WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Preliminary Notice of Violation (PNOV) to LATA Environmental Services of Kentucky, LLC (LATA KY) for violations of the Department’s worker safety and health and nuclear safety regulations at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. The violations are associated with a March 9, 2011, heat stress event during which an employee lost consciousness; and a May 22, 2011, event resulting in the release of uranium hexafluoride and its reaction products during work to decommission the plant. In lieu of a civil penalty, DOE has withheld a $250,000 contract fee for LATA KY’s violations of DOE worker and nuclear safety regulations.
The PNOV cites violations of DOE worker safety and health and nuclear safety regulations in the areas of: (1) hazard identification and assessment; (2) hazard abatement; (3) safety and health standards; (4) occupational medicine; (5) management responsibilities; (6) quality improvement; (7) work processes; and (8) recordkeeping. LATA KY is cited for failure to comply with 10 C.F.R. Part 851, Worker Safety and Health Program; and Part 830 Nuclear Safety Management.
DOE grouped the deficiencies as four Severity Level I violations of DOE worker safety and health requirements as well as two Severity Level II violations and one Severity Level III violation of DOE nuclear safety requirements.
LATA KY conducted internal evaluations to identify the root and contributing causes of the circumstances that ultimately resulted in the two events. LATA KY has since implemented corrective actions to address these deficiencies as well as the violations identified in the PNOV.
The Price-Anderson Amendments Act of 1988 authorizes the Energy Department to undertake regulatory actions against contractors for violations of its nuclear safety requirements. The Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003 authorizes the Department to take regulatory actions against contractors for violations of its worker safety and health requirements. The Department’s Enforcement Program encourages contractors to identify and correct worker safety and health deficiencies at an early stage, before they contribute to, or result in, more serious events.
Additional details on this and other enforcement actions are available on the Office of Health, Safety and Security website at www.hss.doe.gov/enforce.