The Volpentest HAMMER Federal Training Center represents less than 1 percent of the overall Hanford Site budget, but its influence in safety is far-reaching.
Owned by the Department of Energy (DOE) and managed by Mission Support Alliance, HAMMER was built to provide hands-on safety training. Labor and management joined forces with the Tri-City Development Council, Native American tribes, and federal and local government agencies. Their common goal was to protect worker health and safety. From its inception, HAMMER has relied on these critical partnerships to create the best worker-safety training model in the nation.
HAMMER continues to rely on worker-trainers who spend one week a month training their peers, then return to the site as knowledgeable resources. HAMMER’s subject matter experts play an important role, in collaboration with Hanford Safety, in developing and maintaining sitewide safety standards. With hands-on experience and state-of-the-practice equipment, HAMMER effectively and efficiently trains the Hanford work force for some of the most hazardous jobs in the nation.
Recently CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company prepared to enter the McCluskey Room, a highly radioactive area at the Plutonium Finishing Plant contaminated by an explosion in 1976. HAMMER supported CH2M HILL by providing respiratory training, mask fits and a mock-up of the McCluskey Room in HAMMER’s Tactical Maze Building.
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“I appreciate HAMMER’s support for our worker-driven training, which gave our crews great confidence as we embarked on some especially hazardous work at the Plutonium Finishing Plant,” said John Ciucci, president and chief executive officer of CH2M HILL. “Today, workers are using the protective equipment they selected, and trained on at HAMMER, to make significant progress in cleaning out the McCluskey Room and preparing that portion of the facility for demolition.”
While Hanford contractor Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) works to resolve Tank Farm vapor issues, HAMMER worked side by side with them to train hundreds of workers on specific respirators. WRPS President Dave Olson said, “We want our workers to have the best training available, and HAMMER has provided that.”
What started as a mission to keep Hanford workers safe has grown into a powerful resource that serves the nation as HAMMER leverages its expertise and experience to help other customers. HAMMER’s national partnerships continue to grow. Championed by Glenn Podonsky, Director of DOE’s Office of Independent Enterprise Assessments, the HAMMER training model is spreading across the country. Podonsky launched the partnership between HAMMER and the DOE’s National Training Center (NTC) to establish training reciprocity across the DOE complex. “Together NTC and HAMMER will enhance the DOE like never before,” Podonsky said. “Together we will do for all of DOE what HAMMER has done for Hanford.”
Eleven HAMMER courses are certified for reciprocity through the NTC and are accepted by all DOE contractors. As workers move between contractors and sites throughout the DOE complex, their fundamental training moves with them, avoiding costly redundancies.
HAMMER’s partnership with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory continues to thrive as we provide customs and border security training. In conjunction with the Department of Transportation, HAMMER is developing training for first responders to deal with hazardous materials rail incidents. HAMMER continues to support DOE’s Office of Infrastructure Security and Energy Reliability in deploying personnel for natural disasters.
As the Waste Treatment Plant nears completion, HAMMER is partnering with Bechtel National Inc. to plan for operations and safety training. Building on a legacy of safety and experience, HAMMER is capable and ready to help future Hanford workers transition from cleanup to an operations mission at the new vitrification plant.
For more than 20 years, HAMMER has trained workers to safely complete the Hanford mission. Because of HAMMER’s partnerships, Hanford went from one of the worst safety records in the DOE complex to a model of successful safety education. As Hanford’s mission changes, HAMMER will be here, ready to tackle new challenges.
HAMMER’s training is as real as it gets. Around here, it’s all about safety.