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4   |   SRNS TODAY   | MAY 2021
                                                                 HPI tools reduce

                                                                 human error

                                                                 To aid personnel in reducing the chance and/or severity of an error while
                                                                 performing their activities, SRS has recently taken steps to strengthen
                                                                 the use of Human Performance Improvement (HPI) error reduction tools.
                                                                 Human performance is generally recognized as a series of behaviors
           Workers prepare for sediment removal activities for the L Basin settler tank,   used to accomplish specific tasks. HPI principles provide a systematic
         an activity that hasn’t been completed in almost two decades.  approach to improving individual and organizational performance.
                                                                 “SRS began using HPI tools approximately 15 years ago, and while they
        Sediment removal                                         are still used, the emphasis on their importance in everyday activities
                                                                 became stale over time,” SRNS Conduct of Operations (CONOPS)
        extends life of                                          Program Manager Daryl Smoldt said. “HPI tools provide workers with
                                                                 methods to help anticipate, prevent or catch errors, and we want to
                                                                 make sure they are accessible for all employees. To do this, we took
        disassembly basin                                        a fresh look at how we taught and reinforced these tools and ways to
                                                                 make them better.”
        SRNS employees safely removed sediment from a tank for a basin   Some of the recent efforts include creating videos for employees;
        used to store spent nuclear fuel from former SRS production reactors,   integrating HPI more closely with CONOPS principles; developing an
        and from foreign and domestic research reactor programs.  HPI Sustainability plan; and establishing an HPI Lab, that is home to
                                                                 two HuPerT  Trainers, electronic devices that react in real time to
        The underwater storage facility, known as the L Disassembly Basin,   participants who are following directions in a procedure.
        holds approximately 3.4 million gallons of water, with pool depths of
        17 to 50 feet. The basin water provides shielding to protect workers   “The HPI Lab is accessible to all Site employees and uses Dynamic
        from radiation. The settler tank is part of a filtration system used to   Learning Activities to help participants understand HPI tools by using
        ensure water clarity.                                    them in a fun and hands-on way,” said Smoldt. “For example, one of
                                                                 our activities has one participant describing a specific structure built
        “It’s important that the water remains clear, so operators can see    from Legos , while another participant tries to assemble the structure
        what they are doing when they handle fuel under water,” L Basin   without being able to see each other. This activity shows participants
        Deputy Facility Manager Neil McIntosh said. “Over time, the settler    the hazards of imprecise communication habits, interpretation
        tank becomes full, and we have to remove and dispose of the   requirements, and assumptions and emphasizes the error-reduction
        contaminated sediment.”                                  tools of a questioning attitude, three-way communications and pre-job
        The last time sediment needed to be pumped from the tank, nearly 20   briefing to name a few.”
        years ago, personnel used equipment known as a sludge processing unit   HPI error reduction tools include self-checking, peer-checking, timeouts,
        (SPU), which would require expensive modernization work to use again.  use of the phonetic alphabet, procedure use and adherence, flagging,
        L Area waste management personnel, along with SRNL and engineering   task preview/job site review, pre-job briefings, a questioning attitude,
        support, found commercially available products to perform the   use of three-way communications and place-keeping. HPI tools are
        sediment removal, a less expensive alternative to updating the SPU.  most commonly used by those in operations but can also be used by
                                                                 employees in administrative and support roles.
        “After a pump removed water and sediment from the tank, a cloth-like
        membrane retained the sediment,” McIntosh said. “This material was   Click below to watch the SRS YouTube channel Lego  Dynamic
        placed into a waste container to be shipped to the SRS Solid Waste   Learning Activity video.
        Management Facility, and the water was returned to L Basin.”
        A mock-up of the removal process was created to ensure the safety
        and proper training of employees, as well as the viability of the removal
        equipment. Employees who performed hands-on work participated
        in several dry runs to aid procedure development and ensure correct
        implementation. Several lessons learned came out of the dry run
        activities and were applied in final planning for the removal.
        “The work to remove the sediment from the settler tank will ensure
        L Basin’s life is extended for as long as needed,” said DOE Program
        Manager Michele O’Shaughnessy. “SRNS’ collaboration, teamwork
        and careful planning helped ensure safe and cost-effective
        sediment removal.”
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