Managing EHS of PV-Related Equipment at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Managing environment, health, and safety (EHS) risks at a national laboratory, or university, can be intimidating to a researcher who is focused on research results. Laboratory research and development (R&D) operations are often driven by scientists with limited engineering support and lack well-refined equipment development resources. To add to the burden for a researcher, there is a plethora ofcodes, standards, and regulations that govern the safe installation and operation of photovoltaic-related R&D equipment -- especially those involving hazardous production materials. To help guide the researcher through the vast list of requirements, the EHS office at NREL has taken a variety of steps. Organizationally, the office has developed hazard-specific laboratory-level procedures togovern particular activities. These procedures are a distillation of appropriate international codes, fire agencies, SEMI standards, U.S. Department of Energy orders, and other industry standards to those necessary and sufficient to govern the safe operation of a given activity. The EHS office works proactively with researchers after a concept for a new R&D capability is conceived to help guidethe safe design, acquisition, installation, and operation of the equipment. It starts with a safety assessment at the early stages such that requirements are implemented to determine the level of risk and degree of complexity presented by the activity so appropriate controls can be put in place to manage the risk. As the equipment requirements and design are refined, appropriate equipmentstandards are applied. Before the 'to-build' specifications are finalized, a process hazard analysis is performed to ensure that no single-point failure presents an unacceptable risk. Finally, as the tool goes through construction and installation stages, reviews are performed at logical times to ensure that the requisite engineering controls and design are in place and operational.Authorization to operate is not given until adherence to these requirements is fully verified and documented. Operations continue under the conditions defined through this process and are reviewed with changing processes.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2012
Event2012 IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference - Austin, Texas
Duration: 3 Jun 20128 Jun 2012


Conference2012 IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference
CityAustin, Texas

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5200-54132


  • codes
  • Environment, Safety, and Health (ESH)
  • hazardous production materials
  • management
  • operations
  • standards


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