Safety Programs

VPP Logo
The West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP) safety statistics continue to remain good. The 12-month rolling both the Total Recordable Case Rate (TRC) and the Days Away, Restricted, Transferred Rate (DART) are 0.3. Compare this to the FY2014 DOE-EM TRC and DART goals of 1.1 and 0.6, respectively. .

The Department of Energy Voluntary Protection Program (DOE-VPP) promotes safety and health excellence through cooperative efforts among labor, management, and government at the Department of Energy (DOE) contractor sites. DOE has also formed partnerships with other Federal agencies and the private sector for both advancing and sharing its Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) experiences and preparing for program challenges in the next century. The safety and health of contractor and federal employees are a high priority for the Department.

The Department initiated its VPP in January 1994 to promote improved safety and health performance through public recognition of outstanding programs. DOE-VPP also includes coverage of radiation protection/nuclear safety and emergency management because of the type and complexity of DOE facilities. Similar to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) VPP program, DOE-VPP provides several proven benefits to participating sites, including improved labor/management relations, reduced workplace injuries and illnesses, increased employee involvement, improved morale, reduced absenteeism, and public recognition.

The DOE-VPP has three (3) levels of recognition; STAR, MERIT and DEMONSTRATION. Contractors whose programs meet the requirements for outstanding safety and health programs receive STAR recognition, the highest achievement level. Contractors with highly effective programs, who commit themselves to attain STAR status within a five-year period, receive MERIT recognition. A site can retain MERIT recognition for a maximum of five years. The DEMONSTRATION allows DOE to recognize existing achievements in unusual situations about which more information is needed before approval requirements for the STAR program can be determined. Once approved, STAR sites are reevaluated every three years, while MERIT and DEMONSTRATION sites are evaluated annually.

WVDP was initially recognized as a DOE-VPP STAR site in November 1999 and was recertified as a STAR site in January 2014. Currently, thirty-two DOE contractors are DOE-VPP participants.


Integrated Safety Management System


Safety management systems provide a formal, organized process whereby people plan, perform, assess, and improve the safe conduct of work. The Integrated Safety Management System (ISMS) is institutionalized through Department of Energy (DOE) directives and contracts to establish the Department-wide safety management objective, guiding principles, and functions.

The Department is committed to conducting work efficiently and in a manner that ensures protection of workers, the public, and the environment. It is Department policy that safety management systems shall be used to systematically integrate safety into management and work practices at all levels so that missions are accomplished while protecting the public, the worker, and the environment. Direct involvement of workers during the development and implementation of safety management systems is essential for their success.

The objective, guiding principles, and core functions of safety management described below are used consistently in implementing safety management throughout the DOE complex. The mechanisms, responsibilities, and implementation components are established for all work and vary based on the nature and hazard of the work being performed.

The OBJECTIVE of ISMS is to systematically integrate safety into management and work practices at all levels so that missions are accomplished while protecting the public, the worker, and the environment. This is accomplished through effective integration of safety management into all facets of work planning and execution.

The GUIDING PRINCIPLES, listed below, are the fundamental policies that guide Department and contractor actions, from development of safety directives to performance of work.

  • Line Management Responsibility for Safety - Line management is directly responsible for the protection of the public, the workers, and the environment.
  • Clear Roles and Responsibilities - Clear and unambiguous lines of authority and responsibility for ensuring safety are established and maintained at all organizational levels within the Department and its contractors.
  • Competence Commensurate with Responsibilities - Personnel possess the experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities that are necessary to discharge their responsibilities.
  • Balanced Priorities - Resources are effectively allocated to address safety, programmatic, and operational considerations.
  • Identification of Safety Standards and Requirements - Before work is performed, the associated hazards are evaluated and an agreed-upon set of safety standards and requirements is established.
  • Hazard Controls Tailored to Work Being Performed - Administrative and engineering controls to prevent and mitigate hazards are tailored to the work being performed and associated hazards.
  • Operations Authorization - The conditions and requirements to be satisfied for operations to be initiated and conducted are clearly established and agreed-upon.

Five CORE FUNCTIONS provide the necessary structure for any work activity that could potentially affect the public, the workers, and the environment. These functions, listed below, are applied as a continuous cycle with the degree of rigor appropriate to address the type of work activity and the hazards involved.

  • Define the Scope of Work - Missions are translated into work, expectations are set, tasks are identified and prioritized, and resources are allocated.
  • Analyze the Hazards - Hazards associated with the work are identified, analyzed and categorized.
  • Develop and Implement Hazard Controls - Applicable standards and requirements are identified and agreed-upon, controls to prevent/mitigate hazards are identified, the safety envelope is established, and controls are implemented.
  • Perform Work within Controls - Readiness is confirmed and work is performed safely.
  • Provide Feedback and Continuous Improvement - Feedback information on the adequacy of controls is gathered, opportunities for improving the definition and planning of work are identified and implemented, line and independent oversight is conducted, and, if necessary, regulatory enforcement actions occur.


SAFETY MECHANISMS define how the core safety management functions are performed. The mechanisms may vary from facility to facility and from activity to activity based on the hazards and the work being performed and may include:

  • Departmental expectations expressed through directives (policy, rules, orders, notices, standards, and guidance) and contract clauses.
  • Directives on identifying and analyzing hazards and performing safety analyses.
  • Directives that establish processes to be used in setting safety standards.
  • Contractor policies, procedures and documents (e.g., Health and Safety Plans, Safety Analysis Reports, Chemical Hygiene Plans, Process Hazard Analyses) established to implement safety management and fulfill commitments made to the Department.

RESPONSIBILITIES are clearly defined in documents appropriate to the activity. DOE responsibilities are defined in Department directives. Contractor responsibilities are detailed in contracts, regulations and contractor-specific procedures.

IMPLEMENTATION involves specific instances of work definition and planning, hazards identifications and analysis, definition and implementation of hazard controls, performance of work, developing and implementing operating procedures, and monitoring and assessing performance for improvement.

Enhanced Work Planning

Enhanced Work Planning is a process that evaluates and improves the program by which work is identified, planned, approved, controlled, and executed. The key elements of Enhanced Work Planning are line management ownership; a graded approach to work management, based on risk and complexity; worker involvement beginning at the earliest phases of work management; organizationally diverse teams; and organized, institutionalized communication.

Enhanced Work Planning (EWP) cannot be imposed on line management. Line managers who accept responsibility for safety, health, and quality assurance must sponsor it. Successful EWP projects are characterized by managers with a positive attitude about safety and quality, who seek out the organizational support necessary to implement EWP tenets and have the leadership skills, knowledge, and authority to use EWP to improve their programs.

Varying levels of hazards and hazard control dictate that not every work task requires the same degree of rigor in planning and execution. EWP helps sites develop criteria for determining which tasks can be performed better, faster, safer, and cheaper by relying on the skill of the craft. For example, tasks such as routine maintenance may benefit from team planning to facilitate coordination of resources but do not require the same degree of scrutiny as complex, nonroutine tasks.

Work management teams consist of planners, engineers, workers, safety and health professionals (including radiological control specialists, if appropriate), training professionals, and line managers.

EWP is the amalgam of the many processes and tools that enable sites to achieve work results faster, better, safer, and cheaper. As new strategies and approaches are proven successful, and in keeping with best management practices of fostering continuous improvement, EWP is ever changing.