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Maintaining Our Focus

SLAC's Focus on Safety Week may have happened in July, but the ideas generated in the week's safety meetings and brainstorming sessions carry over to every month of the year. To date, the Environment, Safety and Health (ES&H) division has received meeting reports from over 56 groups, noting over 240 potential injury causation factors and methods of eliminating them.

The vast majority of these issues are self-correcting, as in the case of one respondent from the Photon Science Directorate, who suggested that to avoid foot injuries, an "extra pair of sturdy shoes be kept at work for walking around the site and accessing the accelerator." Or from the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory's Accelerator Development and Controls group, which suggested that running to meetings be discouraged.

Regarding office ergonomics, several respondents suggested contacting Medical for an ergonomic evaluation. This is an important function of our Medical Department and is certainly an appropriate way to correct office body mechanics issues before they manifest themselves as injuries. You can schedule an ergonomic evaluation by contacting the Medical Department at x2281.

If the ideas generated in your group meetings involve physical repairs or modification to your workspace, please contact Conventional and Experimental Facilities (CEF) and submit a service request. CEF prioritizes service requests with safety in mind. If you are not sure if your situation fits the definition for a safety request, don't hesitate to contact the CEF Service Desk at x8901 for assistance.

One of the most effective—and common—suggestions involved changes in thinking at the individual level. As the Operations, Planning and Space Management group put it: "Constant vigilance, pay attention all the time." With this in mind, when you are doing your work, please take a moment to ask: "Am I positive I'm not going to get hurt doing this?" before acting.

Now is the time to carefully consider the contributing factors to injuries that you discussed during Focus on Safety Week, and begin to focus on eliminating them. In the words of the Accelerator Technology Research group: "Safety is not an extra burden foisted upon us. It is something we should be aware of at work, just as we are aware of it at home."

The Focus on Safety Week SLACspace website lists all respondents and suggestions. To stimulate interest or gain ideas from other Directorates or Divisions, feel free to access this information.

With questions, comments or safety suggestions, contact Stephen Hauptman at or x8931.

Stephen Hauptman, SLAC Today, August 21, 2007