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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Safety: Committee
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Safety, Health & Environmental Management (SHEM) Committee Mission Statement


Our mission is to promote and maintain a safe, healthy, and environmentally sound workplace at the USDA-ARS Location in Madison, WI and associated satellite facilities.  As SHEM committee members, we will:

Adopted 10/30/2012

  1. Facilitate implementation of relevant USDA-ARS and UW-Madison safety, health and environmental management programs at the Location;
  2. Develop additional location-specific safety policies and practices as necessary to ensure safe work and appropriate environmental management practices;
  3. Ensure that employees receive appropriate training for the safe conduct of their work assignments, and develop and implement additional training as necessary;
  4. Maintain appropriate health and safety records as necessary;
  5. Review accident/illness reports to determine if accident patterns and corrective actions should be communicated to the Location leader;
  6. Conduct safety and health inspections of facilities, equipment, and operations to ensure compliance with applicable standards and recommendations;
  7. Provide weblinks to the AFM website that contains current Research, Education and Extension Occupational Safety and Health Program Directives;
  8. Effectively communicate USDA-ARS and UW-Madison safety programs to both location management (LC, CD, RL, AO) and research, administrative, and support staff; and
  9. Identify and create opportunities to increase safety awareness and knowledge among Location personnel.

Reference: USDA REE 160.0M-ARS "Safety, Health & Environmental Program"

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Madison Location Safety Committee Members FY 2013

Members Member
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Laura Jones, Admin, LEO
Jean Weinbrenner, AO, Admin
Chris Lee, CCRU, Maintenance
Marcus Vinje, CCRU
  Leslie Zalapa, CCRU
  Jonathan Bleier, DFRC
  John Grabber, DFRC
Julie Grogan, DFRC
  Mark Haberman, DFRC
Dorene Hensler, DFRC
  Lisa Koch, DFRC
  Richard Walgenbach, DFRC Farm
Philipp Simon, VCRU
  Christy Stewart, VCRU
  Yiqun Weng, VCRU
  Juan Zalapa, VCRU
  Peter Vadas, EIDMRU
  Kevin Free, EIDMRU
  Robin Ogden, EIDMRU
  Subcommittee Chairs:  

L. Zalapa (chair), Koch, Weng, J. Zalapa

  Chemical Hygiene & Emergency Response

Stewart-Chemical Hygiene (Chair), Haberman-Emergency Response (Chair)
Lee, Vinje

  Farm & Field Bleier (Chair), Grabber, Ogden, Walgenbach
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Adopted 10/30/2012

SHEM Committee Goals for FY  2013

  • Promote Location input to revise, review and approve "Safe Operating Procedures for Field Operations" and for "Emergency Response" Plans.
  • Conduct annual seminars (obligatory attendance) on safety for location employees to inform them about new safety procedures, policies and resources, in addition to required annual safety training.
  • Educate employees on appropiate reporting procedures for potential safety violations and incidents.
  • Advise Area and Headquarter SHEM Teams in developing approaches for video and on-line training.
  • Encourage concept that inspections are to help colleages address health and safety issues in the workplace and not a policing effort.
  • Simplify safety inspections by using computer online reporting systems for the inspection process.
  • Update and utilize the Madison Location SHEM web site for disseminating information.
  • Coordinate writing, training and implementation of Occupant Emergency Plan for Wisconsin ARS facilities.
  • Coordinate/update of SHEM stations per requirements.
  • Coordinate SHEM organization for Wisconsin ARS facilities with Area SHEM Team, UW-Madison and Management Units on committee structure, responsibilities and reporting. 
  • Review and implement goals of the Location Environmental Management System.
  • Enhance employee awareness relative to security issues.
  • Implement online reporting for the annual SHEM inspection.
  • Chair to update employees on a monthly basis to incidents/accidents that had occurred to inform employees about safety awareness in the workplace.
Physical Plant
  • Support and promote the implementation of management unit specific SHEM activities related to physical plant.  Specifically, these include:
    • Install emergency and response procedures (VCRU specific).
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Inspection Format

Inspection Checklist - This form is used for annual safety inspections by the Safety Committee
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Madison Location Safety Committee Charter

