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Office of Polar Environment, Health and Safety
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About the Office of Polar Environment, Health and Safety

Office Head: Michael Montopoli (On Military Duty)

The Office of Polar Environment, Safety and Health (PESH) in OPP guides environmental stewardship and safety and health activities for NSF-supported polar research. The Office uses current knowledge of environmental science and engineering to ensure that NSF research and related activities in polar regions are environmentally sound. The Office also guides implementation of programs to prevent and treat injuries and illnesses among personnel engaged in NSF-sponsored activities in both polar regions.

U.S. Government policy assigns NSF overall responsibility for managing U.S. activities in the Antarctic. The Antarctic Conservation Act (1996) assigns environmental oversight and stewardship to NSF. In the Arctic, NSF coordinates interagency research policy and plays a significant leadership role in promoting environmental stewardship in relation to scientific research.

The Office also is responsible for guiding safety and health programs, including oversight of medical activities. The PEHS staff use knowledge of safety and health best practices to ensure that the activities pursued by OPP are conducted in a safe and effective manner. The Office guides and directs programs to ensure the safety and health of OPP staff, grantees, support contractors, and researchers funded by other U.S. Government agencies. The Office also

  • leads the planning, coordination, implementation, oversight, and management of policy and direction for all aspects of environment, safety, and health related to OPP-supported activities,
  • reviews proposals to address environment, safety and health issues.
  • plans and conducts inspections focused on health and safety in construction projects, research stations, field camps, and research vessels,
  • designs and oversees occupational health programs, including scientific diving safety,
  • coordinates medical screening of personnel planning to deploy to polar regions.




U.S. Antarctic Program

Antarctic Science Section Programs


Arctic Science Section Programs

Related OPP Arctic Links


OPP Information


International Polar Year (IPY) Information


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