Bechtel has once again earned the highest recognition for excellence in safety from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Voluntary Protection Program for the company’s work at the Waste Treatment Plant
project on the historic Hanford Site in Washington state. This marks the second time the project has achieved Star status in the program, which recognizes contractors and employees who demonstrate outstanding achievement in safety and health—above and beyond U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards. In particular, the program focuses on grassroots, employee-led safety programs as well as manager involvement and follow-through.
“Our employees have done an excellent job taking ownership of their safety and that of their coworkers,” said Peggy McCullough, Bechtel’s Waste Treatment Plant project director. “Looking out for each other on a large construction site is critical to achieving the level of safety we and the Department of Energy expect.”
“Safety is a core value for Bechtel. Recognition such as Star status in the Voluntary Protection Program reflects our commitment to safety and quality in carrying out our work,” said Michael Graham, general manager of Bechtel’s environmental business line. “The award recognizes engagement by employees and managers working together to improve safety. This leads to better project execution and, in the case of the Waste Treatment Plant, solutions that will protect the Columbia River.”
The Waste Treatment Plant is a complex of more than 20 facilities, including four stadium-sized buildings that will safely treat radioactive waste stored in 177 underground tanks at Hanford, near the Columbia River. The plant will turn the waste into a stable, solid glass form using a process called vitrification. The waste is a by-product of plutonium production from the 1940s Manhattan Project through the 1980s and must be deliberately and responsibly disposed of to minimize health or environmental risk.
Bechtel manages or comanages a number of government services
sites that have been honored under Voluntary Protection Programs administered by the Department of Energy or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In addition to the Waste Treatment Plant, the Savannah River Remediation project in South Carolina, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and two chemical weapons destruction plants—one in Kentucky and another in Colorado—have been recognized.
Bechtel is a leader in environmental cleanup and restoration
of former nuclear weapons production sites. The company’s experience spans nearly 40 years and includes the cleanup, remediation, and closure of nuclear waste facilities in Washington state, Idaho, New Mexico, Tennessee, Nevada, and South Carolina.