AIKEN, S.C. – DOE headquarters and Savannah River Site (SRS) officials recognized nearly 1,500 Savannah River Remediation (SRR) employees for setting SRR records by surpassing 8.5 million operational hours and 30 million construction hours without injury resulting in a missed day of work.
Matthew Moury, DOE Associate Under Secretary for Environment, Health, Safety and Security, Michael Budney, DOE-Savannah River manager, Mark Whitney, chief operating officer of the nuclear and environment strategic business unit for AECOM, SRR’s parent company, and Tom Foster, president and project manager of SRR, spoke to SRS federal and contractor employees, stakeholders, and guests at an event to mark the records.
The achievements underscore DOE’s commitment to strong safety culture, Moury told the audience.
“One way the Department of Energy is committed to excellence in safety is by fostering a safe work environment in all operations at SRS. It is an expectation that a positive safety culture is felt and communicated by every employee,” he said.
It’s the first time SRR crossed the 8.5-million-hour threshold under its EM contract, which began July 1, 2009. SRR recorded its previous safety record in 2015 when employees reached 6.5 million hours without injury resulting in a missed day of work.
The SRR construction workforce surpassed the 30-million-hour mark this month, representing 20 years of construction work without injury resulting in a days-away case. Workers reached this achievement under SRR and former SRS contractor Washington Savannah River Company (WSRC). SRR is a heritage company to WSRC.
At the event, Budney said DOE places a priority on the liquid waste mission and commended employees for safely accomplishing important work.
“The reason we are here today is because you, too, have a commitment to safety,” Budney said. “I commend all of you on your commitment to execute this important work safely.”
Whitney said he is honored to be part of an exemplary workforce.
“I am very proud of SRR’s safety record and our employees’ accomplishments at the Savannah River Site,” Whitney said. “SRR’s commitment to safety excellence is world-class and eight million and 30 million hours without missing a day of work from an injury is remarkable.”
The celebration followed the recent restart of liquid waste operations after a comprehensive 15-month outage to upgrade equipment and facilities in the liquid waste system.
Safe work practices contributed to accomplishments in the liquid waste mission, including:
- The Defense Waste Processing Facility pouring canisters of glassified high-level waste after workers completed extensive maintenance during an outage that began in February 2017, when SRR replaced a melter, the key vessel that glassifies high-level radioactive waste;
- Salt waste processing restarted after workers completed upgrades to the interim salt waste processing facilities;
- Completing construction of the site’s first mega-volume Saltstone Disposal Unit (SDU) 6 and beginning construction on SDU 7.
“SRR is successfully moving the liquid waste mission forward because of a strong safety culture that each of you embody and then impress upon others. This safety culture is embedded into the hearts of the workforce,” Foster said. “You are a learning organization populated with people willing to stop and answer the tough questions. You have proven that such a culture yields the most successful outcome.”