Underground Operations At The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant: A True Safety Culture

Fred G. Ashford and Linda M. Calderon

Abstract

The following two papers discuss safety management at the Department of Energy' s (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). The first paper, written by Fred Ashford, describes the Westinghouse Waste Isolation Division's (WID) Underground Operations organization at WIPP, its achievements, and its safety culture philosophy. By successfully coordinating a variety of technical activities in compliance with requirements and regulations, the author concludes that Underground Operations has contributed significantly to the positive perception of the WIPP Project held by oversight agencies and the public. Underground Operations has been able to strengthen WIPP's image as a safe, technically sound facility by focusing on the safety, well-being, and development of its workers. According to Ashford, this management philosophy has resulted in the formation of a true safety culture, which benefits not only the employees but also the project.

In the second paper, Linda Calderon describes many of the steps taken by Westinghouse to turn the management philosophy into a comprehensive safety culture that reduced WIPP accident and incident rates dramatically in the early 1990s. Change in the corporate culture was one key to establishing new safety records. Management initiated the safety ownership initiatives by identifying problems and closing down facility operations to address them. Employees became engaged in the efforts to correct problems. Westinghouse then strived to keep employees informed, using programs including poster campaigns, special training programs, and focused employee working groups. Safety became a value rather than an obligation. Ultimately, Westinghouse encouraged 24-hour safety, which included sending workers home with information packs on household safety and rewarding them for safe behavior, such as wearing seat belts when leaving the job site.



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--> Underground Operations At The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant: A True Safety Culture Fred G. Ashford and Linda M. Calderon Abstract The following two papers discuss safety management at the Department of Energy' s (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). The first paper, written by Fred Ashford, describes the Westinghouse Waste Isolation Division's (WID) Underground Operations organization at WIPP, its achievements, and its safety culture philosophy. By successfully coordinating a variety of technical activities in compliance with requirements and regulations, the author concludes that Underground Operations has contributed significantly to the positive perception of the WIPP Project held by oversight agencies and the public. Underground Operations has been able to strengthen WIPP's image as a safe, technically sound facility by focusing on the safety, well-being, and development of its workers. According to Ashford, this management philosophy has resulted in the formation of a true safety culture, which benefits not only the employees but also the project. In the second paper, Linda Calderon describes many of the steps taken by Westinghouse to turn the management philosophy into a comprehensive safety culture that reduced WIPP accident and incident rates dramatically in the early 1990s. Change in the corporate culture was one key to establishing new safety records. Management initiated the safety ownership initiatives by identifying problems and closing down facility operations to address them. Employees became engaged in the efforts to correct problems. Westinghouse then strived to keep employees informed, using programs including poster campaigns, special training programs, and focused employee working groups. Safety became a value rather than an obligation. Ultimately, Westinghouse encouraged 24-hour safety, which included sending workers home with information packs on household safety and rewarding them for safe behavior, such as wearing seat belts when leaving the job site.

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--> Management changed, as well. Supervisors were urged to ''manage by walking around'' to see the conditions and situations their workers faced. Multidisciplinary groups tackled the problems of various work crews to familiarize managers with work areas across the project. Open-door and communication policies became standard. Westinghouse is now continuing these endeavors with its contractors and subcontractors. Foundation of A True Safety Culture Introduction The WIPP Project, in southeastern New Mexico, is a DOE research and development project designed to demonstrate the permanent, safe, geologic disposal of transuranic waste resulting from U.S. defense activities and programs. As the first facility designed for the permanent disposal of transuranic waste, WIPP has a responsibility to establish an environment of public trust and acceptance. To achieve this goal, DOE has made the safety, protection, and well-being of its personnel, the public, and the environment its number one priority. Consequently, WIPP's success depends largely on the evolution of a new organizational culture founded on its commitment to safety. As DOE's management and operating contractor at WIPP, the Westinghouse WID has aspired to meet the challenge of developing a true safety culture. The Underground Operations section at WIPP exemplifies a culture that promotes excellence in safe operations by focusing on employee well-being and development. This paper describes the Underground Operations organization, its achievements, and its safety culture philosophy. Underground Facilities WIPP's waste repository level has been excavated approximately 2,150 ft (655 m) underground in the midst of an approximately 3,100-ft-thick, bedded salt deposit. The layout of the WIPP facility is shown in Figure 1. WIPP has four shafts to the underground: the salt handling shaft, the waste shaft, the exhaust shaft, and the air intake shaft. A map of the storage horizon is shown in Figure 2. The shafts are located in a shaft pillar area, within which mining is limited to ensure safety of the shafts and surface facilities. The shaft pillar area contains the shaft stations, salt storage and loading bins,

