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ESH Manual Page: 2000: Planning for Safe Operations

At the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) all work is subject to planning and control. Careful planning of work assures that the work is performed safely and efficiently. More specifically, work planning ensures the scope of work is understood, appropriate materials are available, all hazards have been identified and mitigative efforts established, and all affected individuals understand what is expected of them.

2.0    SCOPE
This chapter applies to all SURF personnel, including researchers and project sponsors, temporary employees and contract/subcontractor/term employees when conducting non- administrative work on SDSTA property.

Hazard - Condition, event, or circumstance that could lead to or contribute to an unplanned or undesirable event. A hazard is the potential for harm. In practical terms, a hazard often is associated with a condition or activity that, if left uncontrolled, can adversely affect personnel, equipment or the environment.
Hazard Analysis (HA) – A hazard analysis is the first step in a process used to assess risk. The result of a hazard analysis is the identification of different type of hazards and the mitigations to minimize the hazards. A hazard analysis then becomes a tool to aid in planning work.

Informal, Documented, and Formal - Low risk HA (see table 1) are considered informal and can be either verbal or documented on a Low Risk Analysis (LRA). A formal HA is written on a JHA Form and is termed a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA), or for routine/repetitive work is written on a SOP Form and is termed an SOP.
Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) - A job hazard analysis is a documented process that focuses on the sequential steps of the task, the associated hazards and their identified controls. It considers the relationship between the worker, the task, the tools, and the work environment.
Job Site Walk Down – An evaluation of the job site for identifying hazards, controls, and operational considerations.

Low Risk Analysis (LRA) – A field level process used to document low risk work activity planning. (Note: Field level Job Hazard Analysis Notebook)
Pre-Job Briefing – Dialogue between those involved in the work which describes the scope of work, procedural steps, roles and responsibilities, and hazards and controls.

  • Formal: Documented process
  • Informal: Undocumented (verbal) process

Pre-job Briefing may consist of:

  • Toolbox Talk Form
  • Pre-Shift meeting

Post-Job Review – A review of the work that has been performed to identify any improvements or conditions that should be recorded for future job planning efforts.
Risk - Potential to cause harm or damage to a person, property or environment.

  • Low Risk: General tasks performed on a normal daily basis
  • High Risk: Tasks with an elevated potential to cause harm

Risk Assessment - The overall process used to evaluate the hazard and risk factors with the potential to cause harm.
Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) – Formal documented process that focuses on a specific task and describes the standardized method to safely perform it.
Subject Matter Expert: A person, department or organization who by their experience level, education, training or background are uniquely qualified to assess specific hazards and controls.

Work Planning and Control (WPC) – Systematic process for determining methods for completing the assigned task safely and efficiently. The process includes:

  • Defining the work to be performed
  • The methods for performing the work
  • Hazard analysis
  • Pre-job briefing
  • Work authorization

4.1 Supervisors:

  • Ensure that employees are trained to perform the assigned work and in the use of WPC.
  • Plan the work and identify those activities that require a JHA or SOP.
  • Conduct job site walk-downs.
  • Ensure WPC documents are developed, reviewed and signed before work begins.
  • Conduct a pre-job briefing with employees before work begins.
  • Ensure that work is performed in accordance with WPC documents.
  • Retain copies of WPC documents per retention guidelines (see Section 5.7).
  • Seek advice from the ESH Department, as appropriate.

4.2 Workers / Researchers:

  • Participate in development of the WPC documents.
  • Review and sign WPC documents prior to start of work.
  • Participate in a pre-job briefing with co-workers who share in the work performance before work begins.
  • Perform work in accordance with the WPC documents.
  • Contact your supervisor or ESH Department with any questions on the WPC documents.

4.3 Environment, Safety, and Health (ESH) Department

  • Provide assistance in preparation of WPC documents.
  • Review and concur on all JHA and SOP documents.
  • Provide WPC training.


5.1 Job Site Walk Down
Where the job site can be safely accessed, an evaluation of the job site should be conducted. This evaluation should be conducted prior to developing the hazard analysis in order to assure all job site hazards and work control issues are identified and addressed.

