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Safety Culture

Photo: UCOR workers dressed in personal protective equipment

Since 2105, UCOR has been recognized as a DOE Voluntary Protection Program Star site. DOE awards this highest level of VPP recognition to contractors that demonstrate safety excellence through workforce involvement in outstanding safety and health programs. 

Our commitment to safety has even broader recognition.  EHS Today named UCOR as one of America’s Safest Companies. Our CEO Ken Rueter has been included in the National Safety Council’s  list of “CEOs Who ‘Get It’” and was selected to serve as a public director for the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP). 

At the heart of our culture is our Integrated Safety Management System (ISMS). This guiding system integrates environment, safety, and health with waste minimization, pollution prevention, and quality assurance. The ISMS is part of all UCOR management and work practices.

Photo: UCOR workers dressed in personal protective equipment

Employee Engagement

UCOR maintains a strong, worker-driven safety culture. Many of the safety initiatives that are foundational to our culture come from and through our workforce. Those programs include:

  • Local Safety Improvement Teams (LSITS): Across our worksites, UCOR has 12 LSITS that meet monthly to provide education and encourage individual involvement in keeping our workers safe every day.
  • Mission Ready© program: UCOR’s Mission Ready© was developed in 2019 by a multi-disciplinary team to support individual worker’s ability to be physically, mentally, and emotionally ready for work.  The program brings together safety, health, and wellness programs under one umbrella with a target to have zero incidents and illnesses.
  • iQuestion program: Encouraging our workforce to have a questioning attitude is a key part of our culture. The iQuestion program is designed to recognize workers who exercise a questioning attitude.
Photo: UCOR worker using virtual training equipment
Photo: UCOR president Ken Rueter in the field

Leadership Initiatives

Safety is the top priority of our leadership team. The team is accountable for protecting the environment, safety, and health of every worker in the organization. Our philosophy is to send workers home every day in the same condition they came to work.

  • Safety Conscious Work Environment (SCWE): UCOR operates under SCWE policy statement showing the joint commitment between the Company and the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management to protect our workers, the public, and the environment.
  • President’s Accident Prevention Council (PAPC): PAPC is UCOR’s safety leadership council. The Council meets monthly to evaluate the overall health of our safety culture. The group also makes recommendations for improving safety initiatives.
  • Performance Objectives, Measures, and Commitments (POMCs): Leaders and managers track ongoing safety concerns against a dashboard of performance measurements known as POMCs that include injuries, hazard controls, training, and more. Monthly reports are created and reviewed on the status of each of the key measures.
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