Instructors and participants in EM’s 100th safety culture training class, left to right: Jose Christian, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA); Lynn Maestas, NNSA; Rock Aker (kneeling), Office of Science (instructor); Jessica Arcidiacono, NNSA; Shahram Ghasemian, Office of Hearing and Appeals; Kristen Ellis, EM; Jennifer Kline, NNSA; Robin Warren, NNSA; Bart Barnhart, EM; Patrick Rhoades, NNSA; Gregory Hatchett, NNSA; Jessica Kunkle, NNSA; Benjamin Wang, NNSA; Julie Goeckner, EM (instructor); Dan Schwendenman, NNSA; Jeff Underwood, NNSA; and Gregory Sosson, EM (instructor). Not pictured: Kevin Dressman, Office of Enterprise Assessments; and Patrick Rhoads, NNSA.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In ongoing efforts to further strengthen safety culture across the DOE cleanup program, DOE earlier this month held its 100th safety culture training class for senior leadership.

   Nearly 2,500 federal and contractor senior leaders from across the DOE complex have completed the course since DOE piloted it in 2012. Its curriculum focuses on the importance of maintaining a collaborative workplace, and offers resources to assist senior leaders in fostering a work environment that promotes trust — where employees feel free to raise concerns without fear of retaliation.

   “Marking the 100th safety culture training class for thousands of federal and contractor senior leaders is truly an achievement,” said James Hutton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Safety, Security and Quality Assurance. “We must continue to further strengthen our safety culture. To sustain long-term improvement in safety culture is hard work, every single day. It is work that will never be done. It takes concerted, deliberate, and continued efforts by each individual within the EM organization. It is up to each one of us to positively influence the culture to support an open and collaborative work environment.”  

   The course aligns with the Department's Integrated Management System, an overarching framework to safely plan, execute, and monitor DOE mission activities. The course emphasizes the importance of demonstrating consistent behaviors across the Department — in federal and contractor organizations — and promotes a shift from "mere compliance" toward a "standard of excellence."

   Throughout the day-long course, leaders participate in individual, team, and group exercises, and use a case study to apply safety culture practices, principles, tools, and resources based on decades of safety culture research and industry experience.  

   The course supports DOE’s expectations to maintain a positive safety culture and a Safety Conscious Work Environment (SCWE). The course aligns with the Secretary of Energy's Workplace Improvement Initiative.

   Additionally, safety culture improvements are in progress through the "One EM" concept — one EM team working toward one EM mission and voice — as EM leadership continue implementing recommendations provided by the Organizational Culture Integrated Project Team, including offering all EM employees a safety culture workshop in spring 2017. It provides an overview of employee rights and responsibilities, and resources to promote a positive safety culture, SCWE and effective organizational climate.