A word from the DG: Improved safety at CERN

One of the important objectives of my term of office is improving safety at CERN. My consideration of safety issues over the last few months, in conjunction with the Safety Commission and the Heads of Department, has led me to define a new approach for the implementation of safety policy at CERN. It is not a question of changing the safety policy and the basic safety rules laid down in document 'Safety Policy at CERN' (SAPOCO 42) but, rather, of improving the way they are applied by clarifying the roles of everyone concerned.

The existing safety policy and rules have yet to be fully implemented. Some people continue to think, for example, that safety implementation only concerns the Safety Commission (SC). In reality, as SAPOCO 42 clearly specifies, safety is the responsibility of each and every individual. This means that each person in charge of a task is also responsible for guaranteeing its safe completion by implementing all the necessary measures.

To enhance the awareness of this responsibility and to promote a real safety culture, the tasks aimed at ensuring the safety of people and equipment will thus become the sole responsibility of the Departments. This transfer of executive tasks to the Departments naturally implies a transfer of human and material resources, which will be done gradually as the new approach comes into force.

The SC will act as an authority on safety matters with the responsibility for checking the implementation of safety policy via general and specific audits. To carry out these important monitoring activities with the necessary independence, the SC must not perform an executive function in safety matters. Nevertheless, certain services of general importance to CERN, such as the Medical Service and the Fire Brigade, will remain under its authority.

The SC's monitoring remit also implies that CERN must acquire more efficient monitoring tools. A Safety Management System will therefore be introduced to ensure the uniform and coordinated implementation of procedures throughout the Organization. This tool, which will comply with existing international standards in the field, will be developed by the SC and used by the Departments. The SC has already introduced a similar tool for environmental matters, known as the Environmental Management System (EMS).

One further reform, which I consider essential, consists of simplifying and improving the classification of the safety rules. This reform, which is already under way, will ensure that all personnel, visitors and everyone working on the CERN site are more familiar with the rules and apply them accordingly.

The new approach has entailed a redefinition of the terms of reference of the Safety Commission, which are currently being finalised, and of certain bodies, such as the Safety Policy Committee (SAPOCO). I will inform you of the details of the changes and the schedule for their implementation in the near future, as well as of the appointments made as a result. It is essential that this new approach is implemented as a matter of urgency to ensure that, with the commissioning of the LHC just around the corner, CERN's safety arrangements are commensurate with the scale of its facilities.

Robert Aymar