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Hanford’s Robust Safety Culture Gains One More Site-Wide Safety Standard

August 2, 2012 - 12:00pm

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RICHLAND, Wash. – The safety of the Hanford Site workforce has been bolstered with another program added to the list of Site-wide Safety Standards. The latest Site-wide Safety Standard covers Fall Protection.

The innovative Hanford Site-wide Safety Standards program combines the once diverse programs of the various site contractors, and streamlines them into a single safety program.

Designed to improve the safety of Hanford’s mobile workforce, the Site-wide Safety Standards effort has incorporated the best practices from across the site into a single, uniform, and robust program. This means that site worker can all be trained to just one program, thus avoiding redundancy and ambiguity, as workers move from project to project or from one company to another as work continues to complete Hanford cleanup.

Also included in the standardization is a training aspect. Standardized fall protection training will be done at the Volpentest HAMMER Training Center, where most of Hanford’s cleanup workers get their best-in-class training in a variety of specialized skills. While fall protection training has been offered by HAMMER since its opening in 1997, this is the first effort to train Hanford cleanup workers from different contractors and job classifications to the same guidelines and standards.

“The addition of this latest Site-wide Safety Standard is just another sign of our commitment to keeping our people safe,” said Ray Corey, Assistant Manager for Safety and Environment at the Department of Energy’s Richland Operations Office. “And when combined with the world-class training HAMMER provides, we are confident that our workforce is fully equipped to perform work safely, even in the most hazardous conditions.”

The Hanford Site began adopting site-wide safety and health standards in 2008 (Hanford Site Lockout/Tagout Procedure was the first).

Since that time, 14 standards have been adopted or developed through the collaborative efforts of Hanford Prime Contractors, Organized Labor, and both the Department of Energy’s Richland Operations Office and Office of River Protection.

A secondary benefit of the site-wide standards is cost savings. In the past, workers would complete training through each company’s program. This meant some workers were trained two or three times because each company had their own approach to these programs.

David Davis, President of the Central Washington Building and Construction Trades said his membership has already begun to see efficiencies from the standardization program. “Construction craft are always in demand on site and we tend to be more mobile by the nature of our support to the site. These standards help with us get transition from job-to-job and from contractor-to-contractor with far greater ease than ever before. But more important, we benefit from the added safety these standards deliver.”

Brian Harkins, DOE Office of River Protection Director, Safety and Health Division said, “Working with fall protection equipment is a very common industrial activity associated with Hanford cleanup operations. Having a Hanford Site-wide Safety Standard for this activity is another important step toward keeping our workers safe on the job at Hanford.”

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