Directives - Table of Contents Directives - Table of Contents
• Record Type: Instruction
• Directive Number: CSP 03-01-001
• Old Directive Number: TED 8-0.3
• Title: Policies and Procedures Manual for Special Government Employee (SGE) activity conducted under the auspices of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program
• Information Date: 01/04/2002

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DIRECTIVE NUMBER: TED 8.3 EFFECTIVE DATE: January 4, 2002
SUBJECT: Policies and Procedures Manual for Special Government Employee (SGE) activity conducted under the auspices of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program

ABSTRACT

Purpose: This instruction describes and implements the policies and procedures governing the administration and operation of Special Government Employee activity conducted under the auspices of OSHA's VPP.
 
Scope: OSHA-wide
 
References: Voluntary Protection Program Policies and Procedures Manual (TED 8.1a)
 
Cancellation: "Federal and State Guidelines for the use of OSHA Volunteers to Assist in Performing VPP Onsite Reviews," Paula O. White memorandum to State Designees on February 25, 1998.
 
State Impact: This instruction describes a Federal Program Change for which State adoption is not required.
 
Action Offices: National and Regional Offices
 
Originating Office: Directorate of Federal-State Operations
 
Contact: Directorate of Federal-State Operations (DFSO)
Office of Cooperative Programs
Francis Perkins Building, N 3700
200 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20210
 
Approval: By and Under the Authority of
John L. Henshaw
Assistant Secretary
 

Major Changes:

This manual implements policies and procedures for Special Government Employee (SGE) activity conducted under the auspices of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). It provides the overall policy framework for Special Government Employee (SGE) activity and revises and clarifies the requirements to apply, receive training, and participate in the activities. The major changes are:

  • State Plan States must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Federal OSHA if they wish to use Federal SGEs at State Plan State VPP sites.
  • State Plan State VPP Managers wishing to use a federally trained SGE must follow the same procedures as other VPP Managers. These procedures can be found in Chapter 4.
  • Individuals must complete and submit an application to participate as an SGE. SGEs must re-apply at the end of their term of service in order to continue participating. Renewal applications must be sent to SGEs during the application period prior to the expiration of their service.
  • Applications to participate as a Special Government Employee (SGE) must be processed four times per year. Applications must be received in the Office of Cooperative Programs on or before January 15, April 15, July 15, or October 15 of each year. If the deadline falls on a weekend or a Federal holiday, applications are due on the first Federal business day following the deadline. Late applications are held until the next submission deadline.
  • All new applicants must attend training. A new Special Government Employee (SGE) application must be approved by the OSHA Personnel Office before the applicant may be approved to attend training. Successful applicants must be notified by a representative from the Office of Cooperative Programs regarding the date and location of training.
  • The term of service for Special Government Employee (SGE) is three years. SGE's serve at the pleasure of the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health. Service is contingent upon the proper conduct of SGEs. The term of service for new SGEs begins the day the oath of office is administered. The term of service for renewing SGEs is calculated from the approval date of their application.
  • Approved and trained SGEs are eligible to assist with VPP onsite evaluations from the day they take the oath of office until the end of their term of service. An SGE becomes ineligible upon the day that he or she leaves the employment of a VPP company or upon the day that company no longer retains VPP status.
  • The Director of Federal-State Operations or his or her designee must disqualify those applicants whose employment or financial involvements may present a conflict of interest or the appearance of impropriety.

Executive Summary:

This manual implements policies and procedures for Special Government Employee (SGE) activities and provides the overall policy framework for SGEs activities. This manual revises the requirements to apply, receive training and participate in SGE activities, and clarifies the terms of service for Special Government Employees.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1
Introduction.

  1. Purpose.
  2. Scope.
  3. References.
  4. Cancellations.
  5. Major Changes.
    1. State Plan State Participation.
    2. Soliciting Assistance from SGEs.
    3. Application Requirement.
    4. Application Deadline.
    5. Training Requirement.
    6. Term of Service..
    7. SGE's Eligibility.
    8. Ineligible Applicants.
  6. Federal Program Change.
  7. Action Information.
    1. OSHA National Office.
    2. OSHA Regional Offices.
    3. States.
  8. A Brief History of the SGE Activity in OSHA.
  9. How SGE Activities are Administered.
    1. Office of Cooperative Programs.
    2. VPP Managers.
  10. Definitions.
    1. Application Deadline.
    2. Assistant Secretary
    3. New SGE
    4. Oath of Office.
    5. Renewing SGE.
    6. Safety and Health Professional.
    7. Term of Service.
    8. Special Government Employee.
    9. Special Government Employee Usage Request.
    10. Special Government Employee Application.
    11. Special Government Employee Coordinator.
    12. Special Government Employee Training.

Chapter 2
SGE Qualifications and Application Process

  1. SGE Qualifications.
    1. Qualifications for All SGEs.
    2. Qualifications for Safety and Health Professionals.
    3. Qualifications for Other SGE Applicants.
    4. Ineligible Applicants.
  2. SGE Application Process.

    1. Application Cycle and Submission Deadlines.
    2. Required Application Forms.
    3. Ethics Documents.

Chapter 3
SGE Training, Oath of Office and Terms of Service

  1. SGE Training.
    1. Eligible Trainees.
    2. Training Notification.
    3. Training Frequency.
    4. Training Responsibilities.
    5. Training Content.
  2. Oath of Office.
    1. Oath of Office for New SGEs.
    2. Oath of Office for Renewing SGEs.
    3. Appointment Procedures.
    4. SGE Appointment Affidavits.
  3. SGE Term of Service.
    1. New SGEs.
    2. Renewing SGEs.
    3. Termination of Service.
    4. SGE Duties.

Chapter 4
SGE Utilization and Reporting

  1. Utilization of SGEs.
    1. Soliciting Assistance from SGEs.
    2. Composition of OSHA or State Plan State Review Team.
    3. Requesting an SGE.
    4. Approval and Notification.
  2. SGE Utilization Reports.
    1. National Office Reports.
    2. Regional Office Reports.

Chapter 5
Application Processing and Program Administration

  1. Application Processing.
    1. Receipt of Applications.
    2. Preparing the Application Submission Package.
    3. Transmitting Completed Application Submission Packages to the Office of Personnel.
    4. Notification of Application Receipt and Processing
    5. Providing Approval Notification and Training Invitation to all Prospective SGEs.
    6. Preparing SGE Training Certificates and Appointment Affidavits.
    7. Appointment Notification and CEO Thank You Letters.
  2. SGE Program Administration.
    1. Re-Application by SGEs.
    2. Customer Service to SGE Applicants.
    3. Customer Service to and VPP Managers/Officers.
    4. Customer Service to Office of Personnel.
    5. SGE Data Management.
    6. Planning and Coordination of Training.

Appendix A
Monthly SGE Utilization Report

Appendix B
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDiNG

Appendix C
Form Correspondence

Application Submission Memorandum
Notification of Application Receipt and Processing E-mail
Approval Notification and Training Invitation Letter
Training Certificate Transmittal Memorandum
Appointment Notification Letter
CEO Thank You Letter
SGE Re-Application Letter
Training Confirmation Letter
Training Host Thank You Letter
SGE Training Postponement Letter