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--> Figure 1 Diagram of the WIPP facility layout.

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--> Figure 2 Underground test rooms and waste storage panels.

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--> maintenance shops, decontamination stations, vehicle fueling stations, electrical substations, and vehicle parking areas. The waste storage area lies south of the shaft pillar area. Waste storage panels are excavated as needed. While waste is being stored in one panel, mining takes place in the next panel. A waste storage panel consists of seven waste storage rooms, each 13 ft high by 33 ft wide by 300 ft long. The experimental area lies north of the shaft pillar area. This area is used primarily by Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) to monitor the geologic, hydrologic, geochemical, and structural behavior of the WIPP facility. Underground Operations The primary purpose of Underground Operations is to excavate and maintain the underground repository and to ensure safe access by personnel and safe storage of waste in support of the WID's efforts to achieve its mission. Following are descriptions of the primary functions of Underground Operations. Access Control Underground Operations has established a controlled-access process that incorporates guidance from Title 30 of the Code of Federal Regulations (30CFR) and DOE Order 5480.19, Conduct of Operations. This process controls access into the underground facility prior to the point of entry. An underground controller issues access permits based on required travel underground. The underground controller has two rovers in the underground facility who are responsible for placing barriers, ensuring the competency of barricades, and ensuring that the flow of underground travel is conducted safely. This process is the primary system by which WID Underground Operations managers ensure that all personnel underground are conducting work in a safe manner. Ground Control The excavation of underground openings in salt beds causes the salt to deform and gradually creep into and fill any temporary opening. Because of this dynamic environment, a dedicated mine-openings crew maintains 7.1 linear miles of tunnel. These

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--> individuals work directly with a cognizant mine engineer and a geotechnical monitoring crew to ensure ground safety in the underground facility. Ground control includes milling the floor and scaling the ribs to counteract the slow but constant salt deformation. Primary overhead ground support consists of mechanical point anchor bolts, yieldable bolt systems, and cable span systems for areas of fractured ground. The ground is monitored using radial convergence points throughout the openings, extensometers that penetrate the overhead strata, video observations of vertical boreholes, and weekly visual observations of the openings. All these monitoring processes are integrated through the cognizant engineer and are reported to the customer, DOE, in a monthly interface meeting with Underground Operations. Emergency Response And Utilities Distribution Underground Operations uses a facilities engineer and two technicians who are removed from the work process in order to maintain centralized control over utilities distribution and emergency response. Because they have no vested interest in completing work projects, they provide independent coordination of resources. This crew releases all work underground, configures all utilities, and aligns the underground ventilation. In addition, the crew controls initial emergency response underground. Any incidents occurring in the field require operators and technicians to contact and report to a centralized location. This ensures management timely categorization of the incident according to DOE requirements set forth in DOE Order 5000.3B, Occurrence Reporting and Processing of Operations Information. Incidents meeting the reporting requirements are investigated by a Root Cause Analysis Team. Incidents that do not meet the reporting requirements are investigated under the direction of Underground Operations management. Work Authorization WID Underground Operations conducts work in the facility in a controlled manner, in accordance with site-wide work authorization guidance. This work is coordinated among representatives from the entire site through plan-of-the-day meetings. All activities and system line-ups are coordinated prior to the commencement of work in the field. Work is scheduled through a central planner on a weekly basis. Emergent work is discussed daily prior to approval.

