December 2, 2005  


Revising the ES&H Manual

By Wayne Heiser

SLAC has embarked on an ambitious effort to revise its Environment, Safety, and Health Manual, one the Lab’s principal safety documents. This will be the first complete revision of the manual since it was first published in 1991 and will involve producing more than 40 subject-specific chapters, covering everything from the overall ES&H program at SLAC to specifics such as excavation safety, hazardous materials management, and stormwater pollution prevention.

Timing of Chapter Release

The plan is to complete this work in three phases, beginning with program basics (chapters 1, 2, and 31—‘General Policy and Responsibilities’, ‘Work Authorization’ and ‘Institutional ES&H Committees’), then high-priority hazard specific chapters, and finally the remaining chapters.

The first phase was completed in October, in time for the DOE review of our integrated safety management system (ISMS). The second phase is to be completed by the end of December and the third by the end of December 2006.

Who is Participating

The chapters are being written by subject matter experts and stakeholders from across SLAC. To ensure all SLAC personnel have a voice, each chapter will go through a four-phase formal review process, including stakeholder and site-wide reviews followed by approval by the ES&H division director and chief operating officer, then final approval by the ES&H Coordinating Council.

Comments and responses are captured and a permanent record created by an on-line review and comment system jointly developed by the ES&H Knowledge Management Department and Technical Publications, available for input by all SLAC personnel (see: For now, the system is being used only for the site-wide review, but we plan to extend it to all review phases.

All SLAC personnel can participate in site-wide reviews by using this system. In addition, an e-mail notification of any new chapter for review is sent to staff selected by the subject matter expert, ES&H division director and each directorate’s ES&H coordinator, among others.

Approved chapters are posted on the ES&H web site (in What’s New and on the manual page itself, announced in SLAC Today as well as in an e-mail sent to all supervisors, safety coordinators and building managers.

Using a New Approach

Each chapter is being written following a new standard outline, intended to make both writing and using chapters easier. Based on a benchmark survey ( of practices at other DOE facilities, the new outline features a common set of required content (overview, scope, standards, definitions, requirements, exhibits, references and ownership).

In addition, the outline is designed to arrange the content in a more flexible way. An important example is the use of separate documents—called ‘exhibits’—for procedures, guidelines and specific requirements intended for line management and staff.

Preparing for the Future

Although it may not be noticeable just yet, the new process and outline are designed to make the manual a more dynamic, complete and current collection of content that more fully exploits the power of the web and dovetails with the overall effort to improve the SLAC website.

Making SLAC Safer

Finally, beyond the schedules, plans and outlines, remember the goal of this effort is to make SLAC safer by improving our understanding of the hazards we face and how we respond to them. So please keep an eye out for chapters that are under review and newly published. See the manual page, for current chapters, schedule and a link to the review system.

Let us know if you have any questions or comments, by sending e-mail to Be sure to include the phrase ‘ESH manual’ in the subject line.

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Last update Wednesday November 30, 2005 by TIP