For Immediate Release
Contact: Anne E. Smith
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., October 29, 2015 – URS I CH2M Oak Ridge LLC (UCOR) has been
formally notified that the company has earned Department of Energy (DOE) Voluntary Protection
Program (VPP) Star status, recognizing it as one of the safest industrial operating sites in the
An employee event will be held Thursday (October 29) to celebrate the award and raise
the DOE VPP flag over the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP).
VPP Star status recognizes work sites that have achieved and are maintaining excellence
in worker safety and health protection that goes well beyond basic requirements set by the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the DOE. It reflects cooperation among
management, labor and government conducted in a way that can serve as a role model for others.
The DOE VPP designation follows a review of UCOR’s safety program that included site
visits by a DOE evaluation team, reviews of safety-related documents, and extensive interviews
with senior managers and employees.
UCOR President and Project Manager Ken Rueter said that employee involvement is the
cornerstone of VPP that anchors cooperative relationships between labor, management and DOE.
“Our employees are the key to excellence,” Rueter said. “Employees at all levels must be
involved in decisions that affect employee health and safety, including the structure and operation
of the UCOR Safety and Health program. I’m proud of the individual responsibility and
commitment our employees demonstrate on a daily basis when it comes to safety.”
UCOR, its subcontractors and bargaining unit partners submitted a DOE VPP application
for the ETTP to the Oak Ridge Environmental Management (OREM) office in March 2014. After
reviewing the application, the DOE Office of Worker Safety and Health Assistance conducted an
onsite evaluation in April 2015 to assess the effectiveness of UCOR processes.
UCOR is a partnership of AECOM/URS and CH2MHill under contract with the U.S.
Department of Energy to clean up legacy facilities from the former Oak Ridge Gaseous
Diffusion Plant and repurpose the land and buildings for use by new job-creating private sector
ventures. The $2.4 billion contract began on August 1, 2011, and continues through 2020.