The ATEC part of the system safety life cycle process is safety verification. As part of the safety verification program, we are responsible for safety releases and safety confirmations. Both of these documents are prepared by the ATEC Test Manager and signed by the Commander of ATEC. Additional information can be found in the downloadable Safety Documentation Requirements Guide.
Paragraph 1-4.w(5) of AR 385-10, dated 23 Aug 2007, states:
"w. Materiel developers, acquisition managers, equipment, process, and facility designers. Materiel developers, acquisition managers, equipment, process, and facility designers will-
(5) A safety release must be obtained from Headquarters, ATEC or in accordance with guidance provided in DA Pam 385-16 whenever Soldiers are involved in the event."
Paragraph 9-8.g. states:
"9-8. Army acquisitions executives, PEOs, and PMs will integrate system safety elements, tailored to meet the complexity of system and milestones of their systems, into their acquisition programs as part of the overall system acquisition strategy. This will be accomplished by developing a SSMP for all systems (or for a family of systems), which will address the following requirements, milestones, and actions. The SSMP will contain provisions for-
g. Giving a safety assessment report and health hazard assessment and obtaining a mandatory safety release from ATEC, when conducting tests, pre-test training, materiel field use, materiel field training, and demonstrations involving Soldiers.
h. Obtaining a safety confirmation from ATEC for milestone decisions and materiel release/fielding."
AR 700-142; Chapter 2, Responsibilities
"2-15. Program manager
The PM has the responsibilities for each of the following areas:
b. Materiel release. For MR, the PM will-
(2) For MR safety -
(b) Coordinate with the supporting safety office and ATEC to determine whether software changes are likely to affect the safety of the total system and whether an amended safety confirmation is required.
(g) Request a safety confirmation from ATEC (Developmental Test Command (ATEC)) as part of required MR documentation.
(3) To ensure suitability -
(c) Obtain Operational Test Agency (OTA) Milestone Assessment Report (OMAR) or OTA Evaluation Report (OER) from the Operational Evaluator of Record; if needed, obtain a safety confirmation."
Chapter 4, Materiel Release
"4-14. Tests, demonstrations, and training
e. At a minimum, a safety release from ATEC is required for all hand-receipted materiel. When the using unit is to retain the equipment after a test, demonstration/ evaluation, or training exercise, a safety confirmation is issued in lieu of a safety release."
Definition from AR 385-10 - A formal document issued to any user or technical test organization before any hands-on training, use, or maintenance by troops. The Safety Release is a stand-alone document which indicates the system is safe for use and maintenance by typical troops and describes the specific hazards of the system or item based on test results, inspections, and system safety analyses. Operational limits and precautions are included. The test agency uses the data to integrate safety into test controls and procedures and to determine if the test objectives can be met within these limits.
SAFETY RELEASE PROCESS
As stated in AR 73-1, Test and Evaluation Policy, 01 Aug 2006, the Developmental Test Command (ATEC) has the responsibility for issuing Safety Releases which are required for Soldier use of equipment that has not been fielded. A Safety Release may also be required for fielded equipment which will be used in a configuration other than originally intended.
The process for obtaining a Safety Release normally begins with the system proponent (preferably the PM who is most familiar with this process) providing ATEC documentation about the system and how it will be used during the planned test program. This request can be made at a meeting, a phone call, an email, or via the ATEC web site. This information is used to determine what safety hazards may exist and what control measures are to be taken to minimize risk to the Soldier and equipment during the test. Control measures may consist of changes in system design, operating procedures, and Soldier training. Typically documentation and information should address the following:
1. WHAT IS GOING TO BE TESTED? System description to include operating characteristics (i.e. voltages, speed, weight)
2. WHAT ARE THE SYSTEM HAZARDS AND CONTROL MEASURES? System hazards include such things as hazardous substances, radiation, high noise levels, excessive weight, electrical shock, moving parts. These and the control measures are normally provided in a Safety Assessment Report.
3. HOW IS THE EQUIPMENT TO BE USED DURING THE TEST? What will the mission of the system be? Who will use it? How many will be used? What will it be used with?
4. WHO WILL BE TESTING THE SYSTEM? Unit from which the soldiers are coming from.
5. HOW WILL THEY BE TRAINED? What training is the soldier being given (e.g., New Equipment Training)?
6. HAS A SAFETY RELEASE BEEN ISSUED IN THE PAST? (Note that a Safety Release is issued only for a particular event (i.e. OT of the XYS System) and expires at the completion of that event unless otherwise extended. If a system has previously been issued a Safety Release then it can be easily amended.)
7. HOW MATURE IS THE EQUIPMENT? Is this a prototype or modified standard? Is it Commercial-Off-the-Shelf (COTS) that has been around for a while? Is it a Rapid Acquisition Initiative (RAI)?
8. WHERE IT'S GOING TO BE USED? What kind of weather? What kind of terrain? In what context? Is there a test plan? If so, provide it.
9. HAS A HEALTH HAZARD ASSESSMENT REPORT BEEN WRITTEN ON THE ITEM? Health Hazard Assessment Reports are normally written by U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine (CHPPM) IAW AR 40-10 for The Surgeon General (TSG).
10. IF NO SAR, DOES SAFETY INFORMATION EXIST? Provide as much safety information as is available.
If a Safety Assessment Report (SAR) is available then it will contain most of the information above. Otherwise the information may be available in various other documents. ATEC and our test centers are familiar with many systems. The most important item to provide us, along with the other information requested, is a good system description along with how it will be used. This can help us determine if testing is needed before we can issue a Safety Release. This is particularly true for systems that have been previously used by the Soldier or systems that exist in the commercial sector. Should additional testing be needed, the proponent would be required to fund the cost associated with the safety testing.
Once developmental testing has been completed, ATEC issues a Safety Confirmation. The Safety Confirmation is usually issued for a system milestone decision but can be given at any time.
Definition from AR 385-10 - A separate document or part of the Operational Test Agency (OTA) evaluation report, OTA Milestone evaluation report, OTA assessment report, or Capabilities and Limitations Report that provides the materiel developer with the DT or OT agency findings and conclusions, and states whether the specified safety requirements are met.
SAFETY ASSESSMENT REPORT
Definition from AR 385-10 - A formal summary of the safety data collected during the design and development of the system. In it, the materiel developer summarizes the hazard potential of the item, provides a risk assessment, and recommends procedures or other corrective actions to reduce these hazards to an acceptable level.
ATEC issues Safety Releases and Safety Confirmations for events as shown in Figure 1 below.
|Figure 1. Safety Release and Safety Confirmation issuance matrix.|
Issued for a specific event; at a specified time; a specified location; under specified conditions.
Describes safety hazards and operational limits.
Supports milestones and materiel releases.
A separate document to AEC and Materiel Developer; provides safety findings and conclusions; classifies any residual hazards.