and area offices, and to all FFSHCs.

    • Purpose of the Field Federal Safety and Health Councils.
      FFSHCs strive to reduce the incidence, severity, and cost of accidents, injuries, and illnesses within the Federal Government. They are established throughout the United States to promote and assist with cooperative exchanges of occupational safety and health information among local Federal establishments.

    • Relationship of FFSHCs to the Department of Labor.
      Consistent with the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Executive Order 12196, and 29 CFR Part 1960, the Secretary of Labor charters FFSHCs and provides leadership, guidance, and required resources for their operation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been designated to administer the program.

    • Functions of FFSHCs.
      Each FFSHC acts on behalf of the Secretary of Labor by carrying out efforts to improve the effectiveness of Federal entity safety and health functions within its designated geographic area by:

      1. Acting as a clearinghouse for all types of safety and health information, including data on occupational accidents, injuries, illnesses, and injury and illness prevention.
      2. Planning, organizing, and conducting meetings or training sessions that provide technical advice and information on occupational safety and health to representatives of participating organizations.
      3. Promoting improvement of safety and health programs in Federal agencies represented on the FFSHC or participating in FFSHC activities.
      4. Promoting coordination, cooperation, and resource and expertise sharing to aid agencies with inadequate or limited resources.
      5. Providing information on administrative and technical aspects of safety and health programs to Federal Executive Boards (FEBs), Federal Executive Associations (FEAs), labor union organizations, and other employee representatives.
      6. Evaluating safety and health problems particular to local conditions and facilitating solutions through FFSHC activities.
      7. Developing cooperative relationships with local community leaders by informing them of FFSHC functions and objectives and by inviting them to support and participate in FFSHC meetings and activities.
    • Responsibilities.

      1. Regional Administrators provide direction, technical assistance, and administrative support required by existing and newly organized FFSHCs within their designated geographical areas. Support includes providing funding, when available, for budgeted FFSHC activities. The Regional Administrator or his or her designee will serve as or designate an Accountable Property Officer (APO) for each FFSHC.
      2. Assistant Regional Administrators and Federal Agency Program Officers monitor, advise, and recommend approval or disapproval on matters concerning FFSHCs. Federal Agency Program Officer(s) (FAPOs) oversee activities involving Federal agency program requirements, act as the point-of-contact between Federal agencies and OSHA at the local level, provide leadership in organizing new FFSHCs, counsel FFSHCs regarding operations and activities, and assist in planning training and other program offerings.
      3. The Directorate of Enforcement Programs, Office of Federal Agency Programs (OFAP) in consultation with the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health promulgates policies concerning FFSHC activities and provides overall direction and guidance for their operations.
      4. The Directorate of Administrative Programs provides guidance concerning the control and proper accomplishment of administrative functions in carrying out FFSHC activities.
      5. FFSHC Officers and Committee Members administer and operate the FFSHC in accordance with the requirements detailed in this Instruction and as directed by OSHA officials concerning FFSHC and OSHA issues.

  2. FFSHC Membership and Organization:

    • Federal Agency Participation.
      29 CFR 1960.84(b) permits Federal agency heads to define which of their field activities will participate in FFSHC meetings and events. It is the Federal agency's decision to participate in and support an FFSHC.

    • Federal Employees.
      29 CFR 1960.88(c) requires participating Federal agency heads to appoint an equal number of officially designated representatives (and designated alternates) from management and non-management groups, consistent with applicable collective bargaining arrangements.

