Jul 20, 2009

New Order Message?

Frank,
The newest AD for Environment, Safety and Health, is yet another Bechtilian. He and his predecessor Dick Watkins (Bechtilian) successfully lowered recordable injury and illness statistics NOT through the implementation of better safety programs, but by getting the message across to medical management that most injuries occurring at LANL are “not work related” and therefore do not enter into LANL injury illness statistics. (This message is counter to the directive of Federal regulations governing determination of which injuries/illnesses are work related and therefore enter into LANL statistics).

As a result of the “new order message” Occupational Medicine management makes convoluted analyses that the “the mechanism of the injury/ergonomic malady” was not related to the injury happening at work. So PRESTO, it’s not work related! And incidentally, it doesn’t “count” as an injury/illness in LANL statistics.

Cantwell may also have gotten “creative” when outlining his education after his Bachelors degree. The following comes from a press release on his promotion. He is supposedly working on a master’s degree through an online university called Walden. (One wonders whether it is related to the Walden School in Doonesbury, which was a “safety school “that anyone could get into…) Cantwell’s supposedly working an a masters in industrial and organizational psychology, but a call to the university 800 # and a review of their website does not list such a degree. Perhaps Cantwell is too busy now that he’s attained AD status to actually pursue the mythical degree…

http://www.lanl.gov/news/index.php/fuseaction/home.story/story_id/15854

In addition to helping the Lab fulfill its environmental stewardship role, Cantwell will lead the Lab's initiatives to protect the safety and health of its employees and that of residents of surrounding communities. Cantwell joined the Laboratory in 2006 and has led the Laboratory's Environment, Safety, and Health Integration Office, where he was responsible for integrated work management and safety improvement initiatives, such as the Voluntary Protection Program, Human Performance Improvement, and Behavior Based Safety programs. He also was in charge of Environment, Safety, and Health training and the Laboratory's Barrier Removal process.

Previously, Cantwell served at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as Quality Services Division director, and later as Safety Leadership Program director and Health and Safety Field Services group leader. From 1989 to 2000, Cantwell worked at the Pantex Plant in Amarillo as Environment, Safety and Health Support Services manager. Cantwell started his career as an industrial hygienist and bioenvironmental engineer with American Airlines.

Cantwell holds a bachelor's degree in environmental health from Colorado State University and is currently completing his master's degree in industrial and organizational psychology from Walden University. He is a board-certified industrial hygienist and safety professional.

-Anonymous

Anonymous,
I looked up Walden University on the web. If I'm looking at the correct university, they do have a master's program in Organizational Psychology and Development. Perhaps the name of the program has changed slightly, or the press release is just mistaken? I'm not sure because the web page says:
You can focus on a variety of areas, including
  • The evolution of the organization (dynamics of international and virtual organizations)
  • Talent management and development
  • Leadership and motivation through a consultative approach
  • Cross-cultural communication and collaboration
  • Organizational adaptability to positive social change within a global environment
That doesn't sound like the best fit for the associate director for Environment, Safety, Health & Quality.

By the way, could you forward a copy of the "new order message"?
Frank

76 comments:

Anonymous said...

To be totally fair, Work Free Safety Zones, by definition, have fewer work-related injuries. Do the math.

Anonymous said...

Of course they do. The number of work related injuries is a silly metric. The correct metric is the work performed per injury. By that latter metric, LANS has done a piss poor job. Of course they know that too, but are just to fat too admit the error in their ways. Maybe six-sigma black belts can be hired to smooth everything over with bar charts and more phoney metrics...

Anonymous said...

In time DOE will realize that LANL's decrease in injuries was completely bogus. Watkins used to bully his way into lowering injuries. It's too early to make any judgements about Cantwell, except that he tends to follow Watkins from location to location.

Anonymous said...

Cantwell's lackluster educational attainments and his unethical reporting of safety metrics don't really matter.

He'll be more than adequate as an AD serving this dumbed down monstrosity which has been created by NNSA and LANS/Bechtel.

Anonymous said...

When looking at the current state of LANL, pessimistic employees tend to look at the lab as a glass half empty.

Being an optimist, I prefer to look at LANL as a glass half full, though, slightly tinged with the brownish contamination of fecal matter.

Drink deeply and savor the flavor!

- MIKEY

Anonymous said...

