What is the Contractor Assurance?
Contractor Assurance is confidence that the Lab is achieving its scientific mission within the Department of Energy requirements and its stewardship responsibilities.
What is the Contractor Assurance System (CAS)?
The UC Contractor Assurance System (CAS) for Berkeley Lab is a system of processes and tools designed to provide assurance that the Laboratory’s mission objectives are achieved; its workers, the public, and the environment are protected; its operational, facility and business systems are effectively managed; and the requirements of the UC / DOE contract are met.
What are the key Contactor Assurance (CAS) Elements?
Who is responsible for CAS?
Everyone who performs work at the Lab is responsible and accountable for implementing and executing work in accordance with the CAS.
Contract Assurance Council
I have heard about the Contract Assurance Council (CAC). What is it?
The CAC is an advisory committee to the Vice President of the University of California National Laboratories Office (UCNL) comprised of UC Office of the President (UCOP) executives and industry leaders with senior level representatives from LBNL. CAC meetings are held four times per year, and are also attended by Lab leadership and the Department of Energy (DOE) Bay Area Site Office (BSO) leadership. It is a key assurance mechanism for UCNL to monitor the Lab’s performance.
Where can I find more information about Contractor Assurance and/or the CAC?
You can find more detailed information about the Lab’s Contractor Assurance System and the CAC here.
Institutional Assessment Process and Lessons Learned
What kind of assessments should be entered on the Integrated Assessment Schedule (IAS)?
The Integrated Assessment Schedule (IAS) is part of the Integrated Assessment Process. There are many types of Assessment performed at the Laboratory. These assessments are either performed by the LBNL or by external parties, such as UC, DOE BSO. Below is a list of the common types of assessments that comprise our Institutional Assessment Framework (this list is not all inclusive): ● Division Self-Assessments ● Audits ● Regulatory Inspections/Site Visits ● Management Reviews ● Directors Reviews ● Program Reviews ● Quality Assurance Reviews ● Peer Reviews ● Integrated Project Reviews ● Corrective Action Implementation Effectiveness Reviews ● Field Inspections/Walk-arounds.
What if a new assessment is identified during the fiscal year?
An assessment can be added to the IAS, removed, or modified throughout the fiscal year using the change request process. A change request form can be downloaded from the IAS and completed according to the described instructions. Once all required parties have approved the change request, the schedule will be modified to include the changes. For assistance in completing the change request form please contact the Institutional Assessments Coordinator.
Who receives Lessons Learned/ Best Practice (LL/BP) briefings?
All employees at LBNL receive LL/BPs based on three criteria: 1) Self subscribe 2) Targeted distribution groups based on category and subcategory. Generally, this is tied to WPC system (Hazards, Work Activities, Safety Control or Training) and job codes. 3) Management derived distribution groups. 4) Established distribution with the LL/BP database such as Division Safety Coordinators, Business Managers or Safety Liaisons. If you would like to create a new subcategory or distribution group, please contact the Lessons Learned Database Administrator.
Do you provide any assistance on writing a Lessons Learned?
Yes! A template for briefings is available on the Help section of the Lessons Learned Database and the OIAI website. Writing or review sessions may also be scheduled by contacting the Lessons Learned Database Administrator.
What is an issue?
An issue is any safety or operational event, condition, or circumstance that: -Results or could result in injury, illness, damage, loss, or noncompliance (actual or near miss incident); -Represents a program, safety or operational deficiency (audit or assessment finding, or performance weakness as identified through walkthroughs, inspections, metrics or performance analyses); and/or -Adversely affects the achievement of mission, strategic and business objectives (environmental, financial, operational, compliance and reputational risks).
How do I complete an extension request for a corrective action?
