COVID 19 Restart: Safely Returning to Work at U.S. Department of Energy Sites
The nuclear industry has a tremendous track record of overcoming work challenges dating back to the Manhattan project era. Challenges have been met by ensuring that the safety of the workforce and communities that surround the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sites remains paramount. The challenge of returning to work during the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and will demand our full capabilities. However, in partnership with the DOE, Amentum and our partners within our limited liability companies are providing the experience, leadership, and planning to lead our workforce through a safe resumption of work at nuclear sites across the country.
Amentum leaders have implemented comprehensive response plans and have safely executed transition of complex, nuclear operations to essential mission-critical as part of the country’s response to COVID-19. Amentum leads the safe and deliberate resumption of operations and the return of employees to the worksites in accordance with the DOE developed framework, which outlines a phased approach moving towards a return to full operations. Our senior management teams have identified what part of the workforce will return to work for each phase, what work will be performed in each phase consistent with the safe and compliant operations of the facilities and protection of the employees, facilities, communities, and the environment, and have developed and implemented actions to ensure that the workplace is prepared to mitigate the risk of COVID-19. Our resumption plans incorporate the DOE Framework’s recognition that the status of operations across the country varies according to the mission and essential functions performed at DOE sites and local health conditions, and utilize guidelines provided by the Federal government.
In partnership with DOE, Amentum leadership will use the Framework guidance as we plan for a safe return of onsite personnel to the workplace, to be executed in three phases. Our plans enable sites/facilities to tailor their plans to reflect these varied circumstances and site-specific needs.
Each site, contractor, and subcontractors must be extremely agile. Mitigating risks to our employees will be accomplished by implementing leading-edge health & safety procedures and protocols; empowering employees to identify and minimize potential pathogen exposures; creating physical workspaces that reduce risk; and utilizing human resource adaptations that include teleworking and safeguarding high-risk employees.
Returning to work in the nuclear industry during a national pandemic is challenging. Continuing to build trust with our employees and community leaders is essential. DOE has entrusted Amentum, its affiliate partners, and subcontractors to carry out their mission, and as always, Amentum is committed to accomplishing this in a manner that ensures the safety of our employees, their families, and our communities.
Mark Whitney, Amentum’s Executive Vice President & General Manager, Nuclear & Environment