INL News Release
July 22, 2009

John Lindsay, 208-526-9078,
Nicole Stricker, 208-526-5955, 

INL manufacturing capability hits safety milestone

IDAHO FALLS – Last month, an industrial manufacturing capability at Idaho National Laboratory reached a major safety milestone. The Specific Manufacturing Capability (SMC) facility achieved 4 million hours worked without a day-away-from-work case.

The SMC project manufactures armor for the U.S. Army's M1A2 Abrams main battle tank. The facility's 248 employees handle and process more than two million pounds of metal material each month during normal operations. It is the only major industrial manufacturing project at INL.

SMC has operated without an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) day-away-from-work case since October 2000. An OSHA day-away-from-work case is when an employee suffers an injury or illness at work that causes the person to be away from the work site one or more days.

SMC Division Director Joel Duling credits employees for the culture that led to this nearly nine-year safety achievement.

"When this program was set up at INL, it stressed safety from the beginning due to the kind of work we do out here," said Duling. "Safety has become a culture of the folks out here and is reinforced by employee safety programs, management and our work force in general."

The SMC project, at the Site's Test Area North, started with a memorandum of understanding between the Army and the U.S. Department of Energy in February 1983. Material production began in November 1986 with the first unit being delivered in October 1987. During 1988, SMC achieved full production and has been manufacturing armor ever since.

INL is one of the DOE's 10 multiprogram national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of the strategic goal areas of DOE: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation's leading center for nuclear energy research and development. Day-to-day management and operation of the laboratory is the responsibility of Battelle Energy Alliance.

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