Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Why I was was not allowed to have Whiteout

From Anonymous, from the



Wow .. it's been 10 years since I left LANL, and it seems things have not changed one bit -- I know some of you there will argue that it has only gotten worse, but that's really hard to imagine.

My favorite story was why I was was not allowed to have Whiteout. Apparently, according to the Safety folks, it was classified as a "hazardous chemical" so I needed a special "Hazardous Materials Storage Cabinet" to house it, and a "Hazardous Materials Handling and Disposal Plan" on file, and "Hazardous Materials Handling Training" before I would be allowed to have Whiteout. We're talking about *WHITEOUT* here.

They didn't appreciate it when I laughed at them, told them they were ridiculous, and needed to find REAL jobs.

I left LANL for industry, and have never been sad I did it. LANL will never again attract the 'best and the brightest' until they change ALL of their management practices. Until then, they will retain the dull, the useless and the lazy, and attract only the naive or otherwise unemployable.

I remember that (and I'm still here). Back then you also had to have an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for WD-40, and to have been checked out to make sure you knew how to use it safely before you were granted persission have any in your office.

I don't even want to think about what the "Safety" rules regarding WD-40 are today at LANL.
I had to post an MSDS for some plant fertilizer I bought at Metzgers for my office plant.
Notice that all water fountains are GFCI protected because some Lab regulator did not realize that the OSHA requirement referred to outdoor water features.
You know, we need to focus on the real culprit! DOE/NNSA, regulate us into disfunction! We need a leader who can push back and defend our need to get some work done!
These kind of stories are the day-in day-out reality of Los Alamos under Nanos. My suggestion, in all seriousness, is for each manager to take exactly one such issue to heart each week...just one. If every manager made it his/her reason for being to eradicate the silly rule that regulated liquid paper (or whatever) and found a reasonable, healthy common sense alternative (like exempting liquid paper for all time), the whole laboratory would be transformed in 6 months. In addition, the management would actually then deserve the salaries they are paid! I saw this concept work first hand the other day when Harold Agnew was given a tour of DARHT. Of course he was told to read a bunch of meaningless documents, sign them, date the signatures and so on. His question, which goes along the lines of what I am suggesting here, was, "why do I need to read all this stuff? who is responsible for this? who can I contact to get this fixed?" I know Harold well enough to know that that was probably not the end of it. Maybe he will even get to the bottom of it and get that paperwork tossed out or modified into something reasonable. If so, hooray! We all win. Meanwhile, Nanos was piling on more BS from his end. The whole deal is to keep shoveling out the barn as quickly as it fills up...or faster! Cowboy Scott.
To 08:46:39 PM,

Actually it IS a NEC (National Electrical Code) requirement.

This is a ridiculus thread. None of this is new. Try to focus on the real issues.
To 5/4/2005 05:27:15 AM, actually this thread is NOT ridiculous; it is symptomatic of the kind of nonsense that is paralyzing LANL, driving the cost of business skyward, and eroding productivity to the point that the customers are angry and/or leave. The 12:34:32 AM poster actually makes reasonable and constructive comments that could help the workforce get work done. The workers can not push back on this kind of lunacy without retaliation but strong managers can negotiate "reasonable" and appropriate compliance with the out-of-control audits, reviews, and assessments. The taxpayers of this nation (and that includes us) deserve better and they need to know that LANL workers are doing the best they can under a suffocating avalanche of paperwork required just for the sake of covering rear ends. I guarantee that Harold would have fought this kind of nonsense and, in 1976, actually predicted the erosion of science by the forthcoming bureaucracy.
just received from our group office:
Cans of compressed keyboard air cleaners are now listed as part of our "chemical inventory" as they contain aerosol. When empty, these cans need to be disposed of in a particular way and taken off the inventory, can by can...
I believe that this thread is focusing on a big issue for LANL. The amount of BS that we have to deal with to do something is a real impediment to getting work done. We spend way too much time writing IWDs, getting signatures, checking our training to see what new classes we have to take, what documents have been revised, doing chemical inventory, property inventory, etc, etc, etc. This is nothing new to the lab, but it has gotten worse in the past few years. (And it isn't all Nanos's fault) This silliness takes away a lot of valuable time that could be better spent doing actual work. How many training plans are you assigned to? I have 39. I think that people are so focused on getting all of the safety paperwork properly filled out, signed, and filed that they forget about the real purpose of doing it. A 2 hour mandatory electrical safety meeting doesn't help either.
Just when you thought peoples issues could not get any more dumb or stupid - IT HAPPENED - LANL is truly an amazing assortment.
I hope 12:04 is referring to the corporate stupidity that is LANL, rather than complaining about the people who have taken the time to point out wasteful operational areas. It is my hope that the new contractor will use these comments and the ones on the running list of wasteful activities as a starting point to help turn LANL into a more efficient organization.
I thought white-out was taken away because of all the ruined computer monitors.
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