In a nuclear power facility, safety needs to be everyone’s number one priority. Workplace safety is everyone’s responsibility. It’s key for leadership to set corporate policies to create a safe and functional work environment. But it’s also important for workers themselves to help identify unsafe situations. They are often the first line of defense in a nuclear power plant. But here are the key safety tips everyone should keep in mind to keep everyone safe daily.
Most Accidents Are Avoidable
OSHA releases an annual report detailing the top 10 most common safety citations. There is a lot to learn from these common concerns. The trend of easily avoidable accidents occurring repeatedly is unsettling, particularly because more than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year in the U.S., and about 3 million are injured. The top 10 citations rarely change, so the best thing to do is for workers to learn from and understand how to avoid the mistakes of others.
Falls are regularly among the leading causes of worker deaths and injury. Citations often lack simple fall protection such as floor hole covers, guard rail, and toe-boards for elevated open-sided platforms, safety harness and lines, nets, and handrails. These actions protect workers from falls, but only if employers and employees take the issue seriously.
In a power plant, safety risks are also closer to work itself. The main safety concern has always been the possibility of an uncontrolled release of radioactive material, leading to contamination and consequent radiation exposure off-site. Earlier assumptions were that this would be likely in the event of a major loss of cooling accident (LOCA), resulting in a core melt. The TMI experience suggested otherwise, but at Fukushima, this is exactly what happened. In the light of better understanding of the physics and chemistry of material in a reactor core under extreme conditions, it became evident that even a severe core melt coupled with a containment breach would be unlikely to create a major radiological disaster from many Western reactor designs. But identifying issues early and communicating those concerns is key to mitigating any risks.
Communicate Your Concerns
These are just some of the many workplace hazards that can be an issue in maintaining your safety on the job. If you notice any such safety violations as the ones mentioned above, bring them up to your supervisor. If no action is taken, raise the issue to more senior leadership. Risk communication is another often-cited hazard from OSHA’s annual report.
Failures in hazard communication can easily result in accidents on the worksite. Remember that safety is and should be considered everyone’s responsibility, so communicating risk and hazard recognition should be top priority. If you feel unsafe on the job, say something. You are protected as a whistleblower, so speak up and make the changes you need in your work environment.
Prepare for Emergencies
Emergency situations can happen at any time, from fire to earthquake to flood. This makes it crucial that you are prepared for the unexpected long before it happens. To do so, you need to have a plan for several possible emergencies, do your research, and have a kit ready to help respond in case of common natural disasters for your area. Encourage employees to have personal kits at home, in their car, and explain what they will have available to them at work. Run emergency drills at work and make sure employees know what to do by providing clear instructions and paying attention to ensure that the right lessons are learned. Make sure you designate safety leads who know first aid and CPR should their help be required in an emergency situation.
Connect with Williams Industrial
For more advice on how to grow your career in the nuclear power industry, connect with the hiring experts at Williams today.