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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Preliminary Notice of Violation (PNOV) to URS -Washington Division (URS-WD) based on an investigation of an October 2010 incident at the DOE Idaho Site.  The PNOV cites URS-WD with two violations of the Department’s worker safety and health regulations associated with a hoisting incident that occurred when a telescopic hydraulic gantry system (THGS) tipped while lifting a 7,800 pound shield plug at the Sodium Bearing Waste Treatment Project (SBWTP).  The Department has proposed a $150,000 civil penalty.

The hoisting incident revealed multiple breakdowns in job execution and work controls, including the absence of the applicable Construction Work Control Package at the worksite; the lack of a critical lift plan; the bypassing of a work package hold point; and the absence of management oversight and field presence for a  hazardous task that had not been performed previously.  Additionally, URS-WD placed undue reliance on skill-of-the-craft abilities for the shield plug lift and did not provide workers with the necessary training and qualifications to operate the THGS.  The PNOV cites two Severity Level I violations for failure to comply with 10 C.F.R. Part 851, Worker Safety and Health Program.  URS-WD instituted corrective actions after the event to prevent recurrence and has since completed the SBWTP without significant incident.

The Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2003 authorizes DOE to undertake regulatory actions against contractors for violations of its worker safety and health requirements.  DOE’s Enforcement Program encourages contractors to correct worker safety and health deficiencies as soon as they are identified and in a manner that precludes recurrence.

Additional details on this and other enforcement actions are available on the Health Safety and Security website at

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