By Jonathan Dorfan
(Photo by Diana Rogers)
Protection of human and environmental health is of the
utmost importance at SLAC. One of the cornerstones of our Mission is:
"Maintaining excellence in matters of environmental concern and providing
for the safety and health of the SLAC staff, users and the general
public." We achieve this in many ways, guided by an experience base which
has led to codified rules and behaviors for safe and protective practices.
Here at SLAC, we comply with Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) safety rules. These rules have been
historically enforced internally through oversight by the DOE. Recently,
Congress has been investigating the cost and benefits of shifting 10
research labs, including SLAC, to external control under OSHA itself.
Consequently, OSHA will visit each lab and thoroughly evaluate differences
between OSHA and DOE administration to develop a cost analysis for a
possible transition to external regulation.
OSHA’s visit to SLAC is scheduled for sometime in late
January or early February 2004 and will likely be the largest and most
exhaustive safety audit since the Tiger Team days. Five to ten OSHA
personnel will inspect SLAC wall-to-wall for up to two weeks. Though the
inspection is primarily for cost assessment and no fines or corrective
measures are to be established, we want to be sure that the strengths of
SLAC’s OSHA program are clearly visible to the auditors.
SLAC has prepared an OSHA Readiness Program which will aid
in our goal of exemplary OSHA compliance. In addition to the creation of a
Readiness Task Force headed by Jack Hahn, we also examined our facilities
from the OSHA prospective and compiled lists of possible enhancements that
should be considered in each area and by each person. The list is divided
into two parts: a facility conditions list aimed at line managers and an
employee activity list for supervisors and employees. All SLAC workers
should familiarize themselves with these lists and follow the applicable
guidelines therein. (See:
With your cooperation we can demonstrate to OSHA our
ongoing commitment to maintaining SLAC as a healthy, safe and productive
research institution. A world class laboratory like SLAC needs world class
safety standards in order to continue our tradition of excellence in all
areas of achievement. I thank you in advance for your help in making this
a successful process.