Safety Officer-Safety Officer Sr. (4911) - UPDATED

Administrative Socorro, New Mexico


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is a diverse, exciting, and prestigious research facility that plays a vital role in the study of the universe. The Observatory operates a variety of radio telescopes that span the globe, including the famous Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico, the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile. These telescopes are among the most advanced in the world, allowing astronomers to explore the universe in unprecedented detail.


NRAO is seeking an experienced Safety Officer or Senior Safety Officer to join our Environmental, Health, Safety, and Security EHS team. at the Very Large Array (VLA). The position is based at the Very Large Array, 50 miles west of Socorro, NM.


This position is responsible for Observatory compliance with all applicable Federal, State, and local environmental, safety, health, and security regulations and Observatory Environmental, Health, Safety, and Security policy requirements.  Uses initiative and independent judgement within established procedural guidelines to oversee the daily management of EHS program at assigned site(s) to maintain employee awareness and compliance with program requirements.  Maintains compliance records. Assists managers with safety issues and participates in safety investigations. In addition, if hired to the Senior level, will oversee programs that are complex in scope or have significant responsibility for a system-wide program.  Job classification and compensation will be commensurate with education and experience.


What You Will be Doing:

This position is responsible for implementation and administration of the EHS program for assigned site(s) which includes:

        Developing and conducting effective trainings and makes available resources on EHS policies and procedures to ensure full compliance with all applicable Federal, State, and Observatory environmental, safety, health, and security regulations.

        Supporting Emergency Services volunteer efforts including emergency preparedness actions, Observatory EMS planning and coordination, as well as fire prevention and response planning.

        Keeping the Site Safety Manual up-to-date which includes periodic review and revision to ensure the manual is current to operational requirements, personnel changes, and various governing regulations.

        Conducting scheduled and unscheduled inspections to assess risks and hazards.

        Investigating, documenting, and reporting on all accidents and incidents including near miss or "close call" incidents under the areas of responsibility. 

        Notifying management regarding violation of safety regulations and codes; making recommendations for corrections and follow-up to ensure that violations or identified unsafe conditions have been corrected.

        Investigating complaints submitted by management, employees, the public and/or regulatory agencies; evaluating concerns and alternatives, and making recommendations to management for corrective action, as required. 

        Work with contractors to ensure compliance with EHS program requirements.  

        Serve as EHS subject matter expert on interpreting, applying, and explaining applicable laws, codes, regulations, and guidelines. 

        Maintaining accurate records; preparing clear and concise reports, correspondence and other written materials. 

        Working closely with all levels of the organization and interfacing with staff and management to identify and resolve EHS issues and concerns.              

        Authorizing a stop to a work activity if continuation of such activity constitutes an imminent threat to personnel, site equipment or property. 

        Assisting in development of EHS programs, corporate policies and providing technical assistance as applicable. 

        Will occasionally be required to work around hazardous materials and must be familiar with handling requirements, regulations, and associated PPE.

        Performing a variety of environmental and industrial hygiene assessments using sophisticated testing equipment; recording and summarizing results and preparing recommendations based upon results.

        May be assigned responsibility for conducting or overseeing personal protective equipment programs, CDL Drug and Alcohol Testing Program, etc. as directed by the Assistant Director EHS.

        Other duties as assigned.


Additional responsibilities will be assigned to a Senior Safety Officer to include. 

        Ability to influence others to take initiative and find innovative ways to tackle complex problems.

        Acting as Training Manager overseeing all safety education and training curriculum to ensure a consistent and effective message.

        Researching, developing, implementing and evaluating, after approval, internal safety programs, rules, policies and guidelines; prepares manuals, training outlines and employee instructions.

        Developing and continually reviewing safety policies, writing procedures and disseminating information. Directing or providing research, technical expertise, designing programs and/or analyzing and making recommendations to management on a variety of difficult safety or health issues, programs, topics or enforcement concerns including current or proposed regulations and long-range strategic plans and their potential impact upon operations.

        Responsible for the effectively supervising assigned staff including budget preparation and monitoring, purchasing and financial transactions, performance management, employee relations, prioritizing and assigning work and related activities.

