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Department of Energy Cites Stanford University for Worker Safety and Health Violations

The U.S. Department of Energy has issued a Preliminary Notice of Violation (PNOV) to Stanford University (Stanford) for four violations of the Department's worker safety and health regulations.  Worker safety is a priority for the Department, and its enforcement program supports this priority by holding contractors accountable for meeting regulatory requirements and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace.

by U.S. Department of Energy
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The violations are associated with laser and energetic beam events that occurred from May 25, 2011, through February 28, 2013, at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, California.

The PNOV cites four violations of Department worker safety and health requirements enforceable under 10 C.F.R. Part 851, Worker Safety and Health Program, in the areas of hazard identification and assessment; hazard prevention and abatement; training and information; and occupational medicine.  The Department categorized the deficiencies as one Severity Level I violation and three Severity Level II violations.

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The Department administered a contract fee reduction for fiscal year 2013 pursuant to the Performance Based Fee clause under contract number DE-AC02-76SF00515 between the Department and Stanford.  A portion of this fee reduction in the amount of $250,000 was for unacceptable safety performance associated with a series of laser related incidents and near misses that covered the events described in the PNOV.  Therefore, in accordance with 10 C.F.R. § 851.5(c), the Department proposes no civil penalty for the violations identified.

The Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003 authorizes the Department to take regulatory actions under 10 C.F.R. Part 851, against contractors indemnified under § 170d of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, for violations of DOE worker safety and health requirements.  The DOE Enforcement Program encourages contractors to identify and correct worker safety and health deficiencies at an early stage, before they contribute to or result in more serious events. 

Additional details on this and other enforcement actions are available here.