AIKEN, S.C. – EM contractor Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) was recently recertified with the DOE Voluntary Protection Program’s (VPP) Star status, the highest safety honor a DOE contractor can achieve.
SRNS was the first company VPP assessed for the recertification in person since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s award marks the fourth consecutive VPP Star status SRNS has earned since becoming the Savannah River Site management and operations contractor in 2008. Click here for a recent EM Update story about VPP awards across the DOE complex.
DOE VPP bestowed its Star of Excellence Award on SRNS last month. The award is based on outstanding mentoring, outreach, goal setting, and support of VPP. Awardees have a recordable incident injury rate that is 75% better than the average of other U.S. businesses in the same industry.
The last time SRNS went through a recertification for the VPP Star status was in 2017. Recertification takes places every three to five years and includes a voluntary assessment of health and safety programs, training, work activities, management and employee engagement, and the overall health of the company safety culture.
“SRNS has introduced almost 5,000 new employees since our last recertification effort. From the very beginning, we recognized that there would be a challenge in familiarizing these new employees with the elements of the VPP program,” said Kristin Creed, SRNS senior industrial hygienist. “It’s important for these new employees to understand that the VPP program isn’t anything new to us — the elements are already ingrained into every aspect of work we do.”
A team of 27 safety leaders from multiple disciplines across every area on the site led the recertification effort. They took on the task of educating the employees in their individual work areas about VPP, as well as assisting the VPP assessment team members when they arrived onsite.
“Achieving VPP Star status demonstrates the importance that SRNS employees place on upholding and sustaining a strong safety culture,” said Stuart MacVean, SRNS president and CEO. “This achievement is validation from the Department of Energy that the safety systems and processes in place at SRNS are effective and, most importantly, that our workforce believes that safety is a core value and is committed to the continuous improvement and pursuit of safety excellence.”
VPP promotes safety and health excellence through cooperative efforts among labor, management and government at DOE contractor sites. The program provides several proven benefits to participating sites, including improved labor and management relations, reduced workplace injuries and illnesses, increased employee involvement, improved morale, reduced absenteeism, and public recognition.
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