Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) earned its sixth DOE Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Innovation Award for designing a conveyor belt system to lift soil from trenches, decreasing the potential for injuries while maximizing worker safety and increasing efficiency by more than 50%.
Working through cooperative efforts among labor, management and government at DOE contractor sites, the VPP promotes improved safety and health performance through public recognition of outstanding programs.
“EM is committed to worker safety,” said Ricky Bang, Office of River Protection Tank Farms Program Division director. “The development of this tool is critical to improving worker safety, involving the workforce, and increasing task efficiencies at the tank farms on the Hanford Site.”
Workers deployed the conveyor belt system during a recent transfer line replacement project that required excavation around old equipment buried in a tank farm, which is a tank storage area. Workers had to dig trenches more than 7 feet deep by hand, so engineers developed a system to protect workers, an adaptable conveyor belt system to move more than 800 tons of soil.
“The Voluntary Protection Program awards reflect what we stand for at WRPS,” said Steve Killoy, WRPS environmental, safety, health and quality manager. “This solution increased worker safety and task efficiency, and reduced schedule time and project costs. By working together at all levels of the organization and with our subcontractors, we improved safety and efficiency while advancing our important mission.”
In past years WRPS won Innovation Awards for technologies that reduced heat stress, improved electrical work protection and reduced worker exposure during radiological surveys.
In addition to the Innovation Award, WRPS received its eighth VPP Star of Excellence award, presented to VPP Star sites that maintain an illness and injury rate at least 75% below the industry average.
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