DOE Contractor LATA Kentucky Exceeds 2.5 Million Safe Work Hours
Joe Walker, LATA
PADUCAH, KY — U.S. Department of Energy prime contractor LATA Environmental Services of Kentucky credits the diligence of its workers for safely completing 3½ years of facility demolition and environmental cleanup at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.
“Our success has been tied to the questioning attitude of our workers, a trait that is inherent to an organization with a strong safety culture,” said Mark Duff, LATA Kentucky project manager. He said the safety record is especially significant because much of the project work involves complex operations and handling hazardous materials.
LATA Kentucky held a catered lunch April 16 for its employees, who on March 1 surpassed 2.5 million work hours without having a lost workday resulting from a job-related injury or illness. The last such Lost Workday Case (LWC) was in November 2010.
“We could not have achieved this most auspicious milestone without having the steadfast commitment to safety by our workforce,” said LATA Kentucky Environment, Safety, and Health (ES&H) Manager Dave Kent. “Our employees carefully plan and execute the work. And for doing so, they receive the ultimate payoff, being able to go home to their families the same way they arrived – free of occupational injury and illness.”
Key accomplishments since LATA Kentucky began work at Paducah include:
· Razing the eastern third of an inactive facility where workers once produced uranium hexafluoride (UF6). The rest of the building is currently undergoing demolition.
· Demolishing a seven-story inactive facility – the tallest building at the plant – formerly used to manufacture uranium metal.
· Building and operating a system to remove the degreasing agent trichloroethene (TCE) from the ground near an equipment cleaning building that is the plant’s leading source of groundwater contamination.
· Drilling and testing for contamination within one of the plant’s old burial grounds as part of determining a cleanup remedy.
Cleanup of hazardous materials at the Paducah plant is performed by members of United Steelworkers (USW) Union Local 550. Highly skilled USW workers perform work safely and efficiently by strictly adhering to procedures.
In 2012, LATA Kentucky won the Governor’s Health and Safety Award, the highest safety-related honor given by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The company has led all DOE Environmental Management prime cleanup contractors in safety performance during fiscal years 2012 and 2013.
Managed by Los Alamos Technical Associates Inc., LATA Kentucky began a five-year contract in 2010 for environmental remediation at the Paducah Site. Primary teaming partners are LATA-Sharp Remediation Services, S.M. Stoller Corp., and B&W Technical Services Group.