Representatives of Swift & Staley, Inc. (SSI), responsible for site infrastructure support services; and Mid-America Conversion Services (MCS), operator of EM’s depleted uranium hexafluoride conversion (DUF6) facilities, received the awards from Gov. Matt Bevin at a ceremony in Louisville, Kentucky.
The Governor’s Safety and Health Award is the Kentucky Labor Cabinet’s way of recognizing companies for outstanding safety and health performance, and it encourages development of programs to reduce and eliminate occupational injuries and illnesses. Employers and their employees who have achieved a required number of work hours without lost-time injury or illness are eligible.
MCS received the award for the third consecutive year, having achieved more than 1.6 million hours without a lost-time injury from July 2015 through December 2018, while SSI workers achieved over 1.2 million injury-free hours during the same period. This is SSI’s eighth governor’s award.
“DOE recognizes how valuable our workers are to completing the cleanup mission at the Paducah Site. Maintaining the safety and health of the workforce is a daily challenge that our contractors embrace,” EM Paducah Site Lead Jennifer Woodard said. “We are proud of our contractors for being recognized by the Commonwealth of Kentucky for their commitment to safety through these annual awards.”
During the award ceremony, Bevin noted there are more than 70,000 employers in Kentucky, and approximately 38 had been approved for the award during 2018.
"An award like this is rare in our business and is only accomplished through the dedication of the workforce, United Steelworkers Local 550, and support of the management team,” MCS Paducah Plant Manager Jim Barker said. “I'm very thankful to be part of an amazing team like this that understands the hazards of the workplace and still safely accomplishes an incredible amount of work stabilizing the nation's DUF6 inventory."
SSI Environment, Safety and Health Manager John Hobbs said the award is evidence of his company’s longstanding commitment to working safely, and its safety culture that fosters hazard recognition and reporting.
“The work environment is dynamic and unpredictable, but through effective leadership, training, and employee involvement, Swift and Staley team employees are successfully accomplishing the mission without serious injury,” Hobbs said.
SSI and its major subcontractors provide roads and grounds maintenance, janitorial services, safeguards and security, information technology and cyber security, radiological monitoring services, records management and document control, facilities maintenance, property management, and training at the Paducah Site.
MCS operates the DUF6 conversion facilities and maintains the DUF6 inventory at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant site. The DUF6 conversion process produces two materials: depleted uranium oxide and hydrofluoric acid. The hydrofluoric acid is sold and used commercially. The depleted uranium oxide continues to be evaluated for further reuse or subsequent disposal.
The Paducah Site is situated on 3,556 acres in western Kentucky. Built as part of the nation’s nuclear weapons complex, the gaseous diffusion plant enriched uranium from 1952 to 2013, originally for military reactors and nuclear weapons, and later for commercial nuclear power fuel.