Appendix D
SGE Application

Index


Chapter 1

Introduction

  1. Purpose. This instruction describes and implements the policies and procedures governing the administration and operation for OSHA's Special Government Employees activities.
  2. Scope. OSHA-wide
  3. References.
    1. Voluntary Protection Program Policies and Procedures Manual (TED 8.1a)
  4. Cancellations.
    1. "Federal and State Guidelines for the use of OSHA Volunteers to Assist in Performing VPP Onsite Reviews," Paula O. White memorandum to State Designees on February 25, 1998.
  5. Major Changes.
    1. State Plan State Participation. A State Plan State must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Federal OSHA if they wish to use Federal SGEs at VPP sites in a State Plan State.
    2. Soliciting Assistance from SGEs. State Plan State VPP Managers wishing to use a federally trained SGE must follow the same procedures as other VPP Managers. These procedures can be found in Chapter 4.
    3. Application Requirement. Individuals must complete and submit an application to participate as a Special Government Employee. SGEs must re-apply at the end of their term of service in order to continue participating. Renewal applications must be sent to SGEs during the application period prior to the expiration of their service.
    4. Application Deadline. Applications to participate as a Special Government Employee must be processed four times per year. Applications must be received in the Office of Cooperative Programs on or before January 15, April 15, July 15, or October 15 of each year. If the deadline falls on a weekend or a Federal holiday, applications are due on the first Federal business day following the deadline. Late applications are held until the next submission deadline.
    5. Training Requirement. All new applicants must attend training. A Special Government Employee application must be approved by the OSHA Personnel Office before the applicant may be approved to attend training. Successful applicants must be notified by a representative from the Office of Cooperative Programs regarding the date and location of training.
    6. Term of Service. All SGEs are initially appointed to a three-year term of service. SGEs serve at the pleasure of the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health. Service is contingent upon the proper conduct of SGEs. The term of service for new SGEs begins the day the oath of office is administered. The term of service for renewing SGEs is calculated from the approval date of their application.
    7. SGE's Eligibility. Approved and trained SGEs are eligible to assist with VPP onsite evaluations from the day they take the oath of office until the end of their term of service. However, an SGE becomes ineligible upon the day that he or she leaves the employment of a VPP company or upon the day that company no longer retains VPP status.
    8. Ineligible Applicants. The Director of Federal-State Operations or his or her designee must disqualify those applicants whose employment or financial involvements may present a conflict of interest or the appearance of impropriety.
  6. Federal Program Change. This instruction describes a Federal Program Change for which adoption is not required. However States that wish to use Federally-approved SGEs as members of VPP onsite review teams must enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Federal OSHA. See Appendix B for the approved Memorandum of Understanding.
  7. Action Information.

    1. OSHA National Office.
      1. Directorate of Federal-State Operations. The Directorate of Federal-State Operations (FSO), through the Office of Cooperative Programs (OCP), Division of Voluntary Programs, is responsible for the nationwide coordination and administrative oversight of Special Government Employee activities. OCP is responsible for establishing the policies and procedures that govern the operation, monitoring, and evaluation of Special Government Employee activities. This Policies and Procedures Manual is the program's principal policy guidance document for SGE activity. The Division of Voluntary Programs is also responsible for providing Voluntary Protection Program support and assistance to the Regions, States, and participants.
      2. Directorate of Administrative Programs. The Directorate of Administrative Programs, through the Office of Personnel, is responsible for processing applications and submitting the application to the Executive Secretariat for final approval within four weeks of receipt from the Office of Cooperative Programs.
    2. OSHA Regional Offices. OSHA VPP Managers are responsible for contacting, recruiting, and encouraging interested VPP site employees to become SGEs, facilitating the oath of office ceremony for new renewing SGEs, scheduling SGE participation, requesting approval for SGE utilization from the SGE Coordinator, and submitting monthly reports to the National Office.
    3. States. States Plan States may choose to utilize Federally-approved SGEs to serve as members of a VPP onsite review team within the State. Qualified individuals from approved VPP sites in State Plan States may apply and be approved as SGEs through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

      In order to utilize SGEs, a State Plan State must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Federal OSHA accepting liability for SGEs while they serve in that State. A State may establish its own SGE activities, independent of OSHA, for training SGEs from VPP sites within the State to serve as members of a state VPP onsite review team.

  8. A Brief History of the SGE Activity in OSHA.

    1. SGE activities were established in 1994 in order to leverage OSHA's limited resources by utilizing private sector safety and health professionals during VPP onsite evaluations.
    2. An SGE serves in the capacity of a Federal volunteer while he or she is assisting OSHA personnel during onsite evaluations. While at an onsite evaluation, an SGE is held to the same ethical and legal standards as a Federal or state government employee.
  9. How SGE Activities are Administered. SGE activities are administered in partnership between the Directorate of Federal-State Operations-Office of Cooperative Programs (OCP) and the VPP Managers.

    1. Office of Cooperative Programs. The SGE Coordinator receives and processes SGE applications, coordinates quarterly training sessions with Regional staff, evaluates and approves requests for SGE usage, and conducts oversight of SGE activities. The SGE Coordinator provides administrative and programmatic support to SGEs during the application, training, and re-application process; provides quarterly updates of approved SGEs and their contact information; and collects monthly data on SGE usage.
    2. VPP Managers. VPP Managers coordinate with SGEs to secure assistance at onsite evaluations, request approval for SGE participation, help renewed SGEs, coordinate administration of the oath of office, and reporting monthly SGE usage to OCP.
  10. Definitions.

    1. Application Deadline. The quarterly deadline by which the SGE Application must be received in the Office of Cooperative Programs in order for it to be processed and the applicant considered for participation.
    2. Assistant Secretary. The Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
    3. New SGE. An individual who has not previously applied to participate as an SGE or who has experienced a lapse of service of more than one year.
    4. Oath of Office. The oath required of all employees who enter Federal service.
    5. Renewing SGE. An individual who is presently serving as an SGE or who is re-applying after a lapse of service of less than one year.
    6. Safety and Health Professional. An individual employed in a position in which more than 50% of daily duties are dedicated to conducting or managing worksite or corporate safety or health activities.
    7. Term of Service. The length of time (usually three years) that an individual may serve as an SGE before they must re-apply to continue participation.
    8. Special Government Employee. A permanent, full-time employee of a VPP Star or Merit site (not an employee of a contractor or nested contractor), or of an equivalent VPP site in an OSHA-approved State Plan State, who meets the participation requirements established by OSHA and acts in the capacity of a Federal volunteer while assisting Federal or State Plan State OSHA staff in conducting VPP onsite evaluations.
    9. Special Government Employee Usage Request. The written request asking for approval to use a specific SGE at a specific onsite evaluation(s).
    10. Special Government Employee Application. The information and forms that must be submitted to the Office of Cooperative Programs in order for an individual to be considered for participation as an SGE.
    11. Special Government Employee Coordinator. The Office of Cooperative Programs staff member responsible for coordinating and managing the Federal volunteer activities.
    12. Special Government Employee Training. The pre-requisite training course for participation as a Federal volunteer.

Chapter 2

SGE Qualifications and Application Process

  1. SGE Qualifications.

    1. Qualifications for All SGEs. All SGEs must have the following qualifications:

      1. Experience applying OSHA regulations
      2. Experience (currently or within the previous 2 years) in a leadership position(s) in the VPP at the applicant's worksite or corporation
      3. Strong interpersonal skills
      4. Sound reading and writing skills
      5. Physical ability to perform team member's duties
      6. Management or corporate support for participating as an SGE
    2. Qualifications for Safety and Health Professionals. Safety and health professionals must have these additional qualifications:

      1. Have two or more years of experience in the safety and health field
      2. Be employed in a position in which more than 50% of daily duties are dedicated to conducting or managing worksite or corporate safety or health activities.
      3. Be a current employee of a Federal or State Plan State VPP worksite, a current corporate office employee of a corporation that has one or more VPP worksites, or a current employee of a non-VPP worksite who was previously an employee at a VPP worksite within the same corporation
    3. Qualifications for Other SGE Applicants. SGEs need not be safety and health professionals. They may be hourly employees or individuals who have several years of experience implementing effective safety and health systems. Besides meeting the qualifications above, these applicants must also have the following qualifications:

      1. Be a current employee of a VPP worksite who has worked at a VPP site for a minimum of two (2) years
      2. During that minimum two year period, have experience in at least three (3) of the following activities (or their equivalents):

        1. Chairing a worksite safety/health committee
        2. Working directly with the OSHA VPP onsite review team during the previous onsite review
        3. Training others in safety and health procedures
        4. Writing and reviewing Job Safety Analyses (JSAs) and/or Behavioral Job Analyses (BJAs)
        5. Coordinating accident investigations
        6. Coordinating proactive safety and health activities such as wellness days
        7. Leading worksite hazard inspection teams
        8. Coordinating hazard abatement activities
        9. Other experience that demonstrates a knowledge of safety and health management systems
    4. Ineligible Applicants. The Director of Federal-State Operations or his or her designee must disqualify from eligibility those applicants whose employment or financial involvements may present a conflict of interest or the appearance of impropriety.
  2. SGE Application Process.

    1. Application Cycle and Submission Deadlines. Applications to participate as an SGE must be processed four times per year. Applications must be received in the Office of Cooperative Programs on or before January 15, April 15, July 15 or October 15 of each year. If the deadline falls on a weekend or a Federal holiday, applications are due on the first Federal business day following the deadline. Late applications are held until the next submission deadline.
    2. Required Application Forms. All forms in the SGE Application must be completed in order for the application to be processed. See Appendix D for the SGE Application. If the application is not complete, the SGE Coordinator must notify the applicant and secure the missing information. It is the applicant's responsibility to return the corrected information prior to the deadline. If the corrected application is not received by the deadline the application is held until the next application deadline. The required application forms are:

      1. Eligibility Information Sheet
      2. Request for Name Check
      3. Optional Application for Federal Employment (or current Resume)
      4. Confidential Financial Disclosure Sheet
      5. Waiver of Claims Against the Government

      If, at any time during an individual's application term of service as an SGE, it is discovered that an applicant knowingly withheld information or provided information that was untrue, that individual's participation as an SGE must be terminated.

