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From Persis, Paul and Bill: We Need Your Help!

(Photo - Persis Drell, Paul Golan and Bill Madia)

The incident investigation into the September 24, 2009 laser-related eye injury in a PULSE laboratory has been completed and the final report has been completed and the final report is available to the SLAC community online (SLAC internal); we encourage everyone at SLAC to read it. It is an excellent report and it identifies things that probably exist in many other parts of the laboratory, specifically:

  • inadequate supervision and oversight,
  • a sub-culture where it is not always deemed necessary to "follow the rules,"
  • inadequate on-the-job training and
  • inadequate work planning and control

While a plan is being developed to correct the specific root causes of the laser incident, as was discussed in last week's safety and security briefings, we believe that there are broader cultural issues we need to deal with here and we are following the laser investigation with an evaluation of the operational culture at the lab, sponsored jointly by Stanford, SSO and SLAC.

The SLAC community can read the charter to this second team online. This second review will help us to assess how successful we have been and where we need to target our efforts to continue to improve. As we stated at the safety and security briefing, continuing to improve is not just about safety, it's about improving the rigor and discipline in the way we do our jobs. We need to improve the discipline in our conduct of operations throughout the lab.

We need your help! Team 2, as we are calling them, needs to gather data from as broad a population in the lab as possible. While they will have a full schedule of interviews with employees from all parts of the lab, both individually and in small groups, they will be conducting a Web-based survey that we would like to encourage all of you to participate in. The survey will go live Monday. There will be a link highlighted in SLAC Today. Please take 15 minutes to complete it.

Improvements at the laboratory don't come smoothly. We are well positioned to take another major step forward in operational improvements at SLAC. We (SLAC, SU, SSO) will take the results of Team 2 and use them to focus our efforts most effectively to further improve our collective performance. The end result will be a more effective and efficient laboratory for doing science. Please help us get there!

—Persis Drell, Paul Golan and Bill Madia
SLAC Today, November 6, 2009