      1. Representative members are selected from the following categories:
        • Federal occupational safety and health professionals.
        • Related Federal professionals or collateral duty personnel. This includes persons employed in professions or occupations related to or concerned with the safety and health of employees.
        • Line management officials.
        • Representatives of recognized Federal labor or other employee organizations identified in accordance with 29 CFR 1960.68, who are employees of the agency.
      2. Records. The Chairperson should receive written notification of Federal agency appointments of official members and alternates to the FFSHC. The FFSHC Secretary must maintain and periodically update records of such appointments.
      3. Voting Privileges. Only officially designated Federal agency members or their alternates have voting privileges.
      4. Travel Funds must be available equally to management and non-management members.
    • Representatives from non-Federal organizations.
      Those who have demonstrated an interest in occupational safety and health may be granted associate membership. An Associate (non-Federal) Member may attend any FFSHC meeting that is open to the public, but has no voting rights and may not hold any office or serve as a committee member.

    • Establishing a FFSHC.
      According to 29 CFR 1960.86(b), the Secretary may establish an FFSHC in any area where 10 or more Federal establishments totaling 300 or more employees are located within an area having a radius of 50 miles, and when the agencies substantially agree that such a council would be useful. Membership is not restricted to those within the 50-mile radius. The OSHA Regional Administrator will decide the distance limit in order to encourage greater participation within the area.

    • Articles of Organization.
      All Articles of Organization must comply with the requirements of 29 CFR 1960, Subpart K; be presented to the FFSHC's membership for their concurrence; and be accepted by the officially designated Federal agency representatives or their alternates. 29 CFR 1960.88 provides guidance regarding membership categories. Associate members and other participants do not have voting privileges.

      1. Secretary of Labor Approval. The Articles of Organization document, with original signatures, must be transmitted through the OSHA Regional Office to OFAP for the Secretary of Labor's approval. A list of names of officers and current, officially designated FFSHC members, their titles, and agency affiliations must accompany the request for recognition as an FFSHC. After OFAP receives the information and determines that the FFSHC is compliant with 29 CFR 1960, the Secretary will be asked to issue a charter.
      2. Amendments or Modifications. The FFSHC membership must concur with any subsequent amendments to or modifications of approved Articles of Organization and submit them for the Secretary's approval prior to implementation. The proposed amendments or modifications must be transmitted through the OSHA Regional Office to OFAP for the Secretary's consideration. An FFSHC cannot make changes to the approved Articles of Organization without written Secretarial approval.

  3. FFSHC Officers:

    29 CFR 1960.89(a) requires officially designated agency representatives to the FFSHC to elect, at a minimum, a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, and a Secretary.

    • Permissible Candidates.
      Only officially designated representatives of local Federal agencies appointed by their respective agency heads may serve as officers.

      1. OSHA personnel may not serve as officers or as chairpersons of the membership, program, or finance committees, but may serve as members of those committees.
      2. Non-Federal employees may not serve on committees, but may attend committee meetings that are open to the public.
    • Elections.
      Elections must be held at least sixty (60) days before the close of the calendar year. This enables new officers to share in the Executive Committee's planning session which must be held at least forty-five (45) days before the close of the calendar year.

      1. An election may be conducted either at a regularly scheduled meeting or by letter ballot.
    • Terms of Office.
      Officers serve for one- or two-year terms, as specified in the FFSHC's Articles of Organization.

      1. Terms of office run on a calendar year basis.
      2. All officers are chosen by a majority vote of members who are the officially designated agency representatives or their designated alternates. Only officially designated agency representatives or their designated alternates may exercise voting privileges.
    • Duties of FFSHC Officers.

