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Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009

'Living Document' Will Help Keep Lab Focused on Safety

By Lyn Hunter

The ISM Improvement Project Plan will help the Lab keep safety a top priority

A lot of attention has been placed on Lab safety these past few months leading up to the Department of Energy Health, Safety, and Security (HSS) Review, which is currently in process.

But when the review is done and the auditors are gone, the focus on safety will not leave with them. It will continue to be a top priority for the Lab, say administrators.

To make sure safety stays on the front page, Deputy Chief Operating Officer Anita Gursahani, working with a team from the Operations and Environment, Health and Safety Divisions, has developed a document that will chronicle the Lab’s efforts to continually manage and improve the effectiveness of its Integrated Safety Management (ISM) System.

ISM, on it’s most basic level, is the method by which each employee with support from their management and others takes responsibility for their own safety by defining their work, analyzing hazards, developing controls, performing the work, then obtaining feedback and making improvements based on that feedback.

The “ISM Improvement Project Plan” is a document that will be used to communicate current status and future improvements related to the implementation of ISM, ES&H Corrective Action Plans (CAPs), and ES&H process improvements.

“The plan will be a living document, so it will be continually updated to reflect our latest efforts,” explains Gursahani. “It is a place for our staff and others to see where we are now and where we’re going in the future with regards to improving safety at the Lab.”

This first version of the plan includes the CAP that was implemented as a result of the McCallum-Turner Evaluation that took place in 2007, as well as CAPs related to electrical safety, fire protection, biosafety, nanosafety, and fall protection. It also lists CAPs related to specific incidences, such as the shuttle bus brake failure last September and the Grizzly Peak substation power outage a year ago.

When the DOE HSS review is completed and we have an approved CAP, those corrective actions and recommendations will be added to the plan too. Updates will be published in the plan on a quarterly basis, says Gursahani, with the next iteration due out in late spring.

The current version of the ISM Improvement Project Plan is accessible with an LDAP login on the EH&S website (see menu bar on right side)

“If an employee has a particular concern, such as electrical or bio safety, they can look at the plan to see what’s currently being done in these and other areas,” says Gursahani. “If there appears to be a gap, then staff can offer suggestions to their EH&S Liaison Officer or Division Safety Coordinator.”

"These are exciting times for the nation and, as a Laboratory, we need to be prepared to lead efforts to address critical scientific and technical challenges. A necessary component of that preparation is a long term, sustained improvement in our safety culture and implementation of ISM,” says Jim Krupnick, associate Lab Director for Operations.