5 October 2015

Safety first for series connected hybrid project

This week at the lab started for Safety Director Kyle Orth the same way it does every Monday: a powwow with the engineers and technicians building the lab's 36-tesla series connected hybrid magnet.

"Every Monday morning we go through the work that's going be done during the week, so we can identify the hazards that would be associated with that work and what needs to be done to mitigate those hazards."

This week that work includes removing some of the 5,000-lb. iron scaffolding used during the construction of the system that is no longer needed. Because this work involves clambering 20 feet above a concrete floor, workers must wear fall protection, hard hats and safety glasses. In addition, workers who will be inside the bore of the magnet will take precautions associated with being in a confined space, including carrying a multi-gas meter that sounds an alarm if the oxygen level dips too low.

The process is called integrated safety management, or ISM. Prior to any work that is potentially hazardous, MagLab employees review the situation and make plans for ensuring the job is done safely. Regular lab-wide meetings and posters hung throughout the facility also contribute to building a culture of safety at the lab.

Orth and other members of the safety department guide MagLab staff through ISM reviews about a dozen times a week, and groups like the SCH team start every day with a safety meeting. The team will continue those daily reviews until the new magnet, expected to break the record for field homogeneity for a high-field magnet, is completed early next year.

"It's the ISM process at the grassroots level, where it's actually being implemented," Orth said.

Video by Stephen Bilenky / Text by Kristen Coyne

Last modified on 30 September 2016