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From the Director: The Oak Ridge Boys Are Here!

(Photo - Persis Drell)No, this is not a country western singing group. Yes, sometimes translations are required as a strong east Tennessee dialect turns the Far Experimental Hall into the "Fire Experimental Hall." I will leave it to your imaginations how a conversation with experts in safety evolves after that.

In fact, this is a visit by a team of Department of Energy safety experts, primarily from the Oak Ridge Field Office. They are are doing an effectiveness review of our Integrated Safety Management Systems, our formal approach to creating a safe work environment. (See "SLAC Safety Review," SLAC Today, July 25).

Their visit began Monday morning with a kick-off meeting. Paul Golan and I spoke. I presented my assessment of the issues facing the lab and the challenges for the future. I reminded the visiting team that we are a laboratory in transition facing many challenges, especially in the last year, and that we are very focused on our future. My strongest message was that we are working to make many changes in the way that we do business at the laboratory and that the foundational steps that are essential to the modernization of the laboratory are also essential to ensure optimally effective ISMS. This includes clarifying roles, responsibilities and associated authorities, and then insisting on accountable behaviors throughout the laboratory, raising the quality of our work planning and control lab wide, ensuring that requirements flow effectively from the contract to the individual worker, and improving our self assessment and assurance process. Effective, strong and accountable line management at the laboratory is key to ensuring a safe work environment and it is key to our future success.

The DOE team will be here until August 15. They will be visiting many work areas at the site and talking with many of you about your work and how you execute it. Please welcome them when they visit your work area and as always, be open, honest and forthright with them. The better they understand what we are doing, the more valuable the visit will be for us.

Persis Drell, SLAC Today, August 8, 2008