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Environment, Safety, and Health Special Review, Department of Energy Laboratories - August 2008

At the request of the Secretary of Energy, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Independent Oversight, within the Office of Health, Safety and Security (HSS), performed a Special Review of work practices for nanoscale material activities at DOE Laboratories. Representatives from DOE line management organizations – the Office of Science (SC) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) – as well as nanoscale science subject matter experts from national laboratories and representatives from the HSS Office of Health and Safety, contributed to the Special Review.

The results of this Independent Oversight Special Review indicate that nanomaterial safety programs are in their early stages of implementation and that there are positive aspects and weaknesses in field implementation, DOE oversight and contractor assurance, and DOE policy and guidance. The NSRC Approach Document provides the basis for a comprehensive nanomaterial safety program, and some sites have taken action to institutionalize the recommendations into site-specific requirements.

This Summary Report is organized to provide DOE management with useful feedback about the status of work practices for nanomaterial activities across DOE based on the sample of eight sites. Section 2, Notable Practices, lists a number of special or innovative practices that were evident at one or more sites and that could be considered for applicability by other DOE sites. Section 3, Successes in Implementing the NSRC Approach Document, identifies instances of successful and/or effective implementation. Section 4, Challenges in Implementing the NSRC Approach Document, identifies instances where DOE sites have not effectively implemented the recommendations of the NSRC Approach Document, or where policies and guidance need to be further defined or refined to facilitate site implementation of the recommendations. Section 5, Assessment, provides an overall summary of the status of site implementation of the NSRC Approach Document and other applicable policies. Section 6, Conclusions and Recommendations, provides Independent Oversight’s conclusions and recommendations for improvement.

Appendix A of this report provides information about the Special Review, including a list of participants. Appendix B of this Report, Summary of Field Implementation of the NSRC Approach, provides a consolidated summary of the results of the eight field reviews in each of the 13 elements of the NSRC Approach Document. Volume II of this report provides the results of the field reviews at each of the eight sites.

Volume II, The primary focus of the onsite reviews is to compare selected DOE laboratories’ operations against the approach outlined in Department of Energy Nanoscale Science Research Centers Approach to Nanoscale ES&H Revision 2 – June 2007 (NSRC Approach document). The Special Review also considers applicable DOE policies, including DOE Policy 456.1, DOE Secretarial Policy Statement on Nanoscale Safety; DOE Policy 450.4, Safety Management System Policy,  which applies to all site hazards, including nanoscale materials, and requires a systematic process for identifying, analyzing, and controlling hazards; and 10 CFR 851, Worker Safety and Health Program, which requires a comprehensive program for protecting worker health and safety.