December 22, 2015

Worker Safety and Health at the Y-12 National Security Complex

The Department of Energy’s (Department) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Production Office ensures the safe, secure, and cost-effective management of the Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  NNSA selected Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC (CNS) to be the management and operating contractor for Y-12, as such, CNS is responsible for the safety and health of the Y-12 workforce.

The Office of Inspector General received a complaint alleging that (1) supervisors and managers at Y-12 sometimes encourage employees to ignore safety regulations or even commit acts known to be in violation of standard safety protocols, and (2) non-reporting of injuries at Y-12 is a common practice due to fear of reprisal from management.  

We were unable to substantiate the allegations.  Nothing came to our attention to indicate Y-12’s safety and health programs do not provide reasonable assurance that concerns will be reported and addressed as required.  We noted that Y-12 has multiple mechanisms available for employees to report safety concerns, including line management, the Employee Concerns Program, onsite union representatives, and onsite facility representatives.  In addition, we were informed by employees that they are able to call a safety pause if they have concerns about an activity and feel free to do so without reprisal. Employees also informed us that they generally feel free to report injuries without reprisal.   

Topic: Management & Administration