In this document, I will define NASA Glenn Research Center's (GRC's) primary risk management process- the Safety Permit. This process has been in existence for over 30 years at GRC. It was developed as a result of a major failure at one of our research facilities. Since its implementation, GRC has not had a Class A mishap (a property lost over one million dollars, a fatality or a multiple injury) or a Class B (hospitalization of an employee or property loss of less that one million dollars but over $250,000) as a result of a research or a hazardous operation.
This program utilizes the hazard analysis process as the main tool to define hazards related to the operation. From this information, the operator mitigates the hazards using the established methods of engineering controls, substitution, and/or administration controls.
We should begin our discussion with a proper setting. NASA Glenn Research Center is one of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) ten Centers. It is one of the Agency's four research Centers. The other three are: Langley Research Center, VA, Dryden Flight Research Center and Ames Research Center in California.
NASA's vision is:
To improve life here
To extend life to there
To find life beyond1
To understand and protect our home planet
To explore the Universe and search for life
To inspire the next generation of explorers…as only NASA can2
Aeronautics: Pioneering and proving new flight technologies that improve our ability to explore and that have practical applications on Earth
Exploration Systems: Creating new capabilities for affordable, sustainable human and robotic exploration
Science: Exploring the Earth, moon, Mars and beyond; charting the best route of discovery and reaping the benefits of Earth and space exploration for society
Space Operations: Providing critical enabling technologies for much of the rest of NASA through the space shuttle, the international space station and flight support.3
NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) is located at Lewis Field, a 350-acre site, adjacent to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, upon which the main campus is built. The Center comprises over 150 buildings, which contain a unique collection of world-class test facilities. Since the ground-breaking at Cleveland on January 23, 1941, for the then Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory of the former National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), more than $535 million has been invested in the Center's capital plant; estimated replacement cost is approximately $2.2 billion.4
The Glenn Research Center mission is to work as a diverse team in partnership with government, industry, and academia to increase national wealth, safety, and security, protect the environment, and explore the universe. Glenn develops and transfers critical technologies that address national priorities through research, technology development, and systems development for safe and reliable aeronautics, aerospace, and space applications.5