Interdisciplinary (Physical Scientist/Mechanical Engineer)
This position is in the Office of the Chief, Mechanical and Engineering Safety Division, Approval and Certification Center (A&CC) in the Mine Safety and Health Administration. The Division is responsible for administering the requirements of Title 30, Code of Federal Regulations for mechanical and mobile diesel-powered equipment, explosives and fire protection systems.
This position is inside the Bargaining Unit.
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This is a career ladder progression position; the duties described below are at the full performance level, GS-12. If selected at the GS-11 grade level, the incumbent will serve in a developmental capacity, wherein the work is less complex in nature and the supervisor or a senior level employee provides specific instruction and guidance. At the GS-12 grade level, the incumbent:
- Formulates and conducts complex investigations regarding issues on blasting safety and specialized projects related to mine and materials safety. The scope of the work ranges from evaluations and investigations in the laboratory to field work at large surface and underground mines as may be appropriate.
- Assists the Division's explosives expert in providing technical assistance to MSHA enforcement regarding regulatory questions and the investigation of accidents involving explosives.
- Provides consultation to staff professional safety specialists, and enforcement personnel in the offices of Coal Mine safety and Health, Metal Nonmetal Safety and Health, and Pittsburgh Safety and Health Technology Center on matters concerning existing and potential problems associated with approved equipment and systems. Evaluates data, prepares reports of findings, and makes recommendations upon completion of studies.
- Maintains knowledge of the state-of-the-art to keep abreast of developments in explosive, and blasting technology and systems. Maintains competence and resources from which to advance programs for explosives and blasting safety.
- Serves as a technical expert to manufacturers and developers of mining equipment to identify and solve complex technical problems related to health and safety features to minimize or eliminate potential in-service hazards.
- Keeps abreast of the latest state-of-the-art technology and scientific advances in laboratory testing equipment and procedures, and recommends changes and acquisition of equipment when necessary to maintain the integrity and validity of the Division's testing program. Monitors and provides technical assistance for the installation of the Division's testing laboratory.
- Prepares technical material for presentation, publication, and dissemination in the field of blasting and explosive product safety, use of blasting equipment and materials, and the test methods applicable to evaluating explosives and blasting accessories.
- Provides consultation and advice to MSHA officials and field personnel and other interested parties and customers concerning explosive properties, physical principles and behavioral characteristics associated with the function and use of various blasting methods and explosive systems. Provides evaluation of various approaches to the solution of problems and reviews technical data regarding issues and projects that involve explosives, blasting and safety concerns. Provides independent review and analysis of technical data and approaches to the solution of issues and problems regarding blasting safety and investigations of materials involved in incidents or mine accidents.
- Plans, organizes and initiates work assignments to provide technical support for the safe use of explosives and related items in the mining industry. Responsible for technical assistance, accident investigations, and field evaluations with respect to blasting operations, explosive technology and mining related safety practices.
- Develops new and revised procedures for use in conducting preliminary review and analysis of applications; develops draft regulations or technical recommendations for standardization of health and safety features on mining equipment: develops new and innovative evaluation and testing techniques; and updates existing schedules to meet ever-changing technological advancements in the mining industry.
- Recommends and develops specifications and proposals for research needs in safety and health problem areas. Serves as a contract monitor, providing technical input and guidance to contractors on adequacy of the research programs being conducted. Participates as a member of research committees to discuss, recommend, and defend proposals.
- Authors technical papers, formal publications, status reports, training programs/presentations and technical correspondence. Presents such to a variety of audiences as needed or requested.
- Provides technical assistance to MSHA enforcement during investigations of accidents involving mining equipment. In this capacity, serves as the technical investigator, drafts a Summary of Physical Factors report, assists enforcement in drafting the final report of investigation and determining relevant citations, and provides litigation assistance.
Occasional travel - is required to travel to mine sites or to attend training and/or meetings that are not available at the duty location.
12 - There is no obligation to provide future promotions if you are selected. Promotions are dependent on your ability to perform the duties at a higher level, meet all the performance requirements, and supervisor's recommendation to the next grade.
- Job family (Series)
0830 Mechanical Engineering
1301 General Physical Science
- Engineers, Mechanical
- Mechanical Engineers
Conditions of Employment
- Appointment to this position may require a background investigation.
- Requires a valid drivers license.
- Subject to financial disclosure requirements.
- Requires a probationary period if the requirement has not been met.
- Must be at least 16 years old and a U.S. Citizen.
Applicants must meet time-in-grade, time-after-competitive-appointment and qualifications requirements within 30 calendar days after the closing date of the vacancy to be eligible for consideration for selection.
Federal Employees Please Note: Your SF-50 must include enough information to be able to determine that time-in-grade requirements have been met and reflects your position title, pay plan/series/grade, tenure and the type of appointment (i.e. competitive/excepted). In some cases you may need to submit more than one SF-50.
Reference the "Required Documents" section for additional requirements.
For the GS-12 Grade Level: Applicants must have 52 weeks of specialized experience equivalent to at least the next lower grade level, GS-11, in the Federal Service.
Specialized experience is defined as one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-11 level in nonroutine engineering work that required and was characterized by (1) professional knowledge of engineering; (2) professional ability to apply such knowledge to engineering problems; and (3) positive and continuing development of professional knowledge and ability.
Applicants must possess a professional working knowledge of engineering and/or physical science concepts, theories and methods used in contemporary mining and blasting technology in order to formulate and conduct investigations regarding issues related to blasting safety; evaluate explosives and/or blasting products; and providing consultation and advice regarding explosive properties, physical principles, and behavioral characteristics of blasting methods and explosive systems.