Purpose The Location Safety Commitee shall be organized to meet the Location's safety, health, and environmental needs as outlined in ARS Safety Manual 230 and 29CFR1960, "Occupational Safety and Health Programs for Federal Employees" (copies of documents available from Location Web Site and Cluster Environmental Protection Specialist [CEPS])
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Members will be appointed by the Location Coordinator for 3-year terms, with approximately one-third of the members being appointed each year prior to October 1. Ideally, the committee should represent a cross-section of location personnel with representation from management, scientists, technicians, and administration. From 75 to 80% of the members should be full time ARS employees; the balance being UW employees or part-time ARS employees. It is suggested that each program be represented as follows:
  • Safety Committee Chairperson (selected by the Location Coordinator from one of the Unit Representatives)
  • Location Administrative Officer (LAO)
  • Location Coordinator (LC)
  • Locational Environmental Officer (LEO)
  • Dairy Forage lab—2 persons
  • Dairy Forage farm—1 person
  • Cereal Crops—2 persons
  • Vegetable Crops—2 persons
  • Maintenance Person

The committee may ask the Location Coordinator to appoint others to join them based on specific need.

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Meetings Meetings shall be held monthly, either general business meetings or conducting on-site inspection of the Location management units. Time and date shall be set by the committee chair. Minutes will be kept and published. Current Schedule
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Safety Committee tasks include:
A. Promoting a safe workplace through:
1. educational programs,
2. safety training of employees,
3. annual inspections of each workplace
B. Reviewing employee accidents and near misses (both U.W. and ARS);
C. Maintaining up-to-date file of ARS program components includes as a minimum:
1. Manual 160.0M, ARS Safety Health and Environmental Management Program,
2. OSHA Standards 29CFR1910.1200 and 1450,
3. OSHA 29CFR1928 Agricultural Standards,
4. OSHA 29CFR1960 Safety and Health Programs for Federal Employees
5. Hazardous Waste Standards 40CFR262 and 265 [link];
Note: These references are available at the Location Safety Internet home page:
D. Advising management on implementation of the ARS Safety, Health, and Environmental Program (SHEP) mandates; this includes reviewing program   deficiencies and offering suggested corrective action;
E. Reviewing Chemical Hygiene Plans of each Management Unit;
F. Requesting Chemical Inventories updated annually to be reviewed by CEPS;
G. Developing safety, health, and environmental goals each year and tracking progress;
H. Providing safety information to ARS personnel;
I. Resolving employee safety concerns;
J. Participating in applicable safety, health, and environmental training programs which will enhance membership expertise and credibility;
K. Reviewing periodically each laboratory's Laboratory Safety Documentation (checklist attached);
L. Monitoring and updating annually the Location Pollution Prevention Plan;
M. Recognizing Safety, Health and Environmental Management (SHEM) improvement and excellence.
Safety tasks not conducted by Safety Committee:
A. Workman's compensation claims shall be administered through the LAO.
B. Occupational Medical Surveillance Program (OMSP) shall be administered through the LAO.
C. Hazardous Waste pick-ups and regulations shall be developed by the University of Wisconsin Safety Department. CEPS shall verify that intent of ARS rules are met.
D. Radiation Safety shall be administered through the University of Wisconsin Radiation Safety Department.
E. Biological Safety including recombinant DNA shall be administered through the University of Wisconsin Biological Safety Department.
F. Recycling programs in ARS and University buildings shall be those of University of Wisconsin Environmental Management.
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Safety Committee Training Safety Committee Members are not Collateral Duty Safety Officers. Thus they do not need to receive the OSHA 40 hr course for Collateral Duty Safety Officers. Safety Committee Member training may be provided by the Area Safety Office through the Area Safety Manager or Cluster Environmental Protection Specialist. The University of Wisconsin Safety Department also sponsors training. Training should be in the areas of ARS work: laboratory, chemicals, industrial hygiene, personnel protective equipment, environmental safety at the lab level (spills, hazardous waste disposal, pesticides), and farm safety. Each person on the safety committee brings a unique background of safety knowledge based on training and experience. By pooling this knowledge and learning from each other, the committee can assist each Management Unit in its safety goal to provide a safe work place, where hazards are controlled, exposures are minimized and accidents are of low impact. Safety Committee members should not hesitate to request additional training as needed. MWA has an extensive video collection on safety topics.
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  • Location Coordinator
  • Center Director, Dairy Forage Lab
  • Research Leader, Vegetable Crops
  • Research Leader, Cereal Crops
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Last Modified: 4/17/2013
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