Risk and Safety Officer

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Position: Risk and Safety Officer

Location: The preferred location for this position is Durham, NC, USA or San José, Costa Rica

The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) is a nonprofit consortium of nearly sixty universities and research institutions worldwide, with operations in three countries and research and education stations in Costa Rica and South Africa. For the last half century OTS has been the world’s leading institution in the study of tropical biology, with more than 350 graduate courses in tropical ecology and conservation and over 8000 students trained, including many of the world’s leading tropical ecologists. Recently, OTS has recognized that to be a successful, 21st century organization, we need to evolve. We have clarified our purpose: To protect our tropical ecosystems by driving scientific discovery and knowledge, enriching human perception of nature and enhancing worldwide policy actions in the tropics. To build on our legacy and to expand our impact, OTS is in a period of transition. We are launching several new programs and our culture is evolving to be innovative, interdisciplinary, entrepreneurial and connected.

The Risk and Safety Officer reports to the Chief Operating Officer.

  1. Design, implement, process and evaluate key aspects of organizational risk management and crisis response plans, including accident prevention and loss control.
  2. Provide advice, guidance and facilitation regarding how to address and resolve safety issues and concerns. Respond to inquiries regarding health, safety, and student life at each program location, including requests for special accommodation due to physical limitations and special dietary needs.
  3. Foster and maintain a positive safety culture across the organization. Review, identify and coordinate safety awareness training interventions with employees and students to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations and to address and respond to safety concerns. Ensure that the organization complies with local legislative and regulatory requirements regarding site inspections, job hazard analysis, and training.
  4. Interpret and implement industry best practices in order to minimize exposure; control costs; and develop comprehensive policies, procedures and training programs to address operational and safety functions. Monitor emerging political or environmental threats for each OTS program location. Collaborate with departmental representatives to ensure implementation of key initiatives.
  5. On-call responsibility for responding to urgent inquiries or incidents from the field as well as at OTS research stations or administrative locations. This includes responsibility for manning the OTS 24-hr Emergency Hotline, including emergency calls from family or primary contact of students. Collect, review, and process incident reports from the field as necessary.
  6. Serve as Designated Title IX Officer to address complaints
  7. Administer the student pretravel approval process (i.e. waivers; verification of health and security insurance, pretravel orientation, and health concerns including checkups and immunizations.) Management and tracking of student information including medical issues, disciplinary action, behavioral concerns, etc.
  8. Maintain and update emergency contact information for each education program, research station and administrative office.
  9. Research, collect, and analyze safety data metrics and trends to effectively manage risk and control loss. Communicate safety and trend data, statistical data, and generates reports to management as needed.
  10. Create, update and maintain an OTS incident database.
  1. Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
  2. 7+ years of related experience
  3. Knowledge of principles and practices relating to safety, risk analysis, and accident prevention as relevant to an international nonprofit organization hosting students, visitors, and employees in remote field locations. This includes familiarity with industry standards regarding health, safety, and risk management in higher education study abroad and navigating medical resources in international locations.
  4. Knowledge of applicable laws and regulations regarding safety, site inspections, hazard analysis, and training. Skill in policy analysis.
  5. Knowledge of loss control methods, principles, and techniques.
  6. Ability to demonstrate good judgment in the design, development, coordination, and implementation of safety, security, and compliance policies and practices. Knowledge of effective organizational safety and awareness training methods.
  7. Interpersonal skills, oral communication and presentation skills.
  8. Exercises tact and diplomacy under a variety of difficult situations. Maintains confidentiality of sensitive information.
  9. Sensitivity toward the cultural diversity of the OTS community. High emotional and cross-cultural intelligence.
  10. High energy and thrives in a dynamic, distributed environment.
  11. Passionate about the mission and purpose of OTS.
  • Fluency in spoken and written Spanish
  • Multicultural experience
  • Experience working remotely and/or with a distributed workforce
  • The preferred location for this position is Durham, NC, USA or San José, Costa Rica
  • Domestic and international travel, up to 25% time may be required
  • Willing to work outside of normal business hours when needed to accommodate meetings involving participants from multiple time zones

Submitting a resume and a cover letter are both required. Applications received without a cover letter will not be considered. Click below to apply for Risk and Safety Officer position.

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The Organization for Tropical Studies is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.