Novemver 19, 2013
AIKEN, S.C. – Patricia M. Allen, Environmental, Safety, Health & QA, & CA Director for Savannah River Remediation (SRR), the liquid waste contractor at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Savannah River Site (SRS), recently received a U.S. Patent that is helping to keep employees safe at work.
Allen's invention resembles a pair of old-fashioned rubber over shoes that you would strap over your shoes to prevent them from getting wet in inclement weather while providing traction on wet surfaces. But, in this case, the rubber over shoes has been modified to do just the opposite by emulating a slipper surface.
When worn while walking on a specially treated surface, your experience would resemble walking on a sheet of ice. In Allen's safety world, the experience teaches individuals to navigate slippery surfaces to prevent painful and costly falls.
"As a safety professional, it is my goal to find creative ways to teach our employees techniques to prevent injuries in a fun learning environment," Allen said.
Allen's over shoes were used this summer by SRR employees when the URS Mobile Slip Simulator was at SRS. The simulator was constructed by URS and utilized by URS projects across the country.
A trip through the mobile slip simulator, which also was developed by Allen, allows employees to experience walking across a sheet of ice and not falling. Inside the simulator, employees were harnessed to a support beam as they walked across a surface wearing Allen's over shoes. They do not fall, but they do learn how to walk in a safe manner on slippery surfaces.
"Our employees were taught techniques to prevent, slips, trips and falls, then practiced those skills in the mobile slip simulator until they were proficient," Allen said. "This training has decreased the number of slips, trips and falls by SRR employees, which means they are able to return home just like they came to work that day."
Allen's over shoes invention is just another way she delivers safety professionalism to SRR.
The Savannah River Site, located near Aiken, South Carolina, is owned by the U.S. Department of Energy. The SRS Liquid Waste contract is managed by Savannah River Remediation, a team of companies led by URS Corporation, with partners Bechtel National, CH2M Hill and Babcock & Wilcox. Critical subcontractors for the contract are AREVA, Energy Solutions and URS Professional Solutions.