Safety record earns charity windfall

Dounreay’s industrial safety record during the last 12 months earned a £22,500 windfall for good causes locally.

Every month the site goes without a lost-time accident earns a £2500 pay-out from UKAEA Ltd, parent company of Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd.

Each month represents more than 300,000 man-hours of work..

The site recorded a total of nine accident-free months during the last financial year, resulting in a payment of £22,500.

The money is donated to the Dounreay Communities Fund, which supports charitable groups in Caithness and north Sutherland. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority gives £20,000 to the fund. Profits from a book published to mark the site’s 50th anniversary are also donated.

During the last 12 months, the fund approved 117 applications and paid out almost £44,000 – an average grant of £374.

Tony Wratten, Dounreay’s head of safety, said the pay-out was welcome but it underlined the need to work even harder on its zero-tolerance policy towards safety breaches.

“The best reward for a zero accident rate is the reassurance it brings that no-one is being harmed during decommissioning,” he said.

“This phase of the programme involves a lot more construction and demolition work, with its inherent hazards, so it is more important than ever that we root out lapses in concentration or mistakes that can put people at greater risk of an injury.”

A lost-time accident is recorded when a worker needs more than three days off work to recover. During 2008/09, a total of four lost-time accidents were recorded. The most serious involved a worker who broke an arm in a fall.