SPOTLIGHT ON CMOE – NASA Langley Research Center

Safety Done Well

CMOE has an excellent safety culture. Employees here are very serious about not only their safety, but the safety of those around them. This is demonstrated in the tools available to address safety issues and how employees eagerly use them, without hesitation. For example, a maintenance task done at the NASA Langley Steam Plant shows how the CMOE Team works together to keep each other safe. It also shows how the response to an issue goes well beyond the present situation, to ensure future work will be safe for others. This is how a Close Call Incident was corrected. The actions taken resulted in improvements to system identification and the LOTO Policy for all future tasks.

Mike Croft (Sierra Lobo Inc.) is Supervisor of the Steam Plant at LaRC. A general maintenance task performed by the CMOE Maintenance Team required the performance of Lock-Out/Tag-Out (LOTO). The LOTO process was followed, and the system was verified to be de-energized. However, an operator realized that two systems were de-energized, when only one was expected to be. The operator brought it to the attention of the team. As it turned out, the LOTO performed by the Maintenance Team had mistakenly de-energized a different system. The correct system had also previously been de-energized by others. This explains why the proper LOTO system verification was successful. The system that was tagged out was similarly labeled. Since, there was significant risk (in the event the task had proceeded and this system had been re-energized, while work was in progress), Mike Croft determined a Close Call Incident was warranted.

As a result, CMOE Safety documented a Safety Share about the issue and strengthened the language in the LOTO Policy. Mike Croft opened a Process Improvement Notice (PIN) to evaluate the best way to ensure anyone who had to work on these systems could clearly understand what to de-energize for the LOTO. This resulted in each system component being labeled with the proper system component name, as well as where the component was fed from (in the system). The system component labeling is considered a Best Practice and the application was shared so others could benefit from the practice.

It is not only reassuring to know others are looking out for you on the job, but that when an issue is discovered – effort will go into solving the issue from this point forward.

Kay Corr
Program Manager & CMOE FODD Supervisor
Sierra Lobo, Inc.
NASA Langley Research Center

Example of new labels