      1. Chairperson.
        • Presides at regular and special FFSHC meetings.
        • Calls and presides at Executive Committee meetings.
        • Appoints committees needed to implement FFSHC objectives.
        • Appoints an FFSHC Property Liaison to oversee use and maintenance of OSHA property on loan to the FFSHC. Where no specific individual is selected, another officer must be selected to fulfill these duties.
        • Provides leadership for programs and activities.
        • Represents the FFSHC at other organizations' meetings where official representation is desirable.
        • Submits an annual report to the Secretary of Labor by March 15 each year describing the previous calendar year's activities and the coming year's programs and plans.
        • Communicates with officials of Federal agencies, FEBs and FEAs, recognized Federal labor and other employee organizations, and non-Federal organizations and individuals in the area who have demonstrated an interest in occupational safety and health.
      2. Vice-Chairperson.
        • Assumes the duties of the Chairperson if he or she is unable to serve.
        • Works with committees and performs duties assigned by the Chairperson.
      3. Secretary.
        • Records, duplicates, distributes, and maintains FFSHC meeting minutes and documentation of activities.
        • Maintains FFSHC files, including the records of membership and participation.
        • Prepares and distributes notices of regular and special meetings of the FFSHC and Executive Committee to members and to the OSHA FAPO.
        • Prepares the FFSHC's correspondence.
        • With the Chairperson's assistance, prepares meeting agendas.
        • As determined by FFSHC leadership, serves as Secretary of the Executive Committee.
      4. FFSHC Property Liaison.
        • Maintains copies of FFSHC records of OSHA-provided property and equipment (if any).
        • Advises the OSHA Property Officer to prepare custody receipts for OSHA-provided accountable property prior to assigning property to the FFSHC.
        • Works with the OSHA Property Officer in conducting a physical inventory of FFSHC-accountable property on an annual basis, or as directed.
    • FFSHC Committees.
      An FFSHC is authorized to establish committees for efficient and proper operation. 29 CFR 1960.89(c) requires that each FFSHC establish an Executive Committee. 29 CFR 1960.89(d) requires each FFSHC to have Membership, Program, and Finance Committees or an FFSHC official with designated responsibility in these areas. The FFSHC Chairperson may appoint additional committees for specific purposes. Associate (non-Federal) members may not serve on FFSHC committees and may not be designated with this responsibility.

      1. General Operations of Committees.
        • The Chairperson will call the committee together in a timely manner as often as necessary to carry out assignments, develop projects, and prepare reports and recommendations.
        • Written committee reports will be provided to the FFSHC Secretary for official files after the report has been verbally presented at a regular meeting.
        • If a written report is not available, the Chairperson of the committee or a designated alternate should make an oral report of any committee activities at a regular FFSHC meeting.
        • The Council Chairperson will head the Executive Committee. Every other committee will select its own chair.
      2. The Executive Committee.
        • Consists of all elected officers, chairpersons of appointed committees and the immediate past chairperson of the FFSHC, if such former chairperson is a Federal employee designated by his/her agency to serve on this FFSCH.
        • Meets at least forty-five (45) days before the beginning of each calendar year, periodically during the year as needed, and at the call of the FFSHC Chairperson.
        • Plans an annual program to accomplish the FFSHC's functions and objectives. The program must include at least four general meetings during the calendar year.
        • Selects subjects for discussion at the general meetings, including suggested guest speakers. Considers Program Committee recommendations.
        • Determines whether the FFSHC will participate in special programs or activities during the upcoming year such as training courses, special seminars, workshops, or local or regional conferences, as budget and other resources permit.
        • Establishes tentative dates, times, and meeting places for the general and special FFSHC meetings.
        • Develops plans and procedures in conjunction with appropriate committees to accomplish FFSHC business, including ways to improve attendance at meetings, campaigns to increase membership, special projects to achieve FFSHC goals and objectives, and mechanisms to carry out recommendations and Federal agency program initiatives of the Secretary of Labor.
        • Ensures that copies of records and minutes of Executive Committee meetings are maintained in the FFSHC's files.
      3. The Membership Committee or Designated FFSHC Official.
        • Analyzes records of FFSHC membership and attendance to identify ways to improve membership or participation.
        • Develops and carries out plans to increase FFSHC membership.
        • Develops plans for encouraging attendance and participation at meetings.
      4. The Program Committee or Designated FFSHC Official.
        • Identifies members' needs and areas of interest, and may obtain such information through questionnaires, consultations, or reviews of agency injury and illness rates and related costs.
        • Based on members' areas of interest, develops topics for general meetings, special seminars or workshops, training courses, and conferences.
        • Provides annual recommendations to the FFSHC Executive Committee on program direction for the coming year and secures program approval from that Committee.
        • Identifies potential program speakers.
        • Works with the FFSHC Finance Committee to identify needs for meeting facilities, equipment, and supplies. Prepares requests to OSHA for financial support of activities.
        • Provides information to the FFSHC Secretary for meeting or special activity announcements.
        • Each year, develops criteria for evaluating program effectiveness. This might include use of annual questionnaires to members, evaluation forms for specific activities, surveys of Federal activity managers, or other appraisal mechanisms. The information obtained should be used to determine future program efforts.
        • Publicizes FFSHC programs, meetings, and agendas.
      5. The Finance Committee or Designated FFSHC Official.
        • Identifies FFSHC budgetary needs.
        • With the assistance and concurrence of the Executive Committee, prepares the FFSHC's annual budget request to be submitted to the OSHA Regional Office for review and approval. Each OSHA Regional Office will provide the FFSHC with instructions regarding budget format and submission dates.
        • Prepares requisitions or other documents to request and justify proposed expenditures of OSHA funds to support FFSHC activities. Transmits documents to the OSHA Regional Office for review and approval. OSHA approves or disapproves requisitions to obligate OSHA funds and advises OSHA's Finance Officer prior to any actual purchases or expenditure of funds.
        • Maintains FFSHC's records reflecting receipt of OSHA materials and other support items.
      6. The Nominations and Elections Committee.
        This Committee may be established at the discretion of the FFSHC Chairperson, and will:

