Establishing a project safety culture that reflects our commitment to safe work performance
Submitted by Tetra Tech
The Tetra Tech remediation team for the Former National Fireworks Site dealt with multiple health and safety challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and the processing of hazardous and radiological wastes mixed with unexploded munitions.
In each instance, our team adapted to each new challenge and sought innovative solutions to meet our cleanup objectives and protect the health and safety of site personnel and the nearby community.
The National Fireworks project team has demonstrated success in project delivery with zero lost-time accidents since project inception more than three years ago, logging nearly 49,000 safe work hours through December 2020.
The Former National Fireworks Site consists of approximately 240 acres of surface water bodies, heavily wooded upland areas, and an industrial redevelopment area in Hanover, Massachusetts. Historical activities at the former facility included manufacture of munitions and pyrotechnics for the U.S. government, research and development of new munitions, and commercial manufacture of civilian fireworks until it closed circa 1970. The Town of Hanover purchased approximately 130 acres of the facility property for environmental conservation and brownfields redevelopment as a public works facility. The former facility’s production and development areas were sold off to private entities.
Tetra Tech’s investigations and fieldwork at the site began in 1998 to characterize, assess, and remediate the environmental releases associated with the former facility operations. In 2017 conditions posing an imminent hazard to the public were discovered and remedial activities to eliminate or mitigate those conditions began. Since then, the project has grown exponentially into a complex, multiyear, $25 million Tetra Tech project to address the unexploded munitions, asbestos-containing materials, chemical wastes, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and low-level radiological waste. Since 2017 our unexploded ordnance team has excavated, recovered, and disposed of more than 16,500 munitions and 28,900 pounds of munitions debris without incident, lost-time accidents, or regulatory violations.
The project presented unique health and safety considerations for the team, such as evolving COVID-19 requirements; the discovery of new wastes, wetlands, and pond work areas; and changing site conditions that posed potential health and safety hazards. Since the project’s inception, safety time-outs for these emerging issues have been implemented with near real-time conference calls to discuss, clarify, and address critical safety challenges.
The safety culture at the Former National Fireworks Site demonstrates Tetra Tech’s full commitment to safe work performance. Safety is ingrained in the project team’s work ethic and guides every aspect of project execution—from the daily safety briefing to weekly safety inspections and frequent observations documented in TOTAL, Tetra Tech’s robust incident management system that enables all employees to effectively identify, avoid, and report workplace hazards. The entire project team operates with a high level of awareness and focus on personal and team safety as well as on the safety of nearby residents.
Congratulations to the Former National Fireworks Site remediation team for promoting our safety culture and exemplifying Tetra Tech’s commitment to safe work performance.
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