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--> All work instructions are approved by a maintenance engineer. Any modifications or design implications require the technical guidance of a cognizant engineer. The cognizant engineer operates independently of the operating group and provides the operator with an engineering analysis of proposed changes to systems. In Compliance: Evidence of Success Underground Operations is responsible for performing all operations in compliance with DOE Orders; the WIPP Final Safety Analysis Report and Operational Safety Requirements; Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) requirements; all other federal, state, and local statutes and directives; and internal site procedures. WID Underground Operations complies with guidance from the Land Withdrawal Act of 1992. A 1987 memorandum of understanding between DOE and MSHA ensures that MSHA visits and inspects the facility a minimum of four times per year. These inspections are on-site field validations of compliance with specific parts of 30CFR cited within the memorandum of understanding. MSHA inspections in the first quarter of 1990 netted 52 violations. In 1992 and 1993, WID Underground Operations experienced six quarterly inspections with only one violation noted by the inspector (see Figure 3). The Land Withdrawal Act also requires the U.S. Bureau of Mines to perform a comprehensive annual evaluation of the stability of the salt structures in the underground facility. This evaluation enables WID to make specific recommendations on mine design to DOE. WID adheres to regulatory mining requirements set forth by the state of New Mexico via the New Mexico Mine Safety Code. Adherence to these standards is evaluated during biannual visits of the State Mine Inspector. Since the first quarter of 1990, the State Mine Inspector has not cited the underground facility for any violations of state mining standards. WID Underground Operations implements industry guidance through DOE Order 5480.19, Conduct of Operations, which provides the management and operating contractors at DOE facilities with guidance on rigorous and disciplined operations in the field. Examples include specific guidance on shift routines and operating practices, lock-out/tag-out requirements, and operator responsibilities.

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--> Figure 3 WID underground operations voilations from 1989 to 1993.

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--> Organizational Relationships To effectively support the WIPP mission, Underground Operations has established relationships with many organizations outside WID. Some of these organizations are customers, others provide technical support, and still others provide guidance and oversight. In its daily operations, Underground Operations strives to demonstrate to each of these organizations an attitude of cooperation, dedication to quality work, enthusiasm for the project, and a true safety culture. Department of Energy DOE's WIPP Project Site Office provides a direct counterpart for WID Underground Operations management to ensure adequate communication of customer needs and expectations, as well as to ensure that both WID and DOE are committed to the same priorities. Sandia National Laboratories SNL is WIPP's scientific advisor to DOE. To achieve its objectives, SNL requires the support of Underground Operations. Underground Operations excavates and maintains SNL openings and ensures that SNL activities in the underground facility adhere to regulatory drivers. WID also provides regulatory-driven training to SNL personnel. Subcontractors WID has many definitive needs satisfied through subcontractual arrangements with various contractors. WID Underground Operations provides operational and safety oversight of subcontractor performance in the underground facility and ensures subcontractor compliance with WID's regulatory drivers.

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--> Oversight Agencies Underground Operations has interacted with various WIPP oversight groups, including the Defense Nuclear Facility Safety Board, the Environmental Evaluation Group, and the New Mexico Environment Department. WID's relationships with these groups have proven successful primarily because of WID's emphasis on open communication. Underground technicians, rather than just managers and supervisors, frequently talk directly with representatives from oversight groups. The technicians not only answer technical questions, but also convey their sense of pride in the project. Community Underground Operations understands that the success of the WIPP Project depends on the public's perception of the facility as safe and technically sound. Underground Operations personnel provide excellent guides for community outreach tours that are designed to introduce the community to the WIPP Project. WID Underground Operations has provided outreach to local and nonlocal community leaders primarily in the form of educational tours. Leaders taking these tours have included the mayor of Carlsbad; the director of the Department of Development; the governors of the states of New Mexico, Utah, and Idaho; and business leaders throughout the southwest. Industry WID Underground Operations has developed close ties to industry. Both nuclear and nonnuclear DOE facilities throughout the country, and the mining industry in particular, have provided Underground Operations personnel with insight and experience. For example, 22 experts from deep evaporite mines assisted WID in the development and validation of the yieldable support system. Evolution of A True Safety Culture Like many other companies, WID is striving to develop a tree safety culture. In the case of Underground Operations at WIPP, WID has certainly succeeded. It is not easy to define what a safety culture is; it is easier first to define what it is not. A safety culture is not just the result of establishing safety rules, procedures,