The Bechtelization of LANL is nearly complete. This is not what even NNSA envisioned, I'll bet. No one is happy except Bechtel and the new managers with their gargantuan salaries and fee shares. NNSA is leaderless, incompetent overall, and frozen in place. DOE has a leader who does not care about NNSA or its mission. NM and CA have congressional delegations that don't care about the labs. Mikey is absent in every meaning of the term. UC is pretending it is not part of LANS. Those few employees who still care about LANL are being systematically beat into the ground. The cynics and whiners are gaining ground in the absence of real morale and purpose. Congress is distracted by meaningless political issues, and the President is just plain meaningless, and useless, yelling at people at rallies as if he were not yet elected and clearly has no idea of what "Presidential demeanor" means. Yep - we're all doing great. The countdown to the next major world-shaking disaster is well along, and no one is paying attention.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 7/20/09, 6:26 PM states that: "The correct metric is the work performed per injury."

This sounds fine as long as the injuries are minor. But, this is not so good if the injuries are serious or fatal!

Anonymous said...

It doesn't sound like Cantwell has the credentials to be employed as a worker. However, he is probably just the kind of third-rate D-student that LANS prefers.

Anonymous said...

Before I left the lab, I had the displeasure of having to sit in on numerous meetings conducted by Cantwell. He is easily the most stupid person I've ever encountered in my whole career. The fact that he doesn't have the mental horsepower or educational credentials typically needed for such a post is a clear indication of just how bad upper management is at this lab.

Anonymous said...

Managers like Cantwell are the "new normal" for LANL. Give it a couple of more years and Cantwell will begin to look brilliant compared to the rest of the Bechtel Boys that will soon be making their way to LANL for placement into all the remaining managerial positions.

LANL is becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Bechtel Inc., except that the original LANL employees have less options for placement and advancement than the people who come out here directly from Bechtel.

Anonymous said...

4:21 Over a million people died building the Great Wall of China. I don't think they were too worried about shoes that grip. Instead, they were worried about their own defense. Just imagine what they might have accomplished if they had had the wisdom of the Bechtel collective and six-sigma blackbelts on hand.

Anonymous said...

Is this imbecile really the best that we can get for $250K per year?

Anonymous said...

7:04 pm: "Over a million people died building the Great Wall of China. I don't think they were too worried about shoes that grip. Instead, they were worried about their own defense."

Nope, they were slaves worried about being beaten to death if they didn't work hard enough. SHHH - don't tell LANS.

Anonymous said...

Cantwell aside, I am still stunned that many who comment here think that personal safety and the safety of others is a distant second to "getting the work done." Over the years there have been exposures, contaminations, and serious injuries caused by carelessness, stupidity,poor planning and poorer management. When safety failed and injuries occurred, we have always been quick to blame management, yet when there is any emphasis on safety – we blame management for the “silliness” that gets in the way of work and research. (Even the best and the brightest can’t have it both ways.) Even in recent meetings I’ve heard comments that “it’s the nature of the work we do – people get hurt.” And that is a self fulfilling prophesy - as long as management and employees have such attitudes, people will continue to get hurt.

Anonymous said...

As long as people are alive on the planet, people will get hurt and die. The real question is, "will they do something useful first?" Some will. Some won't. Oppenheimer, Agnew, Bradbury, Hecker, Brown, and Kuchok all did and continue to do something useful for their country. The jury is still out on Nanos, and Anastasio. So far, they haven't done much but toot their horns, line their pockets, and preach to their subordinates - some of whom likely died as a result of their actions and inactions. Todd Kauppila comes to mind. Put a sock in your pathetic little self-important safety speeches.

Anonymous said...

http://www.vitals.com/doctor/profile/1437346996/print/1437346996

LANL Occupational Medicine Leadership: So very so ratings


http://www.vitals.com/doctor/profile/1437346996/print/1437346996

Frank Young said...

In my opinion the financial incentive to doctor the numbers should be removed and the penalties for falsifying this data should be severe.

Call it what it is, trading the credibility of everyone else at the institution for a bonus.

Anonymous said...

9:07 PM, in my mind it's not that the work takes priority over people's safety. It's that so few of the Lab systems that are supposedly keeping us safe really seem to have any relationship to the actual work execution. And moreover that there's an entire class of LANL employees whose job seems to be the imposition of arbitrary and capricious barriers to work execution in the name of safety.