Examples of qualifying experience include:
- Working knowledge of engineering concepts and methods used in contemporary mining and blasting technology coupled with practical experience in mining;
- Experience modifying standard testing procedures, developing new testing procedures to ensure the integrity of in-house and field testing activities;
- Ability to apply scientific principles in the performance of approval processing, field and laboratory investigations and evaluations of mining equipment;
- Experience applying regulatory, procedural and policy material of the Mine Act of 1977 and the 30 Code of Federal Regulations;
- Experience providing engineering and scientific solutions to critical technical problems or questions relative to safety and health related features of varied and complex systems, mining equipment and explosives;
- Experience in written communications in order to develop new or improved procedures, policies and testing requirements, training programs/materials, as well as, professional and scientific papers; and,
- Experience utilizing oral communication skills to respond to technical inquiries, conduct presentations or providing training to others.
For the GS-11 Grade Level: Applicants must possess 52 weeks of specialized experience at the next lower grade level (ie, GS-09 for GS-11) in the federal service.
Specialized experience is defined as one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-09 level in nonroutine engineering work that required and was characterized by (1) professional knowledge of engineering; (2) professional ability to apply such knowledge to engineering problems; and (3) positive and continuing development of professional knowledge and ability.
Applicants must possess a professional working knowledge of engineering concepts, principles, and practices applicable to the evaluation of a wide range of average to complex underground mining equipment and related sub-assemblies for sound engineering design, safety-related features and compliance with established criteria.
Examples of qualifying experience include:
- Working knowledge of engineering concepts and methods used in contemporary mining and to evaluate underground mining equipment;
- Knowledge of MSHA regulatory standards, policies and practices;
- Ability to apply scientific principles in the evaluation of mining equipment; and,
- Experience applying regulatory, procedural and policy material of the Mine Act of 1977 and the 30 Code of Federal Regulations.
OR, possess a PH.D. or equivalent doctoral degree that provided the knowledges, skills and abilities necessary to do the work of this position.
OR, possess 3 full years of progressively higher level graduate education that provided the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to do the work of this position.
OR, possess 3 full years of progressively higher level graduate education in general physical science or related disciplines that provided the knowledge's, skills and abilities necessary to do the work of this position.
OR, possess a combination of Specialized Experience equivalent to the GS-09 level in or related to the work of this position and Graduate level education that provided the specific knowledge, skills and abilities to perform successfully the duties of this position.
OR, possess a combination of Specialized Experience equivalent to the GS-09 level in or related to the work of this position and Graduate level education in general physical science or related disciplines that provided the specific knowledge's, skills and abilities to perform successfully the duties of this position.
In addition to meeting the Specialized Experience, applicants must also meet the basic requirement below:
All Professional Engineering Positions, 0800, Individual Occupational Requirements; Basic Requirements:
A. Degree: Engineering. To be acceptable, the program must: (1) lead to a bachelor's degree in a school of engineering with at least one program accredited by ABET; or (2) include differential and integral calculus and courses (more advanced than first-year physics and chemistry) in five of the following seven areas of engineering science or physics: (a) statics, dynamics; (b) strength of materials (stress-strain relationships); (c) fluid mechanics, hydraulics; (d) thermodynamics; (e) electrical fields and circuits; (f) nature and properties of materials (relating particle and aggregate structure to properties); and (g) any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer, soil mechanics, or electronics.
B. Combination of education and experience -- college-level education, training, and/or technical experience that furnished (1) a thorough knowledge of the physical and mathematical sciences underlying engineering, and (2) a good understanding, both theoretical and practical, of the engineering sciences and techniques and their applications to one of the branches of engineering. The adequacy of such background must be demonstrated by one of the following:
- Professional registration or licensure -- Current registration as an Engineer Intern (EI), Engineer in Training (EIT)1, or licensure as a Professional Engineer (PE) by any State, the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico. Absent other means of qualifying under this standard, those applicants who achieved such registration by means other than written test (e.g., State grandfather or eminence provisions) are eligible only for positions that are within or closely related to the specialty field of their registration. For example, an applicant who attains registration through a State Board's eminence provision as a manufacturing engineer typically would be rated eligible only for manufacturing engineering positions.
- Written Test -- Evidence of having successfully passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE)2 examination or any other written test required for professional registration by an engineering licensure board in the various States, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
- Specified academic courses -- Successful completion of at least 60 semester hours of courses in the physical, mathematical, and engineering sciences and that included the courses specified in the basic requirements under paragraph A. The courses must be fully acceptable toward meeting the requirements of an engineering program as described in paragraph A.
- Related curriculum -- Successful completion of a curriculum leading to a bachelor's degree in an appropriate scientific field, e.g., engineering technology, physics, chemistry, architecture, computer science, mathematics, hydrology, or geology, may be accepted in lieu of a bachelor's degree in engineering, provided the applicant has had at least 1 year of professional engineering experience acquired under professional engineering supervision and guidance. Ordinarily there should be either an established plan of intensive training to develop professional engineering competence, or several years of prior professional engineering-type experience, e.g., in interdisciplinary positions. (The above examples of related curricula are not all inclusive.).
Any applicant falsely claiming an academic degree from an accredited school will be subject to actions ranging from disqualification from federal employment to removal from federal service.
If your education was completed at a foreign college or university, you must show comparability to education received in accredited educational institutions in the United States and comparability to applicable minimum course work requirements for this position. Click Evaluation of Foreign Education for more information.
Transcripts must be in English.