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Setting priorities for safety through dedicated objectives

CERN sets its annual and longer-term occupational health, safety and environment objectives


CERN has a robust safety organisation in place, underpinned by the Safety Policy, which spans all areas of occupational health and safety, including environmental protection and the safe operation of CERN’s facilities.

In line with the Safety Policy and Safety Regulation SR-SO, which defines the responsibilities and organisational structure in matters of safety, CERN regularly sets safety objectives for the whole of the Organization. 

Benoît Delille, head of the HSE unit, explains the importance of this approach: “This annual exercise is a powerful means of setting priorities in matters of safety in all respects. It is based on lessons learned, trends and feedback from the Safety Officers and link persons, who bring crucial information from the field.”

The annual CERN-wide HSE objectives for 2023/2024, which were presented at the Enlarged Directorate meeting of 11 April, cover not only health and safety (HS) but also the “E” of HSE, i.e. the environment.  In addition to the traditional annual objectives, longer-term ones for implementation in 2025 and at the start of the third long shutdown (LS3, currently expected to start in 2026) have also been set. “Looking further ahead, the longer-term objectives will enable us to prepare for LS3 and make the improvements needed to ensure that it unfolds optimally,” explains Delille.

The objectives are the result of close collaboration between HSE and the departmental safety officers of other departments. The Safety Policy Committee (SAPOCO) has also contributed.

The environment objectives, which will be implemented around the end of Run 3 and the start of LS3, were first set in 2018 in CERN’s first public-facing environment report. They include objectives to limit the increase in electricity consumption to 5%, reduce Scope 1 emissions by 28% and limit the increase in water consumption to below 5% with respect to 2018. The 2023/2024 objectives concern the minimisation of effluents discharged into watercourses from CERN worksites and, in line with the Organization’s noise policy, the mitigation of the impact of noise emanating from CERN installations on neighbouring towns, in order to reduce complaints to a minimum.

In the area of occupational health and safety, CERN aims to have 40% of its personnel trained in life-saving actions by LS3. The corresponding short and accessible course is an essential cornerstone in the Organization’s medical emergency response strategy.  

Electrical safety reinforcement is another priority. A dedicated project will strive, inter alia, to increase awareness and reduce incidents of electrical origin.

Another objective is to reduce the number of incidents and incivilities on CERN’s roads and foster a culture of their safe, courteous and respectful use, whatever the mode of transport (see the recent dedicated Bulletin article).

As far as radiation protection is concerned, the long-term goal is to continue to limit the maximum annual personal dose to 3 mSv (i.e. half of the regulatory limit of 6 mSv for category B radiation workers) and to reduce the production of radioactive waste by taking it into account from the start in the design of upgrades and new facilities. For 2023/2024, the aim is to identify the old accelerator and experimental equipment that is currently in storage and perform radiological controls on it.

Emergency preparedness is another important long-term priority for the Organization, with specific actions planned before LS3, such as evacuation exercises in all accelerator and experimental areas and in the most-populated buildings, including the restaurants and hotels.

CERN’s HSE objectives provide a clear, CERN-wide framework for setting safety priorities. Our commitment at every level is key to achieving these goals. Making CERN a safe place to work starts with each and every one of us.

For more detail on how these objectives will be implemented and tracked, see this webpage: https://hse.cern/safety-objectives