CH2M HILL Hanford Expands Worker Health & Safety Efforts

June 3, 2004
As part of CH2M HILL Hanford Group Inc.'s ongoing efforts to strengthen worker health and safety efforts in the face of criticism by some employees of workplace safety at the Hanford tank farm, a new ombudsman-like position has been created.

Lily Parnell joined CH2M HILL Hanford in Richland, Wash., last week as the workplace injury health benefits advisor. In this newly created role, Parnell will help employees file work-related health paperwork and serve as their advocate in processing these claims. If an employee is injured on the job, she will provide one-on-one support and assistance to them in filing any work related medical forms or other paperwork.

"We are working very hard to make sure we do all we can to protect the health and safety of our workers," said Kathy Bresnahan, director of Human Resources. "We also want to make sure that when and if there is a work- related injury, that we make it as easy as possible for employees to file the necessary claims and paperwork to get help. By creating this new position, we are hopeful we will make that process seamless for our workers."

Parnell has experience working with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries and also has an extensive nuclear background, making her a good fit for this assignment. Parnell will work closely with the company's Workers' Compensation coordinator, but will be independent of other teams such as the Employee Response Team or Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council (HAMTC) safety representatives. Employees will continue to use these groups and the services they provide as they have in the past.

"Having someone for employees to talk to face-to-face is a great support. We fully endorse and appreciate the effort CH2M HILL has taken to provide this level of service to our members," said Dave Molnaa, HAMTC vice president.

For information about Hanford, see the related articles, "Hanford: Is Fast Cleanup Endangering Workers?" and "New Safety Precautions Launched at Hanford Facility."

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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