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Savannah River Remediation workers demonstrate and test a cooling vest that is worn under personal protection equipment suits.

Beating the Heat: Cooling Vests to Aid SRR Workers in High Temperatures

August 11, 2015

AIKEN, S.C. – Savannah River Remediation is taking steps to combat the scorching summer heat for the safety of its workers.

Cooling vests have recently been used in non-radiological work environments at the Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF) to minimize the potential for heat stress injuries.

Kerry Layton, SRR Industrial Hygienist, said using these cooling vests is the right thing to do for our coworkers.

"Working in a hot environment with an impermeable chemical resistant suit, face shield and goggles is not an easy task," Layton said. "As an added benefit from the cooling, we've also observed a decrease in fogging of the face shield and goggles."

The cooling vest is currently undergoing testing and, so far, has received positive feedback from workers who have tried it.

"We've had excellent support and coordination between Construction Craft, Supervision, Industrial Hygiene and Safety," said David Stavru, Construction Safety and Health Manager. "Trying new techniques or tools to reduce the risk of heat related injuries is everyone's goal."

The cooling apparatus requires a breathing air compressor, a belt-mounted climate control tube and light-weight vest. The heart of the system is the climate control vortex tube that can cool, or heat, incoming air by 30 degrees, Layton said.

SRR Industrial Hygiene is currently working with Radiological Control to integrate the use of the cooling vest into the Personal Protection Equipment worn by workers to keep them safe under the hot working conditions.

SRR is the Liquid Waste contractor at SRS, which is owned by the U.S. Department of Energy. SRR is a team of companies led by AECOM with partners Bechtel National, CH2M and BWX Technologies. Critical subcontractors for the contract are AREVA, EnergySolutions and URS Professional Solutions.

Point of Contact: Colleen Welch


Savannah River Remedation LLC
Savannah River Site
Aiken, South Carolina, 29808
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