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The ERT Lead / Site Safety Specialist will lead the Sanford Lab ERT including selecting and training ERT members, managing ERT operations and all aspects of safety involving underground operations

Open until filled.

Position Summary

The Emergency Response Team (ERT) Lead / Site Safety Specialist will lead the ERT including selecting and training ERT members, managing ERT operations and all aspects of safety involving underground operations at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF). The Lead, as a Site Safety Specialist, also supports the implementation and operation of the SURF safety program for both underground and surface activities. This support includes assisting the safe performance of science research at SURF. The Lead reports to the Environment, Safety, and Health (ESH) Director and coordinates closely with all other SDSTA departments to ensure safety and optimization of underground and surface operations.

Functional Responsibilities (include but are not limited to)

Leads the ERT and ensures the team is ready for emergencies typical of underground operations

  • Leads ERT and the SURF staff, contractors and researchers to respond to emergencies in accordance with SURF Emergency Response Program plans to protect human life, prevent personal injury, protect the environment, and minimize property damage.
  • Leads the development, maintenance, and implementation of the SURF Emergency Response Program and all supporting documentation.
  • Utilizes the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to orchestrate incident response by use of the Incident Command System (ICS).
  • Selects ERT members and ensures diversity in skills.
  • Provides necessary training for ERT members to be ready for any emergency at SURF.
  • Maintains all ERT related records and documentation.
  • Ensures all training and ERT physicals are current and supportive of the requirements for a certified ERT at all times.
  • Plans and conducts emergency response drills and exercises to enhance skills and readiness for the ERT and the SURF population.
  • Establishes and maintains agreements with regional and local community and emergency response entities to enhance responsiveness and depth of the ERT. Ensures these entities are familiar with SURF and the associated risks and response plans.

Develops underground operations, blasting, excavation, and surface operations procedures.

  • Implements and maintains procedures and standards for blasting operations and control of explosives materials. Conducts training sessions.
  • Maintains explosives inventories and the SURF BATF license.

Supports the implementation of the SURF safety program for underground and surface operations.

  • Recognizes when SURF ESH regulations and standards are not being followed and supports development and implementation of corrective actions to support a culture of safety at SURF.
  • Prepares safety training materials and participates in tool box safety talks with field staff.
  • Documents, organizes, and completes incident reports, participates in incident investigations, and supports implementation of corrective actions.
  • Works closely with the ESH Department members in the communication of all safety issues.
  • Supports the development and implementation of the SURF Safety Program.

Inspects, evaluates and recognizes hazards. Implements controls.

  • Performs routine (scheduled and unscheduled) inspections and evaluations of underground and surface operations including science research activities.
  • Utilizes knowledge of OSHA and MSHA regulations and standards to recognize hazards, develop corrective actions, and implement controls.
  • Mitigates hazards, answers safety questions, and implements engineering safety solutions that meet complex safety requirements.

Desired Qualifications



  • 5+ years of experience in emergency response, underground safety work, or similar experience is desired. Demonstrated leadership in developing and fostering a culture of safety in underground operations.


  • OSHA regulations.
  • MSHA regulations.
  • Strong understanding of NIMS and the ICS.
  • Pass BATF requirements to fulfill the role of responsible person.
  • Electronic and non-electric blasting systems.
  • Safety systems utilized during pumping of bulk products.
  • Conducting development blasting applications.
  • Excavation operations, seismograph operations.
  • Overall blast design and safety procedures.
  • Ventilation concepts to include conducting ventilation checks and surveys.
  • Medical injury reporting and mitigation.
  • Team leadership and team dynamics.


  • Attention to Detail—ability to maintain constant awareness of surroundings and ensure tasks are completed carefully and accurately.
  • Organization—ability to plan effectively, prioritize tasks, manage time, and keep order and coordinate numerous activities. Ability to work in a stressful, deadline-oriented environment that requires complex, technical information and decision making.
  • Communication—ability to communicate well both orally and in writing and with a wide variety of people, and presents complex information in a clear and concise manner.
  • Continuous learning—ability to keep up to date on state and federal laws, rules, and regulations pertaining to site safety.
  • Initiative—ability to persist despite difficult conditions and to make suggestions for improvements.
  • Teamwork—ability to work cooperatively and support others in the workgroup as well as represent SDSTA in a professional manner to all customers, vendors, and internal personnel.
  • Leadershipability to effectively lead a team under high stress emergency response situations in a manner that allows the team to focus and perform well under stress as a cohesive unit.

Work Requirements

Successful incumbent will be required to:

  • Maintain certification in the Incident Command System (ICS).
  • Meet annual ERT physical requirements as required in SURF policies.
  • Perform strenuous physical labor and lift heavy items up to 100 pounds.
  • Work in all types of conditions (heat, humidity, wet, cold).
  • Operate heavy equipment and hand and power tools.
  • Work from ladders, scaffolding, and in confined places.
  • Work underground.
  • Work shifts, weekends, holidays and callouts as scheduled.
  • Provide proof of a valid driver’s license.
  • Drive pick-up truck on a daily basis or use underground transportation.
  • Use computerized equipment/technology, telephone, cell phone, and other electronic devices.
  • Stand and walk for long periods of time.
  • Pass a BATF background check.

The South Dakota Science & Technology Authority (SDSTA) is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer committed to the development of a diverse workforce. Applicants are invited to self-identify as an individual with a disability or as a protected veteran. Forms are available on the website or upon request from Human Resources.