Science and Technology

Job Details

Number: 2108

Title: Head of Safety

Element: Safety & Assurance

Type: Full time

Location: Pasadena, CA (temporary remote work due to COVID-19)

This exciting job opportunity is with the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) project HQ located in Pasadena, California. The GMT is being developed by a group of leading university and research centers from across the globe. GMTO Corporation has been formed to design, construct and operate the GMT, which will be located in the Andean mountains at Las Campanas Peak in Chile. The GMT is the next generation astronomical observatory with 10 times the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope. The project is entering the formal construction phase with scientific operations expected to begin in 2030.


The successful candidate will be an employee of the GMTO Corporation and must be able to meet pre-employment requirements including any background and reference checks and the successful candidate must be a US citizen or eligible to work in the United States and at least 18 years of age. GMTO provides competitive salaries and a generous benefits package.

Job Summary:
The Head of Safety will be responsible for the development, implementation, and ongoing compliance of a Safety Program addressing all applicable requirements for environmental safety and health (ES&H) at the GMTO Corporation (GMTO) and exercise leadership to nurture and sustain a culture of safety for the GMTO enterprise and project.

The Safety Program must comply with all applicable laws and regulations and reflect best practices for the work performed by and for GMTO in the U.S. and around the globe, including the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) remote construction site in Chile. The Safety Program will comprise policies, plans, and procedures to ensure that appropriate safety practices are followed to protect personnel from injury and high value equipment from damage. The GMTO Head of Safety will report to the GMTO President with accountability to the Project Manager for safety concerns arising with respect to the design and construction of the GMT.

The GMTO Safety Program must include the applicable OSHA and Cal/OSHA requirements for facilities and operations in the U.S. and California, as well as appropriate Chilean regulations for facilities and operations in Chile. It must also assure that appropriate safety programs are implemented by GMTO’s subcontractors and suppliers. The Safety Program must be appropriately tailored to the special challenges of an observatory being constructed at a remote mountain top located in a seismically active region, and involving large moving structures, confined spaces, limited access and visibility, routine heavy lifts of fragile high-value equipment, and the use of various refrigeration and cryogenic cooling systems.

This position will require travel to various GMTO work locations and subcontractor facilities, including the GMT construction site in Chile.

Job Duties:
• Develop, implement, manage, and maintain the Safety Program for the GMTO offices in the United States and Chile; this includes a dual-use office-laboratory site in Pasadena, CA and the GMT campus site in Chile that comprises a large observatory housing the GMT, laboratory and technical support, warehouse, office, and residential facilities
• Instill in all GMTO personnel the philosophy and commitment of a rigorous and vigilant safety philosophy
• Organize and conduct safety training for all GMTO staff including specialized training as appropriate for selected personnel
• Oversee a training program to conduct occupational safety hazard analyses and ensure compliance with the guidelines provided in the Safety Program
• Conduct safety audits of GMTO’s subcontractors to determine their compliance with appropriate regulations and accepted practices, and, when appropriate, work closely with subcontractor safety officers
• During contractor selection processes, review contractor Safety Programs and advise the Project Manager (or PM’s delegate) and the Technical Group Leads on the adequacy of contractor Product Safety Programs
• Participate in design reviews to address any environmental, safety and health (ES&H) issues
• Conduct regular ES&H audits at the Pasadena, CA and Chilean campus sites and at vendor sites.
• Work directly with the safety personnel in Chile to ensure compliance with the GMTO Safety Program at all times

Essential Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities:
• Bachelor’s degree in Safety Engineering, Occupational Safety or related discipline
• A minimum of 7 years of professional experience with safety practices at large industrial construction sites
• Experience with safety standards and issues associated with the use of lasers (ANSI Z136.1), cryogenic liquids, hazardous chemicals, machine shop tools and equipment, forklift and cranes, and hydraulic equipment
• Experience with fire and earthquake safety management planning and training
• Proven ability to communicate and lead teams to formulate a culture of safety within a large, technical organization
• Demonstrate a solid understanding of safety principles, concepts, theory, regulations, and practices
• Prior experience implementing and maintaining safety programs
• Previous experience working in an engineering environment and interfacing with teams of scientists, engineers, and technicians
• Prior experience formulating, documenting and maintaining safety standards and on-going safety objectives
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills with the ability to read, analyze and interpret, technical procedures and standards
• Effectively function in a matrix and team environment
• Experience with construction safety requirements at large civil construction sites
• Expertise with Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, Power Point)
• Strong technical background, and excellent interpersonal skills working with all levels of an engineering organization
• Proven ability to find solutions and resolve issues
• Previous experience developing training programs on safety topics
• Familiar with federal and multiple states’ OSHA, ANSI, EPA, and other ES&H standards and regulations
• Experience supervising physical inspection of the structures and equipment components of large and complex construction projects
• Flexibility to work outside of core business hour and travel to GMTO member locations, vendor premises, and the GMT site in Chile when necessary, to accomplish goals.
• Ability to work at an altitude of 8,000 feet for extended periods

Desired Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities:
• Minimum of a MS degree in Safety Engineering, Occupational Safety or related discipline required with a minimum of 10 years of professional experience with safety practices at large industrial construction sites
• Ability to speak and read Spanish
• Capable of climbing structures and inspection of hardware on large construction projects
• Supervisory experience of a small, dedicated safety team
• Expertise and experience with system safety (including design safety and related hazard analyses) as described by Mil-STD-882
• Certified by the American Society of Safety Engineers and other professional safety certifying organizations
• Familiar with Chilean and other international ES&H standards and regulations

Please send your CV and a Cover Letter to

If your skills and experience appear to be a match or if we need additional information to make a decision, we will contact you. If we do not see a suitable match between your qualifications and the position, we will keep your information on file in the event future positions become available that are more suitable to your qualifications.

GMTO is an equal employment opportunity employer