I keep hearing how lazy government workers are, and how we deserve this cut in pay, we don’t do anything, get payed too much, etc.
I’m a Occupational Safety and Health Specialist and I work for the Federal Government on a Research and Development base for the Navy. The base I work on covers a land mass the size of Rhode Island, and their are only five of us Safety Specialists. Here are a few things I do in my job.
1. I logged over 200 inspections last year. Inspections are more than just walking around looking at a building, I also look at their safety procedures, programs, paperwork, protective equipment, etc. After the actual inspection piece is over, I have to do the admin side. Log the inspection in the database, write the safety deficiencies (if their are any), look up the applicable OSHA or NAVOSH Safety reg that it violates, etc. After that comes the re-inspections, tracking the deficiencies to completion, etc.
2. Part of my job is mishap investigation. If someone gets hurt at work, I have to go investigate how and why, again look at safety procedures, documented training for that process, written ORM’s (Operational Risk Management, basically a Job Hazard Analysis), and write a report that goes to Command. I also have to make recommended corrective actions and then track them. I wrote about 20 mishap reports last year, edited probably another 20 for coworkers, and was involved in a hand full of their investigations.
3. I am the Confined Space Program Manager, Blood Borne Pathogen Program Manager, Traffic Safety/Motorcycle Safety Program Coordinator, Traffic and Motorcycle Safety Policy Council co-chair under the Command Master Chief, Assistant Respiratory Program Manager, and Assistant Fall Protection Program Manager. What does all that mean you ask?
Well for Confined Space I am essentially the only person on base that can test and write a permit to enter a permit required space. It’s one of those things that if you do your job wrong you can kill someone. No pressure there.
Assistant Respiratory Protection Program Manager. I fit test people to make sure their respirators fit right, make sure they are following procedure, bug their bosses to get them in for fit test etc. The fit test part is a big deal because again, if I don’t do my job right and fit test someone wrong, they inhale the wrong chemical in to their lungs…and you get the idea.
Fall Protection? Well that is inspecting fall protection gear (harnesses, lanyards, self retracting life lines, etc), recommend gear, look at written programs, etc.
As for the traffic and motorcycle stuff, I coordinate training, make sure it is available, bug people and their commands when the training is needed, help make traffic policy decisions for the base, am a point of contact for traffic related complaints, etc.
4.) Besides all of that, I am on the Chemical Hygiene Plan council, I am part of the Emergency Operations Center, write safety articles for the base newspaper, take part in safety meetings for various departments, hold safety training’s, help departments draft up safety procedures and ORM’s, audit our own internal safety programs, and then basically do whatever else my boss tells me to do.
I’m a GS-11, Step 1. My salary is a matter of public record. Other Safety people tell me that if I obtained my Certified Safety Professional cert, with the training/certs I have now and either got a job in the civilian world or consulted, I could easily make 20,000 dollars a year more than I do now. 20,000 a year more is enticing, but the stress isn’t. I like my job, I meet and talk with cool and intelligent people every day, I see cool things that others don’t, I have fun.
Every day I interact with engineers, chemists, physicists, technicians, guys who blow stuff up, and laborers, and they all just plain work their asses off. Many of them work 10+ hour days just because that is what their project demands, and no, they do not get overtime for it. These are the people that are developing the new tech to keep our soldiers on the battlefield safe. My job is to keep them safe. We are all facing a 20% pay cut because the politicians won’t do their jobs. Yet, we are the lazy government workers.
By the way, the politicians are exempt from the 20% pay cuts.