        • Consist of at least three officially designated representatives of Federal agencies, one of whom is a union or other employee representative.
        • Develop election procedures that permit nominations from the membership and provide an opportunity for officially designated representatives to nominate other officially designated representatives for open offices before voting.
        • Advise the FFSHC Secretary of nominations for all open elective offices no later than ninety (90) days before the beginning of a calendar year, since the election of officers must be held at least sixty (60) days before the beginning of the calendar year.

  4. Administrative Requirements and Support:

    • Authority.
      According to 29 CFR 1960.85(b), "The Secretary of Labor shall provide leadership and guidance and make available necessary equipment, supplies, and staff services to FFSHCs to assist them in carrying out their responsibilities. The Secretary shall also provide consultative and technical services to field councils. These services shall involve aid in any phase of developing and planning programs; and in sponsoring, conducting, or supporting safety and health training courses."

    • Administrative Support.
      OSHA administers the FFSHC program. OSHA Regional Administrators are responsible for evaluating FFSHC budget requests and deciding whether funding will be provided to support FFSHC activities. OSHA also provides operational, fiscal, and legal support and guidance to FFSHCs regarding operations, estimated budgets, requisitions, and other requests for OSHA support. FFSHCs have no fiscal authority delegated from OSHA and are not otherwise authorized to handle or commit funds.

    • Purchase of Services and Materials.
      All services and materials needed to support the FFSHC must be purchased with OSHA funds. The following list of goods and services are normally authorized for distribution to FFSHCs. However, other items that the FFSHCs request and which the OSHA Regional Administrators determine to be appropriate may be provided if that acquisition would enhance the program and improve Federal employees' safety and health. OSHA Regional Administrators have discretion in deciding if any items on this list will be made available to FFSHCs.

      1. Office supplies, including letterhead stationery and envelopes.
      2. Audiovisual equipment, including projectors, film, or screens.
      3. Training aids, including classroom support equipment, videos, and reference materials.
      4. Office equipment and furniture.
      5. Plaques, trophies, and certificates for recognition purposes.
      6. Mailing or postal costs.
      7. Expert and professional services including guest speakers.
      8. Printing and document duplication.
      9. Communications support (telephone and facsimile).
      10. Equipment maintenance and repair.
      11. Training.
      12. Other contractual services.
    • Proposed Estimated Budgets.
      OSHA Regions will distribute support based on the identified needs of the FFSHC, and in keeping with OSHA budgetary constraints.

