A day in the life of a Nuclear Industrial Safety Professional – Part one

Employees working in the nuclear industry take pride in promoting and working in a safe environment. Not only are there highly trained teams of security officers around every corner, behind the scenes there are teams of industrial health and safety professionals who help to ensure employees work safely, avoid injuries and that all work taking place is carried out in the safest manner possible.

Industrial health and safety employees are not only responsible for their own individual safe work standards, but they develop and implement safety programs to foster an environment where employees watch out for each other and practice peer coaching every day. Many of these programs encourage employees to be focused while performing work, identify hazards in immediate and surrounding areas and to keep their “Eyes on Path” when walking on site.

We talked to three safety professionals from Duke Energy’s Brunswick Nuclear Plant to gain some insight about how they became industrial health and safety professionals and what they do in their day-to-day jobs.

Ted Smith, Mike Johnson and Donald Dixon have been with Duke Energy for a combined total of over 90 years. When asked why they entered the health and safety profession, they each reflected on a deep feeling of wanting to help people, keeping them safe and saving as many individuals as possible from harm. The beginning of their health and safety careers ranges from working as a summer intern with Duke Energy in health and safety, to working for OSHA for four years and serving as a safety professional for a fossil plant.

A career in industrial health and safety has a strong outlook for the future. Nearly every manufacturing, construction, or corporate organization has a need for health and safety professionals that are well trained in safety job standards, workplace potential dangers and OSHA incidents. Ted, Mike and Donald reinforced the importance of a strong education in industrial health and safety. Many colleges and universities offer majors in Industrial Safety, Industrial Hygiene, Health and Safety and Safety Engineering. With organizations and businesses increasing their focus on industrial safety, it is more important than ever to have a safety-related degree or advanced training to start your career path.

Be sure to visit our blog next week to read the rest of the story about Duke Energy’s commitment to safety and the type of work performed by health and safety professionals at nuclear plants.

safety first



Brunswick Nuclear Plant recognized for partnering in STEM education

Duke Energy was recently honored by Brunswick County Schools in North Carolina for Brunswick Nuclear Plant’s (BNP) continued involvement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics(STEM) promotion and education. Brunswick employees Sandi Brown, manager of nuclear oversight and Women in Nuclear (WIN) member, and Robert Faciane, control room supervisor, accepted the award at the Brunswick County Early College High School awards and service ceremony for involvement in STEM Speaks programming.

Sandi and Robert receiving STEM award.

Sandi and Robert receiving STEM award.

Duke Energy and BNP were recognized for a strong community partnership with Brunswick County Early College High School and assisting students to achieve excellence in STEM fields of study. STEM Speaks inspires students through science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. While the demand for energy and science professionals is increasing, the amount of students entering STEM fields is declining. 

Duke Energy’s employees provide a vital link to STEM concepts by offering presentations and programs to students and the community, which include hands-on, inquiry-based programs complementing our nuclear and science technology standards of professional work.

Duke Energy’s involvement in STEM Speaks exposes students to science and technology fields and helps them see possibilities of entrepreneurship and careers in energy. “Many more children will have the opportunity to be introduced to the STEM principles by way of classroom discussions and hands-on activities,” said Sandi Brown, Brunswick manager of nuclear oversight and WIN member.

STEM professionals involved in the STEM Speaks program give students insight into the science field and employment opportunities that are available. Students receive resources on energy and STEM education that prove to be invaluable when incorporated into their school curriculums.

STEM Speaks award

STEM Speaks award

“The hands-on interaction from STEM Speaks hopes to inspire passion in STEM disciplines and lead students to a career field that they would have been otherwise unaware of,” said Sandi. “Showing students how they can impact the future through science, technology, engineering or mathematics is important in the future of our energy economy.”

In addition, students have opportunities to develop “soft skills” while getting to know STEM professionals. Crystal Dameron, senior nuclear scientist at BNP and a member of WIN, spoke at this year’s STEM Speaks event. Sandi and Robert are members of the Brunswick County STEM council which promotes involvement in education and STEM industries.

Teachers also benefit from the program by receiving resources on energy and STEM education they can incorporate into their school curriculums. Teachers are given guidelines in developing energy related lessons.

STEM Speaks is key in sparking an interest in students and teachers to advance in the areas of energy, science and engineering to achieve sustainable energy solutions.

Here Come the Marines!

Marines at WOE 2

Waving flags and wearing red, white and blue always happens the first week of July, but at Oconee Nuclear Station in Seneca, S.C., the annual demonstration of patriotism begins a little earlier. For the past five years, during the month of June, Team Oconee has participated in the Honoring Their Service program, which welcomes active and retired U.S. Marines to upstate South Carolina.

Marines at WOE

This year, 40 Marines from Camp Lejeune, N.C., were paired with local host families from the Keowee Key community for four days of fun-filled activities and relaxation. The Marines arrive in the upstate and travel in open-air jeeps from Easley, S.C., through the communities of Liberty, Central, Clemson, Seneca and Salem. The 25 to 30 jeeps are escorted along the 44-mile route by hundreds of motorcyclists, and thousands of citizens line the streets and highways, waving their flags and saluting these heroes. The final leg of the route runs past Oconee Nuclear Station, where plant management and employees join the throngs in welcoming the Marines and thanking them for their service.

Marines at WOE 3

The World of Energy, Oconee’s education center, is the end point of the welcoming parade, where each Marine meets his or her host family for the week. The hosts allow each Marine to choose from a number of activities, such as kayaking, hiking, fishing and water-skiing, each day. And each night, the entire group is honored by appreciation nights planned for the Marines by local communities. At the end of the week, the Marines are invited to participate in one of the most memorable traditions of the upstate – running down the hill into Clemson University’s famous Memorial Stadium – just like Clemson’s football team does before every home game.

Duke Energy is proud to participate in programs like Honoring Their Service and to provide support for employees who are veterans or those who are transitioning into the workforce after active duty. The Security workforce at our nuclear plants, in particular, is made up of many fine veterans who continue to provide their expertise to keep us safe.

   Marines at WOE 4  Marines at the WOE.