The Department of Energy and CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley (CHBWV), its cleanup contractor at the West Valley Demonstration Project, recently recognized employees at a Safety Recognition Barbeque, which included healthcare vendors, a professional safety speaker and presentation by Dae Chung, DOE-EM Assistant Secretary for Safety, Security and Quality Assurance.

The site used this event to congratulate employees for their efforts in further improving safety at the site. In addition, employees who spent time with healthcare vendors earned chances for a safety giveaway as part of the site’s new Safety Incentive Program that was launched in June.

Guest speaker Kina Repp-Hart shared her story of how a horrific workplace accident left her fighting for her life. She is now a safety speaker, inspiring and motivating audiences all over with her presentation “Safety Beyond PPE.” Kina’s message addresses the importance of training, safety procedures, and how a great attitude can keep you and the people around you safe. 

Dae Chung, DOE-EM Assistant Secretary for Safety, Security and Quality Assurance, who had finished touring the site to discuss Main Plant and its future demolition, took time to present WVDP employees with a Department of Energy Voluntary Protection Program (DOE-VPP) Star of Excellence plaque during the picnic. The award was for exceeding minimum safety rates and having an overall robust safety program.

Chung addressed employees after presenting the award. “I just finished my tour of the site, and I was quite impressed with the changes that have occurred since my last visit — most notably, the removal of the 01-14 Building, Vitrification Facility, Laundry, Utility Room Extension and Waste Tank Farm Shelter.

The safety and health of our employees, both contractor and federal, are the highest priorities for the Department. DOE’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) promotes safety and health excellence through cooperative efforts among labor, management and government at the DOE contractor sites.

The WVDP was approved for the VPP Star on Feb. 15, 2000 — the second site to receive this honor, which is a remarkable sign of employee commitment to safety. Additionally, the WVDP was the first to receive a VPP Legacy of Stars award from DOE. The DOE VPP Legacy of Stars award distinguishes a company that has excelled in outreach and mentoring and has demonstrated sustained excellence in worker safety and health. The award is given to sites that have earned the VPP Star of Excellence for three consecutive years.  

Next year will mark 20 years of having VPP flag flying over the site, and under three contractors. “It is my honor to present this award to the WVDP in recognition of your ongoing commitment to safety, and I look forward to your continued success.”