Stakeholders: DOE Employees, contractors, and subcontractors

Scope: DOE Manual 442.1-1 seeks to establish a Differing Professional Opinion (DPO) process. This process is to encourage DOE employees to discuss and resolve DPO’s regarding environment, safety, and health (ES&H) issues in DOE facilities. The process outlined in this manual is intended to supplement DOE O 442.1A.


  • For ES&H nuclear safety issues the Central Technical Authorities are responsible.
  • For non nuclear ES&H issue The Under Secretaries or Deputy Secretaries will:
    • Assign a manager responsible for the Final Decision on DPO within 10 days of acceptance.
    • Approve extension of review period.
    • Make decisions on appeals to DPO Final Decisions.
    • When necessary, stop work in a facility until DPO issue is resolved.
    • Remind employees annually of the DPO process and encourage its usage when appropriate.
  • While partaking in the DPO process employees are encouraged to:
    • First attempt to resolve the issue through available processes prior to employing the DPO process.
    • When ES&H issue deems it necessary, submit DPOs to the appropriate DPO manger.
    • Once DPO process has commenced meet with assigned ad hoc panels and DOE managers to ensure a thorough and accurate review of alleged DPO issue.
    • When appropriate, file appeals with the corresponding CA/Under Secretary/Deputy Secretary.
  • While overseeing the DPO process all DOE managers are encouraged to:
    • Encourage employees to partake in open and honest professional discussion regarding ES&H concerns. Unless disclosure of said issues is explicitly prohibited by law.
    • Ensure that all persons and opinions are respected.
    • Protect employees from possible retaliation or reprisal that may result from reporting DPOs.
    • Keep DPOM abreast of ES&H issues and implementation of DPO resolutions.
  • The DPO Process consists of:
  1. First, use [other] available process;
  2. If other processes are insufficient or unavailable, prepare and submit a DPO to DPO Manager
  3. Submit the DPO to DPO Manager (DPOM);
  4. The DPO Manager screens and accepts/rejects DPO;
  5. DPOM appoints an ad hoc panel which must consist of a management-appointed chairperson, a person who is knowledgeable in the subjects that are up for review, and if the issue is a legal issue, a person chosen by General Counsel.
  6. Ad hoc panel reviews DPO and produces a report within 30 days of panel appointment;
  7. If necessary, the assigned Final Decision Manager may extend review period for an additional 30 days;
  8. The Final Decision Manager is to provide the Final Decision to the submitter of the DPO within 10 days of receiving the panel’s recommendation;
  9. If submitter is not satisfied with the Final Decision, the submitter may request to meet with the Final Decision Manager;
  10. If after the meeting the submitter is still not satisfied , the submitter may file a DPO appeal within 21 working days;
  11. No later than 60 days after submission of appeal the CTA/Under Secretary/Deputy Secretary must issue an Appeal Decision;
  12. The DPOM must retain record of DPO Final Decisions for a minimum of 75 years;
  13. Any time prior to issuance of a Final Decision a submitter may withdraw his/her DPO by sending a written request to the appropriate DPOM.
  14. The DPOM is responsible for assigning a tracking number to each DPO. The DPOM is then responsible for tracking the progress of DPOs.
  • It is DOE policy to protect all employees from retaliation and reprisal in any form for filing DPOs.

DOE Manual 442 1-1