This message was sent to Lab managers and supervisors on August 16.
Recently, we experienced several safety incidents at the Lab that share a similarity. In these cases, work conditions changed over time, therefore, embracing a questioning attitude and verifying situational hazard controls for effectiveness would have made the difference between someone getting hurt and everyone going home safely.
I recognize that as a community we have improved our safety culture continually, and I want to honor our past successes, and issue this reminder. Our level of activity has increased and that translates to new risks.
As Lab leaders, we are responsible and accountable for making sure our teams are safe while doing their jobs, and I believe every leader at this Lab cares about their people. When we see a convergence of safety events, it’s time to pause and ask what we can do systematically to prevent further incidents. In my experience, line manager involvement with their employees in day-to-day processes and controls is a common trait of accident-free work environments.
We aim to improve safety performance over time — this includes acknowledging and learning from our mistakes as opportunities to learn and improve. Today, I’m asking you to do two things:
- Be present in your workspaces, and conduct observations to verify that day-to-day operations in your areas proceed safely.
- Coach workers on safe work practices and encourage them to take an active part in planning and performing work.
I am committing to the following actions to improve our understanding of performance and maintain our operational accountability:
- Routinely, I will distribute communications to line managers related to accidents, events, metrics, and quad charts to identify emerging risks, effective controls and lessons learned.
- Monthly, I will report out about our risk profile and discuss TRC/DART rates, and other metrics of interest, such as the status of our chemical inventory reduction.
- I will conduct quarterly reviews of key risks and metrics with the ALDs and DDM’s.
I’ll also perform periodic walk-arounds with the Lab Director, Deputy Lab Director for Research, and line managers, to view various areas of research and operational interest.
Because of the complex work we do, incidents of varying severity sometimes occur. When they do, we’ll share useful information and lessons learned with you. I’ve included three useful tools for performing your walk-arounds and having useful conversations with employees. Please contact me or your Division Safety Coordinator with questions.