Occupational Health & Safety Specialist
La Jolla, CA 
Posted Today
Job Description

Application Instructions:

Employment History Include your last ten (10) years of employment history, or length of your employment history if less, including all positions (even those that are not relevant to this position) and periods of unemployment. Incomplete information could disqualify you from further consideration.


The Occupational Health and Safety Specialist oversees the occupational health surveillance program and associated programs requiring medical-related oversight such as the respiratory protection program and the animal user risk assessment program. Identifies, authorizes and tracks all medical surveillance activities provided by Salk's designated healthcare provider. Also responsible for investigating all injuries, illnesses and incidents to identify the root cause to mitigate on-site hazards to support risk reduction efforts and a low injury rate.

Responsible for the oversight and development of EH&S training programs. Coordinates training activities with EH&S staff trainers. Ensures compliance with the Cal OSHA Ergonomic standard by providing ergonomic assessments and guidance aimed at increasing staff productivity and reducing ergonomic risk.


(30%) Risk Management and Injury Prevention

  • Leads annual EH&S inspections in administrative areas and identifies corrective actions for identified safety violations. Addresses and resolves safety related concerns or violations in a collaborative manner with staff.
  • Performs root cause investigations of all injuries, illnesses and near miss incidents to determine injury prevention measures to assist in reducing the number and severity of recordable injuries.
  • Evaluates new work activities and on-site hazards. Conducts risk assessments in order to assess the need for workplace controls to mitigate potential injury and illness risks.
  • Provides topics and slides of injury reports and trends in an effort to communicate preventive strategies to personnel.
  • Acts as the primary point of contact for insurance risk managers. Works with insurance broker and carrier to provide evaluations, recommendations and training in an effort to control workplace hazards. Collaborates with EH&S staff to identify priorities for injury prevention efforts to maintain a safe working environment.
  • Designated as a first responder for on-site injuries, illnesses and suspected exposures to hazardous materials utilized in research. Provides an initial assessment and first aid treatment, if warranted. Refers case to the Institute's designated healthcare provider if additional medical care is required.
  • Coordinates with the Human Resources Department on workplace injuries and safety violations that may require personnel corrective measures.

(30%) Training Coordination

  • Maintains a comprehensive EH&S training program to ensure all required training elements are met.
  • Conducts new hire safety training activities on a rotation basis with other EH&S staff members.
  • Performs annual EH&S refresher safety trainings for all research and administrative staff in areas including but not limited to biosafety, chemical hygiene, ergonomics, emergency response, general fire & life safety, injury response and lab associated allergies.
  • Develops new training materials in response to changing regulatory environment to ensure EH&S training requirements are met.
  • Assists with the development of the on-line training program. Collaborates with the EH&S team to develop training materials that will target specific areas of concern for injury and illness prevention.
  • Coordinates CPR/AED and first aid training as needed.

(25%) Medical Surveillance Program

  • Coordinates, documents, and tracks medical surveillance activities to comply with OSHA, NIOSH, AAALAC, and other regulatory agency requirements. Assesses and identifies the Institute's medical surveillance needs based on on-site hazards and operations.
  • Works closely with designated occupational healthcare provider to ensure service meets the needs of the Institute's research operations.
  • Coordinates with Human Resources Department and occupational healthcare provider on personnel physicals/fitness-for-duty evaluations and results reporting.
  • Authorizes preventive vaccinations including but not limited to rabies, Tdap (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis), hepatitis B, influenza (annual), MMR, vaccinia, clearance exams, and associated titers. Tracks annual TB tests and measles screening for NHP workers. Authorizes additional services as requested by the treating physician such as respirator medical clearance exams and animal allergy surveillance assessments.
  • Ensures all medical surveillance activities provided by the designated healthcare provider are documented in the Medical Surveillance database.
  • Evaluates allergen risks and controls for research operations.
  • Performs hazard reviews with employees handling or potentially exposed to materials with a potential risk of reproductive harm.
  • Negotiates needed services and agreements with outside service providers such as clinical laboratories, physicians, optometrists and ophthalmologists.

