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Public Health Specialist

X17

Basic Purpose

Positions within this job family are assigned responsibilities for planning, performing or supervising technical and professional work involving consumer protection and public health services.  This includes performing inspections, surveys, and investigations to identify and eliminate conditions hazardous to life and health, providing consultative services and assistance in assigned areas of responsibility, ensuring corrective actions are taken to eliminate public health or other hazards, and ensuring compliance with applicable statutes and regulations.

Typical Functions

The functions within this job family will vary by level, but may include the following:

  • Conducts inspections, surveys, and investigations of food establishments, lodging facilities, barber shops, public bathing places, schools, day care centers, nursing homes, hospitals, and other regulated facilities to identify public health hazards or environmental conditions which are detrimental to life and health, monitor state food supplies and products, provide training and technical assistance, and ensure compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations; assists in the implementation of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems in food establishments and in verifying implementation.
  • Responds to complaints concerning food borne illnesses, adulterated foods, food tampering, recalls, insect or rodent infestation, or other issues related to food establishments or the sale of food and food products. 
  • Reviews and acts on various epidemiological reports and complaints, including animal bites, rabies, West Vile Virus and other disease outbreaks; conducts environmental assessments and other surveys related to lodging, public bathing, and barber services; prepares specimens for shipment for West Nile testing; performs inspections for lead contamination and other public health hazards or nuisances.
  • Provides emergency response services for complaints concerning food borne illnesses, fires in food establishments, accidents involving the transportation of food, incidents concerning food or water contamination, and power outages or natural disasters involving food products; conducts inspections or investigations on an as needed basis including on weekends and at night.
  • Conducts field tests for chemical sanitizing agents using thermocouples, thermometers, and other evaluative instruments; collects and transports food samples as required to determine adulteration, contamination, sources of pollution, and/or microbiological quality; maintains legal chain of custody to preserve evidentiary requirements.
  • Directs the embargo and disposal of food products found unfit for human consumption; conducts evaluations to determine imminent hazards to life or health which warrant the closure of a facility.
  • Prepares records, reports, and correspondence concerning regulatory actions as needed; conducts follow-up inspections and surveys to ensure corrective actions have been taken and that public health hazards are eliminated; testifies at hearings and court proceedings concerning regulatory actions as required.
  • Provides assistance with developing and implementing county Emergency Response Plans; Provides assistance with county bioterrorism training exercises and serves as a responder in case of terrorist events.

Level Descriptors

The Public Health Specialist job family consists of five levels which are distinguished by the level of complexity of specific job assignments, the extent of responsibility assigned for specific tasks, the level of expertise required for completion of the assigned work and the responsibility assigned for providing leadership to others.

Level I Code: X17A Salary Band: I

This is the basic level of this job family where incumbents are assigned duties and responsibilities in a training status to build their skills in conducting inspections and investigations, performing basic professional analysis, and interpreting state and federal laws.  In this role they will, under close supervision, perform tasks involving the evaluation of inspection or survey data and the preparation of technical records and reports, and assist in making recommendations concerning remedial actions to correct public health hazards and provide for consumer protection.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities required at this level include knowledge of the causes, impact, and prevention of public health problems in regulated establishments; of food microbiology as it applies to preventing food borne illness; of basic epidemiology and chemistry; of mathematical concepts including basic statistical analysis; of food processing techniques such as modified atmospheric packaging; and of rules and regulations governing food establishments; public bathing places, nursing homes, schools, day care facilities or other licensed establishments.  Ability is required to conduct inspections and investigations of regulated facilities; to identify the causes of food borne illnesses and related health hazards; to analyze and evaluate environmental and sanitary conditions; to organize work and work independently; to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing; and to use computers to organize data and generate reports.

Education and Experience requirements at this level consist of the statutory requirements of Title 59 O.S. Section 1150.7, (A 2): A bachelor’s degree with a major in public health, environmental health, environmental science, physical science, natural science, biological science, agricultural science, or equivalent, from an accredited college or university with at least thirty (30) semester hours of work in physical, natural and biological science, public health and/or environmental health or environmental protection or both environmental health and environmental protection.

Level II Code: X17B Salary Band: J

This is the career level of this job family where employees are assigned duties and responsibilities at the full performance level and perform a full range of task involving inspections, surveys and investigations related to public health services, consumer protection, and the enforcement of applicable state and federal laws in the assigned area of responsibility.  In this role they will evaluate inspection and survey data, prepare technical records and reports, make recommendations concerning required remedial actions, and provide technical assistance and training as needed to correct public health or consumer protection problems. 

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities required at this level include those identified in Level I plus ability to make recommendations concerning the implementation of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HAACP) systems and verify implementation; to conduct pre-operational inspections to determine compliance with approved plans; to assist in planning and presenting education and training programs; and to insure that corrective action have been completed to eliminate health hazards.

Education and Experience requirements at this level consist of those identified in Level I plus one year of professional public health or consumer protection and successful completion of state standardization to conduct food establishment inspections; or a master’s degree in a listed field and successful completion of state standardization to conduct food establishment inspections.

Level III Code: X17C Salary Band: K

This is the advanced level where employees are assigned responsibilities for performing advanced level work involving consumer protection or public health protection.   This will involve a high degree of technical and administrative freedom to plan, develop, organize and conduct all phases of the work necessary for completion within broad program guidelines.  Some responsibility may also be assigned for providing limited guidance and training to entry-level employees, including Environmental Technicians, in performing various consumer protection program duties.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities required at this level include those identified in Level II plus ability to plan and conduct field investigations; to analyze and interpret engineering plans and specifications; and to assist in developing HACCP plans for the regulated food industry.

Education and Experience requirements at this level consist of those identified in Level II plus two additional years of qualifying experience.

Level IV Code: X17D Salary Band: L

This is the specialist level where employees are assigned responsibilities for performing advanced level work involving consumer protection or public health protection. This will involve a clear specialization in a consumer protection or public health discipline and recognition as an expert in the specialty.  Further responsibilities will involve work in emergency response bioterrorism, West Nile, and other public health concerns.  Responsibilities may include the supervision of other staff as well as the performance of technical duties and related administrative functions.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities required at this level include those identified in Level III plus the ability to evaluate complex consumer health problems, provide solutions, and provide in-service training and consultation to state and local entities in a specialty area.

Education and Experience requirements at this level consist of those identified in Level III plus two additional years of qualifying experience.

Level V Code: X17E Salary Band: N

At this level employees are assigned responsibilities for directing and supervising work activities in assigned areas of responsibility, projects, programs, or a unit on a regular and consistent basis.  This will include direction and supervision of staff, including supervisory employees, evaluation and standardization of inspectional activities, staff training in the identification and elimination of public health hazards and consumer protection problems, and participating in the development and evaluation of program objectives and procedures.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities required at this level include those identified in Level IV plus knowledge of program development and implementation, program evaluation; and of the principles and practices of effective supervision.

Education and Experience requirements at this level consist of those identified in Level IV plus two additional years of qualifying experience.

Special Requirements

These positions require eligibility for registration as a Sanitarian-In-Training, or Health Specialist-In-Training, or full registration with the Sanitarian and Environmental Specialist Registration Advisory Council as provided for in Title 59,Oklahoma Statutes, Section 1150.3.

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