    3. Ethics Documents. The SGE Application package includes two documents that describe the ethics requirements for SGEs.

Chapter 3

SGE Training, Oath of Office and Terms of Service

  1. SGE Training.

    1. Eligible Trainees. Priority for attending SGE training goes to private sector employees who meet the required SGE qualifications outlined in Chapter 2, have submitted an application by the quarterly deadline, have been approved by the OSHA Office of Personnel, and have been invited to attend training by the Director, Office of Cooperative Programs. Municipal, State, and Federal government employees may attend SGE training only after all private sector employees' training needs have been met for the quarter.
    2. Training Notification. The SGE Coordinator must send applicants written notice of where to report for training no later than nine (9) weeks after the application deadline. Renewing SGEs need not attend SGE training unless notified by the SGE Coordinator.
    3. Training Frequency. SGE training is conducted each quarter unless there are fewer than 15 trainees, in which case training is postponed until the next scheduled training period. The total number of trainees in any one session may not exceed 25 unless approved by the Director, Office of Cooperative Programs. If more than 25 applicants require training within one quarter, the applicants must be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis.
    4. Training Responsibilities. The SGE Coordinator has primary responsibility for organizing this training, with assistance from a VPP Manager. Instructors must be identified based on the needs of the trainees and the geographic location of the training. The lead instructor may request assistance from experienced SGEs, Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs), Compliance Assistance Specialists, Consultation staff, Regional or Local VPPPA Chapter members, or other knowledgeable persons.
    5. Training Content. Training content must be determined by the Director, Office of Cooperative Programs, with assistance from VPP Managers. Modifications to the training content must be approved by the Director, Office of Cooperative Programs before being implemented.
  2. Oath of Office. SGEs may not participate on an onsite evaluation until they have taken the Federal oath of office administered by an OSHA appointing official empowered by the head of the agency under the authority of 5 U.S.C. 2903. OSHA appointing officials include the Assistant Secretary, Deputy Assistant Secretaries, Regional Administrators, Heads of Directorates, Director of the Office of Cooperative Programs, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management (OASAM) Regional Personnel Officers, and Area Directors, or a designated deputy who is temporarily acting for one of the officials listed above.

    1. Oath of Office for New SGEs. The oath of office must be administered to new SGEs on the last day of training. The VPP Manager is responsible for organizing and securing an appointing official to administer the oath of office.
    2. Oath of Office for Renewing SGEs. The VPP Manager is responsible for coordinating a suitable time and place for an appointing official to administer the oath of office to renewing SGEs.
    3. Appointment Procedures. Each individual may elect either to "swear" or "affirm" the oath of office. An American flag must be present. The appointing official must meet the qualifications as described above.

      1. The appointing official must ascertain if the appointee elects to swear or affirm to this affidavit. If the individual wishes to affirm the oath, then the words "So help me God" in the oath and the word "swear" should be stricken wherever these words appear. Only these words may be stricken and only when the appointee elects to affirm the affidavit.
      2. The appointing official must ask all persons present to rise for the administration of the oath of office. The appointing official must stand facing the appointee(s) with the American flag between them and instruct the appointee(s) to raise his or her right hand. The appointing official must read the oath of office in short phrases, waiting for the appointee to repeat each phrase before proceeding to the next.
      3. When the administration of the oath of office is complete, the appointing official must complete and sign the appointment. The position of appointment must be "Special Government Employee."
    4. SGE Appointment Affidavits. An Appointment Affidavits (SF-61) must be completed for each SGE who takes the oath of office. The SGE and the appointing official must both sign the form after the oath of office has been administered. (A copy of the Appointment Affidavits (SF-61) may be downloaded from the internet at: http://www.opm.gov/forms/html/sf.htm.) After the Appointment Affidavits has been signed by both parties, the VPP Manager or the appointing official is responsible for sending the original signed appointment affidavits to:

      OSHA Office of Personnel
      ATTN: SGE Officer
      Frances Perkins Bldg., Room N 3308
      200 Constitution Ave., NW
      Washington, D.C. 20210

  3. SGE Term of Service. All SGEs are initially appointed to a three-year term of service. SGEs serve at the pleasure of the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health. Service as an SGE is contingent upon proper ethical conduct.

    1. New SGEs. The term of service for new SGEs must be calculated from the date that they successfully complete SGE training and take the oath of office.
    2. Renewing SGEs. The term of service for renewing SGEs must be calculated from the date their application is approved by the Office of Personnel.
    3. Termination of Service. Service as an SGE must be terminated without notice by the Agency if the conditions in Chapter 2 of this Policies and Procedures Manual under which the SGE was originally appointed no longer apply. If the OSHA or State Plan State team leader has evidence of, or determines that an SGE is not conducting himself or herself in a proper manner during a VPP onsite evaluation, they must ask the SGE to leave the worksite immediately. The VPP Regional Manager, Regional VPP Officer, or State Plan State VPP Manager must provide information about the incident to the Director of Federal-State Operations and recommend that the SGE's term of service be terminated.
    4. SGE Duties. SGEs function as members of a VPP onsite team. SGE assignments may include, but are not limited to, the following activities:

      1. Reviewing company documents that describe or verify the worksite's safety and health management system
      2. Conducting a walkaround of the worksite to ensure the site's safety and health management system is operating effectively
      3. Interviewing employees of the company and contractors to determine their level of involvement in and perceptions of the worksite's safety and health management system
      4. Assisting in the preparation of a report that evaluates the worksite's safety and health management system with respect to VPP criteria

Chapter 4

SGE Utilization and Reporting

  1. Utilization of SGEs.

    1. Soliciting Assistance from SGEs. VPP Managers, VPP Officers and State Plan State VPP Managers must solicit assistance from SGEs directly.

      1. Soliciting Approved SGEs. Only those individuals listed on the Report of Approved SGEs may be solicited. Once an SGE has agreed to participate in the onsite review, the VPP Manager, VPP Officer, or State Plan State VPP Manager must request permission from the SGE Coordinator to utilize that SGE.
      2. Site Concurrence in Utilizing SGEs. The VPP Manager, VPP Officer, or State Plan State VPP Manager must inform the employer that an SGE will be used as a member of the VPP onsite team and the employer must agree with this arrangement.
    2. Composition of OSHA or State Plan State Review Team. VPP Onsite Evaluation Teams must include at least one full-time OSHA or State employee serving in the capacity of Team Leader. SGEs may not outnumber full-time OSHA or State employees as members of a VPP Onsite Evaluation Team by more than one (1).

    Additionally, SGEs may not serve as Team Leaders or Backup Team Leaders. If a full-time OSHA or State Employee is unable to serve as Team Leader, the VPP Onsite Evaluation must be postponed.

    Acceptable VPP Onsite Evaluation Team Configurations

    If A VPP Onsite Evaluation Team Includes Then
    1 full-time OSHA or State employee up to 2 SGEs may be on Team.
    2 full-time OSHA or State employees up to 3 SGEs may be on Team.
    3 full-time OSHA or State employees up to 4 SGEs may be on Team.
    4 full-time OSHA or State employees up to 5 SGEs may be on Team.

     
    1. Requesting an SGE. Requests for SGEs must be submitted to the SGE Coordinator no later than four weeks prior to the scheduled onsite evaluation. Late requests may be approved on a case-by-case basis. Requests must be e-mailed. Requests must include the following information:

      1. The full name and company of the SGE requested
      2. The company name, city, and state of the worksite that is being evaluated
      3. The date and expected duration of the onsite evaluation
    2. Approval and Notification.

      1. The SGE Coordinator reviews requests for SGEs and approves or denies those requests. The SGE Coordinator may deny a request for an SGE based on the following criteria:

        1. Information in the request is incomplete
        2. The requested SGE is not yet approved, or his or her term of service has expired
        3. Participation of the requested SGE at the scheduled worksite is considered to be a financial conflict of interest or presents the appearance of impropriety
      2. The SGE Coordinator must respond to a Request for an SGE via e-mail. If a request is denied, the SGE Coordinator must make a reasonable attempt to assist Regional or State Plan State staff in finding a replacement SGE in time for the evaluation.
  2. SGE Utilization Reports.

