University of Rochester

University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics to Resume Operations

August 27, 2008

After a rigorous, three-week safety review, the Laboratory for Laser Energetics will return to operations this week.

Laboratory Director Robert McCrory initiated a voluntary "safety stand down" on Aug. 7 after an employee of the laboratory was seriously injured when a mounting bracket for a piece of diagnostic equipment broke loose while he was standing beneath it.

During the stand down, the laboratory's approximately 300 employees spent more than 35,000 staff hours inspecting equipment and reviewing safety procedures throughout the laboratory.

"We have carefully reviewed the safety of our equipment and procedures throughout the laboratory," McCrory said. "We have every confidence moving forward that we have eliminated to the degree possible the risk of a similar accident occurring again."

McCrory said that the recommendation to University of Rochester President Joel Seligman to resume operations was made after the equipment in question was removed from service and it was determined through the safety reviews that no other equipment in use at the laboratory poses a risk of a failure of this type. The recommendation was supported by Jeffrey Williams, a former Acting Associate Director for Engineering at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and an expert in laboratory accident analysis who independently reviewed the safety stand down procedures and analysis. The University's Office of Environmental Health & Safety also separately audited the review and inspections and fully supports the laboratory's return to operations.