A Tuesday flag-raising ceremony recognized the efforts by workers at Y-12 National Security Complex to keep employees safe, preventing injuries and reducing the number of lost work days.
Y-12 has been recognized as having outstanding safety and health programs under the U.S. Department of Energy Voluntary Protection Program, or DOE-VPP, and the plant has been designated as a VPP Star Site, the highest achievement level.
During Tuesday’s ceremony, Y-12 executives said illness and accident rates have dropped, and the safety statistics last year were the best they’ve been in 12 years. Workers said the injury and illness rates in Fiscal Year 2012, which ends Sept. 30, are half of what they were in FY 2011.
“The safety record has improved here so dramatically that it’s just remarkable,” said Bill Klemm, B&W Y-12 senior vice president and deputy general manager.
VPP is available to all contractors and subcontractors in the DOE complex, according to a B&W Y-12 press release. Achieving VPP Star status means that Y-12 has proven a commitment to creating a safe work environment that protects workers, the public, and the environment.
It also means the plant and its 4,700 employees and subcontractors must continue to meet safety standards and pay attention, including when they work in some of the site’s older facilities, executives said.
“We all have to follow our safety rules when we’re at Y-12,” said Darrel Kohlhorst, B&W Y-12 president and general manager.
Two other Oak Ridge sites have also reportedly achieved the star status, but Kohlhorst said Y-12’s achievement is the first for a local production site.
Sam Lariviere, Y-12 VPP facilitator, said DOE’s Office of Health, Safety, and Security reviewed Y-12 in April, and the plant is trying to get to zero injuries.
“We are below industry standards,” he said.
The VPP flag raised Tuesday will fly over Y-12’s New Hope Center on Scarboro Road.