Wednesday, August 10, 2005

LANL Worker Put On Leave After Accident

By Adam Rankin
Journal Northern Bureau

SANTA FE— A Los Alamos National Laboratory worker has been placed on leave after two researchers inhaled acid fumes during preparation for an experiment.

The accidental inhalation of concentrated nitric and hydrochloric acids sent one of the researchers to the hospital for nearly a week with respiratory problems.

The accident occurred in early June but was not reported until July, after one of the researchers returned to work from the hospital. LANL management did not learn of the incident until Aug. 3, according to a lab news release.

LANL director Robert Kuckuck told employees in a labwide e-mail that all workers have the right to stop work if they feel conditions are unsafe.

"... I will back your decision 100 percent," he wrote.

LANL radiological specialists have recently been dealing with the spread of americium-241 contamination by a LANL researcher who did not follow procedures when opening a package labeled with a radiological tag.


Full Story

bout time!
We can only hope that Kuckuck is telling the truth. Retaliation against those who have accidents has been so institutionalized in the past, it will be a while before people trust him to do has he says.
In the past there was a damned if you do and damned if you don't policy -- if you reported the accident you were punished and if you didn't and got caught you were punished. So lots of accidents weren't reported -- perhaps explaining LANL's low accident rate.
If Kuckuck does not punish those who report accidents, but rather uses the incident to improve safety, eventually LANL safety will come to resemble the numbers it reports.

I think you've put words in Kuckuck's mouth. He said he was 100% behind people who exercise their stop work perogative ---he didn't say anything pro or con about dealing with people who have an accident, or as in this case, don't report having had one.
So, are we considering blatant disregard for policy......"an accident" ???? (In ref to the AM241)
There is no way in an organization this size you can prevent the "stupid" from doing something creatively stupid. Apparently these Post Docs never heard of a fume hood.
Got this in an email from Terry Wallace this morning:

The recent safety incidents have generated much discussion within ADSR. One of the themes in these discussions is a desire to communicate with management anonymously. We have set up a webpage that you can send me a message anonymously, and there is no track in the LANL email custody. The address is

If you have concerns, comments or questions that you prefer to make anonymous please use this page.



This is definitely a step in the right direction, don't you think??
Aside from the fact that there is no such thing as anonymous access to a web page, sure, it's a step in the right direction. The reality of life at LANL, however is that

1. nobody trusts management,
2. it is unbelievably easy to track access to a web page,
3. the web page in question is in the yellow,
4. nobody trusts management not to use the web logs.

Other than that, it's a great idea. Just do not expect any email sent via that mechanism to be anonymous.
You people are way too paranoid. You need to stay home and listen to Black Sabbath.
Poster 11:24:04 sounds gullible.

31 Moby Thesaurus words for "gullible":
artless, befoolable, born yesterday, credulous, cullible,
deceivable, deludable, dupable, easy, exploitable, foolable, green,
hoaxable, hoodwinkable, humbugable, immature, inexperienced,
ingenuous, innocent, naive, persuadable, seduceable, simple, soft,
susceptible, unsophisticated, unsuspecting, unsuspicious, unwary,
victimizable, wide-eyed
The cultural problem is well and alive in Los Alamos. As for the anonymous web page, that is a bunch of hog shit. It can be monitored in the background. Go ahead and send a comment/concern mr "gullible".
"And so as you hear these words telling you know of my state I tell you to enjoy life, I wish I could but it's too"
Wow...I guess when that so and so Nanos and his friends left the lab, they must have taken all the fume hoods too. What a rat!
I do believe Nanos was fuming when he left, now that you mention it.
I posted the 6:26 post but I have to say the 6:30 poster was very clever!

Refreshing to see some humorous barbs here and not just rants

Good one 6:30!
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