Let the flowers grow…

The Environmental part of CERN Safety policy is represented by a flower whose petals are the various domains of its application. The Environment Services section within the Occupational Health and Safety and Environmental Protection Unit is in charge of monitoring the impact of the Laboratory on the environment. You are called on to make every effort to reduce this impact as much as reasonably achievable. Read why and how…


A physics Laboratory occupying a territory of the size of a small village, with sites scattered across an even larger area, has a considerable potential impact on the environment. Energy and water consumption, waste management... these are all aspects of the same problem or, in the representation, petals of the same flower. Each one should be carefully studied and dealt with.

The nine members of the Environment Services section deal with matters that concern these and other aspects of the CERN's policy for the protection of the environment. “Last year we identified eleven domains within the policy and that cover the various activities of the Laboratory,” explains Sonja Kleiner, Section Leader. “In order to help Department Leaders, Safety Officers and members of personnel to reduce the impact of their activities on the environment we provide them with professional advice and useful best practices. We also continuously monitor the entire CERN area and call on expert intervention if needed.”

On top of eleven basic domains is the protection of the public and the environment against ionizing radiation. This is accomplished by members of the Environment section in close collaboration with the Radiation Protection Group of the HSE Unit. “At CERN, radiological issues are integrated into the general policy that deals with all environment-related issues,” explains Pavol Vojtyla, environmental radiation protection expert and a member of the section. “About two hundred and forty measuring stations and sampling points cover the CERN sites and beyond. They constantly provide information about the radiation levels and look for possible man-made radioactive substances. We use very sensitive instruments because the maximum radiation levels we monitor are extremely low. We also analyse several thousands of samples in our laboratories every year. These include, for example, filters from ventilation monitoring stations and samples of water continuously released from the sites.”

As any other flower, CERN’s Safety policy for environmental aspects requires care. Active participation of all members of personnel to help reduce CERN’s environmental impact is strongly encouraged. This can easily be done by reading and following the HSE Advice page. Also, if you are starting a new project or you are planning an equipment upgrade, it is good practice to contact the Environment Services Section from the very beginning. This would help you make sure that the impact of your activity on the environment is as low as reasonably achievable, that is precisely the objective of CERN’s Safety policy for environmental aspects. Do your part and let the flower grow!

by CERN Bulletin