For Immediate Release
Contact: Ashley Hartman
OAK RIDGE, Tennessee, December 7, 2016
— Kenneth J. Rueter, President and Project Manager of URS| CH2M Oak Ridge LLC (UCOR), the Department of Energy’s lead cleanup contractor at the East Tennessee Technology Park in Oak Ridge, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the national Center for Construction Research and Training, known as CPWR.
Based in Silver Spring, Maryland, CPWR is a non-profit organization dedicated to construction safety and health research and training, and currently serves as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) National Construction Center. In this capacity, CPWR works to reduce or eliminate occupational safety and health hazards faced by construction workers through safety and health research and the development of a broad array of training programs.
“I am honored to have been chosen to serve in an organization whose strong commitment to workplace safety culture matches that of my company,” Rueter said. “As we pursue our mission of environmental remediation of hazardous nuclear facilities and capital construction projects at the country’s premier national defense sites in Oak Ridge, UCOR focuses on maintaining a robust safety culture – one that conveys our belief that all accidents are preventable and promotes worker engagement to establish a zero-injury work environment.”
CPWR projects provide services to workers, contractors, construction site owners, researchers, unions, governments, and society. Activities include facilitating research on initiatives that improve construction work conditions and prevent injuries, enhancing construction data gathering and sharing and serving on advisory groups to develop best practices and guidelines.
The group also oversees medical surveillance programs for former construction workers at Department of Energy nuclear weapons sites and provides claims assistance under the Energy Employees Compensation Act for employees with illnesses resulting from work at DOE sites.
As DOE’s cleanup contractor for the Oak Ridge Reservation, UCOR combines the capabilities of AECOM, a worldwide leader in engineering and nuclear cleanup work, and CH2M, the United States’
largest environmental company. Along with team subcontractor, RSI, one of Oak Ridge’s most successful small businesses, UCOR is conducting an extensive program of cleanup and remediation at the East Tennessee Technology Park, former home of the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant, as well as additional work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Y-12 Nuclear Security Complex.
Since the beginning of Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, the UCOR workforce has achieved more than 7 ½ million hours without a lost work day away case and a 40 percent reduction in recordable injuries, all while increasing employment by 20 percent, an impressive record, particularly in an industry that involves working in nuclear-related, highly-hazardous environments.
The severity of injuries also declined dramatically from FY 2015 to FY 2016, as evidenced by a reduction by nearly half in the “DART rate”, or the time away from an individual’s normal work activities following an injury. Rueter credits the high-level safety performance to the close working partnership that exists among UCOR and labor partners – the Atomic Trades and Labor Council, the Knoxville Building and Construction Trades Council, United Steel Workers Local 9-288, and AFL-CIO.