OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
News Release USDL: 96-197
Tuesday, May 21, 1996
Contact: Susan Hall Fleming (202) 219-8151
OSHA, Department Of Energy Launch Pilot Safety And Health Project At Argonne National Laboratory
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) are sponsoring a pilot partnership on employee safety and health at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) in Du Page County, Ill.
In May 1993, Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary announced DOE's position that its more than 100,000 workers should have the same safety and health protections afforded to private sector employees. DOE then began consulting with OSHA to explore the possibility of transferring responsibility for employee safety and health to the Labor agency.
Under the pilot, OSHA will evaluate ANL's safety and health program and respond to ANL employee complaints directed to OSHA. The pilot is part of the two departments' investigation into the possible transfer of oversight of employee safety and health programs at DOE nuclear facilities to OSHA.
ANL is a DOE government-owned, contractor-operated (GOCO) facility that conducts more than 200 research programs spanning the range from basic to applied science. The 4,500 employees at the site, which is operated by the University of Chicago, currently are covered by DOE safety and health oversight.
During the pilot, OSHA's Health Response Team, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, will evaluate ANL's employee safety and health program and offer recommendations for improvement as appropriate. The OSHA area office in North Aurora, Ill., will handle worker complaints submitted to OSHA through the agency's phone and fax procedure or onsite inspections. DOE will continue to cover employee safety and health program matters not covered by OSHA.
The Argonne pilot will provide DOE and OSHA with "real-time" data to help determine barriers or unique problems associated with the potential transition of DOE facilities to OSHA regulation. It also will help define the value of external regulation by OSHA, as well as additional budgetary and personnel resources required by OSHA should it assume responsibility for DOE workers. Data will be incorporated into a study already underway by the National Academy of Public Administration that is focusing on resources and overall legal, legislative and policy issues of the possible transition.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA received authority to set and enforce occupational safety and health standards for private sector employees except in cases where another federal agency was already regulating employee safety and health. Currently GOCO facilities come under DOE jurisdiction pursuant to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954.
The Argonne pilot project began May 15, 1996, and will end Dec. 1, 1996.
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