    1. National Office Reports. Reports issued by the National Office are sent to the VPP Managers and copied to the Chief of Voluntary Programs and the Director of the Office of Cooperative Programs.

      1. Report of Approved SGEs. This report lists all available approved SGEs and is provided to the VPP Managers on a quarterly basis.
      2. Annual Usage Report. This report lists all SGEs that were utilized during the previous fiscal year. It is provided to the VPP Managers by December 1st of each year.
    2. Regional Office Reports. VPP Managers must submit a Monthly SGE Utilization Report to the SGE Coordinator by the fifteenth of the following month. This report must include all SGEs utilized in the Region by Federal OSHA and State Plan States. See Appendix A for a sample Monthly Report. In months where SGEs are not utilized, no report is required to be submitted.

Chapter 5

Application Processing and Program Administration

  1. Application Processing.

    1. Receipt of Applications. The SGE Coordinator is responsible for tracking and managing each SGE's application from the time it is received until the SGE has taken the oath of office. When an application is received, the SGE Coordinator must date stamp it, determine whether the required information is included, and file it in the appropriate application file.

      1. Evaluating the Application. The application must contain the following completed forms:

        1. Eligibility Information Sheet
        2. Request for Name Check (DL Form 1-68)
        3. Optional Application for Federal Employment (OF-612) or Resume
        4. Confidential Financial Disclosure Report (OGE-450)
        5. Waiver of Claims Against the Government

        The SGE Coordinator must verify that Section 8 (Work Experience) of the applicant's Optional Application for Federal Employment (Form OF-612) or their Resume contains position-specific safety and health experience. If the OF-612 or the resume does not include position-specific information, the SGE Coordinator must contact the applicant and request that they send information that satisfies this requirement.

      2. Verifying all Required Signatures and Social Security Number (SSN). The Applicant must sign and date the Optional Application for Federal Employment (OF-612), the Confidential Financial Disclosure Report (OGE-450) and the Waiver of Claims Against the Government. If an applicant does not sign one of these forms, the SGE Coordinator must receive, at a minimum, a fax or photocopy of a signed original. The applicant must provide their SSN. If the applicant does not provide their SSN, the SGE Coordinator must contact the individual, secure the SSN and record it on the OF-612 or on their resume.
    2. Preparing the Application Submission Package.

      1. Confidential Financial Disclosure Report. The SGE Coordinator must separate the Confidential Financial Disclosure Report (OGE-450) from the rest of the application. This information is confidential and must not be submitted to the Office of Personnel or discussed with any other staff member.
      2. Application Processing (SF-52) Checklist. The SGE Coordinator must print the Application Processing (SF-52) Checklist, located on the DFSO server at: Q:\fso\VPPDATA\SGE\SGE s Streamlining Project\Application Processing (SF-52) Checklist.wpd and complete the checklist, verifying that all forms are attached.
      3. Consolidate the Application Submission Package. After verifying that all forms are completed and attached to the Application Processing (SF-52) Checklist, the SGE Coordinator must sign and date the form, make one photocopy, and submit the application submission package to the FSO Office Manager for processing.
      4. Obtain Signatures for the Application Submission Package. After the SF-52 has been completed by the FSO Office Manager, the SGE Coordinator must obtain signatures from the Director of the Office of Cooperative Programs and the Director of Federal-State Operations.
      5. File the Completed Application Submission Package. After the SF-52 has been signed, the SGE Coordinator must attach the Confidential Financial Disclosure Report (OGE-450) to the original application packet, attach these documents to the completed application submission package, and file the entire package in the corresponding quarterly submission file until the application deadline date.
    3. Transmitting Completed Application Submission Packages to the Office of Personnel. The SGE Coordinator must transmit all the completed application submission packages as soon after the application deadline as possible. See Appendix C, page C-1, for the memorandum for transmitting the packages. The memorandum must include the full name of each applicant submitted.
    4. Notification of Application Receipt and Processing. As soon as the application submission packages are transmitted to the Office of Personnel, the SGE Coordinator must notify all applicants via e-mail that their applications have been submitted. See Appendix C, page C-2, for the e-mail for notifying applicants. The SGE Coordinator must also provide the applicants with the location and dates of training.
    5. Providing Approval Notification and Training Invitation to all Prospective SGEs. When the approved application packages are returned from the OSHA Office of Personnel, the SGE Coordinator must notify the approved new SGEs and invite them to attend training. See Appendix C, page C-3, for the letter for approval notification and training invitation. The SGE Coordinator must send the renewing SGE the appointment notification letter described in the paragraph below.
    6. Preparing SGE Training Certificates and Appointment Affidavits. The SGE Coordinator must, with the assistance of the FSO Office Manager, prepare the SGE training certificates. After the certificates are prepared, the SGE Coordinator must transmit them to CCU in preparation for being signed by the Assistant Secretary of Labor. See Appendix C, page C-4, for the training certificate transmittal memorandum. The SGE Coordinator must also prepare appointment affidavits for each prospective SGE. Signed training certificates and appointment affidavits must be completed prior to the beginning of training and must be sent to the training site with the designated National Office trainer.
    7. Appointment Notification and CEO Thank You Letters. The SGE Coordinator must send the appointment notification letter to renewing SGEs and prospective SGEs ten days after approval. If the SGE applicant indicated that a CEO thank you letter should be sent, the SGE Coordinator must send one within 15 working days after the appointment notification letter. See Appendix C, pages C-5 and C-6, for the appointment notification letter and the CEO thank you letter.
  2. SGE Program Administration.

    1. Re-Application by SGEs. The SGE term of service is three years. Four to six months before an SGE's term of service expires, the SGE Coordinator must send the SGE a re-application package. The re-application process is identical to the original application process detailed in Chapter 2. See Appendix C, page C-7, for the SGE re-application letter.
    2. Customer Service to SGE Applicants. The SGE Coordinator's most important responsibility is customer service. Each SGE applicant must be treated as an individual and as a vital Agency resource. The SGE Coordinator must be responsive to all inquiries regarding the SGE Program, even if the end result is that the enquiring individual is not qualified to participate in the program.
    3. Customer Service to and VPP Managers/Officers. The SGE Coordinator must be responsive to VPP Managers/Officers and respond to requests for SGEs within ten working days after receipt.
    4. Customer Service to Office of Personnel. The SGE Coordinator must work closely with the Office of Personnel. The SGE Coordinator must assist with verifying application information and contacting the applicants if additional experience or other data is necessary to process and approve the application.
    5. SGE Data Management.

      1. Contact and Experience Data. The SGE Coordinator must enter all of the data from each Application Submission Package into the SGE Coordinator database before it is transmitted to the Office of Personnel.
      2. SGE E-mail Addresses. After each prospective SGE has been approved and taken the oath of office, the SGE Coordinator must submit their e-mail addresses to the Office of Management Data Systems to be added to the SGE e-mail listing. If an SGE no longer meets the SGE Qualifications, the SGE Coordinator must immediately remove his or her name and e-mail address from the e-mail listing. The SGE Coordinator must test the e-mail distribution list at least twice per year to determine that all of the addresses are accurate.
      3. Modifications to SGE E-mail Addresses. It is the responsibility of the SGE to provide the SGE Coordinator with any modifications to his or her e-mail address in a timely manner.
      4. Failure to Notify the SGE Coordinator of E-Mail Changes. If the SGE Coordinator attempts to contact an SGE via e-mail and receives an "invalid e-mail address" error message, the SGE Coordinator must make two more attempts to send the message. If both attempts fail the SGE Coordinator must attempt to contact the SGE via mail and telephone. If the SGE does not respond within 30 days of these attempts, the SGE Coordinator must terminate the SGE's term of service.
      5. Requested Onsite Participation Data. When an SGE is approved to participate on an onsite evaluation, the SGE Coordinator must enter the information into the Requested Onsite Participation block in the SGE Database as soon as possible.
      6. Removing an SGE from the Active List. If an SGE no longer meets the SGE Qualifications, the SGE Coordinator must immediately enter that day's date in the Appointment Expiration block of the SGE Database.
    6. Planning and Coordination of Training. The SGE Coordinator is responsible for initiating the planning process for SGE training. The date and location need not be determined prior to the application deadline corresponding to that training session, but must be determined prior to sending the approval notification and invitation to training letter.

