February 2000


ISM Phase II: Divisions do their own thing to ensure safety message is heard in the workplace

To most of us who do work at ORNL, it’s been business as usual. During January and February, however, ORNL has been in the midst of a readiness review for the Integrated Safety Management Phase II verification.

To demonstrate that it’s ready for the verification, the tenets of and idea behind ISM should be well-known, understood and practiced throughout the Laboratory.

In the meantime, “business as usual” at ORNL should mean that we’re all working safely together. Don’t expect any parades or parties to kick off the Phase II verification. That’s not what ISM is about, says ISM Program Manager Dennie Parzyck.

“Integrated Safety Management is an ongoing process,” Parzyck says. “It’s not something where you meet a deadline and say, ‘That’s it, well done.’ It’s really an effort that will continue whenever work is performed.”

DOE plans to verify the degree to which ISM is being implemented by Lab employees during March. Leading up to that, all of the Lab directorates are performing their own self-assessments.

ORNL divisions, armed with an assessment plan and their own devices to suit their own organizations, have been actively sampling the staff throughout the divisions to see how well the ISM creed has sunk in.

In the Plant and Equipment Division, every work group has had a visit from a labor-management group. Three Atomic Trades and Labor Council health and safety representatives—Jeff Hill, David Barncord and Jim Blankenship of the Office of Safety and Health Protection, and three supervisors—Tom Underwood, Cecil Gilliam and Richard Bowman—visited no less than 46 crews.

“We asked five questions to find out P&E Division’s current status in integrated safety management,” says Hill. “The findings were from one extreme to the other. Some knew the five core functions while others were in the infancy stages of implementing ISM.”

Those questions were
1. How many of you have heard of ISM?
2. How many know of the five core functions?
3. Could you recite them?
4. How important is ISMS to ORNL: Very, important, or a waste of time?
5. Are you involved in identifying hazards on the job?

“With that information, the division has some pretty good insight on where to put resources toward implementation,” Hill says.

Carol Scott, the ES&H, operations, and maintenance group leader for the Robotics and Process Systems Division, took a similar approach in that research division.

“We took the five ISMS core functions and tailored them to our division work and to the specific groups of employees. Representatives from every section and group within the division were asked to participate.

“There actually were positive results of group self-assessment meetings beyond getting the answers to the questions. This format not only gave us very honest answers to the questions, but also led to valuable feedback as interviewee comments and input led to discussion of other issues. It was a learning experience for us all.”

For the sake of reference, the five core functions of ISM are

Scott says that since the meetings, various individuals have contacted her with additional suggestions for improvements and offers to help improve RPSD’s ISM program.

“In RPSD, everyone knows everyone else in this facility, including those assigned here from other organizations,” Scott says. “So, we take safety issues seriously not only for our own sake but also for the ‘other guy.’ If some- one does get hurt, it is someone we know.”

In a nutshell, that’s what makes ISM important. That injured worker may be someone you know.—B.C.