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Work Planning and Control

Leslie Stepanek at work in Building 24. (Photo by Shawne Workman. Click for larger image.)

SLAC has undertaken a lab-wide initiative to consolidate and improve existing SLAC work planning and control processes, and hired a new program manager, Leslie Stepanek, to lead the project. The revision of the work planning and control process is intended to strengthen the practices of defining work scope, ensuring that hazards are well understood, and establishing appropriate controls before authorizing work. Based on Integrated Safety and Environmental Management System guidelines, the new process will provide a consistent and effective approach to work planning and control. Formal implementation of the process will start in February 2009.

In the revised process, work will be designated as green, yellow or red, with red work representing the most complex tasks. Green work includes those activities commonly performed by the public, where the hazards are well understood and the likelihood of injury is low. Green work activities, such as using a microscope, climbing stairs and working in an office, do not require specific Environment, Safety and Health training. Some yellow work and all red work will require notification to building or area managers, who grant a release to proceed once area hazards and coordination activities are addressed. Once a year, as before, supervisors will be expected to discuss the general nature of work assigned, hazards and controls associated with that work, and training requirements..

This initiative started in 2007 with a working group under the leadership of Karen Fant. It was immediately evident that the work planning and control process must use a graded approach: the greater the complexity of the work, the more formal the requirements for analysis, documentation and coordination. A major emphasis of the working group was to categorize work in a graded fashion—now labeled as red, yellow or green—to make sure the appropriate resources are applied for a given work activity.

The new program manager, Leslie Stepanek, is now leading development of the new work planning and control process. Built on a foundation established by the working group, Stepanek is getting feedback on the revised process through a few pilot implementations across the lab. Beta testing will continue through the end of the calendar year to gather feedback and converge on forms and processes.

Success depends on support and involvement from senior leadership, management, supervisors, staff, university technical representatives and subcontractors throughout SLAC. Please approach any of the following individuals with questions and suggestions: Eric Colby, Kelly Gaffney, Richard Hislop, Karen Holtemann, Joe Kenny, Frank O’Neill, Jerry Pfefferkorn, Michael Scharfenstein, or Leslie Stepanek. A dedicated Web site is in development and is expected to be available in December.

—Leslie Stepanek
SLAC Today, October 28, 2008