Berkeley Lab

Timely Topics

Wildlands Fire: Are You At Risk? Are You Ready?

homewildfire_150x143y California’s fire season is typically in late summer through fall, when a heavy growth of plant life is drying out just in time for the “Diablo winds”… and as we have all seen from the news, this has been an exceptionally bad year and is likely to remain so before the winter rains come. We must remain aware of fire safety, and report any fires or smokes that we see, at any time of year.

Those who lived and worked in these hills in 1991 — or 1970 — need little reminder…

Earthquakes: Not If — When

ECA_80x81The Bay Area in general is seismically active… and the Hayward Fault, capable of producing strong quakes, runs between LBNL and the adjacent University of California campus. In the event of a quake, drop, cover, and hold on. To learn more about how to prepare before, survive during, and recover after an earthquake (or other disaster) please visit our Emergency Preparedness page.

If you feel an earthquake — take it from those who have been through them: even a medium-sized quake leaves no doubt what is happening — don’t wait for announcements or instructions: drop, cover and hold on. Then, when the shaking stops, evacuate.

Preparedness: The First Step Toward Survival

Please take a moment to view this LBNL video about what to expect and how to prepare, and how to respond to a real earthquake.

Further information on earthquake and other emergency preparedness is available on our website.

Electrical Safety: Don’t Take — Or Be — The Path of Least Resistance

elecsafetylogo_110 Prevention of electrical-work injuries is a top priority here at LBNL. Cultivate these six habits to keep yourself and those around you safe.

  1. If you are not a Qualified Electrical Worker, do not perform electrical work.
  2. If equipment appears to be unsafe or you are not sure whether it is safe, don’t use it. Report unsafe equipment to your supervisor.
  3. Plan your work. Identify the hazards and ensure the controls are in place.
  4. Take care of each other. Help your co-workers identify and correct unsafe behavior or conditions.
  5. For Qualified Electrical Workers, practice Lockout/Tagout and Test Before Touch.
  6. For Qualified Electrical Workers, determine approach boundaries and control access to the area to prevent exposure of other people to electrical hazards.

To help both Qualified Electrical Workers and their customers, LBNL has an Electrical Safety website. If in doubt about the risks of the work you have in mind and whether a Qualified Electrical Worker must perform it, consult your division’s Electrical Safety Advocates. In ATAP, the Electrical Safety Advocate is, x6098.

Mountain Lion on the Prowl

Picture of mountain lion It’s a fact, not a scare story nor an urban-wildlands-interface legend, that at least one mountain lion (cougar) prowls these hills and sometimes hunts on the Lab site.

Here is information from the LBNL Protective Services Department and from California Department of Fish and Wildlife on how to minimize the chance of encountering the big cat and what to do if it happens anyway.

Awarding a Special Spot to Safety

LBNL’s Spot Award program now has a safety-specific spinoff with its own separate funding. If a colleague has done something outstanding and special to make our workplace safer, this is a great way to recognize and reward it.

NEVs: NEVer Offsite

TypicalGEM_130x95yThe Laboratory’s fleet of GEMs and Club Cars — classified as “Neighborhood Electric Vehicles” — are restricted to onsite use only.

A Segue into Segways and Hoverboards
“Nonconventional vehicles” such as Segways or hoverboards are <a href="http:// generally forbidden for use onsite or when traveling on public roads for work purposes. Exceptions must come from the Lab Director. Due to fire hazard of units with substandard or defective batteries, charging of hoverboards at LBNL is also prohibited.

Two is a Magic Number: “Working Alone” Policy

People at the Laboratory (direct employees or otherwise) are not allowed to work alone in certain situations. These situations are when, despite proper mitigations, the hazards of their work could incapacitate them to such a degree that they cannot “self-rescue” themselves or activate emergency services. The policy is not meant to refer to ordinary activities similar to those commonly performed by the general public. If in doubt, ask your Work Planning and Control work authorization leads the Working Alone Frequently Asked Questions.

We’re Growing! That’s The Good News — And The Bad News

Construction on the new Integrative Genomics Building makes for a complicated and congested area near Building 50 and Blackberry Gate. Narrowed lanes, a variety of work vehicles, and construction workers on foot all mean that we should keep our heads up and our speed down when driving past construction areas. “Old Town” (the area just uphill from the Advanced Light Source) is similarly encumbered. From this temporary inconvenience will come a stronger LBNL with more and better space where we can do great science safely.