Contractors at Paducah Plant Get Safety Award
By Barry Wright
PADUCAH, KY - Three contractors involved with the cleanup work at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plan have each been awarded a Governor’s Safety and Health Award for having worked more than one million hours without a lost-time accident or injury.
The Kentucky Labor Cabinet Thursday presented LATA Environmental Services of Kentucky, Babcock and Wilcox Conversion Services and Swift and Staley Mechanical Contractors with the award during a ceremony at the Paducah plant.
Labor Cabinet Secretary Mark Brown was on hand for Thursday's ceremony. He says when a company experiences an injury to one of its workers; it does affect the company’s bottom line.
“Recent Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show that a fatality in the workplace today the average cost about $1.3 million and a loss-time injury average cost is about $48,000,” Brown said. “So that does have a great impact on the bottom line of companies in these tough economic times.”
Brown says the Paducah plant is just one of many across the state where employees are working together with company officials to create a safe environment for everyone.
Donna Steele, president of the United Steel Workers Local 550 in Paducah, says the award is a great success.
“We have not had a fatality at these plants and we work with some very dangerous chemicals,” Steele said. “It’s just a great success that we could ever achieve, and I hope that we will have another one, another year. I hope we never have a fatality.”
As prime cleanup contractor, LATA Kentucky is responsible for completing groundwater and surface water treatment, removal and containment of the site’s burial grounds materials, inactive facilities disposition, surface soil and sediment removal, polychlorinated biphenyls disposal, environmental monitoring and reporting, waste disposition, and project support.
Babcock and Wilcox Conversion Services, LLC converts depleted uranium hexafluoride – a byproduct of the uranium enrichment process – into a more stable chemical form that can be disposed, reused, or stored.
Swift & Staley Mechanical Contractors, Inc. is responsible for performing infrastructure and landlord activities at the Paducah plant. For example, Swift & Staley takes care of surveillance and maintenance of facilities, human resource management, waste management, pollution prevention and other support activities.
Altogether, the Paducah site remediation contractor and subcontractors employ more than 600 workers.
Information for parts of this story provided by the Kentucky Labor Cabinet.