      1. Networking with VPP Managers. The SGE Coordinator should discuss the timeframes for upcoming training sessions with the VPP Managers and encourage them to host the event or to work with a VPP site in their Region to host the training event.
      2. Confirming Regional Training Offers. The SGE Coordinator must officially confirm any SGE training with the Regional Administrator and Assistant Regional Administrator. See Appendix C, page C-8, for the training confirmation memorandum.
      3. Coordinating Training with a VPP Site or Regional VPPPA Chapter. If a VPP site or Regional VPPPA chapter offers to host a training, the SGE Coordinator must first discuss the offer with the VPP Manager. The SGE Coordinator must not accept the offer before the VPP Manager determines if this arrangement is acceptable and if the Region will be able to provide the necessary training resources.
      4. End of Training. After training has concluded, the SGE Coordinator must send the training host a thank you letter. See Appendix C, page C-9, for the training host thank you letter.
      5. Postponement of SGE Training. If less than 15 applications are received by the Application Deadline, training must be postponed until the next quarter. The SGE Coordinator must send the SGE training postponement letter to all of the applicants who have submitted an application within that application period. See Appendix C, page C-10, for the SGE training postponement letter.
      6. Deferral of Training by an SGE Applicant. Occasionally, an SGE applicant will be unable to attend the SGE training when it is scheduled, in which case he or she may defer training until the next training session. The SGE Coordinator must consider a deferred application as one received during the current application period. In the event that there are more than 25 applications received during the application period, the original submission date of the deferred application must be used to determine its order in the first-come, first-served training selection criteria.

Appendix A

Monthly SGE Utilization Report
Sample Report Sheet

SGE Name SGE Company and Worksite location Onsite Company and Worksite Location Date of Evaluation
John Smith Company, City, State Company, City, State 02/05 - 02/09 2000
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       



Appendix B

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDiNG
between
THE STATE/COMMONWEALTH OF _________________,
DEPARTMENT OF _________________
A STATE PLAN STATE
and
THE UNiTED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR,
OCCUPATiONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMiNiSTRATiON (OSHA)

SUBJECT: Approval and Exchange of Special Government Employees Serving as Volunteers Between State Plan States and OSHA

The United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) understands and agrees that qualified individuals from approved Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) sites in State Plan States may apply and be approved as Special Government Employees (SGEs) through the Federal OSHA approval system to serve as OSHAn SGEs for VPP. Once approved, these individuals will be SGEs who are eligible to be assigned as members of VPP onsite review teams in Federal or State Plan States.

Further, the State Plan State understands and agrees that it may establish its own program for recruiting, training, and approving SGEs from VPP sites within the State to serve as members of the VPP onsite review teams within the State.

Alternatively, the State Plan State may request and, within the prescribed intent, scope, policies and procedures of OSHA, use SGEs who have the status of Federal volunteers to serve as members of VPP onsite review teams working within the State. The State/Commonwealth of _______________ agrees to protect, defend, indemnify and hold harmless the United States, the Department of Labor, OSHA or any other agency or entity of the United States, and its officers, employees and agents from and against all claims, demands, causes of action, or liability of any kind and character without limit, in any way arising out of the use by said state of individual SGEs while serving as an approved member of a VPP onsite review team in said State. Such claims, demands, causes of action or liabilities shall include, but not be limited to, costs incurred by the United States in providing workers' compensation benefits to such employees for injuries incurred in connection with their OSHA approved participation as a member of a VPP onsite review team in said State.

Signed:

State Designee:

Name: ____________________   Title: ____________________   Date: ____________

Director, Directorate of Federal-State Operations

Name: ____________________   Title: ____________________   Date: ____________




Appendix C

Form Correspondence




Application Submission Memorandum

DATE: (DATE)
 
MEMORANDUM FOR: (NAME)
Office of Personnel
 
FROM: (NAME) Director
Office of Cooperative Programs
 
SUBJECT: Quarterly SGE Application Submission
 

The purpose of this memorandum is to transfer the pending SGE Applications to the Office of Personnel. The following individuals are new applicants:

Dennis M. Francisco William F. Man Kevin S. London
Mark A. Port Keith M. Isle Don L. Madrid
David W. Claus Gregory J. Hamburg  
 
The following individuals are renewing applicants:
 
David M. Denver Heather A. Bundt Brian J. Brazil
Gary E. Chile Jay H. George  

The training for new applicants is scheduled for (Date/Year). I would like to inform them of their application status by (Date/Year) in order to give them time to make travel arrangements. If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact the SGE Coordinator on 693-2213.

bcc: Chief Division of Voluntary Programs
       Director, Office of Cooperative Programs
       SGE Coordinator




Notification of Application Receipt and Processing E-mail

[Date]
[Mr./Ms. Name]
[Title]
[Company]
[Address 1]
[Address 2]
[City, State, Zip]

Dear SGE Applicant:

Your application has been transmitted to the OSHA Office of Personnel for processing and approval. When your application has been approved, you will be receiving a letter officially confirming your participation for SGE training. Your SGE training is scheduled for (Day of week and date) through (Day of week and date) in (City/State). Please set aside these dates and begin planning for your travel and lodging so that you will be prepared to attend the training.

If you have any questions regarding your application or the SGE Training course, please feel free to contact the me at (202) 693-2213. If you have a scheduling conflict, please contact me immediately.

Sincerely,

[Name]
SGE Coordinator




Approval Notification and Training Invitation Letter

[Date]
[Mr/Ms] [First Name] [Last Name]
[Title]
[Company]
[Address 1]
[Address 2]
[City, State Zip]

Dear [Mr./Ms.] [Last Name].:

The purpose of this letter is to inform you that your application to participate as a Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) SGE has been approved by the OSHA Office of Personnel. The next step in becoming an SGE is to attend and successfully complete SGE training.

An SGE training course is scheduled from (Day/Date) through (Day/Date). The course will be conducted at (Company Name), (Company Address). The training will begin promptly at (Time) and conclude at (Time) each day. Please plan your travel arrangements accordingly. If you have any other questions, please contact (Name), the SGE Coordinator, at (202) 693-2213.

Thank you for your willingness to participate as an OSHA's SGE and we look forward to seeing you at training.

Sincerely,

(Name), Director

Office of Cooperative Programs

cc:  Regional Administrator
      VPP Regional Manager




Training Certificate Transmittal Memorandum

DATE: (DATE)
 
MEMORANDUM FOR: (NAME)
Executive Assistant to the Assistant Secretary
 
FROM: (NAME), Director
Office of Cooperative Programs
 
SUBJECT: Approval of SGE Training Certificates
 

The attached are training certificates for (Title, Last Name) signature. These people are attending the Safety and Health Program Assessment training in order to qualify to participate as SGEs. The training session will be conducted (Date) in (City/State). We are hoping to have these signed so that we can present them to the attendees when they have completed the training.

Please contact (Name), the SGE Coordinator on 293-2213 if you have any questions regarding these documents.

Attachments




Appointment Notification Letter

[Date]

[First Name] [Last Name]
[Title]
[Address 1]
[Address 2]
[City, State Zip]

Dear Mr./Ms.[Last Name]:

It gives me great pleasure to inform you that you have been approved as a Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) SGE. Your name has been placed on the list of available SGEs that is provided to OSHA Regional VPP Managers for scheduling onsite evaluations. When a manager needs help conducting an onsite review, that manager will contact you to see if you are available. Additionally, that manager will contact the SGE Coordinator to ensure that no financial conflict of interest exists between you and the site being reviewed.

Before participating in an onsite evaluation, you must be sworn in for your term as an SGE. If you are a new SGE you were probably sworn-in at the end of your training course. However, if you have not been sworn-in, or if you are a renewing SGE, please contact your Regional VPP manager for assistance.

Your term of service began on____________. Please remember that your term of service will expire three years from that date. About four to six months before your term of service expires the SGE Coordinator will send you a re-application package. If you choose to re-apply, please complete the application and return it to the SGE Coordinator before the deadline.

Thank you for your willingness to assist OSHA in reducing injuries and illnesses at American worksites.

Sincerely,

(Name), Director
Office of Cooperative Programs

cc:  Regional Administrator
      VPP Regional Manager




CEO Thank You Letter

[CEOFNa] [CEOLNam]
[CEOTitle]
[CEOCompany]
[CEOAddress]
[CEOCity] [CEOStat] [CEOZi]


Dear Mr./Ms. [CEOLNam]

I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank you for your support of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). You and your employees have already proven your commitment to workplace safety and health by participating in OSHA's VPP. Now you have decided to go a step further by encouraging[FirstNam],[LastNam][Title] at your [City] facility, to serve as an SGE.

