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Safety Committee Meeting

January 27, 2009

X Attendees    
X Committee Member Division/Department
x Ira Janowitz EH&S Liaison
x Cheryl Fragiadakis Dir/Tech Transfer/Patents
x Dan Twohey Operations Business Manager
  Andrea Faizi Dir/Internal Audit
x Eileen Nasto Ops/OCFO/Procurement
x Anil More Ops/OCFO/WFD
x Elizabeth Reyes Ops/Safety Coordinator
x Nancy Saxer Ops/S.P.O.
x Sherie Reineman  Dir/Tech Transfer
  Vera Potapenko HR/CHRO
x Jeffrey Fernandez Dir/Ops/Senior Mgmt.
x Anita Gursahani Ops/COO
x Edith Perry EH&S
x Christine Santiago HR/ HR Asst
x Michelle Flynn Dir/Institutional Assurance

Minutes Taker: Edith Perry and Christine Santiago


Dan Twohey announced that Jim Krupnick will begin to review the minutes of the Committee meetings and we need to have more action items and recommendations.

Action: Develop a Committee Charter

Accident & Injuries
Betsy Reyes distributed copies of LBNL First Aid and Recordable Cases in Directorate/Operations for the first quarter, including a Self Assessment Period sheet that outlines causal factors and corrective actions for discussion.

  • There was an increase in the number of slip and trip injuries this year than there were a year ago from now. One of the accidents for this quarter was a slip/trip/fall which turned out to be a recordable. EH&S Occupational Safety Group conducted a slip analysis and controls will be put in place to lessen the hazards. Utilizing ‘Lessons Learned’ with pictures as a mechanism for increasing awareness has been effective.
  • Lab Furniture Standard Poses Hazards - Possible design flaws of the furniture implemented as the Lab standard have been identified:
    • People that have the desks with the extra long cantilever have been experiencing knee injuries. A bright orange label warning has been placed on them as a preventative measure. However, the label isn’t enough.
    • The hand crank mechanism used to raise and lower the keyboard tray section is installed in front of the workstation. Employees have to bend down and reach far to the back of the workstation to raise or lower the tray. This is considered to be a potential hazard. The location of the hand-crank mechanism also poses a hazard for tall people who need to scoot in and end up bumping their knees.  When Betsy observes this issue during her safety walk around, she submits a Facilities Work Request to have the hand crank moved to the rear of the workstation.


      1. Is this the type of furniture purchased for the new CFO offices?
      2. Can Procurement purchase office furniture without Facilities approving it?


  1. Schedule a meeting with Laura Chen and the Ergonomics staff to revisit the furniture standard.
  2. Office furniture should be approved by Ergonomics Dept.
  1. To help mitigate slip and falls, LBNL walkways need to be swept more regularly, although it is acknowledged that during this time of year, keeping walkways clear of debris is a challenge because debris falls from the trees continuously. Also, there are only two grounds keepers at Berkeley Lab. CFO staff that have recently moved from downtown will need to adapt to walking on uneven surfaces and other environmental factors that are different on the hill.


  1. Betsy will check with Facilities to see if they have a routine cleaning service. 
  2. Ira - It may help to get a map of the areas where the majority of slips and falls have happened and concentrate our efforts at maintaining those areas more frequently.
  • There were about four to five recordable injuries during the first week in January resulting from people overworking themselves trying to clean up desks and finish work before the shut-down. 

Other Discussion:

  • Bicyclists are still being spotted speeding down hills and not wearing helmets. There is no way to stop them while they are committing this violation.
  • Sherie Reineman noted a hazard possibly being caused by misinterpretation of the pedestrian sign located in the curved part of the road just below the Bldg. 65 bus turnaround area. Drivers of large trucks see this sign and believe they must stay in the lane vs. running over the collapsible sign in order to allow more clearance for bicyclists. The other issue is that the existence of a pedestrian sign in this location implies that it is also a pedestrian crossing which encourages people to cross at a dangerous blind curve with traffic going up/down hill and where there is no cross walk.

