SERC Safety Officer Job Posting

Safety Officer: Safety & Occupational Health Specialist

USA Jobs #21R-MP-306214-DEU-SERC


GS-11 ($72,750 per year with federal benefits)

The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) invites applications for Safety Officer (Safety & Occupational Health Specialist). SERC is a research institute of the Smithsonian Institution dedicated to ecological and environmental research and education. Located on a campus of 2,650 acres of forest, farmland and wetlands and 15 miles of shoreline of Chesapeake Bay, SERC is based in Edgewater, MD, 25 miles from the central Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC and 5 miles from Annapolis, MD. 

The SERC campus includes an array of historic and modern buildings, a large modern laboratory building, wetlab and dock facilities and other  facilities for environmental research and education. Staff include approximately 110 employees, 40 interns, and 500 volunteers, plus 40 maintenance and security staff managed centrally on site. SERC receives 15,000 visitors annually, including 6,000 school children on field trips.

The SERC Safety Officer is responsible for a comprehensive program encompassing office, laboratory, field, and visitor safety at SERC. Laboratory research programs include radioactive and hazardous materials such as solvents, radioactive tracers, and toxic metals. Outdoor field work includes work in the forest, marsh and estuary with stinging and biting insects, noxious plants, sharp points on crabs and fish, working on docks, with animals, 4WD vehicles and boats. Visitor safety includes trail safety, safety for program participants, and facilities safety for visitors. Duties include inspecting facilities and activities; finding deficiencies and developing corrective actions; training of staff, students (interns, fellows), and volunteers; hazardous waste management; development of JHAs and SOPs; chemical inventories; and incident records. 

The Safety Officer reports to the Executive Officer as a member of the SERC Directorate and serves as the principal liaison for the Center with the central Smithsonian Office of Safety, Health and Environmental Management based in Washington DC. The Safety Office works closely with Facilities Maintenance and Protection Services at SERC. The Safety Officer ensures compliance with all applicable laws, policies, and procedures pertaining to safety in the day-to-day operations of the Center. 

The SERC community seeks to fill this key position with a person who works well with a diverse community of staff, students, volunteers, and visitors to sustain a safe working environment, and who  can flexibly adapt to changing situations  

Requirements for this position include:


  • At least 1 year of full-time specialized experience at or equivalent to Grade 09 in the Federal service which is in or directly related to the work of the position that provided the specific knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position; OR
  • A Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree or 3 full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree in safety or occupational health fields (safety, occupational health, industrial hygiene), or degree in other related fields as described in this announcement: OR
  • A qualifying combination of experience and education.

Required qualifications: 

  • Comprehensive knowledge of occupational safety, chemical safety and environmental health as applied to field and laboratory work. 
  • Demonstrated communication skills.
  • Experience in safety training for researchers, students, visitors and/or volunteers in environmental research. 
  • Experience managing laboratory chemical and biological safety, including carcinogens, solvents, radioactive tracers, and toxics. 
  • Experience identifying and correcting hazardous operations or conditions.
  • Demonstrated ability to ensure compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other applicable federal regulations. 

Highly desired qualifications:  

  •  Significant experience in safety program management in research and education complex similar to SERC. 
  • Has led investigations and produced reports of serious injuries or illnesses of workers
  • Demonstrated experience solving safety-related personnel and visitor challenges.
  • Analytical and collaborative.  
  • Experience in health and safety programs related to outdoor field work 
  • Highly organized, with significant experience in safety-related record keeping, e.g. waste management, training and incidents. 
  • Experience developing, planning, directing, and/or evaluating safety and occupational health programs. 
  • Safety, radiation, shipping and hazardous waste training and certifications 

The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a policy of non-discrimination on the basis of race/ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, marital/parental/caregiver status, and disability. The SERC community recognizes the value of diversity in promoting innovative science and creative solutions, and we strongly encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply. We recognize that each applicant for this role will bring unique skills, knowledge, experiences, and background to this position. 


This is a permanent full time federal position, with accompanying benefits, to be filled at the GS-11 level. 

Applications must be submitted through USA Jobs and the specific vacancy announcement. Applications directly to SERC will not be accepted.

USA Jobs #21R-MP-306214-DEU-SERC