Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The safety situation at LANL and other DOE labs

From Anonymous:

One item has not been mentioned in most of the material about the safety situation at LANL and other DOE labs. Around the time that the laser safety incident occurred at LANL, there were two fatal accidents at other DOE facilities (Hanford and Savannah River). While an accident involving serious loss of vision is very serious, fatal accidents are also serious. The LANL accident received international news coverage, but the two fatal accidents at other facilities were featured only in the news in the local area. This points to the continued need for safety consciousness for all hazardous activities.


From the http://www.nukeworker.com/forum/index.php/topic,2590.0.html
This is a story that appeared in local newspapers in the Savannah River area (South Carolina):
A worker who died after being crushed under a tractor hoe at Savannah River Site on Monday afternoon has been identified as 30-year-old Christopher McZilkey, of Thomson.
Barnwell County Coroner Lloyd Ward said Mr. McZilkey died of loss of blood after his femur and pelvis were crushed under the weight of the heavy equipment workers were trying to move onto a flatbed truck.
The accident occurred at about 3:30 p.m. Monday, and Mr. McZilkey was pronounced dead at the Medical College of Georgia at 6:16 p.m., Mr. Ward said.
Mr. McZilkey was employed by Thomson-based Gunther Grading and Hauling, a contractor at the site, Mr. Ward said. The death has been ruled accidental.
Posted July 29, 2004, 01:51:53 PM

This is a story that appeared in the local Hanford papers.
Posted: Thursday, July 29, 2004 23:17
TRI-CITY HERALD
Benton City man dies in fall at Hanford
This story was published Friday, July 16th, 2004
By Jeff St. John Herald staff writer
A Benton City man died Thursday morning after apparently falling while he was moving a mobile office from Hanford's 200 Area, the U.S. Department of Energy reported.
Doug I. Paine, 47, was an employee of All Mobile Transporting and Repairs, a Kennewick business that had been hired to remove the surplus trailer from the area, said DOE spokeswoman Colleen Clark.
Clark said All Mobile owner Gary Orr was working with Paine when he found him unconscious after calling out for him and receiving no answer.
Paine was taken to Kadlec Medical Center in Richland, where he was pronounced dead at 12:36 p.m., said Larry Duncan, Benton County deputy coroner.
"It's unclear whether he was on a ladder at the time or on top of the trailer," DOE's Clark said. DOE is investigating Paine's death, she said.
Duncan said the coroner's office plans an autopsy today, and that the Benton County Sheriff's Office was investigating the death.
Paine had begun working for All Mobile Transporting and Repairs for only three days, said his mother, Winnie Paine. He was not married and had no children, and lived with her and his father, she said. The family has lived in the Tri-City area since 1974, she said.
Winnie Paine said her son had been taking medication earlier in the week that had caused him to collapse, but she believed he had stopped taking the medication prior to Thursday's accident. She did not say what the medication was for.
All Mobile owner Orr said his company had been hired by another local business to break down and move the mobile office. The office had been bought through the Tri-City Asset Reinvestment Co., an economic development program used to transfer surplus DOE equipment to the private sector.
The last fatal accident on the Hanford site was in 1993, when Louis Beatty, 40, of Richland, was scalded when a steam pipe ruptured in a pit where he was doing routine maintenance, DOE spokesman Connie Eckard said. Beatty died of his injuries a week after the accident.


Comments:
The best thing about Firefox is that you can keep pressing Ctrl + until you can see this post.
 
These two incidents did not involve people who where working directly for the sites involved. Mixing apples and oranges here... Besides, I remember hearing about these two incidents on cable news; they did receive more than just local coverage.
 
Regarding the post of 11:01 AM:
Note that the JCI guy who jack-hammered into a high-voltage line and ended up (still) in a coma and the PTLA guy who was shot and killed during an exercise were NOT LANL/UC employees. Yet, LANL/UC got the blame for these two incidents.

There were also two other very unforetunate incidents:

A post-doc drove a forklift off a loading dock and broke his leg. This was in clear, willfull violation of the work rules in that he did NOT have a forklift license. His GL and DL got time off without pay.

A graduate student was seen by his direct supervisor to be upset because his girl-friend had dumped him. The student was directed to stay out of the laboratory until further notice. Shortly after the supervisor left, the student went into the laboratory and got an electrical shock that left him unconcious with both shoulders dislocated. Again, this was willful insubordination. The supervisor and GL both got time off without pay.

Seems like we are helpless in this. When there is an accident (or security incident), somebody, whether guilty or innocent, must be punished.
 
TO 2:59 PM:
You are right and this is new with Nanos. Formerly, if the S-Division investigation of an "incident" found "no compromise" and "no infraction," no punishment followed. Of course, lessons learned were developed and steps would be taken to limit the recurrence of similar "incidents." Now Nanos punishes people for "incidents" which are most ofter simple human mistakes that produce no harm to national security. A good security program encourages reporting these incidents.
 
The electrical worker at SLAC who got injured in an arc flash was also a subcontractor. Nonetheless, they shut down for an extended period and additional training has been imposed at various places in the complex.
 
The electrical worker at SLAC who got injured in an arc flash was also a subcontractor. Nonetheless, they shut down for an extended period and additional training has been imposed at various places in the complex.
 
SLAC is not engaged in national security significant work. You don't close down activities that doing work that is essential to the security of this Nation.
 
But it's fine to deprive thousands of professionals of their ability to do work if it's not "national security" related? Give me a break, and get off your high horse while you're at it. Apparently it wasn't "essential", since we're still here. DOE has systemic problems, including knee-jerk overreaction and severe risk aversion, and pretending that you're exempt or immune because you're under NNSA is missing the point utterly.
 
bystander at 11:34 PM has a point. In spite of what we have been told, specifically while we were trying to recover from the Cerro Grande fire, the DOE Directive Schedule means nothing. Deliverables required last year still have not been made because DX Division is not yet operational.
 
The worker crushed from the tractor at srs was my cousin. I'm still unsure how or why this happened. As far as I know, you have to get clearance from 10 people before you can use the restroom. Someone tell me how this happened, if possible. Reguardless of how much publicity there was about these incidents, precautions could have been taken to prevent them.
 
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