15 FAM 950 overseas Standards

(CT:OBO-101;   06-24-2020)
(Office of Origin:  OBO)

15 fam 951  general standards

(CT:OBO-43;   02-28-2014)

The Department of State's safety and health standards are those promulgated by the Secretary of Labor under 29 CFR 1910 and 29 CFR 1926.  Additional environmental standards are contained in 15 FAM 913 and 15 FAM 956.  The Department of State will also adopt applicable emergency temporary occupational safety and health standards that may be established by the Secretary of Labor or recommended by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).  Posts may be required to implement host-country safety, health, and environmental standards when they are more protective than Department of State standards.

15 fam 952  exposure standards

(CT:OBO-83;   05-01-2019)

Permissible exposure limits (PELs) for occupational exposure to toxic and hazardous materials and hazardous physical energies are those published by the Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 29 CFR 1910.  An exception is when the threshold limit value (TLV), established by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), is lower than the OSHA PEL.  In this case, the TLV becomes the exposure standard for the Department of State.  If neither a PEL nor TLV exists, the NIOSH-recommended exposure limit (REL) becomes the Departmental exposure standard.

15 fam 953  hazard control ventilation standards

(CT:OBO-83;   05-01-2019)

The Industrial Ventilation Manual of Recommended Practices for Design published by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), is the Department of State design standard for ventilation systems used to control hazardous materials for protection of personnel in the workplace.  This is in addition to the more limited requirements set forth in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) and 29 CFR 1910.  Airflow and air capacity specifications are those contained in the Industrial Ventilation Manual.

15 fam 954  design standards

(CT:OBO-83;   05-01-2019)

For the design of new construction or major renovations, the Department of State will conform with OSHA standards at posts abroad and with host-country standards as required.  Application of such standards, as a modification of local design criteria, will be at the discretion of the architect or engineer who will follow U.S. standards to the fullest extent practical, unless precluded by host-country standards.  In order to ensure acceptable indoor air quality in Department of State office buildings, ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) Standard 62.1-2016 (or the most recent version), Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality, will be followed.

15 fam 955  construction standards

(CT:OBO-43;   02-28-2014)

For new construction or major renovations and alterations of existing structures at posts abroad, the Department of State will adhere to the latest edition of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Safety and Health Requirements Manual (EM 385-1-1) and with host-country standards as necessary.


(CT:OBO-101;   06-24-2020)

The Department of State must comply with applicable U.S. Federal Laws, U.S. Executive Orders, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or local regulations, and should apply whichever is more stringent.  Environmental concerns include but are not limited to hazardous waste management, polychlorinated biphenyls, and ozone depleting substances.

15 fam 957  additional DEPARTMENT OF STATE standards

(CT:OBO-101;   06-24-2020)

The Office of Safety, Health, and Environmental Management, in the Directorate for Operations, Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO/OPS/SHEM) will develop additional standards as necessary to address specific issues or problems not covered by the standards listed in 15 FAM 950 or by the provisions of 15 FAM 913.  These standards are contained in the Resource Guide (15 FAM 957.1).  Periodically, SHEM may issue revised versions of certain Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other standards (e.g., Hazard Communication Program) when the revised versions may be beneficial to posts in understanding and implementing requirements.  Agencies or bureaus with occupational responsibilities involving unusual or special hazards should submit proposed draft standards to the SHEM Office Director for review and approval.  See 14 FAM 446 for the appropriate control, issuance, maintenance and disposition of personal property protective equipment and clothing using the Integrated Logistics Management System (ILMS).

15 FAM 957.1  Departmental Safety, Occupational Health, and Environmental Management (SHEM) Resource Guide

(CT:OBO-101;   06-24-2020)

The resource guide, which has been issued to posts abroad, contains safety and occupational health and environmental policies, directives, programs, standards, and other requirements issued by the Department of State that posts and organizations supporting posts must follow.  Posts will ensure that the resource guide is readily accessible via the OBO/OPS/SHEM Intranet site.

15 FAM 957.2  Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program Requirements

(CT:OBO-101;   06-24-2020)

a. Posts abroad will implement an integrated pest management (IPM) program in all U.S. Government-owned and capital-lease properties in accordance with the Department of State IPM program document, which can be found on the OBO/OPS/SHEM Intranet site.  This program incorporates three elements:

(1)  Pest prevalence reduction measures;

(2)  Self-help measures; and

(3)  Selection and use of pesticides that are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency and/or that the Office of Safety, Health, and Environmental Management (OBO/OPS/SHEM) has authorized for use, and which are to be mixed and applied according to label instructions.  These materials can only be used after reduction and self-help measures have been found to be insufficient.

b. Posts with operating lease properties are to periodically contact those properties’ landlords and implement one of the following strategies (in order of priority):

(1)  Obtain landlord permission to implement IPM procedures as stated in this section;

(2)  Eliminate the use of chemical pesticides and substitute self-help pest reduction measures by landlords and/or tenants; or

(3)  Select and use pesticides, according to label instructions, that are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency and/or that OBO/OPS/SHEM has authorized for use.

