Savannah River Nuclear Solutions is facing stiff fines after the Department of Energy ruled that they were violating safety regulation during an incident where a Site worker was seriously injured.
Friday, DOE sent a letter to SRNS President and CEO Dwayne Wilson outlining their belief that the management and operations contractor has violated four worker safety and health regulations and thus will be fined more than $150,000.
The four violations contained in the Preliminary Notice of Violation letter are associated with a July 1, 2011, incident that occurred while a worker was using a scaffold to perform work in the Purification Area Vault in the K-Area Complex at the Savannah River Site. The SRNS worker fell from the scaffold and was hospitalized with injuries to his head and torso, according to DOE.
“DOE’s evaluation of this event identified substantive weaknesses in SRNS’ processes to identify, control and manage construction safety and industrial hygiene hazards,” the letter from John S. Boulden, director of DOE’s Office of Enforcement and Oversight, said. “DOE believes that the aggregate of the SRNS work planning and hazard assessment and control deficiencies represent serious conditions that adversely impacted the safety and health of the exposed employees.”
The violations related to four areas: hazard identification, scaffold safety, training and information, and occupational medicine.
The fourth area is one where DOE had harsh words for SRNS, and was the only violation where the fine was not reduced.
“DOE believes that the violations associated with the occupational medical program represent longstanding programmatic deficiencies that SRNS has not addressed,” the letter reads.
The PNOV outlines four specific problems related to medical information not being up-to-date or reliable.
The total fine is $159,375, according to the letter. This was significantly reduced, from a possible $225,000, due to follow-up action by SRNS, that were commended by DOE.
“SRNS promptly responded to the fall injury event, and an SRNS team performed a comprehensive extent-of-condition review that included a scaffolding assessment,” the letter says. “DOE has concluded that the corrective actions that SRNS is implementing appear to address many of the deficiencies identified in the DOE Accident Investigation Board report.”
SRNS did not respond to emails requesting comment late on Friday.