Observations - Function
As referenced in the table below,
designated laboratory supervisors and managers are recommended to perform qualifying SOs at the following
Supervisors / Managers
Hr./Week, 1-2 Areas)
Associate Directors (AD)
The AD/DM, along with the DSO, determines and communicates SO frequency for SO’s at different levels of management.
This appendix is part of an overall
program in coordination with
ES&H Manual Chapter
3700 Safety Observation Program.
Designated Supervisor / Manager
Receive and maintain SO Training (SAF120KD
Safety Observation Procedure and SAF120 Safety Observation Program
function of the SO Program and
Use SO data as part of the continuous improvement
Deputy Director – ES&H:
SO Training when requested.
This SO Program
assumes that the majority of unsafe conditions are the result of unsafe acts.
Bringing the condition to the attention of the person(s) who created, and
accepted it; and discussing ways to modify the behavior, helps prevent the
unsafe act from occurring again.
A tripping hazard
along a walking path
Condition: The object placed in the walking path.
It is easy to correct this
unsafe condition. Move the item. But this does not prevent the condition from
happening again. Only by changing the behavior of the person who created, or
accept, it can the conditions be eliminated and the potential for injury be
avoided in the future.
leaving the object in the pathway.
is more difficult to find the person responsible for the unsafe condition,
and engage them in a non-threatening discussion regarding the behavior; recognizing
options for mitigation; and ensuring the condition is made safe. Only by bringing
the hazard to the attention of the worker, in a constructive dialog, can the
full extent of the hazard be recognized and an adequate solution agreed upon.
This type of activity helps to avoid the unsafe condition in the future.
Sometimes the full extent of an unsafe act is
difficult to recognize and address, we tend to use the ‘unsafe condition’
label for the problem and correct it, without eliminating the causes, and
thus fail to ensure prevention.
SOs provide positive benefits.
· Enhanced Understanding of Operations – Perform SOs in areas not under your authority. This provides a “fresh eyes” approach for activities.
· Build Positive Management/Employee Relations – Use SOs as a positive employee/supervisor interaction. Successful supervisor/employee interaction leads to better cooperation between departments.
· Opportunities for Improvement – Allow others to observe your work methods to identify specific opportunities for improvement. Incorporate these to enhance safety in your operations.
The basic philosophy behind the SO
program is: Jefferson Lab management looks after its people. The program
provides for training, and support tools to ensure constructive dialog between managers
and workers is achieved. The goal is for everyone at Jefferson Lab to engage
and commit to the improvement of personal and organizational safety.
are a collaborative improvement process absent of blame or punishment. To
maintain employee support of the SO program as one of Jefferson Lab’s safety
management tools, it is crucial that the SO be conducted and recognized as
completely separate and apart from any disciplinary activities. Although the
observer’s name is included in the observation report, nothing is recorded that
identifies the worker(s) observed.
Focus on Behavior and Actions
on individual actions rather
than the area’s unsafe condition.
Unsafe conditions are almost always caused by unsafe acts. It is simple to correct an unsafe condition,
but doing so leaves the underlying act in place. This can re-generate the
condition and expose workers to potential injury. While eliminating unsafe acts
is the key to improved safety performance, it is not always easy to determine
what they are.
Formulate questions or comments to
engage individuals in a non-threatening discussion. Conversation is the core of
the SO Program.
Avoid Injury – Wait for suitable break in the
activity; do not startle, distract, or surprise an individual.
Discuss Safe vs. Unsafe Behavior – Avoid lecturing or threatening
verbiage. Allow the individual to
describe the activity.
Engage in Constructive Dialog – Assist the worker in
recognizing the need to modify behavior. The goal is persuasion and agreement
rather than enforcement.
not necessary to take notes in the “field,” but it is OK to do so. The “Safety
Observation Form” provides a reminder of the data entry points. It is
designed to assist in the observation and is not a permanent record. Recognize that note taking during a
conversation with an employee may make that employee nervous. Explain the
process to the employee:
Data Points - Notes are not attributable to the
worker, they are reminders of the discussion.
Anonymity - Workers are not identified
when the observation is recorded within the database.
There are many cases when safety issues are resolved on the spot and no
further action is necessary. However,
the SO process’ focus is safety behavior where follow-up/actions
are required. These include issues requiring correction of unsafe acts, improved tools and procedures, or
additional training; all require action and follow-up by management. Unless
follow-up action actually occurs, some of the power of the SO process is lost. “Safety
Observation Reports” notifies ES&H staff of issues that need
follow-up. These issues are then forwarded to the appropriate Division Safety
Officer and safety
warden to track follow-up actions in a timely manner.
based on observations are available at:
The principal benefit of a SO comes from the direct, face-to-face
communication with individuals. However, in order to identify trends and share
information with others it is necessary to collect, document, and analyze data.
Use the process outlined in ES&H Manual Chapter
3700 Appendix T2 Safety observation and Reporting Procedure to record data
from your SO.
uses SO information to allocate resources to target high risk areas.
Supervisors use it for review and discussion with each other and their staff
to ensure individuals become familiar with the nature and the severity of
unsafe acts. They encourage the advancement of safe behavior by implementing
recognized safety methods into their work areas. These types of activities
demonstrate management’s commitment to safety.
When individuals are
familiar with the nature and the severity of unsafe acts in their organization,
they are more likely to engage in safe behavior.
SO data is collected
and presented to others to gain deeper understanding of the safety issues and
behavior patterns throughout the organization.
In rare cases it may
be necessary to terminate the SO process:
a worker is observed in a repeated, flagrant, or willful violation of clear
safety rules and procedures, use the Stop-Work Process as described in ES&H Manual Chapter
3330 Appendix T2 Stop Work for Safety Procedure to initiate a Stop-Work
situations involving hazards of lesser magnitude the suspend work
process (also described in ESH Manual Chapter 3330
Appendix T1 Suspend Work for Safety Procedure) is the appropriate response.
may be incumbent on management to take disciplinary action. This is outside the
scope of the SO process. For more information regarding the disciplinary
process consult with the Human Resource
0.3 – 02/19/16 – Updated 2.0 Scope to clarify frequency of SOs
0.2 – 09/30/15 – Periodic Review; updated to reflect minor program changes (e.g.: SO
0.1 – 06/18/14 – Updated to coordinate with current training
requirements; separated program function (T1) from procedure steps (T2).
Periodic Review – 09/29/11 – No substantive changes required
Revision 0.0 – 11/19/08 – This is new content