The numbers will follow

The numbers will follow
September 26, 2008

As all of you well know, the safety performance of Jefferson Lab, our laboratory, has been nothing short of stellar over the past couple of years. To cap it all, you were subjected to what is usually rated as the toughest of the sit-down examinations, the HSS audit. Not only did you exceed expectations, but you did so by a large margin. A basis for this great result, as documented by the HSS team, was the engagement and commitment of the workforce, the person on the floor, in the trenches, the actual worker, and we celebrated this effort with some awards a couple of weeks ago.

So, when an accident happens, as it did a week ago, it is, by definition, a special event, rarer than a named hurricane. So, we try to make the most of the accident in terms of preventing the next. We look into what happened. We conduct an investigation. The primary goal of the investigation is to understand what happened, how it happened, and how it could have been avoided, so that next time, likely with different players, we can avoid the accident. The goal of the exercise is not to seek a reason to punish the wounded, but to keep someone else from injury.

Since the number of serious injuries that occur here are few, we all look for trends. We look in every nook and cranny. One nook (or cranny) is the collection of minor injuries - first aid cases, if you will. During the past few months there were only a handful of such cases. But we were in the halls and the tunnel fixing things in time for the next period of operation of the experimental program! Does this make sense? I hope so.

But I ask myself, are we seeking help when we need it? Are we treating ourselves with sufficient respect to go and get a cut finger cleaned with a splash of antiseptic or do we wrap it in a dirty handkerchief? Are we treating our fellow workers with sufficient respect that we report an event so that it can be investigated and actions taken to prevent recurrence, possibly involving our co-worker?

Our goal is that everyone comes to work on a given day in good shape, does the work and goes home after work in that same good shape or better. If something happens, we should report it, get the appropriate fix as expeditiously as possible, learn the lesson, and move on. This is my expectation. If we do all these things well, the numbers will follow.


*See the news release about the award of CD-3.