Jeff Sherwood, 202/586-5806 April 14, 1998




Announcing a new Department of Energy (DOE) safety initiatve, Secretary of Energy Federico Peña said that for the first time, DOE will adopt a "zero tolerance" policy for serious accidents that result in life-threatening injuries or major environmental contamination. The safety initiative -- unveiled at a meeting with Secretary Peña, Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Moler, Under Secretary Ernest Moniz and senior DOE field officials in Washington -- is a department-wide effort to make a dramatic improvement in environment, safety and health.

"It has been and will remain our policy that the safety of our workers, respect for the environment, and the public health are paramount in all that we do," said Secretary Peña in a memorandum to all DOE and contract employees. "At stake are nothing less than the lives and livelihood of our workers and neighbors and a healthy environment to leave to our children."

The safety initiative consists of the following:

The initiative was the topic of a meeting of senior DOE managers that focused on safety. Following the discussion of the new policy led by Secretary Peña, Deputy Secretary Moler led a discussion of major safety-related issues at DOE sites. Topics included barriers to integration and implementation of integrated safety management, technical capabilities, contract reform, subcontractors, worker participation, chemical and other vulnerabilities, and emergency management.

Secretary Peña, Deputy Secretary Moler, and Under Secretary Moniz joined the field managers and other senior managers in signing a pledge to commit to the new policy. In addition, Secretary Peña presented a PRIDE award to four workers whose initiative and involvement have been credited with eliminating a potentially serious safety hazard at the Hanford site.

The text of the Secretarial policy statement on environment, safety and health is available on the World Wide Web at: