Office of Environmental Management

New SRS Location Monitoring Technology Improves Safety of Field Workers

November 7, 2017

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Savannah River Nuclear Solutions employee Rebecca Sturdivant collects sediment samples at the Savannah River Site.
Savannah River Nuclear Solutions employee Rebecca Sturdivant collects sediment samples at the Savannah River Site.

AIKEN, S.C. – New Savannah River Site (SRS) technology helps ensure safety by tracking the whereabouts of employees working in secluded spots such as deep woods and marshes near alligators, snakes, and other wildlife.

   SRS management and operations contractor Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) developed the Remote Field Worker Application to maintain communication and monitor the location of employees across this 310-square-mile site.

   “Some of our employees access areas far away from co-workers or site-wide announcements,” said Kliss McNeel, senior vice president of the SRNS Environmental, Stewardship, Safety and Health division. “Whether they are wading through swamps next to potentially dangerous wildlife to collect our much needed environmental samples, or conducting prescribed burns to maintain the health of our vast forested landscape, our remote workers face a spectrum of risks associated with their job duties.” 

   The location and contact information of workers display on an electronic map in the SRS Operations Center. The tool alerts the center when workers are overdue for check-in and helps direct emergency personnel to them if needed.

   “The Remote Field Worker Application that we have developed modernizes and improves our ability to monitor all SRS employees in remote locations with little room for error,” said Stuart MacVean, SRNS president and CEO. “This technology has the potential to be deployed across the Department of Energy complex to help strengthen the safety posture of other site contractors who routinely send employees into isolated areas.”

   URS | CH2M Oak Ridge, LLC (UCOR) hopes to use the application after SRNS worked with the Oak Ridge Office of EM cleanup contractor to package the software and provide technical support.

   “Smart tools like the Remote Field Worker Application are assets to companies that strive to achieve an injury-free work environment,” said MacVean. “With technology continuously evolving, SRNS employees are encouraged to suggest innovative approaches that strengthen our safety posture and business operations. We are proud to share those advancements that have a common benefit with our counterparts at other sites across the complex.”

   SRS uses the tool to coordinate entry to specific areas by multiple organizations. 

   “It has helped us a great deal, especially in the springtime when the Forest Service is doing burns on the site or when there are scheduled deer hunts,” said Judy Sanders, SRNS manager of Geographic Information Systems Technology. “The application allows us to schedule and restrict remote field workers from going into these areas so there is not a miscommunication in which a field worker thinks they are going to check a sample in an area that is being impacted at the same time by a controlled burn.”

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