For example: work planning is good, and communication is good. In theory, the IWD should be a nice tool to ensure that work planning have in fact occurred. Who could complain about that requirement? But how often has an IWD been held up by some FOD weenie because the wrong version number of a LANL safety policy was cited? Or because they thought an instruction like "wear work gloves as needed" left too much up to the worker to decide?

How can it possibly make sense that our major "safety" tool, the IWD, is developed while sitting in an office, when the major hazards are in our labs/shops/firing sites?

And how much work execution has been held up simply because the FOD has to "bless" everyone's Part 2? Remember this requirement came out of KSL LO/TO fuckups! Assuming the lights are on, the fume hoods are sucking, and water's coming out of the faucets at the right time, how much interface is there really between the facility operations and 99% of experimental work? And for that matter, wouldn't it be more likely that the hoods, lights, and sinks would be working if the FOD's weren't distracted from maintenance by this absurd expectation for them to oversee the experimental work?

How many employee-hours have been wasted in half-baked training sessions that were cobbled together in response to some finding and then assigned to everyone in sight? Anyone who took the abysmal "RadCon for Managers and Supervisors" knows what I'm talking about here. (Seriously, I've seen a lot of bad training in my 15+ years here. That one was the all-time worst).

Anonymous said...

7:24,

A heart felt thanks from me for reminding me once more why I am happy to no longer work at LANL.

PBIs, baby!

Anonymous said...

Frank Young said...
In my opinion the financial incentive to doctor the numbers should be removed..
7/21/09 11:22 PM

Of course, that will never happen. It's like the body-count in Vietnam...all that matters is the count. It's human nature to doctor the data to get the conclusion you want.

Anonymous said...

There are Lies,
Damned Lies
and Statistics.

Frank Young said...

Yet we are to believe those annual certifications of our deterrent?

Anonymous said...

"Yet we are to believe those annual certifications of our deterrent?"

Actually, no one cares whether or not you believe them. Since you can't read them, it doesn't matter. If you are implying that you don't trust anyone who CAN read them, you have bigger problems.

Anonymous said...

"Oppenheimer, Agnew, Bradbury, Hecker, Brown, and Kuchok all did and continue to do something useful for their country." (10:39 PM)

The latest "1663" magazine published by LANL has a great interview with Sig Hecker about his many visits to North Korea in support of US national security. Hecker has definitely earned his many kudos.

Anastasio, on the other, it pathetic as a lab director. When you compare him to Hecker, he looks even worse. He's pulling this institution down with his poor leadership and lousy management skills.

Then again, LANS is collecting most of their annual profit fees and that's clearly all that matters with the corporate goons who now control LANL.

Frank Young said...

A little touchy on that subject aren't you, 11:10. Is it hitting a little close to home? Why not let your management know how important the credibility of the institution is to your work product and how you don't appreciate it being traded for a bonus.

Anonymous said...

I would like to address 9:07s comments and concur with 7:24s statements. About two years ago I left LANL to build an experiment with a small company. In the space of 10 months we built a laboratory, an experiment, got experimental results and had them peer reviewed. During that same time period the machine we left behind at LANL got its hazard control plan approved, and that was all. And this was just a review for a machine that had been in operation for over 10 years.

So, do we take safety seriously at our company? Of course we do. We are running a high voltage pulsed power system with significant amounts of stored energy so we have to take safety seriously both in our design and operations. We put in interlocks and all of the switching is with fiber optics so you can't stick your fingers in the high voltage regardless of what happens. But most importantly we have a well trained, experienced group of people operating the machine.

In my opinion, the safety system at LANL is broken. At LANL the most important thing appears to be having a paper trail to point the finger at someone else if something goes wrong. The formality of proceedures which has been imposed improves safety mainly by impeding the ability to accompish anything.

Noone is opposed to safety. But you can't let it cripple your operations.

Anonymous said...

11:10 here. Sorry, but I don't work at LANL, and my credibility does not depend on LANL's.

Anonymous said...

Feel better now Frank? Now go back to hand lotion and bottled water. Don't ask any more hard questions.

Frank Young said...

Oh much better. But I think I need some Purell.

Anonymous said...

