North Wind Project Receives Top DOE Safety Award

Knoxville, TN – North Wind Solutions Transuranic Waste Processing Center (TWPC) project is proud to have been recertified as a STAR site under the Department of Energy Voluntary Protection Program (DOE-VPP) and to have received the distinguished Superior Star Award.  The criteria for “Superior Star” sites include approaching a recordable incident injury rate that is 50 percent better than the average of other U.S. businesses in the same industry code.

“We are pleased that the workers’ commitment to safety, their active involvement in work planning and hazard analysis, and their willingness to identify improvements and raise questions was evident to the VPP review team,” said Linda Beach, TWPC Program Manager.

Oak Ridge officials stand with the DOE-VPP Star Site Award. Left to right, Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) Oak Ridge National Laboratory Portfolio Federal Project Director Bill McMillan; North Wind Solutions President John Bukowski; TWPC Project Manager Linda Beach; and OREM Operations Management Division Director Larry Perkins.

The project team was pleased to receive recognition of this accomplishment and flag presentation by Larry Perkins, director of the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management’s operations management division. “We are very proud of the men and women whose work helped the project obtain DOE’s highest safety award,” said Larry Perkins, director of the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management’s operations management division. “At TWPC, they work daily with sensitive and potentially hazardous materials, and this achievement is a reflection of their emphasis on safety and maintaining a robust safety culture,” said Perkins. A VPP Star site of nine years, TWPC consistently meets safety and health goals and has an injury and illness rate significantly below the average of similar entities. The award was presented to John Bukowski, North Wind Solutions President, in Nashville on August 30.

“We believe in the safety culture checks and balances within the VPP,” said Chris Leichtweis, President/CEO of North Wind Group. “North Wind employees embrace this meaningful, voluntary program to keep us thinking and acting safely every day.”

The Department initiated its VPP in January 1994 to promote improved safety and health performance through public recognition of outstanding programs. DOE-VPP also includes coverage of radiation protection/nuclear safety and emergency management because of the type and complexity of DOE facilities. Similar to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) VPP program, DOE-VPP provides several proven benefits to participating sites, including improved labor/management relations, reduced workplace injuries and illnesses, increased employee involvement, improved morale, reduced absenteeism, and public recognition. The DOE-VPP has three (3) levels of recognition; STAR, MERIT, and DEMONSTRATION. Contractors whose programs meet the requirements for outstanding safety and health programs receive STAR recognition, the highest achievement level.

“We are pleased that the workers’ commitment to safety, their active involvement in work planning and hazard analysis, and their willingness to identify improvements and raise questions was evident to the VPP review team,” said Linda Beach, TWPC Program Manager.

DOE’s Office of Environmental Management features this achievement in their September 4 news update: https://bit.ly/2wJG2jl