      1. Due to the need for incorporating FFSHC budget requests into the Region's overall budgetary considerations, FFSHC proposed estimated budget requests for the following calendar year should be submitted to the OSHA FAPO by the first of September.
      2. When submitting its proposed estimated budget, the FFSHC should describe how the proposed funds will be spent, including a description of the item or service, cost of the item or service, supplier, and other details. Expendable and/or replacement items such as letterhead, envelopes, film, etc. should appear in the FFSHC proposed budget (OSHA will procure and supply those items directly to the FFSHC). The FFSHC proposed budgets should identify proposed seminar and training costs, including costs/fees for room rentals, training aids or materials, travel, and instructors, etc.
      3. While there is no separate FFSHC line item in the Region's budget, the Region will identify funding requirements in its budget estimates.
    • Requisitioning Procedures.
      FFSHCs should request supplies, equipment, or services using standard Department of Labor requisitioning procedures and by either completing a DL Form 1-1, Requisition for Equipment, Supplies or Services, or a memorandum, as permitted by the Regional Administrator.

      1. The memorandum must include, at a minimum, narrative justifications, recommended acquisition sources, and the actual or estimated costs.
      2. OSHA Regional Office staff will provide guidance for preparing forms. FFSHCs will submit requisitions to the FAPO who will apprise the FFSHC of the requisition's status.
      3. FFSHCs are not to commit to or purchase supplies, equipment, or services. OSHA is responsible for procurement.
    • Property Accountability.
      The FFSHC is not required to prepare a custody receipt for items costing less than $500, but may do so to track equipment being removed from OSHA premises.

      1. The FFSHC must prepare a custody receipt for OSHA property costing $500 or more and provide it to OSHA. OSHA will keep the signed original, acknowledging custody of the property. The FFSHC must also keep a copy for its records.
      2. The FFSHC will take an annual physical inventory of accountable property.
    • Fiscal Requirements.
      OSHA will process FFSHC contracts and purchase orders. Once certified for payment by OSHA, invoices or bills will follow the normal payment process.

    • Travel, Per Diem, and Transportation.

      1. OSHA must approve travel authorizations prior to travel.
      2. Guest speakers for FFSHC meetings may be reimbursed for their travel expenses, per diem, and reasonable fees. OSHA authorization of a guest speaker's expenses must precede confirming their engagement and expending funds.
      3. The OSHA Regional Office will provide travel authorizations, travel reimbursement vouchers, and other related documents.
    • Training.
      FFSHCs will identify members' training needs and will include recommendations in their annual programs. OSHA will determine what training will be funded.

      1. OSHA may authorize training by internal and external sources, including contracting with non-Federal experts to develop and present training on subjects of local interest.
      2. FFSHCs are not authorized to collect training fees, directly or through a contractor, even if the training is being provided to Federal agencies or FFSHC members. FFSHCs are not authorized to collect any tuition or fees, or to designate a contractor to do so, nor are they authorized to collect reimbursements of expenses except as approved by an OSHA Regional Administrator. OSHA will fund FFSHC-sponsored training, to the extent resources permit.
    • Printing and Duplication.
      FFSHCs will submit printing and duplicating requests to OSHA.

    • Postal Expenses.
      Regarding postage for correspondence related to FFSHC activities, FFSHCs cannot be issued or use pre-metered envelopes. At the Regional level, OSHA and the FFSHC will agree on how to send out mail.

