An independent audit of health and safety at Dounreay has placed the site in the highest category of good practice.
The systems governing health and safety underwent a gruelling week-long audit by the British Safety Council and emerged with a coveted five-star award.
The audit concentrated on five areas – safety organisation, management control systems, fire control systems, measurement and control systems, and workplace implementation.
Auditors reviewed safety documents, interviewed staff and inspected workplaces to assess how the standards were being applied.
They scored the site in the highest category of five stars, which the council defines as "excellent".
The audit report praised the motivation of the management team and managing director in particular, as well as the safety, health and environment assurance team.
“Many of the systems in place at the site are first class and often reach beyond best practice,” the report stated.
It also highlighted various workforce safety campaigns such as "Safer by the Dozen" and "Second Nature".
The report made a number of recommendations. These will now be considered as part of the site’s drive for “continuous improvement” in safety and environmental performance.
“The award of the five stars to Dounreay is not a soft option,” said a spokesman for the British Safety Council.
“They are putting their reputation on the line publicly about the high standards they apply for their workers and the public, and they are to be congratulated on achieving this and maintaining it in the future.”
Randall Bargelt, regional director of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, said: "Safety in the workplace is always important, but when dealing with complex, hazardous sites like Dounreay it is even more critical. The NDA encourages the highest standards in safety, and this award shows just how seriously DSRL takes the health and safety of its staff. Well done."
The five-star award is validation of the whole site’s commitment to work safely, according to assurance manager Bill Stockho.
"The result of this audit is something the whole site can be proud of," he said.
"The auditors inspected some of the buildings on site and were able to see people working and putting into practice our safety systems. It was not just an exercise on paper – they looked at everything, from our training to safety rep inspections.
“To achieve the highest ranking in a tough independent audit like this gives us confidence that we are among the safest workplaces in Britain.
“We want to become even better, however. Our ambition is to become the best site licence company in Britain, so we will not let up in our drive to make Dounreay the safest nuclear decommissioning project.”
The British Safety Council is one of the world’s leading workplace health, safety and environmental organisations. Founded in 1957, and operating in over 50 countries, the council is a registered charity with a global network of 10,000 members and subscribers, providing information, audits, expert training and qualifications. It has a turnover of more than £9 million.