Workers at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant have safely completed more than 5,000 entries into agent-contaminated areas of the plant wearing Demilitarization Protective Ensemble gear.
“Safely reaching 5,000 entries is largely due to the extensive training and procedures based on PCAPP’s safety culture,” said Rob Ralston, acting operations support manager. He said safety is essential especially for anyone working closely with agent, such as those who suit up in DPE to enter chambers inside the Agent Processing Building.
The entry process requires extensive and meticulous procedures. It begins with the team gathering for a pre-entry briefing to discuss, in detail, entry procedures and mission goals. Once the team understands the shared goals of the mission, Entry Support Area tenders assist those entering to properly suit up.
It takes dedicated teamwork to ensure that all entries are completed safely.
“This demonstrates the importance we place on safety, our eagerness to work together and how when we work together, we can achieve anything,” said Reginald Wilkerson, superintendent of operations support, PCAPP, highlighting the importance of safety and teamwork.
The 5,000th entry took place on Aug. 4. One PCAPP employee, a waste operator, became the first individual at the plant to complete 200 DPE entries on July 31.
Waste management superintendent Bill Nieminen stressed the importance of patience in reaching these milestones, as climbing in and out of a DPE suit can take a physical and mental toll on an operator.
Nieminen said operators such as the one who achieved 200 entries are relied upon to be fit for duty at all times. “He is very good at giving on the job training to new DPE entrants,” he said.