November 5, 2004  


Setting the Standards for Electrical Safety

By Heather Rock Woods

Lloyd Gordonís (LANL) gentle Texas drawl sounds familiar to every SLAC employee and many users after his recent two-week teaching marathon on electrical safety. In the first four days alone he conducted 11 sessions attended by more than 1,500 people.

Lloyd Gordon (Photo by Diana Rogers)

"This is a record for me, even though Iíve lectured to 25,000 people in 15 years of training for the DOE," Gordon said during a lunch break that, like most of his breaks, consisted more of answering questions than eating lunch.

His courses at SLAC covered everything, ranging from office-variety electrical safety to how to handle the unique electrical hazards presented by the Labís research and accelerator equipment.

An electrical engineer, Gordon is on loan from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), where he is a Division Electrical Safety Officer and Principal Electrical Engineer for R&D Electrical Safety. He consults and advises DOE on safety across its lab complex, and has previously worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and at two universities.

SLAC management asked him here to give an immediate series of classes in response to an electrical arc flash that badly burned an electrical contractor at SLAC on October 11. (See TIP, October 15, 2004 at

"When we have a serious accident in our national labs, we have to set a standard of excellence for the whole community," Gordon said. "We need to engage everyone in safety consciousness."

Gauging by the numerous questions he has received, class participants took a serious interest in the material. Craig Moore (SCS) attended the specialized course on Electrical Safety for R&D Equipment (ES&H Course 251). "I really appreciate this, this is a treat," Moore said. "Safety is important everywhere. Iíll point out safety problems at an amusement park if I see something out of line."

Gordon was inundated with questions during class breaks.

"People ask really good questions," he said. "They have a lot of interest in home safety, not just the non-technical people, but the technical people too. [SLAC Nobel laureate] Richard Taylor was interested in the R&D safety culture in other countries."

Electrical Safety for Non-Electrical Workers (ES&H Course 239) is now required for all employees. The ES&H course catalog includes this and the other courses Gordon taught in October, but have never before been conducted on such an intense schedule involving the entire Lab at once.

"Normally I teach Course 239 once a month with up to 30 people max," said George Burgueno (SHA), an electrical safety engineer who developed much of the material for the course.

"Lloyd did a beautiful job," Burgueno said. "Heís got valuable experience, heís down to earth, heís knowledgeable, and his stories are about useful lessons learned."

Gene Holden (KM), an ES&H instructional designer, said 1,220 people requested higher-level training from Gordon.

In his two-week SLAC stint, he taught the 2.5 hour Course 239 seven times, the seven hour Electrical Safety for R&D Equipment twice (for a total of 550 people), and eight other electrical courses ranging from 2 to 2.5 hours each.

"Iím a high-energy speaker and try to keep the class engaged. At the end of the day Iím beat. Iím taking my vitamins and resting," he said at the beginning of week two.

Video and computer-based training will be available at a later date for employees and users who were unable to take the training courses held October 18-29.




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

Last update Wednesday November 03, 2004 by Emily Ball