DOE cites Savannah River Nuclear Solutions for worker safety, health violations

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

The Department of Energy has issued a Preliminary Notice of Violation (PNOV) to Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC (SRNS) for five violations of DOE's worker safety and health regulations and withheld $3.08 million in contract fee for significant failures in safety performance, including the matters associated with this enforcement action. Worker safety is a priority for the Department, and DOE's enforcement program supports this priority by holding contractors accountable for meeting regulatory requirements and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace. 

The violations are associated with a nitric acid spill event that occurred in F area on August 18, 2009, and an electrical arc flash injury that occurred in D-area on September 23, 2009. The nitric acid spill event occurred while workers were draining a nitric acid line during decontamination and decommissioning work. A failure in a draining device released nitric acid, injuring five workers, four of whom sustained acid burns. The electrical arc incident occurred when a metal tool fell inside an energized 480 volt circuit breaker during troubleshooting and repair work. An electrical arc was generated, injuring an electrician who sustained first, second, and third degree burns. 

The PNOV cites five violations of DOE worker safety and health regulations in the areas of hazard identification, hazard prevention and abatement, electrical power transmission and distribution operations, personal protective equipment, and training. SRNS is cited for failure to comply with 10 C.F.R. Part 851, Worker Safety and Health Program, and regulations invoked by Part 851 and promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, including 29 C.F.R. Part 1910, Occupational Safety and Health Standards, and 29 C.F.R. Part 1926, Safety and Health Regulations for Construction. 

The final amount of contract fee withholding reflects mitigation of a portion of the initial fee reduction and is based on the quality and effectiveness of SRNS' corrective actions as well as overall improvements in the SRNS worker safety and health program. 

The Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003 authorizes the Department to take regulatory actions under 10 C.F.R. Part 851, against contractors for violations of its worker safety and health requirements. DOE's Enforcement Program encourages contractors to identify and correct worker safety and health deficiencies at an early stage, before they contribute to or result in more serious events.

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