During this time of uncertainty, the WRPS leadership is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our employees and keeping them informed. We have been working together with the Department of Energy and other Hanford contractors with employee safety as our top priority. We began taking proactive steps in February by encouraging employees to follow the federal, state and county public health agency guidelines to keep themselves, their colleagues and their families well. We are monitoring updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and checking the Washington State Department of Health and Benton-Franklin Health District web pages frequently for new information.
Hanford is currently in a phased remobilization of Site operations
May 28, 2020
It’s time to start coming back to work! As announced last Thursday, Hanford is currently in a phased remobilization of Site operations. As we ramp up to full Phase 1 starting on June 1, we will be adding additional on-site work as described in our remobilization plan.
A tremendous amount of work has taken place over the past two months at the tank farms. Despite being in an essential mission-critical operations mode, teams have performed meaningful work while enduring severe restrictions.
Crews are performing daily tasks to keep the farms in a safe configuration, with completion of more than 700 field work activities needed to maintain compliance with Technical Safety Requirements, environmental regulations and safety-related systems. This team of about 400 individuals is conducting rounds, routines, surveillances, system inspections, preventive maintenance, alarm testing, instrument calibration and housekeeping.
In addition to the aforementioned activities, other projects have helped us drive the tank waste cleanup mission forward. Earlier this month, the Retrievals team completed detailed preparations to transport four pieces of highly contaminated long-length equipment to Hanford’s Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility. This work helps us maintain compliance with mixed-waste storage and disposal regulations.
Meanwhile, field teams are supporting significant planned facility outages and laboratory staff are receiving hundreds of waste and air samples. Procurement specialists are purchasing essential personal protective items, cleaning products and other consumables needed to facilitate safe work.
There have also been major disease-prevention efforts completed to further enhance the health and safety of the workforce and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Activities include installing clear plastic barriers in countertop areas, placing floor markers to encourage proper social distancing, reducing the number of workers allowed in change trailers, moving furniture in conference rooms and kitchens, reconfiguring office spaces, posting signs and reminders, and implementing technology to replace in-person meetings.
These efforts – combined with the contributions of our many teleworkers – are key to helping us transition back to work in the coming weeks and months as part of a phased approach. We will continue to work with the Department and other Hanford contractors to determine our path forward in a thoughtful, prescriptive and safe manner.
A reminder that as part of the remobilization effort, all workers will be required to wear face coverings while working on site, with a few exceptions. All employees will also be asked to monitor their personal health each day prior to leaving for work, as outlined in last week’s message.
I offer my sincere thanks and appreciation to the entire WRPS team for your efforts in keeping the tank farms in a safe standby. Please continue to take care of yourselves, your loved ones and our community members during this challenging time.
May 28, 2020
TO: All Hanford Site Employees
SUBJECT: Hanford Site to Continue Phased Return to Work for Site Operations Next Week
During the week of June 1, the Hanford Site will continue the structured and methodical process of adding work activities and incrementally increasing the workforce on the Site, as Phase 1 remobilization continues. Each contractor has developed a remobilization program to reintroduce workers to the workplace, and COVID-19 controls will continue to ensure that our high safety and health standards are achieved for our workforce throughout the remobilization process.
As Phase 1 begins, best practices will be shared and lessons learned will be applied to continuously improve the process, but there is no specific timetable for Phase 1. There are multiple factors beyond Hanford’s borders that will continue to be analyzed before a transition to Phase 2 will be considered, such as our community healthcare system capacity and the robustness of the supply chain to deliver necessary personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.
It is more important than ever that we maintain situational awareness and focus on the development of the new workplace habits that are essential to protecting ourselves and our coworkers, even as COVID-19 conditions in our community improve. As groups come together, especially after a long time apart, there is a natural tendency to gather and catch up. Please be vigilant in maintaining social and physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and frequently washing your hands or using hand sanitizer. Most importantly, please remember to be a team player and protect your Hanford teammates by staying home if you feel sick.
The work at the Hanford Site matters and I truly appreciate all you do every day to reduce risks to our workforce, our community and our environment. We will continue to provide important Site updates through employee messages and on the Hanford COVID-19 intranet page.
Thank you for your continued dedication to each other and our community during these challenging times.
Brian T. Vance
Richland Operations /
Office of River Protection