SGEs are very important to the success of the VPP. As members of OSHA's VPP onsite review teams, SGEs provide a unique point of view for both the managers and employees of an aspiring VPP worksite. SGEs like [LastNam] bring hands-on experience and cutting-edge solutions to prospective VPP participants and demonstrate that their company, your company, has dedicated itself to implementing a comprehensive and effective safety and health management system.

Through your willingness to dedicate these valuable human resources [CEOCompany] lends credence to the VPP Program as a whole. Not only do SGEs develop an effective working relationship with OSHA personnel, but prospective VPP participants benefit from receiving open and honest feedback from their corporate peers. This level of professional interaction and bench marking is only possible through the labor, management and government cooperation afforded by the Voluntary Protection Program.

By encouraging your employees to serve as SGEs, you help me and my OSHA staff to better protect America's workers. Thank you again for participating in this valuable enterprise.

 

Sincerely,



John L. Henshaw
Assistant Secretary

cc: SGE [FirstNam] [LastNam]




SGE Re-Application Letter

[Date]

[FirstName] [LastName]
[Title]
[Company]
[Address]
[City] [State] [Zip]

Dear [LastName]:

The purpose of this letter is to notify you that your Term of Service as an SGE for VPP will expire on [Date Term Expires]. In order for you to continue participating as an SGE you must complete the enclosed application and return it to my office no later than [Application Deadline].

I would like to thank you for your past participation. Your hands-on skills and commitment to the VPP process make you a valuable addition to a VPP onsite evaluation team and I would encourage you to renew your application for another term.

If you choose to renew your participation, please return your completed SGE application to:

[Name]
SGE Coordinator
Frances Perkins Building, Room N3700
200 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20910

Thank you again for your participation. If you have questions about the application forms or the SGE renewal process, please contact (Name) SGE Coordinator at (202) 693-2213.

Sincerely,



(Name), Director
Office of Cooperative Programs

Enclosure




Training Confirmation Letter

[Date]

[Mr/Ms] [First Name] [Last Name]
[Title]
[Company]
[Address 1]
[Address 2]
[City, State Zip]

Dear [First Name]:

Thank you for your generous offer to host the SGE Training scheduled for (Date) in (City). The SGE Coordinator will be responsible for working with you to organize the logistics for this course. If you have any questions, please contact me, (Name), the SGE Coordinator, at (202) 692-2213.

On behalf of everyone here in the National Office, I want to thank you for helping to make OSHA's volunteer activities successful.

Sincerely,



(Name), Director
Office of Cooperative Programs

cc: Regional Administrator
     Assistant Regional Administrator
     VPP Regional Manager




Training Host Thank You Letter

[FirstName] [LastName]
[Title]
[Company]
[Address]
[City] [State] [Zip]

Dear (Name):

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for hosting the SGE training that was recently held at the (Company), (Date) in (City). Both the trainees and the instructors have commented on your excellent training facility and generous hospitality. I truly appreciate all of your help in making this course a success.

Sincerely,



(Name), Director
Office of Cooperative Programs

cc: Regional Administrator
     Assistant Regional Administrator
     VPP Regional Manager




SGE Training Postponement Letter

[Date]

[Mr/Ms] [First Name] [Last Name]
[Title]
[Company]
[Address 1]
[Address 2]
[City, State Zip]

Dear Mr./Ms.[Last Name]:

The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the SGE training course, tentatively scheduled for (Month) of this year, has been rescheduled for (Month). OSHA policy requires that we have at least fifteen SGE applicants in order to justify the expense of conducting the training course. Unfortunately, we only had _______ applicants apply.

To ensure that you serve a complete three year term of service, your application will be held until the next submission deadline so that your application approval date will coincide with your training and appointment date. We will notify you of when and where the training will be held by the middle of (Month).

I would like to thank you for applying to participate as an SGE and I look foward to your participation in the program.

Sincerely,



(Name), Director
Office of Cooperative Programs




Appendix D

SGE Application




Voluntary Protection Programs
(VPP) SGE s

VPP logo

SGE Application

Revised August 2001

DOL Seal

U.S. Department of Labor

Occupational Safety and Health Administration


Table of Contents


Qualifications to Participate.................................................................. 1

Program Information............................................................................ 2

SGE Application Forms.............................................................Appendix 1

Ethical Conduct for Government Employees.............................. Appendix 2





Qualifications to Participate


All SGE applicants must have the following qualifications:

  • Experience in applying OSHA regulations
  • Currently hold, or have held within the past two years, a leadership position(s) in the VPP activity at their site
  • Positive interpersonal skills
  • Sound reading and writing skills
  • Physical ability to perform team members' duties
  • Management and/or corporate support for participating as an SGE

Safety and Health Professionals must have these additional qualifications:

  • Two or more years experience in the safety and health field
  • Be employed in a position in which more than 50% of daily duties are dedicated to conducting or managing worksite or corporate safety or health activities
  • Be a permanent, full-time employee of a VPP worksite, a current corporate office employee of a corporation that has one or more VPP worksites, or a current employee of a non-VPP worksite who was previously an employee at a VPP worksite within the same corporation

Other SGE applicants must have the following qualifications:

  • Two or more years as a permanent, full-time employee of a VPP worksite
  • Involvement in at least three (3) of the following activities (or their equivalent):
     
    • Chair of safety/health committee
    • Experience working directly with the OSHA VPP onsite review team during the previous onsite review
    • Experience training others in safety and health procedures
    • Experience writing and reviewing Job Safety Analyses (JSAs) and/or Behavior Job Analyses (BJAs)
    • Experience coordinating accident investigations
    • Experience coordinating safety and health activities such as wellness days
    • Experience leading worksite hazard inspection teams
    • Experience coordinating hazard abatement activities
    • Other experiences that demonstrate a knowledge of safety and health management systems





Program Information


  • SGE applicants must complete and submit an application to participate as an OSHA Volunteer for VPP. Currently serving SGEs must re-apply to participate at the end of their term of service. A renewal application will be sent to each SGE during the application period prior to the expiration of their service.
  • Applications to participate as an SGE are processed four times per year. Applications must be received in the Office of Cooperative Programs on or before, January 15, April 15, July 15 or October 15 of each year. If the deadline date falls on a weekend or a Federal holiday, applications are due on the first Federal business day following the applicable deadline date. Late applications are held until the next submission deadline.
  • All new applicants must attend training. A new SGE applicant will not be approved to attend training until his/her application has been approved by the OSHA Personnel Office. Successful applicants will be notified by a representative from the Office of Cooperative Programs of the date and location of training.
  • All approved applicants must take the Federal oath of office at the beginning of their term of service.
  • The term of service for SGEs is three years. SGEs serve at the pleasure of the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health. Service is contingent upon the proper ethical conduct of SGEs. The term of service for new SGEs begins the day the oath of office is administered. The term of service for renewing SGE s is calculated from the approval date of their application.
  • The Director of Federal-State Operations or his/her designee will disqualify from eligibility those applicants whose employment or financial involvements may present a conflict of interest or the appearance of impropriety.
  • The Office of Cooperative Programs Director will terminate an SGE without notice by the Agency upon written notification with a recommendation of termination for any incident in which the SGE was not conducting him/herself in a proper manner.
  • As a member of an onsite review team, an SGE may review company documents that describe or verify the worksite's safety and health management system, conduct a walk-through of the worksite to ensure the site's safety and health program is operating effectively; interview company and contract employees to determine their level of involvement in and perceptions of the worksite's safety and health program and assist in the preparation of a report that evaluates the worksite's safety and health program with respect to VPP criteria.



Application Forms - [PDF 53KB]




Ethics for SGEs
2013 Summary of the Ethics Rules
for Special Government Employees

U.S. Department of Labor

U.S. Department of Labor
Office of the Solicitor
Office of Legal Counsel
Counsel for Ethics Tel. No. (202) 693-5528

ETHICS FOR SGEs

The role of consultants and advisors is vital to the effective functioning of the Federal Government. All employees are held to a high standard of conduct. As an employee, whether paid or unpaid, who is expected to serve 130 days or less per year, you are considered a “special Government employee” and are subject to many, but not all, of the ethics rules applicable to Government employees who serve for longer periods of time. This document is to help familiarize you with those rules.

You are strongly encouraged to ask questions whenever you have any concerns about ethics-related matters. In this area, “preventive medicine” is the best course of action to avoid embarrassment to you, the Secretary, and the Department. Each Department and agency has a Designated Agency Ethics Official and an Alternate Designated Agency Ethics Official; see below for this and other contact information.