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--> regulations, and guidelines; it is not just management commitment to safety or enforcement of rules; and it is not just a result of ensuring compliance with requirements and directives from the customer or oversight agencies. A true safety culture is evident in each employee's knowledge, belief, perception, and behavior. Each employee's dedication to safety ultimately becomes customary or habitual; it comes naturally and not spuriously. The culture originates among the employees. WID's safety culture is evidenced by its safety record. Table 1 shows a summary of WIPP's 1993 injuries and illnesses. Initially, management's enforcement of safety rules may help to start the evolution towards a safety culture, but management must also do much more to cultivate the organizational behavior so that the culture may grow and mature. In Underground Operations, the managers and supervisors focus on three particular areas: safety, well-being, and development. Safety As stated previously, safety must become the foundation of each employee's behavior and attitude in the work place. To achieve this, management must challenge and train the workers to be personally concerned about safety. Holding supervisors accountable for the safety of their workers begins the evolution toward a safety culture. This integral part of Underground Operation's management philosophy emphasizes management's responsibility and offers a strong incentive to enforce safe work practices and, in effect, to protect workers from themselves. If management displays an ongoing, sincere commitment to employee safety, the workers begin to perceive that their managers and immediate supervisors care about their safety above everything else. One of the primary reasons for Underground Operations' successful handling of incidents is that all personnel have complete stop-work authority underground. As a result, all workers can feel comfortable in the work place knowing that everyone else is looking out for their safety. Just as importantly, all workers learn that their concerns will not be ignored by their managers and supervisors; management will make safety concerns their highest priorities. Once the workers have incorporated their commitment to safety into their behavior and attitude, they unintentionally sell the safety image to everyone who visits the underground area. During community outreach tours, visitors automatically perceive the safety culture and enthusiasm of the Underground Operations workers, and this perception helps WIPP's overall image. By performing underground operations safely day in and day out, WID demonstrates to the public, including oversight agencies, that transuranic waste

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--> TABLE 1 Waste Isolation Pilot Plant 1993 Injury/Illness Summary Month First-Aid Cases Recordable Cases Lost-time Cases Recordable Rate* Waste Isolation Division, Westinghouse       January 2 0 0 0 February 3 0 0 0 March 3 0 0 .0 April 3 1 1 .37 May 3 1 0 .59 June 5 0 0 .48 July 2 0 0 .31 August 6 0 0 .36 September 5 1 0 .48 Subcontractors         January 2 0 0 0 February 1 0 0 0 March 0 0 0 0 April 0 0 0 0 May 0 0 0 0 June 0 0 0 0 July 0 0 0 0 August 1 0 0 0 September 1 1 1 .73 Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Site         January 4 0 0 0 February 4 0 0 0 March 3 0 0 0 April 3 1 1 .29 May 3 1 0 .48 June 5 0 0 .40 July 2 0 0 .34 August 7 0 0 .29 September 6 2 1 .52 * Rate = (Number of injuries × 200,000) / work hours

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--> can be handled and emplaced safely, as well. The public knows that the workers feel safe and are confident in their management, proud of their work, and committed to the project. Well-Being Supervisors must not only care about the physical safety of their employees, but they must also care about their overall well-being. Like safety, well-being is measured by the perception of the workers. To enable management to ensure the well-being of its workers, supervisors must take on the responsibility of learning what perceptions their workers have. Supervisors therefore try to get to know their employees on a personal level. Since the personal concerns of a worker ultimately will affect his or her performance on the job, each supervisor maintains an open-door policy to encourage employees to discuss any issue, whether job-related or not. By building a personal relationship with each employee, the supervisors can establish more comfortable communication, become more receptive to employee needs and concerns, and keep in touch with the opinions and perceptions of every employee. To establish a good relationship with each employee and credibility as knowledgeable and supportive supervisors, each supervisor must be knowledgeable about each worker's craft, the technology, and the entire facility. This knowledge enables supervisors to ensure that all work assignments are managed with the employees' best interests in mind. Supervisors are positioned in the field so they can establish good relationships with their teams. They walk the field constantly and spend a minimum of 40 percent of their time talking with their workers. Supervisors continually try to obtain feedback from their workers to be better able to assess workers' needs. WID management has been successful in developing beneficial supervisor/employee relationships by carefully selecting supervisors and managers who have the capacity to encourage and enrich the safety culture. Although each Underground Operations supervisor has his or her own style of management, they all have one thing in common: they care about people. Development If employees came to work each day only to make a living, their devotion to the job and the company would be based solely on the potential of making more money through the WID's performance-based salary increases. Even though this would provide an incentive to improve performance, benefits to WID and the project would be greater if