(15%) Program Development

  • Tracks the review of program manuals and associated standard operating procedures to ensure regulatory requirements for a variety of EH&S programs are met.
  • Responsible for implementing the ergonomic safety program to reduce repetitive motion/strain injuries within all areas of the Institute. Performs ergonomic evaluations for administrative and laboratory work areas based on need or request. Provides recommendations to employee for behavior modification, postural realignment, equipment adjustments and/or equipment purchase to reduce strain. Documents all assessments and communicates results to employee and their supervisor to ensure corrective actions are understood and implemented.
  • Manages respiratory protection program. Evaluates requests for respiratory protection and assists with the proper respirator selection for the identified hazard. Coordinates respiratory medical clearance exams and fit testing requirement.
  • Coordinates AED Program and equipment testing, maintenance, and logging for the eight AED units. Acts as the primary point of contact for Project Heartbeat.



  • Minimum 6 years of related experience working in an EH&S department, preferably in a biotech or research environment.
  • Experience developing risk mitigation programs and providing training with a focus on injury prevention to all levels of staff.
  • Experience providing first aid and acting as a liaison with healthcare providers.
  • Experience providing ergonomic assessments and identifying corrective actions to reduce physical strain.


  • Medical experience triaging a wide variety of injuries.



  • Bachelor's degree in Environmental Health or related field
  • Must have valid Ergonomics Certification or ability to obtain within 6 months of hire
  • Must have valid Healthcare Provider CPR & AED certifications or ability to obtain within 6 months of hire


  • Train-the-trainer certification



  • Excellent problem solving and communication skills, including the ability to interact professionally and effectively with all levels of staff, faculty, and administration, and external personnel.
  • Excellent organizational skills with ability to prioritize daily operations and projects in order to meet rigid deadlines, ensure smooth workflow and handle multiple tasks simultaneously, often working under pressure and with frequent interruptions while exhibiting extreme attention to detail and maintaining a high degree of accuracy at all times.
  • Excellent presentation skills for all levels of personnel.
  • Strong interpersonal skills:
    • Orchestrate multiple activities simultaneously to get things done
    • Work well with people of varying levels of authority in multiple organizations
    • Get things done through formal and informal channels
    • Establish and maintain effective relationships with "customers" and gain their trust and respect
    • Learn new systems; develop procedure/process changes and champion change
  • Strong customer service orientation.
  • Ability to recognize and maintain confidential information.
  • Proficient computer skills in common (Microsoft Office, Adobe) and Institute developed applications.


  • Experience developing and maintaining databases.


  • Satisfactory completion of the Institute's background investigation.
  • Must meet medical surveillance requirements to access areas of the Institute in performance of duties, such as Animal Resources facilities, including:
  • TB Testing/Clearance (every 12 months / once a year)
  • Hepatitis B (proof of immunization and/or vaccination)
  • Tetanus (vaccination < 10 years)
  • Measles (proof of immunization and/or vaccination)
  • Completing a respirator fit test and ability to wear a respirator
  • Other vaccines/tests as required by Occupational Health & Safety standard
  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Must be willing to work an adjusted schedule to support research needs.
  • Although this position will be based at the Institute's La Jolla, CA campus, must be able to travel on a limited basis to various campus locations within San Diego County.
  • Must be willing to sign a confidentiality agreement.


This position will require constant seeing, sitting, communicating, reading, reasoning and working inside.

Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities

The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor's legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)

he Salk Institute for Biological Studies is committed to providing equal access to opportunities for students, employees, applicants for employment and other persons.

Our policies prohibit harassment or unlawful discrimination against individuals on the basis of sex, gender, marital or parental status, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, medical conditions/disabilities related to pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation age, ancestry, color, religion (including religious dress and grooming practices), family and/or medical care leave status, disability (mental or physical), registered domestic partner status, legally protected medical condition, genetic information, military or veteran status (disabled veteran, veteran of the Vietnam era, other covered veteran status), national origin (including language use restrictions and possession of a driver’s license), race, religion or any other classification protected by local, state or federal laws.

The Salk Institute participates in the E-Verify program.

Reasonable accommodation is available for qualified individuals with disabilities and for individuals with religious restrictions.


Job Summary
Start Date
As soon as possible
Employment Term and Type
Regular, Full Time
Required Education
Bachelor's Degree
Required Experience
6+ years
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