On the evening of July 6, interns gathered at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab to enjoy some pizza and watch a movie. This Safety and Mission Assurance (S&MA) Directorate-hosted event was more than just a fun time—it was an educational experience.
Trish Petete, director of the S&MA Directorate at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, welcomed the 76 Pathways, Wyle, USRA, Barrios and SGT interns, along with 20 S&MA staffers, to enjoy the feature film “Deep Water Horizon.” The purpose of the event was to show up-and-coming employees the connections between Earthbound safety and the work NASA does in space while also providing a fun and informal opportunity to interact with S&MA engineers.
Nigel Packham, associate director of the Flight Safety Office, kicked off the evening with a brief lecture and informative slide show on safety in the workplace, showing the breakdown of how large- and small-scale mishaps happen. He demonstrated the important parallels between the oil rig and other high-risk environments like space.
The interns were asked to watch the movie through the eyes of a safety investigator. Packham encouraged them to follow the “Swiss cheese path,” where all the holes in accident prevention line up to cause an explosion.
At the end of the action-packed film, the interns and S&MA team broke into small groups and discussed key points. S&MA personnel had created a list of questions for each group to facilitate the conversation. They focused on safety, quality assurance, process issues and culture concerns. With questions like “What kind of human actions contributed to the accident?” groups came up with thoughtful answers like “safety must be part of the culture,” “poor work culture” and “money, money, money.”
Some key takeaways from movie night were:
- Teamwork makes all the difference
- Safety first!
- Checks and balances are key
- Proper maintenance is essential
- Take all risks seriously
- Integration is critical for success
- Everyone must speak up
- “What we thought would never happen, happened.”
Packham finished by asked all the interns if they felt like they, as individuals, could speak up if they saw or heard something unsafe.
In unison, everyone gave a resounding “YES!”
Interns gather for a movie night with Safety and Mission Assurance leadership. Image Credit: NASA
NASA Johnson Space Center
Interns were asked to use the “Swiss cheese path,” where all the holes in accident prevention line up to cause an explosion, to dissect the Deep Water Horizon accident.
Interns watch "Deep Water Horizon" during a movie night with NASA Johnson Space Center's Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate. Image Credit: NASA
Safety and Mission Assurance facilitators share their insights about a healthy safety culture with Johnson interns. Image Credit: NASA
Interns and the Safety and Mission Assurance team break up into small groups to discuss their takeaways from the movie. Image Credit: NASA