“Warranties and Limitations” This document is designed to be a basic, “user-friendly” summary of the ethics requirements. It is not an independent regulation and does not supersede any of the legal authorities described above. This summary is meant solely to familiarize you with the requirements and help you recognize and deal with potential pitfalls.

If you have questions regarding an ethics issue, please contact Rob Sadler, Counsel for Ethics, at (202) 693-5528, or Kathy Easmunt, Senior Ethics Staff Attorney, at (202) 693-5519.


Designated Agency Ethics Official:
M. Patricia Smith, Solicitor of Labor

Alternate Designated Agency Ethics Official:
Robert A. Shapiro, Associate Solicitor for Legal Counsel


FINANCIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

To ensure public confidence in the integrity of the Government and its employees, a conflict of interest statute prohibits you from working as a special Government employee on a matter affecting your personal financial interests (or the interests of those close to you). Participating in such a matter would create a conflict of interest between your personal interests and your duty to the Government.

General Rule. You may not participate as a Government official on a matter that will have a direct and predictable effect on your financial interests or the financial interests of your spouse, minor children, or general partners; persons with whom you are seeking or have an arrangement concerning employment; organizations for which you serve as officer, director, trustee, general partner, or employee; or, with regard to a matter involving specific parties, a member of your household (unless an exception applies or you receive a conflict of interest waiver).

Exceptions to the General Rule. Disqualification is not necessary if the interest is:

  • held in a broadly diversified mutual fund (a fund which does not concentrate its investments in a particular industry sector or geographic area);
  • held in a sector mutual fund (i.e., a fund investing in a specific industry sector and (1) the affected holding is not invested in the sector in which the fund concentrates, or (2) the aggregate market value of the disqualifying interest in all sector mutual funds (including those of persons whose interests are imputed to the employee) does not exceed $50,000;
  • a publicly-traded stock or bond holding of $15,000 or less (unless the matter involves specific parties and holdings in all affected parties total more than $15,000);
  • a publicly-traded security or long-term Federal or municipal security in an entity that is not a party to the matter, but may be affected by the matter; and the aggregate market value of the holdings does not exceed $25,000;
  • a publicly-traded stock or bond holding of $25,000 or less if the matter is a general policy matter and the total value of investments in affected entities is $50,000 or less;
  • an interest for which you have received a conflict of interest waiver (the Department usually issues waivers for all interests reported on financial disclosure reports filed by members of Federal Advisory Committees); or

    If you are a Federal Advisory Committee member, disqualification is not necessary if the interest is:
  • an interest arising from your non-Federal employment and the matter at issue is a general policy matter affecting that interest as part of a class.

Conflict of Interest Waivers. You may receive a conflict of interest waiver for interests that are not substantial or, if you serve on a Federal Advisory Committee, for interests that are reported on a financial disclosure report if there is a determination that the need for your service outweighs any potential conflict of interest presented by the financial interest in question. You should contact Rob Sadler, Counsel for Ethics, at (202) 693-5528, or Kathy Easmunt, Ethics Staff Attorney, at (202) 693-5519 to obtain a conflict of interest waiver, if you think one is appropriate.

EXAMPLES

NO PROBLEM PROBLEM
An advisory committee member advises on regulations which will affect all domestic telecommunications companies. She has $20,000 worth of stock in a telecommunication company An advisory committee member advises on regulations which will affect all domestic telecommunications companies. She has $30,000 worth of Stock in a telecommunication company and no conflict of interest waiver
A 90-day temporary employee reviews a proposed safety and health regulation affecting the mining industry. $60,000 of holdings in a broadly- diversified mutual fund, which may include mining equities. A 90-day temporary employee reviews a proposed safety and health regulation She has affecting the mining industry. She has $60,000 of holdings in a mining-sector mutual fund.

APPEARANCES OF BIAS – NON FINANCIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Because the public must have confidence in the Government and the impartiality of its employees, it is important that you avoid situations that may give rise to an appearance of a conflict of interest based on your personal relationships. There may be matters on which you are asked to work that will not create an actual financial conflict of interest, but may, because the matter involves someone with whom you have close ties, create an appearance of favoritism or loss of objectivity. Thus, in addition to the statutory restrictions above, there is an additional restriction in the Standards of Conduct, which prohibits you from participating in matters in which certain persons with whom you have close ties (“covered relationships”) are parties or are representing parties, if, under a reasonable person standard, participation would cause an appearance of loss of impartiality.

General Rule. You may not participate in a matter involving specific parties if: (1) a person with whom you have close ties (a “covered relationship”) is a party or is representing a party in the matter; and (2) your participation would create an appearance of loss of impartiality (unless you receive specific authorization to participate in the matter). Persons with whom you have a “covered relationship” include:

  • persons with whom you have business or financial relationships or are seeking such relationships (other than routine consumer transactions);
  • household members;
  • close relatives;
  • employers and clients (and prospective employers and clients) of your parents, dependent children, or spouse;
  • former non-Federal employers and clients (for one or two years depending on the amount of any severance payment); and
  • organizations (other than political parties) in which you are an active participant.

Exception to the General Rule. You may be able to work on the matter if the interest of the Government in your participation outweighs a concern that someone may question the integrity of the Department’s programs and operations. However, before you participate in such a matter you must receive authorization to do so. Contact Rob Sadler, Counsel for Ethics, at (202) 693-5528, or Kathy Easmunt, Ethics Staff Attorney, at (202) 693-5519, to obtain such an authorization if such a situation arises.

EXAMPLES

NO PROBLEM PROBLEM
A consultant works on a grant application from a company for which he worked 3 years ago. A consultant works on a grant application from a company for which he worked 3 months ago.

NON-GOVERNMENT ACTIVITIES

General Rule regarding Non-Federal Employment. You may not engage in non-Federal employment that conflicts with your Government duties. You must ensure that aspects of your current employment do not interfere with your ability to carry out your responsibilities as a consultant or advisor to the Government.

General Rule regarding Outside Speaking and Writing Activities. Generally, Federal employees may not receive compensation for outside speaking or writing activities that relate to the employee’s official duties. SGEs are specifically prohibited from receiving compensation for activities related to their services to the Government, but only as to matters to which the SGE is currently (or had been) assigned during his or her current appointment. An activity is considered to relate to one’s official duties if:

  • the activity is performed as part of your services to the Government,
  • the invitation was extended because of your Government position,
  • the invitation was extended by someone with interests in matters that may be affected by your services,
  • the information requested draws substantially on nonpublic information obtained because of your Government service, or
  • the subject of the activity deals in significant part with:
    • any matter to which the employee is assigned or has been assigned during the previous one-year period,
    • any ongoing or announced policy, program, or operation of the agency, or
    • (in the case of a non-career employee) the general subject matter area, industry, or economic sector primarily affected by the programs and operations of the agency.

For SGEs who serve less than 60 days during the year, the last bulleted factor is applied more narrowly. Please call Rob Sadler, Counsel for Ethics, at (202) 693-5528, or Kathy Easmunt, Ethics Staff Attorney, at (202) 693-5519, for more information.

General Rule regarding Outside Teaching Activities. All SGEs may accept compensation for outside teaching activities, provided the course requires multiple presentations offered as part of a regularly established curriculum at various specified types of educational institutions or is part of an educational or training program sponsored and funded by Federal, State, or local government.

General Rule regarding Political Activities. Under the Hatch Act, the rules on political activities are intended to allow you to actively participate in the political process, but also to ensure that Government activities and political activities are not intermingled. You may not engage in political activities during Government duty hours or on Government premises or use Government resources (including your Government affiliation) for a partisan political purpose or to aid a political campaign or organization. You may engage in partisan political activities during non-duty hours, even on days in which you are providing services to the Government. However, you may not solicit or accept political contributions during the term you serve as a special Government employee, unless you serve on an intermittent basis, in which case you may not conduct campaign solicitations on days you are providing services to the Government. As a special Government employee, you are, unlike other employees, permitted to run for partisan political office, but you may actively campaign only when not on duty.

Service as an Expert Witness. Unless you receive prior authorization, you may not serve as an expert witness in any case involving the United States Government if you participated as a Government employee in the matter that is the subject of the proceeding. Additionally, if you served for more than 60 days during the previous year, or on a commission established by statute, you may not serve as an expert witness in any proceeding before a Federal court or Federal agency if the Department of Labor is a party or has a direct and substantial interest in the matter, unless you receive prior authorization.