      1. If OSHA Regional or Area Offices are conveniently located, FFSHCs can address and stuff the envelopes and bring them to OSHA offices to be metered and mailed.
      2. If FFSHCs are not near OSHA offices, Regional Offices can use funds from their operating budget to purchase C.O.D. accounts from overnight shipping services, e.g., UPS, USPS, or Federal Express. FFSHCs can ship addressed and stuffed envelopes to local OSHA offices for metering and mailing.
      3. Regional Offices can purchase penalty stamps and give them to FFSHCs to use for mailings. These are only available on a quarterly basis, so the FFSHC must plan its mailings accordingly. FFSHCs must carefully control these stamps.
      4. Because of the relative costs, whenever possible, FFSHCs should use facsimile or e-mail. Faxing and e-mail are both convenient and cost-effective.
      5. Use of OSHA-provided stationary/postage for anything other than official business is strictly prohibited.

  5. Training and Education:

    FFSHCs are expected to provide training and educational activities which address the safety and health needs of their members. The following topics may be appropriate in developing annual FFSHC meeting and training schedules. These are listed as examples only; the lists are not comprehensive.

    • Health Related Topics.
      Access to Medical and Exposure Records; Air Contaminant Hazards; Control Bloodborne Pathogens; Toxic Substances in the Workplace; Emergency Response - HazMat; Ergonomics; Hazard Communication; Hazardous Materials (Handling, Storage, Disposal); Hearing Conservation; Indoor Air Quality; Proper Lifting Techniques; Respiratory Protection; Sanitation; and Tuberculosis Guidelines

    • Safety Related Topics.
      Office Safety Inspections; Confined Spaces; Construction Safety; Electrical Safety; Emergency Action Plan; Eye Protection; Fire Extinguisher Use; Fire Safety; Lockout/Tagout; Machine Guarding; Motor Vehicle Safety; Personal Protective Devices and Equipment; Slips, Trips, and Falls; Storage and Handling of Materials; and Workplace Violence

    • Program Management Topics.
      Accident Reporting, Investigation, and Analysis; Agency Safety and Health Program Evaluation Criteria; Employees' Rights and Responsibilities; Functions of a Safety and Health Committee; Hazard Recognition, Inspection, Analysis, and Control Procedures; Inspection Procedures Involving First Line Supervisors in Workplace Safety and Health; Principles of Safety and Health Management; Recordkeeping - Injury/Illness/Accident Recording; Supervisor's Responsibilities for Safety and Health; System Safety; Use of Safety and Health Standards and Regulations; and Workers' Compensation in the Federal Service.

  6. Reports and Awards:

    • Annual Reports.
      29 CFR 1960.90(c) requires each FFSHC to submit an annual report to the Secretary of Labor by March 15. This report must describe the past calendar year's activities and the current year's goals and objectives. The report is used to assess the FFSHC's program plans and budget requests. Reports are evaluated to determine recipients of annual National Office achievement awards.

    • FFSHC Achievement Awards.
      Through annual achievement awards, the Secretary of Labor recognizes FFSHCs that best exemplify the intent and purpose of the FFSHC program. The Regions and OFAP evaluate the annual reports to determine individual FFSHC achievement of goals and objectives.

      1. Categories. FFSHCs are placed in three categories based on the size of the Federal population served. This allows FFSHCs to compete with other Councils possessing approximately the same resources and serving similar population bases.
        • Category I consists of those FFSHCs serving an area with a Federal employee population of more than 20,000.
        • Category II has between 10,000 and 20,000 Federal employees.
        • Category III has fewer than 10,000 Federal employees.
      2. Award Levels. In each category, there are three levels of awards: Superior Performance, Meritorious Achievement, and Notable Recognition. More than one FFSHC may be recognized in each award level. Honorable mention certificates may also be awarded when, in the opinion of the evaluators, they are justified.
      3. Special Achievement Award. This award recognizes the efforts of an FFSHC, or an individual within an FFSHC, for a particular area of achievement.
      4. Regional Awards. OSHA regions are encouraged to recognize FFSHC accomplishments within their jurisdictions. The Regional Administrator will determine the type of recognition such as formal awards, written acknowledgement in Regional newsletters, or verbal accolades at Regional training sessions.