Industrial safety activities are designed to protect the workers in the industrial environment. There are extensive standards imposed by the federal codes of regulations which provide for a safe workplace. Few, if any, of these apply to protection of a product being manufactured. The contractor system safety program is designed so that it supplements industrial safety activities to protect equipment and property being used or manufactured under contract. Use of contractor-owned or leased equipment is also subject to review. The figures below compare the concerns of system safety versus industrial safety.
When contractor-owned or leased equipment is being used in manufacturing, testing, or handling products being produced under contract, the system safety effort is required to analyze such equipment and require operational proof tests. This is done to show that risk of damage to the product has been minimized with proper design, maintenance, and operating procedures and to assure the equipment is operated by qualified personnel.
The contractor is required by law to implement these regulations. The contracted system safety effort is concerned only to the extent that these regulations affect the operation of the system being built and that risk of damage to government equipment and the product being developed has been minimized.
The system safety activity is conducted to complement the industrial safety activities by addressing occupational safety and health needs in system design analysis and manufacturing planning. Often the interface between the two safety functions is not covered or is insufficient. This may leave gaps in the overall mishap prevention program.
For example, in one case, a satellite was being assembled and checked out in a controlled area; however, during the night, the plastic cover on a mercury-vapor light melted and the hot plastic, which dripped on some papers that were left on a wooden bench, started a fire. Before the fire was detected, most of the support and checkout equipment was badly damaged. Also, the dense smoke caused extensive damage and contamination to solar cells and other sensitive equipment.
When the system safety manager was asked what his analysis had indicated in this area, he said, “We didn’t look at that. That’s industrial safety.” When the industrial safety manager was asked when last he looked into the area, he responded, “They were testing a satellite in there. That is system safety’s job.” Further investigation showed that the system safety analysis had considered this problem and recommended metal benches be used. However, this analysis was not made available to the industrial safety people, and no follow-up action had been taken on the recommendation. While this is an example of bad management, by both system and industrial safety, this attitude is far too prevalent to be ignored.
Methods must be developed within each program which allow system and industrial safety engineers to adapt to each others needs. During early program planning, a cooperative industrial safety effort is needed to write the system safety program plan (SSPP) so that it includes industrial safety operations. An agreement must be reached on how to separate those functional elements which are required by contract and those required by law. This should be done carefully to avoid payment for contractual tasks which also are paid for as overhead. This separation must take place without loss of the cooperative effort necessary to take full advantage of the methods and talents that are available in both functions. MIL-STD-882 provides an option for the contractor to conduct the system safety program so that it complements existing industrial safety activities to assure protection of government equipment and property. To accomplish the task, the contractor has to know the concerns and requirements of each function. Once this is understood, it becomes obvious where the overlapping concerns are. Then, agreements can be reached on which functional element will deal with the overlap. A description of how these areas are to be addressed is then included in the SSPP. Joint analyses and risk assessments are performed and should be included in the Mishap Risk Assessment Report.
Source: USAF System Safety Handbook.
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