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In this issue:
SLAC's Newest Computing Center Arrives... by Truck
Dorfan Today: Focus on Safety
All Hands Meeting This Wednesday
Safety Firsts

SLAC Today

Monday - July 16, 2007

SLAC's Newest Computing Center Arrives... by Truck

(Image - Blackbox arrives)
SLAC's newest data center arrived early Saturday morning.

SLAC's newest computing center—a standard 8-foot wide, 20-foot long shipping container—arrived on site Saturday morning. A crane lifted the 23,340-pound container off a flat-bed truck and gingerly placed it on a concrete pad behind the Computing Building.

"This is a very efficient way to substantially increase our computing power without putting up a new building. We're excited to try out this novel solution," said Randy Melen, High Performance Storage and Computing team leader of Scientific Computing and Computing Services (SCCS).

SLAC is the first customer to test Sun Microsystems' largely self-contained data center, called the Blackbox Project. SLAC's box, painted white to stay cooler, contains about a million dollars of computing equipment. The corrugated metal box is tightly sealed insulated, and properly humidified. There is even an environmental monitoring and fire suppression system inside. The doors at each end of the shipping container open onto a center aisle, with four racks of computing equipment on each side that slide out for maintenance. There are 252 Sun servers, each using two AMD dual-core Opteron CPUs, a Cisco 6509 switch and Digi Etherlite systems for console management.  Read more...

(Director's Column - Dorfan Today)

Focus on Safety

Over the past ten years, we have done an exceptional job of reducing our accident rates by a factor of 5 and reducing the severity rate (an indicator of the number of days lost per 100 workers) by a factor of almost 3. This has been accomplished primarily through the priority that each of you has placed on the primacy of the health and welfare of the SLAC workforce. Your individual commitment has been underpinned by diligence, hard work, the implementation of many ES&H policies and procedures, and our focus on Safety Comes First. We can all be proud of this impressive accomplishment.

Earlier this year we rolled out a new campaign, Safe '07, to enhance our awareness of good safety practices across the site. By now, Safe '07 has provided several excellent examples of departments and project teams that have had positive safety performance and experiences. Many more examples exist, and with time, Safe '07 will build a comprehensive "good practices" portfolio representing the breadth of the Laboratory.

Notwithstanding the improvements that we have made, we are once again challenged by a rising frequency in workplace accidents both among SLAC employees and our subcontractor partners. Too many of your co-workers are being injured on the job and thus we must redouble our efforts to reduce the risk of injuries. Over the next few weeks we will implement new measures that further enhance our ability to identify and correct what the health and safety professionals see as the main contributing factors to workplace accidents.

The first of these measures are the "Focus on Safety" meetings that all directorates are holding this week. These meetings are designed to get your help and input—you more than anyone understand the complexities of your workplace. All work groups will have a 30 minute safety awareness session in which your supervisor or manager will review the main types of injuries we have at SLAC and ask you to brainstorm on how you can better identify the hazards and control the risks in your work group. The ES&H Division has prepared informational materials for the workgroup discussions. I believe that face-to-face discussions remain the most effective form of communication, so please use the opportunity of the "Focus on Safety" meetings to do exactly what the name suggests. Take time out with your colleagues to focus on what we can do to make SLAC an ever-safer environment. Your supervisor will give feedback to ES&H on the ideas and discussions generated in your group.

A second new initiative requires a Directorate that has experienced a safety incident to brief the ES&H Coordinating Council, which I chair, on what happened, what was the outcome and severity, what was determined to be the root cause(s), and what corrective action(s) are being implemented to address the cause. In this way we will achieve real-time "lessons learned" across the workplace, by actively reviewing each and every safety incident and analyzing how they could have been avoided.

In preparation for the "Focus on Safety," I encourage you to look again at the ES&H Safety Values & Expectations website. The first paragraph is an excellent summary of the attitude we should all have towards safety. "At SLAC, the health and safety of people comes first and takes precedence over the attainment of other laboratory objectives. Safety, science, productivity, and quality are mutually supportive and safety is integral to each job. The safe way to do things is the best and most effective way in the long run. Each of our actions must reflect this commitment."

I thank you once again for your willingness to work together to keep yourselves and your co-workers safe.

All Hands Meeting
This Wednesday

(Photo - Jonathan Dorfan)
SLAC continues to be a world leader in the forefront of science and technology. Our current and future program is brimming with exciting scientific and technical opportunities and we can expect to participate in major discoveries across a broad spectrum of scientific frontiers.

World-class science requires world-class management and operations (M&O) support. We currently lack a portfolio of business and support systems whose excellence matches that of the science, and thus we are putting the achievement of our scientific and technology mission at risk. It is time for us to take ownership of this challenge and dedicate the required financial and human resources to ensuring that the performance of our M&O functions matches that of our science. We are strongly supported by the University to achieve this enhanced balance.

Please join me this Wednesday for an All Hands Meeting to discuss how we plan to embark on the process of determining what changes are essential. This process will generate a set of prioritized, integrated actions intended to achieve a world-class M&O posture at SLAC.

We have engaged the support of a very knowledgeable and accomplished company, McCallum Turner Inc. who are partnering with us to achieve our goals. McCallum-Turner has extensive experience with the management of large, multi-purpose DOE laboratories. They will lead a group that includes knowledgeable personnel from other multi-program laboratories to understand SLAC by engaging us and listening to our thoughts and suggestions, using their past experiences to help us design recommendations for improvements in our systems and processes. McCallum-Turner will also support us in implementing the go-forward plan.

At this Wednesday's All Hands meeting, I will introduce you to the principals, Bob McCallum and Kyle Turner. Following my presentation, Bob and Kyle will outline their role and how they intend to involve the Laboratory to accomplish our joint objectives.

See the All Hands schedule...


Safety Firsts

There is a class of hazard controls that does not normally get identified as such: an engineering control that requires you to do something in order to put it to use, to be contrasted with, say, the engineering control of a locked door—it is there no matter what you do. The handrail on a stair is an example of such an engineering control, and the experience of two Cessna Citations flying to the same airport at the same time in February 2005 is another, and there are many others that you are all familiar with.

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