Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Barbara Penland (penlandb@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


ORNL breaks safety record

Caption: Pipe fitters David Adaline and Lloyd Robinette (left) are among hundreds of employees who helped UT-Battelle set a safety record. (ORNL photo/Curtis Boles)
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Feb. 4, 2011 — UT-Battelle announced today that Oak Ridge National Laboratory's approximately 5,000 employees and subcontractors recently passed a historic safety milestone by working 4 million hours without a serious injury.

The new record of safe work performance, which began in September 2010, surpasses a previous record of 3.3 million hours in November 2008. The safety accomplishment follows DOE's December announcement that ORNL achieved a performance evaluation of A- in sustaining excellence and enhancing effectiveness of integrated safety, health and environmental protection.

ORNL has focused a comprehensive safety program on preventing injuries that result in missed work or job restrictions. Joe Herndon, director of Environment, Safety, Health and Quality, observed that the laboratory has raised awareness of safe practices through a combination of training seminars, regular lab-wide employee communication, videos and site evaluations.

As a result, the laboratory has seen a decrease in the annual number of serious injury cases from 71 in 2000 to 16 in 2010. To date, the laboratory has recorded no serious injuries in Fiscal Year 2011.

"In a large laboratory with 15 research areas and multiple ongoing large construction projects, we are challenged every day with a work environment that changes rapidly," Herndon said. "Our staff and subcontractors have exhibited a remarkable awareness of and commitment to not only their own safety, but the safety of those around them."

ORNL Director Thom Mason noted that UT-Battelle has made impressive strides in establishing its culture of safety since taking over laboratory operations in 2000.

"The new record illustrates the degree to which staff and subcontractors have embraced the importance of working safely and incorporating safe practices in performing their jobs," Mason said.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy's Office of Science.

Graph: http://www.ornl.gov/ornlhome/images/news_items/safety4m.jpg>