As the Pueblo plant transitions to the closure phase, supervisors are conducting a series of weekly safety stand-downs and training sessions to reinforce the strong safety culture established over two decades.
“We will treat closure like another destruction campaign,” said Walton Levi, site project manager, Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP). “Safety and the proper conduct of operations, known as CONOPs, will remain the project’s focus and decision drivers.”
Back-to-basics safety messages have been reinforced during weekly meetings for all shifts, said Gary Smith, senior project manager, PCAPP. He said the stand-downs, times when work is suspended for the workforce to refresh their safety and process knowledge, remind crews that closure isn’t simply a reversal of construction and systemization, which were mostly completed without parts of the facility being toxic.
“Safety and the proper CONOPs are integral to the workforce mentality; it is not just what we do, Levi said.
The weekly safety series will continue and shift to a more specific safety focus related to the projected changes to the facility until state regulators have approved closure permits and actual decontamination and deconstruction operations begin.
“We still have industrial risks,” said Kim Jackson, plant manager, PCAPP. “It’s imperative that an emphasis on working safely continues at the same level as when we were processing munitions. Nothing is more important than workers going home in as good or better condition than when they came to work.” The plant was recently recognized for its strong safety culture with recertification of Star status in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program.