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Focus on Safety '08

This year's Focus on Safety training sessions provided some very interesting insight into what SLAC employees consider to be significant accident and safety hazards. Fifty-one departments took part in reviewing their work at SLAC, and considered what contributes to incidents and accidents. The best experts to determine issues in your departments are you. As a result of your efforts, the entire site can learn about potential problems and share solutions.

Out of 143 comments, 23 asked for additional support in ergonomics, that is, computer workstation evaluations and repetitive stress management. SLAC Environment, Safety and Health can provide ergonomic assessment support. If you need help in this area, please contact the ES&H Service Desk (x4554) or your directorate safety coordinator.

Another recognized area of concern includes stairways and the use of handrails. Twenty replies recognized that not using handrails can lead to falls. The solution is in the direct control of each individual. Please take care and always use the handrail, both when ascending and descending stairs. When carrying materials, always leave one hand free to hold on to the banister. If see someone carrying something down the stairs that hinders their ability to do so safely, offer to help.

Tied for third place with eighteen comments were traffic and lifting. As drivers in our own community on site, we all need to show respect for others. Do the best you can to set the example. SLAC Security has patrols and traffic officers to help enforce requirements, but it is your responsibility to walk and drive carefully. Several groups were also concerned about vehicles cutting in to the bicycle lane on Sand Hill Road, to make the right turn into the gate. This is very dangerous to any cyclists, not to mention illegal. You can move into the bike line only within 200 feet of the intersection (about where the solid white line becomes a broken line).

Safe lifting is something we all need to keep in the forefront of our minds when moving materials, from small boxes to large items. Several respondents suggested obtaining help when lifting. If moving boxes or if awkward packages pose a problem, hand carts provide an additional degree of safety. Lifting concerns and issues can also be addressed by requesting ergonomic assessments as described above.

Everything discussed here was brought out by people who work at SLAC. People who see what you see and do what you do. These are the observations of your peers and as such they mean a lot because they are the real issues we all face day to day. They are by no means all of the issues, but they were the "heavy hitters," as expressed by the experts at SLAC—you.

Future articles will discuss other incident causes and what you and the safety groups throughout SLAC can do about them.

Keep in mind that ES&H issues can be reported to the safety coordinator in your directorate or the ES&H Service Desk (x4554).

—Steve Hauptman
SLAC Today, September 9, 2008