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LETTERS TO THE EDITORS

What’s Wrong with this Picture?

To the Editors:

The cover of the March–April issue of American Scientist shows “a man in a hard hat.” It also shows a man violating standard industrial safety practice. Workers around the world are expected to be properly “tied off” to prevent injuries that would result from falling out of the elevated work platform. Proper safety restraints include a harness and arresting gear that secures the harness to the basket. Neither item is visible in the photograph. I would urge CERN to re-evaluate its safety culture and training, and to investigate how such a violation could go unnoticed.

William M. Conlon
AREVA Solar Inc.
Mountain View, CA

CERN responds:

CERN takes personal safety very seriously, and risk assessments are routinely carried out before any activity of the kind shown in your cover photograph. In this case it’s important to understand that legislation differs from country to country. In CERN’s host states, France and Switzerland, national regulations do not oblige users of all elevated work platforms to wear a harness. The obligation to wear a harness depends on the nature of the platform and work to be carried out, and is detailed in the supplier’s user manual. In this case, a harness was not required.

James Gillies
Head, Communication Group
CERN


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