February 21, 2003  


START Program in its Fourth Year

By Vickee Flynn

Several years ago, John Turek, ES&H Safety Engineer, introduced behavior-based safety at SLAC. [See Behavior-Based Safety Process Underway in the July 2001 issue of TIP.]

The Site Engineering and Maintenance Department (SEM) has been using the Safety Towards Avoiding Risk Today (START) process since that time. The purpose of behavioral based safety training is to reduce the probability of injuries by: observing work practices for both safe and at-risk behaviors, talking with workers about performing jobs in a safer manner, and asking for input to improve safety.

Since 1999, the START process has made improvements to safety within SEM, as noted by David Toews, Facilitator of the START Steering Committee. "Workers are performing more safe behaviors than at-risk behaviors," he said. "This is brought upon by workers being more aware of safe activities while performing their jobs." Workers feel the process is a worthwhile investment, and they are willing to work together to change unsafe areas and practices. Another improvement has been that communication between workers and supervisors has improved.

There are more ‘Level 3’ observations by peers who are trained Observers. Level 3 observations ensure there is two-way communication between the observer and worker. The best observation is one in which the worker provides feedback. There were over 500 observations in 2002, up from 355 the previous year. Has this made a difference in safety? "Yes," said Toews.

Toews asked workers in SEM to see what they thought of the behavior based process, and if they thought it had made a positive impact on the working environment. A few of the comments he received are:

• George Sandoval, Lead Painter: "Any safety process that keeps employees from getting injured is good."

• Daniel Manley-Arrieta, Utility Mechanic: "I noticed that our safety awareness has improved from three years ago. We plan our jobs better now than we did in 1998."

• Ron Pacheco, Service Mechanic: "I see workers becoming more aware of safe activities. Having other employees remind us of the safe activities we are doing and the At-Risk activities we need to improve on is a good way of keeping us on our toes."

• Eddie McGee, Health Physics Technician: "The process has been a real good thing. The process keeps us all reminded that safety is first. I notice working habits are changing."

• Jose Regalado, High Voltage Technician: "Personally I am more conscious of my actions at work and at home, and the process has made this impact in my life."

Toews has been the Facilitator of the START program since June 2001 in SEM; Lorenzo Lowery will take over the Facilitator role in April.  


The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center is managed by Stanford University for the US Department of Energy

Last update Friday February 21, 2003 by Kathy B