Original Date: 07/21/2003
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Fire and Tank Safety Technician Program
Electric Boat Corporation, Quonset Point Facility consolidated a wide range of life safety-related functions into one group. The Fire and Tank Safety Technicians brought discipline, cross-training, and importance to an integrated approach in achieving safety for all. The professionalism energized the workforce in a positive manner, significantly leveraging their own efforts, and drastically reducing fires and alarms at the company despite an increase in workload and new employees.
At Electric Boat Corporation, Quonset Point Facility (EBQP), safety is always the first priority with the construction of our nation’s nuclear submarines. Fire and tank safety traditionally pose some of the most serious challenges and routinely were managed separately. Because of their importance and recognizable interrelationship, EBQP combined their responsibilities and placed them into one group under the Fire Marshal’s Office.
Currently life safety is a coherent function with significant cross-training for Fire and Tank Safety Technicians. This was also accomplished concurrently with modular construction advances that created increasingly more complex confined spaces, associated challenges for confined space rescues, and significantly upgraded Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines for confined space entry. The consolidation made these technicians responsible for a diverse range of life safety-related skills including all the fixed and portable extinguishing systems, code compliance (e.g., OSHA, Fire, Navy), respirators, emergency medical services, confined space rescues, and fire prevention and protection. One of the most crucial roles is the training and monitoring of life safety practices within the shipyard. These technicians are trained to Federal DOT standards as registered HAZMAT technicians and provide emergency response for all hazardous material spills. This includes everything from small spills to releases requiring suiting with a self-contained breathing apparatus. This group of technicians is comprised of fully cross- trained and motivated individuals who represent significant shipyard assets. Their competency is key to ensure the necessary level of life safety for all EBQP employees, visitors, and vendors. Their knowledge and efforts have established significant employee involvement and competence. By virtue of this consolidation, one group has recognized responsibility and control over confined spaces from certification to potential tank rescue.
Employing a proactive preparedness approach, the technicians never stop training (themselves or others) to prepare for possible challenges. Consequently, their skill and effort is both admired and emulated by EBQP employees regarding life safety. Although EBQP has increased its workload and number of new employees over the last twelve months, the excellent results of these technicians is evidenced in the drastic decline in both fires and alarms at EBQP over the past year (Figure 2-11).
Figure 2-11. One-Year Reduction Chart
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