CNS Construction builds safety culture

May 26, 2016
Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC Construction workers and subcontractors achieved a significant milestone by working more than four years at Pantex without a recordable injury as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
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Pantex Construction employees perform high-risk work every day and recently completed more than four years without a recordable injury as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Given the types of work performed by the group, this achievement is remarkable. This team is engaged in high-risk work every day — from elevated work, lifting and rigging, warehouse renovation, storage systems, and fiber optic backbone to replacing underground fire protection piping, installing security barriers, bay and cell upgrades and electrical system modifications.

“The success is facilitated by the oversight and daily construction safety inspections conducted by the Safety Department’s construction safety personnel and the daily work and safety focus of the Project Subcontract Technical Representatives and the Construction Management team,” said Jimmy Rogers, manager, Pantex Safety and Industrial Hygiene Department. “You can tell that everyone has really adopted the four core values of teamwork, respect, trust and integrity.”

With many programs in place to help ensure safety, the main reason for the four‑year success is the team’s safety culture. Journeyman electricians Jerry Moore and Victor Kaempfe agreed the achievement was a team effort made possible by a culture of safety.

“I think the key factor in staying safe is you have to want to be safe and work safe — it’s a safety culture,” Moore said.

Kaempfe added, “We help each other be safe. We start the day with the idea that we are all going to go home at the end of the day, and you can only achieve that with a strong safety culture.”

Without the work ethic, commitment and willingness to drive an overall shift to a nuclear safety culture and the five Daily Absolutes, the accomplishment might not have been achieved.

“Ian (Hughes) has been our mentor and our ‘lead-by-example’ person,” Beard said, referring to the CNS Construction Manager at Pantex. “He is a fun guy to work with, but when it comes to safety, he’s always serious.”

The team – West Texas Building Trades members, construction subcontractors and CNS staff – have adopted the traits of a nuclear safety culture, leading to a much safer work environment.

Sheet metal worker Clifford Branum said the emphasis on safety — the general safety meeting each morning, followed by a job‑specific safety inspection — is a change from other sites where he’s worked.

“We aren’t schedule driven; we are safety driven,” Branum said. “It’s nice to know there will be no kickback for saying something. If you see something that you think isn’t safe, you can say something, and the issue will be addressed.”

Hughes said each and every team member’s leadership and individual commitment has been instrumental in achieving a healthy nuclear safety culture in the Construction group.

“Of course, maintaining the health of the safety culture requires continuous focus and commitment by all, and this requires that the safety culture be incorporated into our DNA. It is imperative that in addition to the daily care and feeding of our culture, that we (that’s all of us) make every decision from the perspective of our five Absolutes,” he said.