It is always amazing and amusing to see how the conversation wanders around from the original post. While totally out of character of much of the information posted here, I'd like to throw an actual fact on to the table. Just for the record, Chris Cantwell has never worked for Bechtel. He spent much of his career at Pantex, but not as an employee of Bechtel, then went to ORNL and then to LANL. True, he was recruited to LANL by Dick Watkins (a mortal sin?) because he and Dick had worked together at Pantex (again, not for Bechtel). He is undeserving of most of the comments made about him on this post (my opinion, but much closer to fact than most of the stuff here).

Anonymous said...

From "U.S. Nuclear Deterrence in the 21st Century: Getting it Right," A White Paper By: The New Deterrent Working Group, Foreword By R. James Woolsey, July 2009, p. 25:

1: U.S. nuclear weapons are deteriorating and do not include all possible safety and realiability options.

Those tasked with assuring the integrity of the Nation´s nuclear arsenal have registered significant concern over the the effects of aging and what amounts to sustained underinvestment on the safety of U.S. nuclear warheads:

Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Michael R. Anastasio (April 2008): "The weapons in the stockpile are not static. The chemical and radiation processes inside the nuclear physics package induce material changes that limit weapon lifetimes. We are seeing significant changes that are discussed in detail in my Annual Assessment letter."

NNSA Administrator Thomas P. D´Agostino (April 2008): "Although recent studies have placed the life of our plutonium pits at 85 to 100 years, other exotic materials used in our warheads degrade at different rates and many of their aging properties are still not well understood. The metallurgical and chemical issues we face with our aging warheads continue to be a technical challenge for our best scientists and the risk of catastrophic technical failure occuring as our warheads age cannot be ruled out absolutely."

"To understand the challenges facing our stockpile, an analogy is in order. Today´s Mustang remains a high-performance automobile, has about the same dimensions and weighs only a few hundred pounds more than the first Mustangs, and has all the modern safety and security features we expect today air bags, anti-lock brakes, GPS navigation, satellite radio, theft deterrent and alarm systems. The 1965 version had none of these features, not even seat belts! We deploy warheads today that have 1970-80´s safety, security and anti-terrorism features. It does not mean that these warheads are not safe and secure, but we can do better and we should do better."

PS: I agree in the remarks by Dr. Anastasio, NNSA Administrator D´Agostino, and the report, "U.S. Nuclear Deterrence in the 21st Century: Getting it Right." (I previously asked for posting of the 70 pages report, but the blog-owner denied it, as well as three other documents, "Our Decaying Nuclear Deterrent," "Arms Control Amnesia," and "Why We Don´t Want a Nuclear-Free World.")

Frank Young said...

Empower yourself.

Anonymous said...

Frank, I know how to use this, but it doesn´t make a new top post on your blog.

Both Heritage Foundation ("Obama Just Made Us More Vulnerable"), and Theodoresworld ("Desperate Dealings With Moscow With Barack Obama´s Giveaway") have blogged on "Arms Control Amnesia," by Dr. Keith B. Payne, at http://heritage.org/2009/07/07/obama-just-made-us-more-vulnerable/, and at http://www.theodoresworld.net/archives/2009/07/desperate_dealings_with_moscow.html#comments.

E.g., Heritage, Theodoresworld, the four documents ("U.S. Nuclear Deterrence in the 21st Century: Getting it Right," "Our Decaying Nuclear Deterrent," "Arms Control Amnesia," and "Why We Don´t Want a Nuclear Free World"), and I have a greater interest in a strong US nuclear deterrent than you, and your blog.

Anonymous said...

8:01,

Let me respond to your deep, insightful comment:

*Yawn*

Anonymous said...

8:08 PM, compare yourself with Wild Thing, at http://www.theodoresworld.net/archives/2009/07/obama_tells_russians_putin_the.html#comments:

"Anon, thanks for the information and dates. Obama will mess up big time. He is too weak and hates everything about our defense and our military."

Game Over.

Anonymous said...

8:49,

Wait, don't tell me: Obama's going to take our guns away. Right?

Tired old tune, find another.

Anonymous said...

Can this blog ever stay on the topic? An important topic is being discussed about falsifying injury information. I would like to know more about this.

Anonymous said...