You can request an extension through the CATS database. Extension requests must be completed 15 calendar days before the due date, otherwise the extension request will not be accepted through the database. (Read more about Extension Requests here) Extension requests are used for unanticipated circumstances that impact completion of a corrective action by its original due date; extension requests are not acceptable when corrective actions will not be completed on time due to a lack of oversight or accountability. Corrective Action Responsible Persons (or designee) enter an Extension Request in the CATS Database generally before the corrective action due date to be considered for approval. When entering the justification statement for a due date extension in the CATS Database, the reason for the extension must be stated clearly along with a justification. The approver(s) of an Extension Request is/are generally the same individuals who reviewed and approved the original issue and corrective action(s) in the CATS Database. A&I will be added as approvers for Medium and High risk issues.
Should an ORPS incident be entered in the CATS database?
Yes, and resolution of an ORSP incident should follow the issues management process which may include causal analysis and includes entry of the issue and corrective action(s) into the CATS database.
When should a Causal Analysis be performed (i.e. Root Cause Analysis, Apparent Causal Analysis)?
A risk-based approach is used to analyze issues based on the Risk Severity Guidelines. The Guidelines should be used to determine the significance of an issue which will drive whether a RCA or ACA be performed. The following causal analysis should be performed by risk level: High – Root Cause Analysis Medium – Apparent Cause Analysis Low – No causal analysis but Corrective Actions should be developed and entered in CATS.
Prime Contract and Institutional Policies
What is the Prime Contract with the Department of Energy?
The Prime Contract, also known as Contract 31 (No. DE-AC02-05CH11231), is the UC-DOE Prime Contract for the management and operation of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Where can I find the latest version of Contract 31?
The latest version of UC-DOE Prime Contract 31 can be found through the OIAI website “Quick Links” as well as here.
What and where do the Lab’s institutional policies reside?
The Lab’s policies are located in the Requirements and Policies Manual (RPM) which can be found on the A-Z index. The RPM sets forth the University of California and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory policies that help define a framework for Laboratory operations.
How do I obtain PDF copy of a policy?
A PDF copy of a policy can be downloaded by going to the View menu in the top left corner of a policy page, then This Page – Export to Adobe Acrobat (PDF).
Do we implement all UC Policies at the Lab?
No, we only implement those policies that are applicable to Prime Contract or are consistent with Laboratory operations.
What is the process for updating or revising policies in the RPM?
You will need to create a policy change request via Smartsheet form and attach a red-line version of policy changes in Word format along with Policy Approval and Significance Rating Determination forms. Detailed instructions can be found here
What is Quality Assurance?
Quality Assurance is a management system that is integrated with CAS and Integrated Safety Management (ISM) that is designed to ensure the work is planned, controlled and executed in a reliable, repeatable and sustainable manner in accordance with the contract requirements. If CAS is “What” the Lab must do to plan, control and execute work. QA is “How” the Lab must plan, control and execute work.
Who is responsible for QA?
All Laboratory employees and anyone doing work onsite who is plans, controls and executes work is responsible and accountable for following the QA Program requirements and the quality of their work.
Is it important that I inspect or test items, or monitor services that I procure?
Yes! Performing inspection or testing of items upon receipt, during fabrication or installation, prior to delivery and/or prior to putting them in operational use is a great way to determine whether they meet user requirements and specifications, and perform as intended. If they do not, they are considered nonconforming items and will need to be dispositioned appropriately. Monitoring performance of subcontractors who are providing a service to is also important so that you can determine if the service provider is meeting your requirements and performing as intended, and if they are not you can correct the adverse performance or work with procurement to resolve the issues.
What is a nonconforming item, and what do I need to do if I find one?
A nonconforming item (e.g. equipment, material, tool) is any item that does not meet specified requirements. These items should be taken out of service once identified, segregated and tagged so they are not inadvertently used. These items should be dispositioned appropriately such as replaced, repaired, scrapped or use-as is. If you opt to use the item as is, you will need to ensure that a technical authority has evaluated the item and documented the analysis and decision to use the nonconforming item even though it does not meet requirements necessary for the item to perform as intended. Regardless of the disposition, you will need to work with Procurement to ensure that the supplier and/or subcontractor is aware of the nonconforming items and can support your disposition determination.
What is a suspect or counterfeit item (S/CI), and what do I need to do if I find one?
