Washington River Protection Solutions—Hanford Tank Operations Contractor
3000 employees | 1 sites | 650 EHS professionals
Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS), a waste remediation company, ties its safety success to its work at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hanford site. For the past 12 years, the company has been a leading safety performer across the complex. In 2019 the company received the VPP DOE Star of Excellence Award.
“WRPS adapts to changing conditions remarkably, and when challenges arise, proactive and innovative thinking allows for improved safety conditions, morale and trust among the entire company,” explains R. Thomas Perkes, project manager, Industrial Safety.
The company’s safety philosophy rests on eight beliefs:
1. Zero accidents is achievable and is our goal.
2. Safety is the top priority and is owned by each worker.
3. When in doubt on safety ask questions, and if you see something unsafe stop work.
4. Safety can always be improved and provide multiple venues for employees to engage in safety.
5. Actively care for safety and look out for your co-workers.
6. Seek innovative solutions and address safety concerns immediately.
7. Proactive behavior to avoid or minimize surprises.
8. Value integrity and s safety culture mindset.
These beliefs are the foundation of the company’s accident prevention councils. One council, called the President’s Council, is comprised of senior management. There are also six employees’ councils. “Employees who volunteer for these councils are allowed to dedicate up to one-quarter of their work hours to make WRPS a better place,” says Perkes.
In addition to these councils there are many other ways for employees to participate in safety, including the following:
• Employee walk down of areas of buildings on safety inspections.
• Participation in various safety assessments and audits working in a team atmosphere and then identifying strategies, noteworthy practices, improvement areas, and findings.
• Employees can take part in behavioral safety programs.
• Employees are encouraged to expand their safety knowledge through national safety programs as well as pursuing safety certification through the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP). The company offers classes to help employees prepare for safety exams. They also reach out to those with certifications to encourage them to become champions in spreading the safety message.
All of these safety efforts are paying off. WRPS reports that in two safety culture surveys taken in 2020 and conducted by an independent source, nearly every area had shown improvement since the 2017 survey.