Tracking lessons learned

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” —Albert Einstein

Learning from past events and projects is a good thing, both at home and at work. By sharing lessons learned, we can increase safety, improve quality and reduce the cost of our products and processes.

Many divisions, sections and centers here at Fermilab already keep records of lessons learned. But what is the best way of collecting and sharing them at a laboratory of this size? How can one make sure that all employees learn about the information that is relevant to them?

The Lessons Learned Program is part of the Integrated Quality Assurance effort, and Fermilab’s Lessons Learned database (KCA certificate required) was created to provide you with tips on how to improve efficiency, quality and safety. The database is a compilation of lessons learned, grouped by project and problem type, from various Fermilab departments and sections. These lessons are collected by the ESH&Q operating experience program coordinator, who maintains the database and captures a wealth of information that can help co-workers make more informed decisions. The coordinator also has the ability to submit for approval by the chief operating officer internal lessons learned, which are to be entered into the DOE Lessons Learned database.

The database also includes information from other DOE sites and their contractors, U.S. and foreign government agencies, industry, professional societies, trade associations, national academies and universities.

You can search the Lessons Learned database by different queries, including:

  1. date of occurrence
  2. contact information or Fermilab ID
  3. subject
  4. severity of problem
  5. work type
  6. risk level.

Each entry provides a variety of tips on what to do and what not to do to prevent problems, as well as how to correct problems if they occur.

To keep the information fresh and useful, please take the time to share your experiences by conveying your lessons to your supervisor, quality assurance representative or senior safety officer.

For more information on lessons learned, see the Quality Assurance Manual chapter 12010: Contractor Assurance/Lessons Learned Program and Procedures.

J.B. Dawson