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--> each employee were motivated by more than just salary. Because of this, WID supports the personal and professional development of its employees and offers many opportunities and resources for their continuing improvement. Therefore, perhaps the most important element of Underground Operations' management philosophy is employee development which drives commitment to safety and well-being. To support employee development, supervisors first assist their workers in defining career goals. Each supervisor then takes a personal interest in helping the workers start to reach their goals. He or she provides counseling and tries to assist each employee in finding the right development tools. There are many development tools, both inside and outside WID. The Training Department offers many classes and self-paced training modules in a multitude of disciplines; WID may also sponsor off-site training. Underground Operations supervisors also keep files of information about various continuing education programs at universities and technical schools throughout the country. Along with providing these development opportunities, supervisors also try to provide on-the-job challenges for their employees. Employees are often given more responsibility; for example, they are regularly asked to serve as guides for important visitors or given assignments traditionally belonging to supervisors. With this added responsibility, employees can see themselves progressing, mastering a new skill, and meeting a new challenge. They can envision a prosperous future as they work toward their goals, and along the way they gain more experience in a variety of areas that will help them in their overall development. The added responsibilities are not perceived as a burden because they promote self-worth and allow each worker to be a success immediately while he or she strives to reach his or her ultimate goal. In effect, supervisors sell the future to their employees. When workers begin to achieve their aspirations with the help of the company and their supervisors and managers, they develop a stronger commitment to their jobs. Within the Underground Operations culture, workers get excited about coming to work. As they begin to benefit from knowledge and training that is not necessarily related to mining, their loyalty becomes an addiction. They cannot wait to get to work to further their development. Their job becomes more than just a job, it becomes their path to the future. Not only do managers and supervisors support their employees' development, but they also practice what they preach. They develop themselves and work toward their own goals. In fact, by fostering the combination of loyalty and development, Underground Operations has matured into an organization with built-in replacements among the crew. Commitment to development is evident in the fact that miners have been promoted to professional-level or supervisory-level positions. In fact, everyone in Underground

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--> Operations has worked up through the ranks. Everyone at WIPP, including all supervisors and managers, started as miners. Conclusion In 1990, Underground Operations' managers began to cultivate the elements of safety in their organization. As a result, what started as a management philosophy and enforcement of safe work practices has become part of the culture. As the culture has matured, supervisors have been able to move away from the more technical aspects of their jobs and focus on the safety, well-being, and development of their workers. Building A True Safety Culture The Safety Record The advent of a safety culture is indicated by its success in improving the organization's safety record. At WIPP, Westinghouse has made great progress in industrial safety, and the record warrants review. First, 1992 was a very successful year, for it was then that the company reached 3.2 million employee hours without an injury resulting in a day away from work. That was 2.5 years without somebody being injured in the work place. Although the company experienced an injury in March 1992, its workers once again exceeded 1 million ''perfect employee hours,'' as defined by the National Safety Council Award Program, in November 1993. The current incident rate is just over one-third what it was in 1992, and the current lost work day rate is less than one-half. With its own record so improved, Westinghouse turned its attention to its contractor program. The initial total recordable incident rate for all company contractors and subcontractors was 1.57; it has since declined to a total recordable rate of .18, or 11 percent of what it was before this recent safety effort. Clearly, Westinghouse's safety management efforts at WIPP have been successful. The management philosophy described in Fred Ashford's paper deserves credit for providing a firm foundation for the WIPP safety culture. However, a true safety culture must be fully integrated into an organization's operations. Safety must become a way of life and a value for each and every employee. Westinghouse has taken many steps to engage WIPP employees in the safety effort and to keep them empowered. The following paragraphs describe in some detail the