And isn't Doris Heims' Bechtelian replacement also working on a master's degree, having snagged a bachelor's degree decades ago? And he's also at the directorate level and earning how much?

Anonymous said...

Hey, 9:06.

Consider your self lucky. Over on the "Direct Line To Washington" post the Right Wing-nuts have already tried to do a major off-topic "Obama is going to take our guns away" diversion.

Why do you seem so shocked/concerned that LANS is falsifying workplace injury data? Can you really be that naive? Of course they are. Money rides on it.

Anonymous said...

"In my opinion, the safety system at LANL is broken. At LANL the most important thing appears to be having a paper trail to point the finger at someone else if something goes wrong. The formality of procedures which has been imposed improves safety mainly by impeding the ability to accomplish anything." (11:30 AM)

How true. LANL's massive and ever growing set of safety regulations is mainly for CYA protection of the higher level management. The idea is to have paper in hand to point fingers at the lowest person in the employment food chain and then fire them for a given safety or security violation. It's a system that adds no real value to a safety and security ethic.

NNSA probably knows all this, but they don't care. The massive amounts of paper work and policies generated makes the government bureaucrats think that they have created something of special value which they can admire.

LANL has become hopelessly tangled up in this compliance driven mess. I don't think it can ever recover, as too many people now have dead weight jobs at LANL that depend directly on being an active part of the compliance monstrosity.

Anonymous said...

9:03 PM, an ad hominem argument of zero value, since my actual post at http://www.theodoresworld.net referred to Pres. Obama´s planned, and now recent trip to Moscow, for US-Russia Nuclear Arms Reductions talks.

Anonymous said...

A good example of "safety system" is the latest "electrical safety" memo stating we as employees were required to check to see if our electrical plug-ins were all ULH certified. Of course there's no attempt to verify this but it'll count as a "check the box" for electrical safety or training.

Frank Young said...

7/22/09 8:01 PM,
Ok, I'll bite. On what do you base this statement, "I have a greater interest in a strong US nuclear deterrent than you, and your blog."?

Do you have more children than me? Pay more taxes? Did you serve more time in the military? Do you love freedom more than me? Or is your greater interest merely a paycheck?

Anonymous said...

LANL accident victim dies after 13 years in a coma
Sue Vorenberg | The New Mexican
7/22/2009 - 7/23/09

It's been 13 1/2 years since Efren "Nerf" Martinez left the job he loved, not because he wanted to, but because a tragic electrical accident at Los Alamos National Laboratory inured his brain and left him in a permanent vegetative state.

Martinez, a 49-year-old father of two, died Tuesday of kidney failure and complications from his injuries, his brother-in-law, Richard Pacheco, said.

He never regained consciousness after the January 1996 incident, in which a jackhammer he was operating hit a 13-kilovolt electrical cable buried in a concrete floor. Martinez was also severely burned in the accident.

"It was horrific," said Pacheco, who's sister Gloria is Martinez's wife. "The lab made a lot of mistakes."

Martinez spent the past 13 1/2 years at a nursing home in Los Alamos.

The family settled a lawsuit with the lab and the University of California, which operated LANL at the time, for more than $13 million back in 1998, Pacheco said.

A Department of Energy accident report at the time found several safety errors were made that led to Martinez's injuries.

A week before the accident, the lab approved a request by Johnson Controls World Services Inc., which employed Martinez, to put a draining pit in the basement of the building in the lab's TA 21 complex. The problem, the report said, was that the lab didn't tell the company that the pit site was directly over an electrical cable.

The report also said no attempt was made to resuscitate Martinez until six minutes after the shock, which sent him into cardiac arrest. And it found that medical personnel didn't succeed in restarting Martinez's heart until 32 minutes after the accident.

Perhaps the saddest thing, though, is that Martinez's two sons, Marcos, 21, and Antonio, 17, never really got to spend much time with their father, Pacheco said.

"It was tough for them to see him like that," Pacheco said. "It was hard for the boys because they never really got to know their dad."

What Pacheco remembers most about his brother-in-law is that he was a hard worker and avid outdoorsman, he said.

"He'd always volunteer to work overtime," Pacheco said. "He just loved to work. He would volunteer for snow-clearing shifts, middle-of-the-night shifts, he just loved his job."

When he wasn't working, Martinez used to raise horses, cows, chickens, pigs and other animals at his home in Cordova. And he loved hunting in the New Mexico wilderness, Pacheco said.

