At CERN, health and safety underpin everything we do. We have strict operational procedures in place, as well as health, safety and environment (HSE) requirements to make our working environment as safe as possible. It’s everyone’s responsibility to follow these procedures and requirements to keep ourselves, and our colleagues, safe. We have a very good safety and operational record at CERN stretching back almost 60 years, but there is never room for complacency.
With this very much in mind, we have developed a robust plan for implementation if something unforeseen goes wrong. Because however careful we all are, accidents do happen, and the mark of any organisation that aspires to be among the best in the world is how quickly and efficiently it acts when they do.
A small team made up of people from several departments at CERN has produced a strategic crisis management plan that we can put into action should a major incident occur. This plan focuses on serious, large scale, high impact incidents. It details the people and processes required to manage them effectively, bringing the crisis under control as quickly and safely as possible, and liaising with all internal and external services necessary. It also ensures that everyone who needs to know what’s going on is appropriately informed. The team has its own fully equipped control centre from where it would manage the crisis.
To test the crisis management plan, CERN will be holding two exercises on 11 October and 14 November. Steelhenge, the specialist agency that has worked with the crisis management team to develop the plan, will lead these. The exercises will involve personnel from across the Organisation and are designed to check our strategic response procedures in case of a crisis, as well as allowing the people involved to get a feel for managing a real-life crisis situation.
Of course, having a crisis management plan does not mean that we want to use it, far from it. By making sure that we all follow the operational procedures and safety rules, wherever we work, we can greatly reduce the risk of personal injury, operational disruption and environmental damage. Let’s keep working together to keep CERN, its people, and its local environment safe.