        Preparing, distributing and reviewing employee questions and feedback regarding health and safety issues.

        Performing risk assessment and disaster preparedness reports.  May recommend and implement risk management programs and policies as a secondary function.

        Ensures data quality and organizes processes information for analysis. Ability to leverage visualization techniques and tools to create dashboards for stakeholders and leadership.

        May serve on special committees or projects.


Work Environment

Indoor and outdoor work is required, occasionally at high altitudes and heights of up to 100 feet. Periodic travel is required (<25%).


Who You Are:


        You have a bachelor’s degree in occupational safety, occupational or health, industrial hygiene, or closely related field – or – a combination of education and related experience.

        While not required, you may have an Associate Safety Professional certification or higher. Master’s degree in occupational safety or health, industrial hygiene, or closely related field

        You have three years of relevant experience.

        While not required, you may have eight years of highly relevant experience. Including Experience in safety training program development highly preferred. Project management experience preferred.  Knowledge of loss prevention, construction safety, permitting, ability to review and interpret the legal, insurance and risk aspects of contracts and agreements, claims investigation and/or management.


Competency Summary

Strong presentation skills to be able to present information in an effective, comprehensive manner.  Strong verbal communication skills in order to communicate objectives and solutions. Strong technical writing skills.  Ability to develop and implement policy. Ability to develop budgets and long-term plans.  Must be able to work effectively as a member of the EHS team and with all levels of the Observatory.   Ability and willingness to earn technician level board certification (or higher) is required (OHST, CSP, etc.) with satisfactory progress toward certification being demonstrated annually. Strong PC skills and knowledge of database management data entry procedures. Ability to collect and report data. Ability to multi-task and prioritize projects.  Knowledge of project management principles.


Physical Requirements

Work is typically performed throughout the Observatory and both indoor and outdoor work is required. Will be required to stand and sit, and perform fine hand manipulation. Must be able to operate a personal computer. Must work safely near moving mechanical parts and/or with electrical equipment. Occasionally required to climb or balance, and stoop, kneel, and crouch. May occasionally work at high altitudes, and in high, precarious places and in extreme weather conditions, and may be exposed to chemicals, or the risk of electrical shock. May frequently lift up to 25 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. Specific vision abilities include close vision, distance vision, color and depth perception are required.


Additional Requirement

Must have, or have the ability to obtain, a valid NM driver’s license


Safety Sensitive

(NOTE: not all positions are “Safety Sensitive” – if not SS, delete this item) The selected candidate must successfully pass a post-offer, pre-employment/pre-placement drug screen. Failure to pass the screen will disqualify the candidate from employment consideration for a period of six months from the date of the results.


Total Rewards:


The NRAO offers a comprehensive total rewards package for this position, subject to eligibility requirements. We are committed to serving our employees and their families with an extensive and competitive compensation and benefits package that supports our employees’ overall well-being and career growth.



The NRAO strives to attract and retain dedicated, highly qualified, competent, and motivated employees by offering competitive compensation and recognition for performance.


Factors which may affect starting pay may include; education, experience, skills, competencies, other qualifications of the successful candidate, as well as internal equity and labor market conditions



NRAO’s benefits package addresses the needs of employees and their families with most benefits beginning on the first day of employment. NRAO provides excellent paid time off (13 holidays, annual accrual of up to 24 vacation days and 15 sick days, additional time off for doctor/dentist visits, and 8 weeks of paid parental leave). Medical, dental and vision plans are effective on the first day of employment. NRAO’s retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10 percent of a qualified participant’s base pay with no required employee contribution; we also offer an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions.


Application Instructions:


Select the “Apply” button. Please be prepared to upload your current CV/Resume and a cover letter describing interest and suitability for the position.


Equal Opportunity Employer Statement:


AUI is an equal opportunity employer. Women, Minorities, Vietnam-Era Veterans, Disabled Veterans, Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities are encouraged to apply. To view our complete statement, please visit If you require reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or hiring process due to a disability, you may submit your request by sending an email to [email protected].



The NRAO is an equal opportunity employer (M/F/D/V)

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.