"He loved being in the woods," Pacheco said. "He didn't like going to stores or shopping. He was just an outdoorsman."

Martinez will be cremated at the De Vargas Funeral Home in Española in the near future. Arrangements for a memorial service are pending and will be released on the funeral home's Web site at www.devargasfuneral.com.

Martinez is survived by his wife, Gloria Ann Martinez, and sons Marcos J. and Antonio M. Martinez, all of Nambé. He is also survived by his mother, Pablita Martinez; brothers Benito Martinez and David Martinez, all of Cordova; and numerous nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts and other relatives.

Anonymous said...

The accident that resulted in the death of Efren "Nerf" Martinez is indeed a tragedy.

BUT, the newspaper article fails to mention that he was not wearing the required PPE at the time. Had he been wearing the PPE, there would have been no injuries. It would have been a reportable incident.

Frank Young said...

So he was required to wear an arc flash blast suit, 20 kV gloves, and stand on insulating rubber mats while operating a jackhammer? Are you joking?

Anonymous said...

Not joking about the PPE.
That's what it is.

Drawings and site maps of 50 year old building are not expected to be accurate.

Ground-penetrating radar is not 100% reliable.

Frank Young said...

Ground clusters are 100% reliable. I still think you are joking.

Anonymous said...

So, Frank, then are we to assume that
you would trust the LANL blueprints and the ground-penetrating radar and run your jackhammer without wearing PPE?

Frank Young said...

There is no PPE for jack hammering into a live 13kV line. Do you have any clue what you are talking about?

Anonymous said...

Worker injuries are like farts. They don't matter if nobody detects em.

Anonymous said...

"There is no PPE for jack hammering into a live 13kV line. Do you have any clue what you are talking about?

Of course there isn't, don't be so disingenuous. However, there IS PPE to keep you from becoming brain-dead if you should unknowingly jackhammer into a high-voltage line, if you anticipate it. That PPE was not used. Lack of work planning and lack of consideration of potential unknown hazards. Not, unfortunately, a rare situation. Usually, luckily, it doesn't result in serious injury or death. Lots of completely clueless construction and maintenance workers do things every day that could get them killed because they fail, or their management fails, to consider the risks. Just look at workers on Diamond Drive shoveling under active hydraulic machinery and in unshored 10-foot deep holes. Everyone will be surprised when one gets hurt or dead.

Frank Young said...

We seem to be dancing around an important point. Was he told he might cut into the power line and therefore must wear PPE? Is it even reasonable to expect a jackhammer operator to understand what that means? How is this his fault?

Anonymous said...

No dancing, Workers bear at least, if not more, responsibility for their safety as managers. Lack of knowledge or lack of awareness of risks is a symptom of lack of job competence. If you fail to ask what you'e getting into you need to accept whatever shit happens.

Frank Young said...

You're still dancing. Your refusal to answer the question implies either he wasn't told he might cut into a 13kV line or you don't know. I suspect the former.

You've got the second part right. I recall one of my early jobs at LANL was at a site which had to be certified clear of land mines before I was allowed to begin work. When it was certified clear I began work without sweeping for mines myself and without wearing a bomb disposal suit. I am indeed lucky not to be a dead, incompetent dumbass who was too stupid to ask if his work area was mined.

Anonymous said...

Frank you are losing it. It isn't "managements" responsibility to identify each and every possible hazard for each and every worker in each and every work situation.

Frank Young said...

You would think they could manage the big ones. A 13kV power line counts as a big one, no? Even if they don't give a damn about the worker you would think management would be interested in avoiding unplanned power outages.

You think I'm losing it? Reread your comments. If you had any sense you would just shut up.

Anonymous said...

Frank, I am new to this comment thread. You seem to be under the assumption that "management" knew the line was there. These are old building that have been modified extensively over the years. "Somebody," at some undefined time in the past, either failed to update the as-built drawings, or else failed to put the as-built drawings under appropriate configuration management. This is not ususual for government buildings of a certain era.

I don't know the particulars of how long ago the cable was placed, what steps were taken to ensure no hazards existed where the jackhammering was done, and what discussions may have taken place between JCI worker and supervisor, or between JCI craft managers and LANL facility managers. Nor do you. Maybe someone can track down the investigation report?

