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NIEHS Worker Training at DOE Sites

2014-2015 Report

Dr. Sheila Webster, Research Director, and Rex Short, Senior Research Associate, facilitated training delivery to workers and subcontractors at DOE facilities across the country including Oak Ridge Operations, Savannah River Site, and Portsmouth Site. Trainees are workers, including technicians, supervisors, and professionals, who are required to complete 29CFR1910.120 certification or recertification, Radiation II, Practical Factors Training, and various OSHA and EPA regulatory training courses. The training is funded by a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health and Sciences (NIEHS) and administered by the Partnership for Environmental Technology Education (PETE). In 2014-2015, ISSE trained approximately 2,300 DOE workers. To provide maximum convenience and accessibility, an online course, approved by NIEHS, is an alternative delivery option. Forty two workers completed the online course.

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Training is updated and modified based on evaluation data and sponsor requirements. Data collection includes student performance, end of course evaluation by students and one year follow up of students and employers to collect data on the impact of training on the workplace and to assess how training has been used on the job. Assessments have indicated the course reduces work related illnesses and injury on the job. Training increases participants’ awareness of ways to actively engage in improving the work health and safety conditions and establish methods for dialog and communication with other employees and employers to integrate safety awareness into the DOE culture.

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ISSE hosted the DOE Advisory Board meeting in Knoxville on April 28, 2015. The Advisory Board is composed of representatives from DOE facilities and higher education institutions throughout the U.S. The committee reviewed activities and performance over the past five years and discussed plans for submitting a proposal for the next five-year grant cycle.

Presentors at the meeting included: Dr. Matt Murray, Baker Center Director, who shared the results of a study regarding the impact of DOE facilities on the East Tennessee area; Mark Smith, Director of Environmental Health and Safety at the University of Tennessee, who discussed new issues and operations of safety and waste management at UTK; and Bea Ross, Zero Waste Coordinator with UTK Facility Services, who talked about UT Recycling including the massive effort at Neyland Stadium during game day to ensure it is a zero waste event.

2013-2014 Report

Dr. Sheila Webster, ISSE Research Director, and Rex Short, ISSE Senior Research Associate, teamed with a nationwide network of colleges and delivered training to workers at Department of Energy (DOE) environmental restoration and waste sites across the United States. The network, Community College Consortium for Health and Safety Training (CCCHST), which is administered by the Partnership for Environmental Technology Education (PETE), partnered with Hazardous Materials Training and Research Institute (HMTRI) and sub-awardees at the University of Tennessee and Amarillo College, Texas. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) directed funds to PETE for the purpose of delivering convenient and cost-effective NIEHS-approved worker training to DOE contractors and subcontractors serving DOE facilities.

ISSE received a sub-award from PETE and trained workers at the following DOE locations: Oak Ridge Operations, Tennessee; Savannah River Site, South Carolina; Paducah Gaseous Diffusion, Kentucky, and Portsmouth Site, Ohio. In 2013-2014, ISSE facilitated training for approximately 1,500 workers. Sixty workers received training using the online course, which was modified and updated during the year.

The short-term goal was to prevent work-related illnesses and injury through training and education of workers in the DOE Nuclear Weapons Complex. Workers gain the knowledge and skills to protect themselves and their communities from exposure to hazardous materials (including radiological hazards) encountered during hazardous waste operations, facility decommissioning and decontamination, hazardous materials transportation, environmental restoration of contaminated facilities or chemical emergency response. Students are professionals, technicians, workers, and supervisors who are required to receive 29CFR1910.120 certification and recertification as waste site workers/supervisors, chemical emergency responders, and handlers of hazardous and radiological materials, confined space entrants or rescue personnel at waste sites. They perform cleanup, waste management, waste transportation, engineering services, and analysis and testing.

The long-term goal is to assure that workers become and remain active participants in determining and improving the health and safety conditions under which they work and that avenues for collaborative employer-employee relationships in creating safe workplaces are established.

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