12 Million Safe Hours at Hanford Waste Treatment Plant
24 July 2012
Bechtel Project Surpasses Two Years without a Days-Away-from-Work Injury
Bechtel Corporation announced today that workers at the Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, known as the Vit Plant, have worked more than 12 million hours without an injury that resulted in a worker missing a single day of work. The impressive achievement was reached on July 16.
“Construction is one of the most dangerous industries. For our nearly 3,000 employees to maintain the discipline and focus needed to work two years without a days-away-from-work injury speaks to their dedication and commitment to safety,” said Bechtel’s project director Frank Russo.
Workers at the Vit Plant are performing heavy construction, which includes operating large cranes and equipment, transporting materials and working at heights. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the days-away-from-work injury rate for the nonresidential building construction industry was 0.8 injuries per 100 workers in 2010, the last year the Vit Plant had a lost-day injury. Since 2011, the days-away-from-work injury rate for the Vit Plant’s 3,000 employees has been zero.
“Safety is a core value for us. Management sets expectations and provides support, but safety leadership comes from all levels of the organization. Workers lead many of our safety programs, and we believe their engagement is a key ingredient in our success – whether it be industrial or nuclear safety,” Russo added.
Bechtel National, Inc. (BNI), a member of the Bechtel group of companies, is designing and constructing the Vit Plant for the United States Department of Energy. The facility will immobilize 56 million gallons of radioactive waste currently stored in underground tanks in southeastern Washington state. The waste, a byproduct of plutonium production during World War II and the Cold War era, will be turned into glass using proven vitrification technology.