EXAMPLES

NO PROBLEM PROBLEM
A special Government employee makes telephone calls on behalf of a candidate in a partisan election on a weekend from his home on a personal cellular telephone. A special Government employee makes telephone calls on behalf of a candidate in a partisan election during her lunch hour from her Government office on a personal cellular telephone.

LOBBYING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

General Rules on Lobbying the Government. Because you are considered a Federal official, generally you may not contact other Federal officials to influence Government actions on behalf of others (e.g., business associates) in some situations. The restrictions differ depending on how many days you provided services to the Government during the previous year.

If you served for more than 60 days during the previous year, you may not represent anyone before a Federal agency or Federal court in any matter involving specific parties (e.g., contracts, grants, investigations) in which the United States is a party or has a substantial interest if:

  • you participated personally and substantially in the matter as a special Government employee, or
  • the matter is pending before the Department of Labor.

If you served for 60 days or less, you may not represent anyone before a Federal agency or Federal court in any matter involving specific parties in which the United States is a party or has a substantial interest if:

  • you participated personally and substantially in the matter as a special Government employee.

Unlike regular Government employees, SGEs may represent others or receive compensation for representational services in connection with particular matters of general applicability, such as broadly applicable policies, rulemaking proceedings, and legislation which do not involve specific parties. In addition, in certain limited circumstances, SGEs may be authorized to represent another before the Government “in the performance of work under a grant by, or a contract with or for the benefit of, the United States,” where the SGE’s special knowledge or skills may be required. This requires a waiver from the Secretary of Labor; please contact Rob Sadler, Counsel for Ethics, at (202) 693-5528, or Kathy Easmunt, Ethics Staff Attorney, at (202) 693-5519, for further information.

Restrictions on Serving as a Foreign Agent. Federal officials may not serve as registered agents of foreign governments.

EXAMPLES

NO PROBLEM PROBLEM
An advisory committee member (who serves for less than 60 days) contacts a Labor employee on behalf of a neighbor concerning a grant unrelated to the committee’s work. An advisory committee member (who serves for more than 60 days) contacts a Labor employee on behalf of a neighbor concerning a grant unrelated to the committee’s work.

BRIBES, GIFTS AND SALARY SUPPLEMENTATION

The United States Government recognizes that the acceptance of bribes is one of the most basic forms of corruption. Similarly, gratuities from persons with matters before the Government may create an appearance of undue influence on Government employees.

General Rule concerning Bribes. You may not receive anything of value for taking action or failing to take action in your Government position.

General Rules concerning Personal Gifts. You may not accept gifts from a person who has business before the Department of Labor or which is regulated by the Department, unless an exception applies; similarly, you may not accept gifts which are given to you because of your Government position, unless an exception applies.

Exceptions to the General Rules concerning Personal Gifts. You may accept:

  • gifts valued at $20 or less (other than cash) (up to $50 per year from the same source);
  • gifts from relatives and friends (if based on a personal relationship);
  • gifts of meals, lodging, and travel based on your outside business or employment relationships or those of your spouse;
  • awards and honorary degrees (in specified circumstances);
  • invitations to widely attended events (if your Government supervisor approves as in the Department’s interest);
  • business meals and travel related expenses under some circumstances with prior approval of your supervisor; and
  • gifts from a foreign government of $350 or less. (Gifts of over $350 may be accepted, but become property of the United States Government.)

NOTE: Remember that the appearance of favoritism or impropriety can cause embarrassment to both you and the Department. Thus, even where acceptance of a gift may be permitted by one of the above exceptions, it is never inappropriate and often prudent to decline a gift.

General Rules concerning Salary Supplementation. A criminal statute prohibits Federal employees from receiving any salary, any contribution to or supplementation of their salary from an outside source as compensation for Government services. SGEs, however, are completely exempt from this prohibition and, thus, may continue to collect their regular salary from an outside employer for days on which they are providing services to the Government (whether their Government service is paid or unpaid).


MISUSE OF GOVERNMENT RESOURCES

It is important to limit the use of taxpayer-funded resources to activities that benefit the public rather than the individual employee.

General Rule. You may only use Government equipment, supplies, services, and personnel for authorized Government activities.

In particular, your official title may not be used in connection with non-Government activities. You are prohibited from using public office for your own private gain or the private gain of another. Therefore, you should generally not endorse any product, service, organization, or enterprise in an official capacity, or use or allow the use of your name and title I a manner that could be construed as Governmental sanction. If participating in outside events, unrelated to your Government responsibilities, you may note that you serve as a special Government employee if appropriate, but should refrain from invoking your Government title or position to merely enhance your stature or to obtain special treatment or benefits.

Specifically:

  • you must avoid circumstances that may imply that the Government endorses a particular private activity with which you are associated.
  • you may not use nonpublic data, economic analyses, private personnel information, national security information, or other nonpublic information for your private activities; and
  • you may not use your Government authority, including business contacts obtained through Federal employment, for personal non-official activities.

EXAMPLES

NO PROBLEM PROBLEM
An advisory committee member uses a Labor-produced publicly available study to solicit potential customers for his private business. An advisory committee member uses a Labor-produced non-public study to solicit potential customers for his private business.

POST FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT RESTRICTIONS

After leaving Federal service you will continue to be subject to some restrictions on your activities, particularly with regard to lobbying the Government and using nonpublic information.

General Rules. After you leave Federal service you may not represent others before a Federal agency or Federal court with regard to a particular matter involving specific parties (e.g., investigations, grants, contracts) in which you participated personally and substantially as a special Government employee. Similarly, for two years after leaving Federal service you may not represent others before a Federal agency or Federal court concerning a matter which was under your official responsibility as a special Government employee during your last year of service.

Certain high level SGEs (those positions for which the rate of pay is fixed according to the Executive Schedule, those compensated at a rate of pay equivalent to the rate of basic pay for level 5 of the Senior Executive Service, or those appointed by the President or Vice President) are subject to the one-year “cooling off” period from representing anyone before their former agency or department, in connection with any matter, if they served 60 days or more during a one year period before terminating their services as a “senior employee.” Furthermore, you may not use or disclose nonpublic information you obtained through your Federal service.

document title: SGE
revised by: RSadler
date: Feb. 20, 2013


Index

A Brief History of the SGE Activity in OSHA

Action Offices

OSHA National Office

Regional Offices

States

Application Cycle and Submission Deadlines

Application Deadline

Application Processing

Appointment Notification and CEO Thank You Letters

Notification of Application Receipt and Processing

Preparing of SGE Training Certificates and Appointment Affidavit

Preparing the Application Submission Package

Providing Approval Notification and Training Invitation

Receipt of Applications

Transmitting Completed Application Submission Packages

Application Submission Memorandum

Appointment Notification Letter

Approval Notification and Training Invitation Letter

Cancellations

CEO Thank You Letter

Customer Service

Customer Service to Office of Personnel

Customer Service to Regional and State VPP Managers/Officers

Customer Service to VPP Volunteers Applicants

Definitions

Ethics Documents

Federal Program Change

How SGE Activities are Administered

Major Changes

Monthly SGE Utilization Report

New Volunteer

Notification of Application Receipt and Processing E-mail

Oath of Office

intment Procedures

Office of Cooperative Programs

Planning and Coordination of Training

References

Renewing Volunteer

Requesting an SGE

Safety and Health Professional

Scope

SGE Appointment Affidavits

SGE Qualifications

Ineligible Applicants

Qualifications for All SGEs

Qualifications for Other SGE Applicants

Qualifications for Safety and Health Professionals

SGE Re-Application Letter

SGE Application

SGE Application Process

Application Cycle and Submission Deadlines

Required Application Forms

SGE Data Management

SGE Duties

SGE Program Administration

SGE Training

Eligible Trainees

Training Content

Training Frequency

Training Notification

Training Responsibilities

SGE Utilization Reports

National Office Reports

Regional Office Reports

Soliciting Assistance from VPP Volunteers

Site Concurrence in Utilizing VPP Volunteers

Soliciting Approved VPP Volunteers

Special Government Employee

Special Government Employee Application

Special Government Employee Coordinator

Special Government Employee Training

Special Government Employee Usage Request

State Impact

Term of Service

Termination of Service

Training Certificate Transmittal Memorandum

Training Confirmation Letter

Training Host Thank You Letter

Utilization of SGEs

Approval and Notification

Composition of OSHA or State Plan State Review Team

Soliciting Assistance from SGEs

Utilization of VPP Volunteers

Composition of OSHA or State Plan State Review Team

VPP Volunteers Application Process

Required Application Forms


Footnote 1 - Prepared by the Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor, January 1999. (Back to text)


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