deeply concerned about the recent rise in the number of
injuries at our Lab. Over the past 10 years, Berkeley
Lab has worked hard and continuously reduced our injury
rates. Last year our injury rates were among the best
of the 10 Laboratories in the DOE Office of Science. Since
January, our injury rates have shown a steady increase.
A review of these injuries indicates that many could and
should have been prevented. Recent injuries include: those
incurred from lifting objects, from repetitive stress
due to improper computer use or workstation set-up, and
from falling down stairs or slipping in water. We also
had an employee struck by a car while rushing to catch
an on-site bus.
have a collective responsibility to work safely.
If we work together and help each other we can reverse
this negative trend and continue on our path of great
science performed safely every day.
want divisions and workgroups to immediately begin discussing
how injuries occur in your organization and what you
can do to prevent them. I want you to understand that
taking time to work safely is our highest organizational
value and my top expectation of your performance.
your discussions, please consider the following:
employees report that they are rushing or not taking
the time to plan their work carefully — take
the time and plan your work. If you are not sure you
are qualified to perform a task, don't do it —
get someone that you know is qualified.
If you are not sure you have the right tool, get the
right tool. Also, stop working with enough time to
safely get to a meeting or home, including catching
the onsite bus.
of our recent injuries involve material handling.
Effective immediately, unless you are confident that
you can lift the object by yourself, get help or use
mechanical assistance. If the lift is awkward, please
consider this and adjust your lifting ability downward
to be sure you can lift it safely.
of our injuries occur in the presence of fellow employees.
That means we can help each other by warning or stopping
our fellow employees if we see them doing work or
behaving unsafely. Encourage your co-workers to peer-check
you, and the Lab will have fewer injuries.
know many of you have had these discussions already
and are taking action. I appreciate your efforts. I
also want to stress that continued reporting of injuries
is very important — both to ensure the injured
employee gets prompt treatment and to learn. We also
have a wide variety of methods for you to use in reporting
an unsafe situation. Please work with your supervisor,
or visit the EH&S homepage for more reporting avenues
— including ways for you to report anonymously.
have a great Laboratory, so let's demonstrate that we
can solve this problem the way we meet all our science
objectives — by working smart and working together.