The U.S. Department of Energy’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) promotes public recognition of outstanding programs that demonstrate improved safety and health performance. VPP represents DOE’s high priority for operating in the safest way possible and brings several workplace advantages, including improved labor/management relations, reduced workplace injuries and illnesses, increased employee involvement, improved morale and reduced absenteeism.
The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education emphasizes safety in every aspect of its operations, which are guided by the principles of an Integrated Safety Management system. ORISE’s commitment to incorporating VPP into its operations is reflected in five hallmark values:
The ORISE management team originally initiated the pursuit of VPP certification, and the team continues to promote safety with a goal to have zero accidents “by choice, not by chance.”
To encourage complete participation in the company’s safety program, employees are empowered to stop work at any point if they do not feel safe.
Work site analysis
While most ORISE operations are conducted in typical office environments, there are several programs that involve workers handling radioactive or other toxic substances. Regardless of the type of work being performed, every work environment is thoroughly analyzed for all potential safety hazards.
Hazard prevention and control
An employee site safety representative (SSR) meets quarterly to discuss safety issues and to receive continuing education on safety topics, which is then shared with fellow employees to keep them knowledgeable of ongoing safety topics. Quarterly walkthroughs of work areas allow SSRs to stay out in front of any potential safety problems.
Safety and health training
As part of continuous improvement efforts, the ORISE Environment, Safety & Health (ES&H) office sponsors numerous mandatory, web-based training modules throughout the year that are focused on health and safety topics. Additionally, ORISE’s ES&H and Occupational Health offices offer CPR training to employees on an ongoing basis, and sponsor an annual health and safety fair.