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SLAC Completes Final Item in 2006 Action Plan

Wednesday, September 30, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory closed the final corrective action item laid out in the corrective action plan created in response to the 2006 Office of Independent Oversight's inspection. After nearly three years of work, SLAC has officially implemented the last of more than one hundred corrective actions which were meant to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the lab's programs in Environment, Health and Safety and Integrated Safety and Environmental Management Systems. In a tremendous show of hard work, SLAC team members completed each of the corrective actions on time or ahead of schedule.

"Completing the final corrective action in response to the OIO investigation is a major accomplishment and a key milestone for the whole lab," said SLAC Director Persis Drell. "The people involved recognized that these actions were necessary to help ES&H and ISEMS operate as efficiently and effectively as possible, and they worked hard to put them in place. It should be noted that these actions do not mean more paperwork or more regulation. In fact, they should make the ISEMS more user-friendly and more efficient."

The OIO review began in 2006 when the Department of Energy issued a mandatory investigation of the ES&H and ISEMS programs at SLAC. The resulting inspection identified 14 items in need of reform: four with the DOE Site Office and 10 with SLAC. Some were wide sweeping—such as a need for improvements in work planning and control, and development of a formal issues management program—while some were department-specific. SLAC management and staff sat down to plan the best way to implement the necessary improvements into the current infrastructure.

From the 10 findings on the lab side, SLAC team members came up with a corrective action plan that contained 102 specific corrective actions that needed to take place. They assigned the actions to groups and individuals, who over the past two-plus years have implemented them, reported them to the Office of Assurance, and demonstrated that the changes became a part of regular operations. As the groups worked to carry out the actions, and ultimately make the programs run more effectively, additional opportunities for improvement were identified.

"SLAC did an excellent job in closing all corrective actions," said DOE Safety Engineer and Quality Assurance Manager Don Wilhelm. Wilhelm oversaw the implementation of the corrective actions from the DOE side, and will now partner with SLAC to make sure the last corrective actions are integrated into regular operations and continue to be carried out.

While Wednesday's submission marks the end of one long journey, it also represents the beginning of a new one in which SLAC will continue improving on the adjustments already made.

"The formal part of the OIO CAP is over. It took a great deal of hard work and effort and it's a great accomplishment," said Office of Assurance Director Walter Leclerc. "We hope these changes are going to make operations run smoother. Now we have to move on and continue improving on the programs. This gave us a great foundation to build on."

—Calla Cofield
SLAC Today, October 12, 2009