A Suspect or Counterfeit Item (S/CI), which is also a nonconforming item, is an item that is illegally labeled and represented as an original and new item. Specifically, – A suspect item is one that does not appear to conform to established requirements, specifications or national consensus standards. Or, items whose documentation, appearance, performance, material, or other characteristics are misrepresented by the vendor, supplier, distributor, or manufacturer. – A counterfeit item is one that has been copied or substituted without legal right or authority to do so or one whose material, performance, or characteristics are misrepresented by the vendor, supplier, distributor, or manufacturer. If you find a potential S/CI, notify the associated project manager and construction manager, the Institutional QA Program Manager and the Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Occurrence Reporting & Processing System (ORPS) Coordinator. These items should be taken out of service once identified, segregated and tagged so they are not inadvertently used. These items should be dispositioned appropriately such as replaced, repaired, scrapped or use-as is. If you opt to use the item as is, you will need to ensure that a technical authority has evaluated the item and documented the analysis and decision to use the nonconforming item even though it does not meet requirements necessary for the item to perform as intended. Regardless of the disposition, you will need to work with Procurement to ensure that the supplier and/or subcontractor is aware of the nonconforming items and can support your disposition determination.
Where can I find resources and additional information about QA?
Detailed information about the Lab’s Quality Assurance Program can be found on the QA Webpage here
Whistleblower and Whistleblower Protection
What is Whistleblower Reporting?
The Lab has expectations and processes in place to detect and deter individuals from engaging in improper governmental activities, but even these mechanisms are not absolute safeguards against intentional or unintentional improprieties. Whistleblower reporting is when an individual sees or suspects an impropriety and makes a “good faith” communication (a reporting) that discloses or demonstrates an intention to disclose information that may evidence an improper governmental activity for the purpose of remedying that condition.
Why is Whistleblower Reporting Important?
As part of the University of California (UC) system and one of the DOE national laboratories, Laboratory employees and affiliates have a responsibility to conduct their work on behalf of the Laboratory in an ethical manner and in compliance with the federal and state laws. This is essential to enable the Laboratory to pursue and fulfill its scientific mission. Whistleblower reporting demonstrates the Laboratory’s commitment to provide a work environment that promotes ethical and professional practices, and ethical treatment for all members of the Laboratory community and those who interact with the Laboratory. This environment is communicated through the UC Statement of Ethical Values and Standards of Ethical Conduct, and the Laboratory’s stewardship values. Members of the Laboratory community are expected to embody these values. Whistleblowing reporting provides the check and balance to foster a healthy and safe work environment.
How do you report an improper governmental activity?
If you see something, say something as there are many ways to bring this type of activity forward, such as:
Discussing the allegation/concern with:
- your direct supervisor;
- Your department head or division director;
- the Laboratory’s Locally Designated Official (LDO); TATriplett@lbl.gov or 510-486-7401, or in person; or
- other appropriate Laboratory offices or officials, such as human resources, legal, internal audit, or the FAIR (Fundamental Rights, Affirmative Action, Impartial Investigations and Respectful Environment) and Research Compliance Offices.
Making a report through the UC systemwide whistleblower hotline: at http://universityofcalifornia.edu/hotline or by calling 1-800-403-4744. This hotline allows for anonymous reporting and is independently-operated to receive calls or web-based reporting, capable of receiving reports in a number of different languages and staffed seven days a week, 24 hours per day.
How can I be assured of no reprisal for reporting?
UC and the Lab have policies and processes in place to protect individuals from retaliation for reporting suspected allegations of improper governmental activities and other concerns. Individuals may contact Theresa Triplett at TATriplett@lbl.gov or 510-486-7401 or in person to discuss and/or report the situation.
Employees and affiliates have the right and the responsibility to report improper governmental activities without fear of reservation and reprisal as part of their UC and Lab stewardship responsibility of federal government and university resources. Whistleblower and Whistleblower Protection processes are essential to support an ethical, fair, healthy and safe work environment. Please visit the Whistleblower Allegations and other Employee Concerns webpage for more information.