Recent issues that the Hanford Advisory Board has addressed could have been avoided with better use of the integrated safety management system, a Department of Energy-wide program, according to the board.
It has sent a letter of advice to DOE with suggested improvements to use the system at Hanford.
The key to improving integrated safety management behavior, or the safety culture of an organization, is to align the motivations of employees with that of management and leadership, the letter said.
"Behaviors that demonstrate integrity, fairness, caring for the needs of employees, and actively listening to all employee concerns and issues will result in a healthy safety culture," the letter said.
Conceptually, the integrated safety management program is simple, the letter said. It calls for defining risks and then figuring out what to do about them as work is planned and carried out, the letter said.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu has enhanced the concept of integrated safety management by including safety culture expectations in the integrated safety management guidance document, the letter said.
"Hanford has done a commendable job in emphasizing ISM, yet some gaps remain in its implementation," the letter said.
Issues the board has spent large amounts of time on, such as weaknesses in Hanford's beryllium protection program for workers and safety concerns at the Hanford vitrification plan, could have been largely avoided by better use of integrated safety management, the board said.
The board also is concerned that many workers do not believe they "own" the integrated safety management system, the board said.
DOE needs to make sure that safety training is focused on the appropriate level for workers being trained and that it is not needlessly complex, the board said. Training should include a strong message that all workers are responsible for safety around them, it said.
Other recommendations to DOE include:
w Ensuring that contracts for new facilities include a complete risk identification and mitigation analysis for the future operation and maintenance of the facilities.
w Examining each contractor's management structure to make sure it has clear lines of authority and clear management roles and responsibilities for integrated safety management.
w Placing a stronger emphasis on rigorous contractor self-assessment and on contractors' plans for corrections after problems occur.
w Stressing when new contractors are picked that the leaders proposed by bidders emphasize the expectation of a strong safety culture.
w Encouraging contractors to assess management behavior using employee and peer feedback.
DOE's commitment to integrated safety management has not wavered, said Brian Harkins, DOE Office of River Protection Safety and Health Division director.
"We will look at your advice and use it to improve our processes," he told the board when it met Thursday and Friday in Kennewick.
There are some gems in the board's letter of advice that DOE will take a look at, said Ed Parsons, a health physicist for the DOE Hanford Richland Operations Office.