Qualified volunteers from VPP sites are eligible to participate in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Special Government Employee (SGE) program. These volunteers must be approved by OSHA and funded by their companies to participate.
An SGE serves in the capacity of a federal volunteer while he or she is assisting OSHA personnel during VPP onsite evaluations. During the evaluation, an SGE is held to the same ethical and legal standards as a federal or state government employee. In addition to benefiting OSHA by supplementing its VPP onsite evaluation teams, this innovative program gives industry and government an opportunity to work together and share ideas and best practices. For more information and to apply for SGE training, please visit OSHA's SGE website.
SPECIAL NOTICE | 2/25/2021 | Region VI Special Government Employee (SGE) Communication (Q and A):
Region VI SGE’s,
Most of us have been slightly pre-occupied with the pandemic during the past 12 months and may not have had an opportunity to perform SGE activities. With that in mind, we reached out to the SGE Coordinator in Washington DC with a few questions that we have been wondering about lately. Here are the questions and the answers from the SGE Coordinator:
Question: SGE’s are ready to get back to work and are wondering when we will see on-site audits resume. We realize this response is dependent upon the direction the COVID 19 pandemic moves. Your insight is appreciated here.
SGE Coordinator’s response: On-sites are still being conducted on a limited basis/virtually and SGEs are still being used in various regions across the United States. The audits are still dependent on COVID restrictions across the country.
Question: What if SGE’s were not able to participate in any qualifying activities last year and are nearing their renewal time without the three required activities? Will there be leniency or a grace period of sorts?
SGE Coordinator’s response: Yes, there will be leniency for any SGE unable to fulfill their qualifying activities requirement within their SGE term of service. When it is time for them to renew, they can state on their application that due to COVID, they were unable to fulfill this requirement. We will be able to still move their applications forward for approval.
Question: Regarding SGE classes, we see that there is a class on the books that was supposed to line up with the Region VI VPPPA Conference in Little Rock, AR, but the conference has been cancelled. Are there plans to hold training outside of this or will this one be cancelled?
SGE Coordinator’s response: Our SGE classes are still paused due to the ongoing pandemic. We are transitioning the classes to a virtual environment and hope to host the trainings again around spring. Our webpage will be updated to reflect any changes to upcoming SGE classes.
Question: Are there plans to conduct SGE training “virtually”? If so, are there any scheduled?
SGE Coordinator’s response: Yes, we are working on this now and have already begun transitioning the training to a virtual environment. We will announce when the virtual SGE classes are available. Our target is spring of this year.
Question: With the recent retirement of the Region VI VPP Manager, what are the plans for conducting SGE training in Region VI? Will the SGE Coordinators pick it up? The Compliance Assistance Specialists? What are the possibilities regarding selected/seasoned SGEs conducting the training? I am sure there are many restrictions regarding this, but it is an idea that we would like to discuss if possible. Many of us have taught classes alongside the recently retired SGE Manager and feel comfortable and confident that we could do it.
SGE Coordinator’s response: The Compliance Assistance Specialists will be hosting the SGE trainings until the new VPP Manager arrives. They will reach out to SGEs if they need assistance with the classes.
Be safe and we hope to see all of you soon!
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