Anonymous said...

Frank, you seem to be assuming that 11:11 pm and 6:18 am are the same person. Nope. I don't think you're losing it (although you might be), I just think you're wrong.

Anonymous said...

You can buy a T-shirt at Amazon that states "To Err Is Human, to blame someone else shows good management skills"

Frank Young said...

Yes it is true I don't know the particulars of this accident. It happened before I ever stepped foot on lab property. The only fact in the story that was refuted here was the assignment of blame to the jackhammer operator.

BUT, the newspaper article fails to mention that he was not wearing the required PPE at the time. Had he been wearing the PPE, there would have been no injuries. It would have been a reportable incident.

7/23/09 6:20 AM


It would be reassuring to see that the accident report says otherwise and this is just revisionist history.

The jackhammer operator likely did not have access to the drawings of the power system and the results of the ground penetrating radar. He received a clearance to proceed with his work. He did what he was told and nobody tried to stop him.

And I know I'm probably talking to several different commenters, 12:06. They know who they are.

Before this story there were several reasonable comments on the safety culture at LANL. Since the story I don't know what to think.

Frank Young said...

7/24/09 1:10 PM,
I hear the ones with a LANL logo are made of Teflon.

Anonymous said...

There is almost no way that the guy operating a jack hammer can be given much blame for this, and I'm a management kinda guy making this statement. You can't bring a construction crew onto your site and simply say "Oh, by the way, there's a 13Kv line buried out here somewhere so be careful." LANL management may not have known exactly where it was, but it was their responsibility to ensure where "it wasn't" before they turned someone loose with a jack hammer.

At the time of this settlement, it was the largest individual personal injury settlement ever approved by DOE, and may still be the largest. I'm pretty sure that UC and DOE knew which party was at fault.

Anonymous said...

The Type A accident report is here:

http://www.hss.energy.gov/csa/csp/aip/accidents/typea/9601lanl/9601lanl.pdf

The worker was wearing some PPE (rubber dielectric gloves tested at 20 kV) for part of the activity, then had removed them for the second part, although required by procedure. These had not been re-tested at the prescribed interval, but would have gone a long way to protect the individual.

Such accidents typically point out mutual responsibilities between individual workers and management. Typically, underlying, root causes involve systemic or programmatic weaknesses which management is responsible to address - root causes for this incident include work control, permitting, communication, design, project management, interface with subcontractors, learning from past lessons, and holding individuals accountable for implementing requirements.

This event and others around that time were primary drivers for improving related requirements and systems to help ensure worker safety at LANL. Even today, some improvements are underway and warranted. To accident victims, these efforts are justified and welcome. For those who apply controls in good faith, they've almost certainly avoided injury. I certainly want to go home safely at the end of the day.

The hazards at LANL are very real and quite complex - I submit that LANL has an enormous responsibility to do what it can to provide a safe workplace. There is a cadre of caring individuals willing to make this their livelihood and purpose - watching out for all of our safety - while contributing to and helping ensure the successful mission of the Laboratory.

Frank Young said...

Thank you both!

Anonymous said...

what happened at TA-35 on Thursday?

Anonymous said...

7/24/09 4:05 PM asked ... what happened at TA-35 on Thursday?

An MST-7 worker was treating/neutralizing acidic waste with a base and had red fumes and foaming occur. He called all the right people, the facility was evacuated, Hazmat shut down Pajarito and the signs lied telling people this was just "an exercise".

Well, now that once again all the right follow up notifications happened, the senior officials are going to shut-down/pause all chemical operations to punish everyone for the correct actions of a few because some senior cock-sucker is afraid of his bonus being affected.

The lesson here folks is DO NOT EVER REPORT ANYTHING or else you will be punished, ridiculed, see no salary increase, have training up the the wazoo (more training will teach you dammit), etc.

Yes folks, this is the essence of HPI. Fuck the employees and you better pray nothing ever goes wrong and if it does you better damn well NOT call your management, HazMatt, the FOD, and don't even think about stopping by Occ Med. All they will do is try to say you were on drugs or under the influence of alcohol.

Carry on.

Anonymous said...

