A collateral duty is a task or tasks carried out by employees that lie outside of their main responsibilities. There are several types of collateral duty that are common in business as well as government, generally involving health and safety elements, such as ensuring the company complies with OSHA regulations, being responsible for fire drills or rendering first aid.
The main reason for collateral duties is to cover tasks that need performing but are not extensive enough to justify full-time dedicated staff. For the employer, the duties allow them to get the tasks done for little or no extra expenditure. For the employee, the duties can mean enhanced pay, as well as the opportunity to receive training and pick up additional skills and experience.
OSHA requires that within six months of an appointment of an employee to a collateral duty position or to a committee, each governmental agency shall provide training for collateral duty safety and health personnel and all members of certified occupational safety and health committees commensurate with the scope of their assigned responsibilities. Such training shall include: the agency occupational safety and health program; section 19 of the OSH Act; agency procedures for the reporting, evaluation and abatement of hazards; agency procedures for reporting and investigating allegations of reprisal, the recognition of hazardous conditions and environments; identification and use of occupational safety and health standards, and other appropriate rules and regulations.