Safety slacks slow weapons plant project
STAFF AND WIRE REPORT
May 7, 2012
RICHMOND, Ky. - Construction has been temporarily halted at the Madison County, Kentucky, plant where chemical weapons will be destroyed to review safety procedures and practices.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that the office that provides public information about the project at Blue Grass Army Depot says construction stopped Thursday and will resume today. The Blue Grass Chemical Stockpile Outreach Office in Richmond says the break is being taken after two incidents involving cuts and bruises and two where injury could have resulted.
A spokesman for general contractor Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass, George Rangel, says one incident involved pliers falling from an elevated space and another involved a worker driving a piece of heavy equipment over a wood pallet.
The plant will eventually destroy 523 tons of munitions containing mustard and nerve agents. The Blue Grass project and one at the Pueblo Chemical Depot are under the Army's Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program. Bechtel is also the lead contractor for the Pueblo plant.
In its monthly update at the end of March, Bechtel reported 395 days without a lost-work injury and 2.7 million safe work hours here, but on April 23 a journeyman electrician suffered a broken hand when a hammer drill he was using twisted. The injury required surgery three days later, according to Bechtel spokeswoman Sandy Romero.
"Safety is our top priority on this project," Romero said. "We follow strict safety procedures, constantly try to improve upon them and have an award-winning People°©Based-Safety program in place."
John Norton contributed to this report.