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SAFE '07 Success Story: Ali Farvid's Plating Shop

SLAC's plating shop is a high-hazard area, with multi-gallon tanks of acid, bases, heavy metals, and even cyanide-rich liquids. Yet the shop has not had a single reportable safety incident since record keeping began.

A large part of this safety success is due to the diligence of Plating Shop Manager Ali Farvid. His hands-on style becomes immediately clear to a visitor as he pauses outside the shop's double doors to carefully discuss a list of potential hazards inside. After ensuring that the visitor understands the dangers, he checks to make sure that he or she wears the proper Personal Protective Equipment.

Inside the shop, Farvid uses all his senses to check for potential dangers. As he walks along the rows of chemical baths, he checks that no harmful vapors are being released and observes the technique of his staff. It's clear that he engages shop employees in safety, making sure his staff knows it's supported, and actively listening to their concerns.

"We take care of one another," he says. "When someone is working, someone else is always watching them to make sure they're doing it as safely as possible. Anytime we have a concern, we stop to address it immediately."

Communication is particularly important in the plating shop. All employees attend a regular safety meeting, and shop employees talk about safety almost every day.

"The majority of the safety findings come from my staff," says Farvid. "They feel comfortable bringing up their concerns and know that they will be taken seriously."

In addition to these impromptu safety discussions, plating shop employees talk about what they have learned after going through general lab safety courses. "By necessity, the training is fairly general," he says. "When we get back to the lab, we discuss how it applies to our processes and equipment in detail."

In all, Farvid chalks his shop's success up to communication and awareness.

"We have discipline here," Farvid says. "We all follow directions and procedure, and if we want to do something new, we first consider all the possible consequences and scenarios."

—Kelen Tuttle, SLAC Today, April 27, 2007

Above photo: Ali Farvid stands with Krishan Narula and Wilevaldo Benitex. Safety disclaimer: This photo is artistically staged and does not depict actual working conditions.