SAFETY--Water Resources Division Policy for Safety Associated with Measurements, Sampling, and Related Streamgaging

The following Numbered Memorandum has 4 attachments which we have combined into
one attachment.  We will distribute hard copies. 

In Reply Refer To:
Mail Stop 405

							   August 17, 1999


Subject:    SAFETY--Water Resources Division Policy for Safety Associated with
            Measurements, Sampling, and Related Streamgaging

This memorandum presents the Water Resources Division (WRD) policy for safety
associated with discharge measurements, water sampling, and related streamgaging
activities.  There is inherent danger in the work in or over water performed by WRD
employees.  No stream measurement or sample is worth putting yourself or your fellow
employees in danger.  Safety must be the first consideration in deciding if, when,
where, and how to take a measurement or collect a sample. When preparing to make a
measurement or collect a sample, always consider the possible hazards, and prepare
for the worst cases with regard to personal safety and the safety of others. 

Working near (on a stream bank) or in (wading) or over (bridge, cableway, ice, and
boats) water can be very dangerous. A constant awareness and preparation must be
maintained to cope with the dangers associated with stream depth, velocity, water
temperature, debris, ice, and weather conditions. Appendix 1 provides general safety
guidance for making discharge measurements.  Specific policies related to
streamgaging activities are contained in the memorandums listed in Appendix 2.   The
general policy related to water safety is given below. 

General Policy -

o Personal Flotation Devices (PFD's) are required in all operations near, in, or
over water except in those cases where an approved site-specific Job Hazard Analysis
(JHA) defines the conditions for an exemption.  A properly fitting PFD must be worn
when working near, in, or over water on a cableway, bridge, or water retention or
control structure; on ice, in a boat, or wading streams.  Suspender-type
self-inflating PFD's may be worn in lieu of U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD's for
working near, in, or over water on a cableway, bridge, on ice,  on a water retention
or control structure; or in wading streams.  For work conducted in a boat,  U.S.
Coast Guard-approved PFD's must be used.  Appendix 3 contains detailed flotation
device specifications. 

o Protection against hypothermia is required when conditions warrant. Information on
protection against hypothermia is available on the WRD Safety Home Page. 

o If it is evident that rescue would be dangerous or difficult to execute the
measurement or sampling must not be attempted.  The intention of this item is to 
help insure that the streamgager considers what will happen should he or she lose
control and fall into the water. If the individual is confident that he or she can
conduct a self-rescue, or that others are in position, have the needed equipment,
and can attempt to make a rescue, the measurement or sampling operation can

o A JHA must be developed for each site where a discharge measurement is to be
made.  The JHA must contain a section describing unsafe conditions for each
measuring site and the conditions, if any, for which the wearing of a PFD is not
required. The JHA will identify the measurement method (i.e., wading, cableway,
etc.) for different conditions and the hazardous conditions under which no
measurements or sampling operations will be attempted.  JHA's must be approved by
the first line supervisor and reviewed by a supervisor or manager that is senior to
the approving official. The JHA will be placed in the station field folder of the
site file. The JHA's will be reviewed during the discipline reviews and safety
evaluations conducted by the WRD discipline offices and the regional safety

WRD management is responsible to ensure that all safety policies are implemented and
monitored at the field level. Supervisors must ensure that employees are informed of
safety policies; that the policies are integrated into field operations; and that
they are carried out in a proper and consistent manner.  Both supervisors and
employees will be held accountable if safety policies are not followed.  Failure to
provide adequate safeguards for yourself or those for whom you are responsible is
considered a breach of your duties and could be the basis for the initiation of
disciplinary actions ranging from reprimand up to and including separation from
government service (see appendix 4).  Employees who are injured as a result of
deliberately disregarding safety policy may be denied workman's compensation
payments by the Office of Worker's Compensation Program. 

Accidents can happen to anyone at anytime--those who anticipate and prepare are most
likely to be the survivors. The victims of fatal accidents are not only those that
lose their lives, but those left behind who love and depend on them. Always consider
safety first in your day-to-day conduct of your work activities. 

					Catherine L. Hill
					Associate Chief Hydrologist for Program Operations

This memorandum supersedes paragraph 2.c of WRD Memorandum No. 67.79

Distribution:  A, B, S, FO, PO

(Email cc's to:  clhill, mlew, dilandro, kmlong, wrd-archive)