15 FAM 957.3  Motor Vehicle Safety Management Program Requirements

(CT:OBO-101;   06-24-2020)

Posts will implement a motor vehicle safety management program in accordance with 14 FAM 433.  At a minimum, this program will include:

(1)  Written post policy with assignment of program responsibilities;

(2)  Penalties for failure to comply with operational safety standards;

(3)  Operator qualifications, evaluation, and orientation;

(4)  Operator Medical Certification;

(5)  Operational safety standards including observation of speed limits, local traffic laws and not driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances (e.g. , prescribed medications, over-the-counter medications, and other drugs);

(6)  Crash protection requirements including use of seat belts and child seat requirements, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for 2 or 3 wheeled vehicles.

(7)  Duty limits to control fatigue;

(8)  Distraction controls; and

(9)  Vehicle emergency equipment.

15 FAM 957.4  Swimming Pool Requirements

(CT:OBO-101;   06-24-2020)

Posts having swimming pools associated with facilities or residences owned, leased or otherwise under Department of State control will implement appropriate design or operational safety requirements consistent with the Department of State's Swimming Pool Safety Program that can be found on the OBO/OPS/SHEM Intranet site.  Requirements must address the following elements:

(1)  Permanent barriers or fences;

(2)  Supervision;

(3)  Emergency procedures;

(4)  Posted rules;

(5)  Hazardous chemical control; and

(6)  Electrical hazards.

15 FAM 957.5  Drinking Water Quality Program Requirements

(CT:OBO-101;   06-24-2020)

Posts must provide potable water that is microbiologically and chemically safe to drink at all Department of State-owned or -leased facilities abroad where employees and post family members work or reside.  Posts will accomplish this in part by periodically testing the water; ensuring that appropriate water treatment devices or systems are provided, used, and properly maintained; and ensuring that any bottled water provided is safe to drink.  (Refer to the SHEM Drinking Water Safety Program that can be found on the OBO/OPS/SHEM Intranet site for guidance on how to meet these requirements.)

15 FAM 957.6  Personal Protective Equipment and Clothing

(CT:OBO-101;   06-24-2020)

Use of PPE, such as respirators, gloves, safety shoes, eye and head protection, and outer clothing, is an integral part of the Department of State's safety and health strategy for protecting employees engaged in hazardous activities.  Protective clothing will be provided and funded by posts whenever the post occupational and health official (POSHO) or a representative of OBO/OPS/SHEM determines it is necessary to protect employees or to meet Department of State or Federal standards.  Posts will ensure that employees are trained in the proper use of such equipment and that equipment is maintained, cleaned, and replaced, as necessary, to ensure that it provides effective protection.  Similarly, all supervisors, contractors, and their management (see 15 FAM 930), regardless of their entity's functional organization, are responsible for providing PPE and, as needed, for seeking assessment of need whenever employees are required to enter hazardous or potentially hazardous work spaces overseas or in the United States.  All personal protective equipment must meet design or performance standards required by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.

15 FAM 957.7  Electrical Safe Work Practice Requirements

(CT:OBO-101;   06-24-2020)

a. The latest edition of the National Fire Protection Association’s manual, NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, is the Department of State standard for safe electrical work practices.  This is in addition to the applicable requirements set forth in 29 CFR 1910 and 29 CFR 1926.

b. Posts must implement these requirements.  Assistance can be found on the Electrical Safety Intranet Page, Safe Electrical Work Practices Program and Controls tab.  Other Department organizations and contractors conducting electrical work at posts must meet these same standards.  As a minimum this post implemented program must address the following key requirements:

(1)  Establish, document, implement, and enforce a Work De-Energized Policy.  See the Lock-out/Tag-out Program (LOTO) Intranet page;

(2)  Establish, document, implement, and enforce an effective Lock Out/Tag Out (LOTO) policy including written standard operating procedures (SOPs) to safely isolate electrical circuits and switchgear;

(3)  Establish an Energized Work Permit (EWP) control system.  Refer to the LOTO Program Intranet page.

(4)  When it is deemed infeasible by the POSHO to work de-energized, an EWP must be completed by qualified personnel, and signed by the Deputy Chief of Mission or the Principal Officer of a consular post;

(5)  Provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), tools and meters for all qualified technicians performing electrical work. See the Electrical Safety Intranet Page, PPE tab; and

(6)  Provide and document training for locally employed (LE) staff to ensure their qualification to perform electrical work safely.

c.  Unless post has local expertise approved by OBO/CFSM/FAC, Medium Voltage (MV) service and repair requirements are supported directly from Washington using Medium Voltage qualified technicians.  Please contact OBO/CFSM/FAC for scheduling.

d. Post shall not make any repair, adjustment, or maintenance action on MV systems including the MV Automatic Voltage Regulators, transformers, or demarcation room switchgear without approval from OBO/CFSM/FAC.  These systems require specialized training, tools, and safety equipment to perform maintenance or repair tasks safely.  In case of an emergency, only those entities authorized by OBO/CFSM/FAC shall enter or work on MV equipment.  Any repair or maintenance concerns should be directed to OBO/CFSM/FAC.

e. An arc flash is an electrical discharge that results from a low impedance connection through the air to ground or another voltage phase in an electrical system.  Such an event can result in injury or death.  Arc flash studies are required to determine the location and severity of such hazards to enhance the safety of electrical workers.  No arc flash studies on existing facilities and utilities can be performed without authorization from, and coordination with, OBO/CFSM/FAC.

15 FAM 958  and  959 UNASSIGNED