Operations Excellence Council update: January 12, 2018
Argonne’s Operations Excellence Council (OEC) is a senior management forum focused on delivering leading-edge science, and developing a strong commitment to, and culture around, research and operational excellence throughout the laboratory. The council supports timely, transparent and effective decision-making on operational programs. It communicates customer feedback, needs and priorities and reviews lab performance targets and metrics.
Highlights from the council’s recent meeting include:
The council heard a presentation on Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), which establishes a framework for identifying, analyzing, managing and monitoring risks. Enterprise risks generally comprise circumstances that could reasonably interfere with the lab’s ability to meet strategic or operational goals, objectives or commitments. They can also comprise circumstances that could result in financial constraint, hinder our ability to comply with regulatory requirements, or jeopardize our ability to protect personnel, the environment or the lab’s reputation. ERM is a labwide process that facilitates risk awareness, communication, prioritization and continuous improvement.
On a regular basis, the OEC evaluates risks in terms of threat, consequence, impact and likelihood. Council members work closely with risk managers to ensure risks are effectively mitigated to an acceptable level and they monitor risks to evaluate progress and adjust, as needed.
On Jan. 4, 2018, the OEC reviewed the laboratory’s safety programs through the ERM process. The council discussed how unsustained or ineffective safety programs can increase the risk of injury and/or incident, adversely impacting staff, lab reputation and mission accomplishment. Betsy Dunn, HSE director, reported that there is a slight negative trend in total recordable case injuries with an improvement in DART (“days away, restricted or transferred”) cases. However, the recent significant events revealed breakdowns in integrated safety management. Several mitigation and corrective actions were identified and some have already been implemented. Additional efforts such as identifying Laboratory Area Leads, building hands-on training rooms (electrical, radiological and chemical) and increased attention to observation conversations are in process.
The OEC recognized the laboratory director’s near-term objectives pertaining to management awareness of risk and equipping our staff and front line supervisors to understand and manage risk. Risk screening criteria in the areas of chemical/laboratory, electric/pressure, field work, and security and sensitive information was discussed. The high-risk work overlay considerations such as work schedule, personnel, supervision, group or individual dynamics and work environment was recognized.
During the Council’s Jan. 11, 2018 meeting, Rock Aker acknowledged the laboratory’s commendable response efforts following the Building 205 contamination, machine tool and electrical shock events. He also recognized the need to change behaviors and strongly recommended leaders be in the field to talk to employees and be aware of working conditions. Rock shared a personal lesson learned from his experience at the Dresden Nuclear Plant where water lines froze which could have led to significant potential radiation exposure. The final report cited failures in maintenance and operations of a permanently shut-down reactor due to lack of management attention. During the investigation it also became apparent that senior leaders lacked presence in the field to gain sufficient awareness of the situation.
Dan Schabacker (GSS) and Diane Rodi (HSE) provided the council with an overview of Human Research Protection Program changes. They reported that human subjects research (HSR) as defined by federal law is fairly broad, as described in LMS-PROC-222, and has touched upon a number of projects at Argonne in the past. This scope of work is currently expanding at the lab, due partly to the new focus area of deep diving into large data sets derived from health care records. Moving forward, all HSR will be routed to the DOE Institutional Review Boards.
Bob Einspar (IS), Safety Performance Trending and Analysis Committee chair, provided statistics pertaining to training completion, observation conversation results and electrical safety. It was reported there are currently 10 OSHA recordable injuries, however, it was recognized the severity of injuries has lowered as apparent by the DART case rate. December injuries were a result of a cut hand from a cracked beaker, lower back strain from lifting boxes and a pinched nerve after using a machine.
Compiled by Tracy Rogness (HSE)