November 16, 2015 | Mark Paradies

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: “Safety Pause” – Does It Work?

An article in the Aiken Standard got me thinking again about the topic of safety stand-downs (this time called a “safety pause”).

These temporary “stop work” activities where safe work practices are suppose to be reviewed, and where new emphasis is suppose to be applied to ensure safety, are common in government operations (this time a DOE site) and the nuclear industry. I’ve written about them before:

The safety pause at Savannah River Nuclear Solutions is a really long pause. It started on September 11 after a September 3 incident in the H Canyon – HB Line portion of their operations where Plutonium was being handled.

An SRNS spokesperson is quoted by the paper as saying that: “SRNS is a stronger, healthier company as a result of these actions and we are working for sustained improvement.”

Let’s hope that the root cause analysis of the incident will explore the management system related failures that led to the reasons for the degraded emphasis on nuclear safety and security that caused the “pause” to be needed and not be an example of the blame game that points the finger at workers and low level supervisors and their actions.

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