Occupational Health & Safety

Chemical Weapons Destroyer Named One of Nation's Safest Worksites

OSHA has presented its highest workplace safety recognition to contractor workers at the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (TOCDF), the U.S. Army chemical weapons incinerator complex located at the Deseret Chemical Depot in Tooele, Utah, outside of Salt Lake City.

In a double award presentation before about 400 workers at the sprawling depot 60 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, TOCDF Systems Contractor EG&G Defense Materials, Inc. (a subsidiary of URS Corporation's EG&G Division), and Battelle Memorial Institute, EG&G's analytical laboratory and air monitoring services subcontractor, both were formally inducted into OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs at the agency's "star," or highest, level. The ceremony, attended by site workers, URS and Battelle corporate officials, U.S. Army leaders, and other project stakeholders, concluded with a flag-raising just outside the TOCDF facility, with the American flag flanked by EG&G's and Battelle's new OSHA VPP Star flags.

Together, EG&G and Battelle employ more than 1,000 workers at TOCDF, where the Army's single-largest stockpile of aging, deteriorating chemical weapons is being destroyed under the provisions of an international treaty. Following a February audit by a team of OSHA and private industry safety professionals, both contractor organizations were notified of their newly earned status.

Addressing employees, Randy Wotring, URS EG&G Division president, said, "All four of [URS EG&G Division's] chemical demil sites are now VPP Star sites. This one is extra special to me. This was led by our employees and a lot of work went into this. . . . You've found a way to meet goals, to continue to make improvement and make it a safer work environment for all of our employees. The accomplishment also reflects the strong partnership between our employees, our subcontractors, our customers, and the community."

Stephen Kelly, Battelle senior vice president and president of Battelle National Security Global Business, added, "We run a lot of tough, dangerous operations where complicated things go on, and I know how hard it is to reach a level of excellence that you have here, to attain VPP Star status. Among the many operations we operate, this is one of only a handful that have gotten to this point. Congratulations on that."

OSHA VPP officials reported only 2/10,000ths of one percent of U.S. workplaces are VPP sites at either the Star or lesser "Merit" levels. EG&G and Battelle reportedly are the 71st and 72nd Star worksites in OSHA's Region 8, which comprises the states of Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and North and South Dakota. Only seven other workplaces in Utah have achieved VPP status at either the Star or Merit levels, and EG&G and Battelle now are the fifth and sixth Utah workplaces to achieve Star status.

URS Corp. provides engineering, construction, and technical services for public agencies and private sector companies around the world. Headquartered in San Francisco, the company operates through three divisions: the URS Division, the EG&G Division, and the Washington Division. URS has more than 47,000 employees in a network of offices in more than 30 countries.

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