Washington River Protection Solutions has improved on the already solid safety performance of the previous contractor at the Hanford tank farms, it said.
WRPS took over operation of Hanford's underground tank farms, which store 53 million gallons of high level radioactive waste, a year ago as the contract of CH2M Hill Hanford Group expired.
WRPS reduced worker injuries serious enough to require a doctor's care by 48 percent from the previous year, it said. It also had 68 percent fewer worker injuries that resulted in days off work, restricted work activities or a transfer to other job duties.
The new contractor has started an employee incentive program that pays workers a minimum of $1,000 bonuses a year if the contractor meets certain goals, said spokesman John Britton. But no money is paid out if safety goals are not met first, he said.
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The improvement in the safety record came as more than 200 new workers were hired and trained to Hanford safety standards, Britton said.
WRPS also has had its safety management system recently certified by the Department of Energy as meeting the requirements in its contract.
The Integrated Safety Management System "is much more than just safety," said Fred Beranek, WRPS manager of safety, health, quality and environment, in a statement. "It's how we execute our work, from the contract requirements on down to how individual procedures are implemented in the field."
The certification followed a two-week DOE assessment that included 120 observations of work being conducted, more than 300 employee interviews and the review of 640 documents.
WRPS now is working to achieve DOE's highest safety standard, Voluntary Protection Program Star status, for all its work. Its base operations organization and the 222-S Laboratory, operated by WRPS, also have Star status.
Star status is awarded to contractors who demonstrate excellence in management leadership, employee involvement, work site analysis, hazard prevention and control, and safety and health training.
-- Annette Cary: 582-1533; firstname.lastname@example.org; More Hanford news at hanfordnews.com