I work at LANL and work with some pretty hazardous shit. I appreciate the emphasis on safety. I like the fact that I have the right to stop work if I feel unsafe. I believe (with the experience of doing so) that management will back me up if I call a stop work.
7/22/09 7:24 AM is absolutely correct. The last IWD I wrote, i spent far more time trying to get the current training plans correct than I did addressing controls to mitigate actual hazards in the document.
Believe me, I believe that safety is absolutely paramount, but the focus needs to be on an analysis and control (and mitigation) of the hazards, not on the specific versions of the documents cited.

And 7/23/09 6:20 AM is a complete asshole.

Anonymous said...

"An MST-7 worker was treating/neutralizing acidic waste with a base and had red fumes and foaming occur."

Anyone who has worked at LANL more than a week knows that NO waste treatment is allowed, except as authorized under very specific circumstances. 9:24 is an idiot. Following the correct procedures would have resulted in no issue. Perhaps 9:24 needs to look in the mirror to see a cocksucker.

Anonymous said...

11:36 pm, you are doing managing upward quite well. Future looks quite bright for a cock-sucker like you. I think we all spend too much time on paperwork and training and then forget simple things in lab since we have spent too much time away from the lab ... doing paperwork and training.

For data, perhaps our crack-management team should look at the old numbers of accidents/incidents when people got to spend more time in lab versus recent years when our idiot management team think reading computer screens and going to white rock.

Truly, no wonder Mikey and Terry and Company avoid All-Hands meetings. I would love to ask them for the data on these issues.

Naturally, Mikey will look at "his lawyer" and sexual harasser extraordinaire Rich Marquez and say he can't answer the question, but still they should look hard and deep before "punishing" the troops, which we know is going to happen ...

Anonymous said...

The staff at TA-35 weren't told what was going on. Some thought it was an exercise, some thought it a real event. No one knew what to do.

Was this another case of LANS trying to keep the lid on a serious safety event? Even if it wasn't a safety event, shouldn't there have been clear emergency communications from LANS to the staff instructing the staff what to do?

Anonymous said...

Re: TA-35, the message sent out about the Pecos closure (they didn't close Pajarito) contained no event information.

Anonymous said...

to 3:03 PM
That's all very nice, but who pays the bills? Do you ever have to meet any metrics to see if what you are doing is cost effective? The new reality is that LANL has to compete if it is going to survive. That means delivering on-time (no several month shutdowns or delays allowed) and at a competitive cost. Right now I can hire PhD Physicist consultants for $125/hr. If I contract it to LANL it will cost twice that. If LANL doen't do something about THIS issue, then the safety and security issues are moot.

Anonymous said...

"The new reality is that LANL has to compete if it is going to survive. That means delivering on-time (no several month shutdowns or delays allowed) and at a competitive cost." (1:04 PM)

What you say is true if LANL is to be a healthy lab and wants to diversify the lab's portfolio of scientific projects. Alas, that is not in LANL's future.

Look around at what's happening. LANL is becoming a "lab" whose chief purpose appears to be environmental cleanup, facilities maintenance and managing all the new construction projects. A small amount of science may remain, but it will become a Potemkin Village for PR use.

Under this scenario, costs and scientific productivity don't matter. And that's the reason you've seen LANS take no serious actions to reign in costs at LANL. They know the path they want to follow. It's a path that will earn them the maximum annual profit fees with minimal risks to the executives running the LLC.

Anonymous said...

Anyone remember brighter and better days at Los Alamos when the the talk was all about the emerging "Info Mesa" future?

..............................
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Info_Mesa

Info Mesa is the named coined by Ed Regis to describe the emerging technology companies and community in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The name was first used in an article in Wired Magazine in 2000 and later in a book by Regis published in 2003.
...............................

Today, we have the "Bechtel Mesa", a community owned and controlled by a group of corporate profiteers and carpet-baggers who line their pockets with ill-gotten gains and hire staff and outside companies on the "friends and family" plan.

Unfortunately, unlike the bright future of the "Info Mesa", the "Bechtel Mesa" is more like a nightmare that will stay in this area for a long time to come.

Anonymous said...

"The staff at TA-35 weren't told what was going on. Some thought it was an exercise, some thought it a real event. No one knew what to do." - 6:53 am

And this is how we implement the new LANS motto, "LOOK after each other"?

What a farce LANS is! Mikey and company are only LOOKing after their own inflated paychecks.