Management changed, as well. Supervisors were urged to ''manage by walking around'' to see the conditions and situations their workers faced. Multidisciplinary groups tackled the problems of various work crews to familiarize managers with work areas across the project. Open-door and communication policies became standard. Westinghouse is now continuing these endeavors with its contractors and subcontractors.

Foundation of A True Safety Culture


The WIPP Project, in southeastern New Mexico, is a DOE research and development project designed to demonstrate the permanent, safe, geologic disposal of transuranic waste resulting from U.S. defense activities and programs. As the first facility designed for the permanent disposal of transuranic waste, WIPP has a responsibility to establish an environment of public trust and acceptance. To achieve this goal, DOE has made the safety, protection, and well-being of its personnel, the public, and the environment its number one priority. Consequently, WIPP's success depends largely on the evolution of a new organizational culture founded on its commitment to safety.

As DOE's management and operating contractor at WIPP, the Westinghouse WID has aspired to meet the challenge of developing a true safety culture. The Underground Operations section at WIPP exemplifies a culture that promotes excellence in safe operations by focusing on employee well-being and development. This paper describes the Underground Operations organization, its achievements, and its safety culture philosophy.

Underground Facilities

WIPP's waste repository level has been excavated approximately 2,150 ft (655 m) underground in the midst of an approximately 3,100-ft-thick, bedded salt deposit. The layout of the WIPP facility is shown in Figure 1. WIPP has four shafts to the underground: the salt handling shaft, the waste shaft, the exhaust shaft, and the air intake shaft. A map of the storage horizon is shown in Figure 2. The shafts are located in a shaft pillar area, within which mining is limited to ensure safety of the shafts and surface facilities. The shaft pillar area contains the shaft stations, salt storage and loading bins,

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