Safety Rodeo Helps Blue Grass Workers Transition from Operations to Closure

An instructor discusses tools to be used during the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant’s closure phase and their proper use with workers.
An instructor discusses tools to be used during the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant’s closure phase and their proper use with workers.

A series of special classes and training are helping dozens of workers at the Blue Grass plant make the transition from operations to closure.

“The destruction of the last rocket is a major achievement,” said James Parker, maintenance manager, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass (BPBG). “Now as we transition to the next phase, it’s a good time to refocus and review some basic safety standards, refresh our employees on the safe use of different handheld cutting tools that, for the most part, weren’t used during operations, as well as some specialized training on new equipment that will be used during the closure phase. The goal is to prepare our folks to successfully complete the last phase of the project as safely as possible.”

Since July 18, workers have been taking part in a “safety rodeo,” which includes classes and hands-on training covering everything from scaffold safety and fall prevention, to using hand tools ranging from portable band saws and angle grinders to hydraulics-powered guillotine and scissor cutters. Some team members are training on robots that will be used to demolish buildings.

“Instead of keeping things running, we’ll be taking things apart, now,” said Perry Rogers, closure support specialist, BPBG. “We want to get everybody refocused on the new job at hand.”

The last chemical weapon was destroyed in the main plant July 7. Since then, technicians have been flushing agent piping and beginning decontamination activities as part of the move into the closure phase.

Work on the closure of the main plant will increase in the months ahead and will last two to three years. Meanwhile, the two Static Detonation Chamber units will destroy agent-contaminated secondary waste, such as drained rocket warheads, into late 2024.

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