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--> building of the safety culture that has produced such dramatic improvements in WIPP safety statistics. Initiating Culture Change Westinghouse began working in the early 1990s to establish a corporate safety culture at WIPP. Although accident and incident rates compared favorably against industry averages, the company wanted to see if the rates could be reduced through a defined process. Westinghouse's first step in 1990 was to do a comprehensive baseline survey of facilities and programs. Former Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) employees, working as consultants, examined Westinghouse surface facilities critically and came up with over 360 findings. These findings were trended to look for commonality of hazards and violations throughout the site. To address these findings and the results of MSHA inspections, Westinghouse presented a hazard recognition program to all of its supervisors and managers, then shut down the site for a day, not only to correct these deficiencies, but also to review all areas for items noted in the trending of the inspection findings. At the same time, Westinghouse established a formal training program and checklist for managers and landlords to use in surveying their own areas. Repeating this exercise with the same consultants in 1991, the company had only 270 findings. Following another stand-down, all supervisors and managers were mandated to take eight hours of OSHA training. A management-by-walking-around approach, as mentioned in Fred Ashford's paper, was initiated to get supervisors to go out in the field and to inspect their areas. Because nonsupervisory employees were involved in the corrective process, they began developing the desired work habits and attitudes, if for no other initial reason than to protect themselves from being overloaded with corrective work again. The company responded by developing systems that emphasized employee ownership and accountability. An example was the Landlord Program, which held an individual accountable for an area or a building and his or her equipment. These systems were integrated into the overall safety program. The Westinghouse safety program is modeled on the OSHA Safety and Health Management Guidelines. In addition, the company has added a unique element to encourage and foster safety; the overall concept is that safety should be seen as positive, not negative or boring. To accomplish this, Westinghouse emphasizes continuous improvement and active awareness and recognition programs to keep safety up front and current in the minds of its employees. Examples of various programs follow.

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--> Employee Participation and Management Commitment Employee participation and visible demonstration of management commitment are key elements of the Westinghouse WID program. Draft DOE Order 5483.XX and the OSHA Safety Management Guidelines served as the model for the Worker Protection Policy, the primary document for all of the WIPP safety programs. Its elements include management commitment, employee involvement, hazard reviews, hazard prevention and control, and safety training. The emphasis is on integrating safety into every part of the project. Safety does not stand alone as an entity and department separate from the rest of the facility. Safety is a part of every operation and every department (e.g., construction, materials control, engineering, purchasing, training, operations, etc.). That emphasis is reiterated for WIPP employees by the general manager, who holds round-table discussions with a cross section of the employee population and routine, all-employees meetings. This safety commitment is written on a plaque that is in every building and in every supervisor's and manager's office. The commitment states, "Safety is woven into every operation; it cannot be separated. Success cannot be achieved any other way." Westinghouse wants as many people as possible involved in safety at WIPP. The company uses many methods to involve its employees. For example, it has established task teams and safety committees that develop safety awareness programs. The latter group reviews accident and incident reports, looking for trends and lessons learned that they can take back into the work force and apply there to minimize risk in the work place. Accountability for safety is written as a key element into every job-level performance appraisal. Work-site analyses and job hazard analyses are a way of life. Pre-job briefings are required for everyone on a project or a task to provide an opportunity for people to talk about and understand the task and the hazards of a project before it begins. Contractors and scientific entities must present a job hazard analysis of any work they are going to do. This is sent to the Industrial Safety Section for review and approval. Westinghouse works with the appropriate parties to resolve any problems but keeps final review and approval authority over all job hazard analyses and safety plans. A hazard prevention and control document states a management policy of support for the WIPP worker protection program. The integration of this program into all facets of WIPP operations cremes set responsibilities for all elements of the project. Safety and health training educates employees, managers, and supervisors in their roles within the safety program. To establish the WIPP safety effort in 1988, Westinghouse started with a DuPont Stop Program. It was a good program to bring safety into the work place. It was an observation program based on compliance and emphasized examining conditions.