Action: More discussion/analysis needed.

Potential Safety Initiatives
Dan Twohey distributed a list of potential safety initiatives that was put together in response to feedback received for hearing about more improvements rather than accomplishments.

  • Mandatory Semi-Annual Safety Meetings – The committee agreed that meetings at the department level are a good idea. However, instead of having a 90 minute meeting focused on safety. Safety discussions can and should be reoccurring throughout the year so that it can continuously be integrated in our work. Perhaps, safety discussions should continue to be part of an agenda as opposed to a meeting solely focused on safety twice a year.
  • Restructure the Safety Walkaround Program – Dan Twohey suggested that employees should be responsible for preparing for their supervisor’s walkaround and should have a checklist to refer to.

Action: In order to create the safety walkaround checklist, the Committee members were asked to review the current safety checklist for supervisors and send suggested checklist questions for employees to Betsy Reyes.

  • Safety Buddy Program – This is in effort to creating a safety culture. There was a consensus that this would be a challenge to roll out. A major concern was that by designating a “buddy” to a specific person or group may inhibit him/her from making observations of other people and providing feedback to them. Perhaps when the Near Hit program is implemented, then the safety buddy program can be communicated.

Action: Needs more exploration.

  • Safety Orientation – In accordance with ISM, supervisors should take the lead in orienting new employees regarding safety and Betsy can be present to provide additional information.

Action: Betsy will further develop.

Potential Safety Initiatives (cont.)

  • Back-Up Safety Coordinator – Consider having other DIR/OPS coordinators or coordinators from other divisions serve as back-up.
  • Implement A Near Hit Program – Material Sciences Division is the model.

Action: Betsy will bring copies of Engineering’s Near Hit program pamphlets to the next meeting.

  • Increase Safety Branding – The committee discussed ideas for branding the safety message into our everyday lives at the Lab in an effort to increase awareness. Branding the safety message on paper calendars was suggested but the consensus of the Committee was that it wouldn’t be a good use of funds since most people use electronic calendars. However, post-it notes could be effective since they are widely used at the Lab. Other considerations are posters at the gate entrances, safety cartoon messages in TABL and the LCD monitor in the cafeteria can also be utilized for communicating safety messages. Contact Nancy Rothermich (x4644) for more information.

Other Discussion:

  • Information sharing among the divisions is an issue. Divisions should be sharing best practices with each other. Michelle Flynn noted that the Lessons Learned Best Practices database was developed for this purpose but is not being utilized to its fullest potential.

Action: Betsy will ask the safety coordinators in their next meeting what their best practices are and post it on the Lessons Learned Best Practices database.
Action: Let Dan Twohey know of any other ideas you may have to improve safety.


The next DIR/OPS Safety Committee meeting is scheduled for Thursday February 26, 2009 
Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm   Location:  50B-4205

Summary of DIR/OPS Safety Committee Action Items:


Action Recorded



Action Taken/Add’l Action(s)



Schedule a meeting with Laura Chen and the Ergonomics team to discuss Lab furniture standard.







Is this the furniture purchased for new CFO offices?







Contact Facilities to see if grounds can be cleared more regularly in areas where slip & fall accidents are occurring. Get a map of these areas.


Betsy Reyes






Safety Initiatives: Review current safety checklist for supervisors and send suggested questions for employees to Betsy


Committee Members







Safety Initiatives: Develop safety orientation program for DIR/OPS new employees and guests.


Betsy Reyes






Safety Initiatives: Safety Buddy Program. More discussion needed to determine its viability.







Discuss sharing best practices and other information at next Division Safety Coordinator meeting.


Betsy Reyes






Send Dan Twohey ideas on improving safety.


Betsy Reyes






Betsy will bring copies of Engineering’s Near Hit program pamphlets to the next meeting.


Betsy Reyes







More discussion/analysis needed on the pedestrian sign by 65A.


Committee Members







Develop a Committee Charter







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Last updated: February 12, 2009