5.2 Hazard Analysis Process (see also flow chart)
1. The supervisor and employees perform an assessment of the risks in accordance with Appendix A, Table 1. ESH professionals are available to assist.
2. A written JHA or SOP is required if:
     a. The task involves two or more of the low-risk general hazards or one high-risk hazard in Appendix A, Table 1.
     b. The task is outside the normal duties and responsibilities for your group and involves one or more hazards from Appendix A, Table 1.
3. If a written JHA or SOP exists, it must be reviewed and revised as appropriate for current job site conditions and to incorporate previous work experiences and lessons learned.

5.3 Development of JHA/SOP

  1. Detailed scope of work, including how the person/team intends to complete the work;
  2. Walk down or inspection of the work area and equipment while planning the work;
  3. Complete the work planning sections and identify materials and equipment to be used;
  4. Identification of hazards with Subject Matter Expert involvement;
  5. Identification of work requirements, controls, procedures, instructions and personal protective equipment necessary to perform the work safely (including permits); and
  6. Involvement of the workers in the preparation of the work plan.

           a. The level of detail in the JHA/SOP should be appropriate for the complexity of the work and the hazards involved.

           b. The supervisor will review the JHA/SOP for completeness and determine whether the hazards for the work have been adequately identified and controlled. Permits, Safety Data Sheets (SDS), and other supporting documents must be available at the work site and may be attached to the JHA/SOP.

    7. Obtain approvals and concurrences from:
           a. Department / Science Leadership
           b. Author / Owner
           c. ESH staff
       8. External JHA/SOP or Toolbox Talk formats are allowed provided the above elements are sufficiently addressed and acceptable to SURF.

5.4 Pre-Job Briefing

1. In all cases, a pre-job briefing is required. The individuals performing the job shall discuss the work plan to ensure everyone is aware of how the job will proceed. The following will be discussed at a minimum:
a. Summarizing the critical steps and materials:
   This includes steps where the success depends solely on the individual work, and that serious injury or significant loss of property could result from not following the prescribed safe work procedures.
b. Anticipating what can go wrong or where errors can occur:
   This may include distractions, confusing procedures, inexperience and assumptions. Examining what errors have occurred with the activity in the past may be helpful.
c. Foreseeing consequences:
   What could go wrong? How can it be prevented?
d. Review operating experience:
   How has the task gone in the past? Work plans should incorporate defenses to prevent a repeat incident.
e. Review of Equipment:
   Review of PPE, equipment necessary for the job, engineering controls, and equipment controls.
2. For low-risk tasks not requiring a written JHA/SOP, the pre-job briefing may be a verbal exchange or documented on the Low Risk Analysis (LRA).
3. For more complex and higher-risk tasks that require a written JHA/SOP, a more detailed and formal pre-job briefing is required. (Tool Box Talk form).
4. All who participate in the pre-job briefing will document the review by signing the Tool Box Talk form. This will release the work to be performed.

5.5 Performance of Work
1. The work plan/hazard analysis shall be readily available to those performing the work.
2. Anyone entering the work site must be informed of the hazards prior to being allowed on the work site.
3. The work activity must be performed in accordance with the WPC process.
4. Work activity shall stop immediately if:

  • There is a change in the work scope,
  • Work conditions change,
  • New hazards are identified, or
  • The controls prove inadequate or ineffective.

If work activity is stopped for any of these reasons, the WPC documents shall be reviewed and revised as necessary.
5. Unplanned situations may arise requiring deviations from the WPC process to address immediate dangers. Once the situation becomes stabilized, the WPC process will be updated to reflect change to conditions. Worker safety is paramount.

5.6 Post-Job Review
Ensure any updates to the JHA/SOP if improvements are identified.

5.7 WPC Record Retention
Records will be archived and will be made available to anyone who requests them for the purposes of providing oversight, trending, and/or lessons learned.

Hazard Analysis Process Flow Chart

Hazard Analysis Process Flow Chart