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--> When Westinghouse first started counting hours to encourage a reduction in injuries and pride in achievement, it seemed the company would make a million hours without an injury and then lose it. It was as though everybody took a deep breath and said, "Ah, that's over. I can relax now." To span the gap after the third occurrence, a program called "Working in Proper Perspective" was initiated. It was a culture program that promoted safety as a condition of employment and stressed that caring for each other in the work place is essential. Everybody in the high or moderate risk group was required to participate, and it helped keep the momentum going past the one-million and two-million accident-free-hour marks. Another DuPont program, the "Take Two" program, aims to set a positive attitude among employees. This has been widely used in WIPP work-place or safety meetings. The program that is currently in use is the "Start Program," which the general manager gave to all his staff at their meetings. This program follows the philosophy that safety is a condition of employment. Training, accountability, responsibility, and accident investigations for near misses form the essence of the program. The staff managers have in turn given the Start Program to all of their managers. Some departments have taken the initiative to train their staff in this program. Other awareness programs abound. A poster program that enhances safety awareness uses pictures of employees' children. An employee recognition award program that is run by the safety and security committee allows anybody to nominate another employee for a safety award. The "Million-Hour Campaign" is also a recognized safety program at WIPP. A "Six Weeks of Safety" program began after it was realized that in the beginning of the summer there was an increase in accidents. Kids are out of school and lifestyles change during that time of the year. Through health and safety fairs organized around specific themes, Westinghouse increased employees' focus on safety and enabled them to avoid the influx of summer injuries. For driver safety, employees dressed as the "Vince and Larry" crash dummies and visited people in the work place to hand out safe-driving materials. Another driver safety initiative involved safety personnel standing at the exit of the parking lot, and if an employee were wearing a seat belt, they would give that person something such as a pressure gauge or spare key. These initiatives were aimed at keeping awareness high. The awareness programs begin at site orientation. All new employees, vendors, and visitors working on site go through a three-day orientation program. A 24-hour safety campaign extends the focus to include safety in the home. Employees receive the National Safety Council Family Safety and Health Magazine. For fire prevention week, safety management sent home a mailer that looked like a firecracker. It contained materials to assist the family in planning escape routes and decals

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--> that they could put on their lawn power or other potentially hazardous equipment at home. In the management overview program, two managers from diverse groups, for example purchasing and engineering, will go out and look at a part of the operations program (e.g., work control or the shaft crew). They will look at the documentation and at the program. They will also talk to the people and will get involved and learn about other areas of the facility and exchange ideas. This gives employees an opportunity to discuss their roles and to explain their work; it gives a different perspective back to the managers. This overview program makes it possible for team members to learn from each other and not have such diverse, isolated functions on site. Management by walking around is extraordinarily effective, putting supervisors, managers, and staff functions out in the work force. Complementary efforts include an open-door policy, a hotline, and a formal written employee program. There are forms that enable any employee to write to the general manager and find an answer to any question. Conclusion It is said that safety is like water torture. One or two drops will not bother you, but sooner or later it is going to get to you. Through its multiple safety programs, training, and universal accountability for safety, Westinghouse is integrating safety and spreading the word that safety is more than a priority; it is a value at WIPP, with measurable evidence of success. Discussion Participants discussed the relationship between Westinghouse in its role as the management and operating contractor at WIPP and the scientific users of the facility. Fred Ashford observed that for the WIPP science community, "data drives data drives data," and the collection of information raises more questions and never seems to provide definitive conclusions. Ultimately, the management and operating contractor has responsibility for the safety of all who are working underground, and the scientific studies being conducted by the SNL and Ohio State University are secondary in importance to ensuring that safety. Despite the initial complaints of WIPP's science community when confronted with new safety processes, in the end they fit into the processes very well. Mr. Ashford also noted that Westinghouse WID receives invaluable information about the stability of the openings at WIPP from SNL scientists. In particular, SNL heat

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--> induction experiments have provided much data on how the ground fails. WID has developed support systems and yieldable-support systems based primarily on data provided by Sandia researchers.