[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 29 (Thursday, February 12, 2004)]
[Pages 7025-7026]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 04-3063]



Best Practices To Establish and Maintain a Safety Conscious Work 
Environment; Request for Comments and Announcement of Public Meeting

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Request for comments and announcement of public meeting.


SUMMARY: The 1996 NRC Policy Statement, ``Freedom of Employees in the 
Nuclear Industry to Raise Safety Concerns Without Fear of 
Retaliation,'' provides the agency's broad expectations with respect to 
licensees establishing and maintaining a Safety Conscious Work 
Environment (SCWE); that is, an environment in which employees are 
encouraged to raise safety concerns both to their own management and to 
the NRC without fear of retaliation. In a March 26, 2003 Staff 
Requirements Memorandum, the Commission directed the staff to develop 
further guidance, in consultation with stakeholders, that identifies 
``best practices'' to encourage a SCWE. The NRC staff is now proceeding 
to develop that guidance.
    As an initial step, the NRC will be holding a public workshop on 
February 19, 2004, at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, O-
1G16, Rockville, Maryland from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. to discuss multiple 
issues. These issues include: (1) The format such guidance should take; 
(2) Effective ways to encourage employees to raise safety concerns; (3) 
Effective processes to review and respond to concerns; (4) The scope of 
training on SCWE principles; (5) Tools to measure the health of the 
SCWE; (6) The role of the contractor; and, (7) The role of senior 
management in preventing claims of retaliation. To stimulate 
stakeholder's thinking and encourage a dialogue at the public meeting, 
the NRC has prepared for comment an outline of a ``Best Practices'' 
document. This document can be found on the NRC's Web site at 
www.nrc.gov by selecting What We Do, Allegations, and then Best 
Practices to Establish and Maintain a Safety Conscious Work 
Environment. This document is also available in ADAMS at ML040350487. 
In preparing this document, the staff reviewed the existing guidance 
provided in the 1996 Policy Statement, including the elements and 
attributes described therein of a healthy SCWE, and created a draft 
``Best Practices'' outline that expands that guidance or adds new 
guidance where additional information would help describe best 
practices to meet the intent of each SCWE attribute.
    The NRC's 1996 Policy Statement was directed to all employers, 
including licensees and their contractors, subject to NRC authority, 
and their employees. Hence, any further ``Best Practices'' guidance 
will also apply to this broad audience. It is important to note that 
the best practices outlined in this document may not be practical or 
necessary for all employers. Rather, the purpose of this guidance is to 
outline what has worked best at some larger licensees to maintain or 
improve a work environment and ensure its employees feel free to raise 
safety concerns.

DATES: The workshop will be held on February 19, 2004. The comment 
period expires on March 19, 2004.

ADDRESSES: The workshop will be held on One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, O-1G16, Rockville, Maryland from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. You may 
submit comments by any of the following methods. Comments submitted in 
writing or in electronic format will be made available to the public in 
their entirety on the NRC Web

[[Page 7026]]

site. Personal information will not be removed from your comments. Mail 
comments to: Chief, Rules and Directives Branch, U.S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001. You may comment at 
NRC's Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/what-we-do/regulatory/allegations/practices-outline.html, or by e-mail to: [email protected]. Hand deliver 
comments to: 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland, between 7:30 
a.m. and 4:15 p.m. on Federal workdays. Fax comments to: Chief, Rules 
and Directives Branch, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at (301) 415-
5144. Publicly available documents related to this action may be viewed 
electronically on the public computers located at the NRC's Public 
Document Room (PDR), O1F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville 
Pike, Rockville, Maryland. The PDR reproduction contractor will copy 
documents for a fee. Publicly available documents created or received 
at the NRC after November 1, 1999, are available electronically at the 
NRC's Electronic Reading Room at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. From this site, the public can gain entry into the NRC's 
Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS), which 
provides text and image files of NRC's public documents. If you do not 
have access to ADAMS or if there are problems in accessing the document 
located in ADAMS, contact the NRC PDR Reference staff at 1-800-397-
4209, 301-415-4737, or e-mail to [email protected].

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lisamarie Jarriel, Agency Allegations 
Advisor, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001, (301) 415-8529, e-mail [email protected].

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 6th day of February, 2004.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Frank J. Congel,
Director, Office of Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 04-3063 Filed 2-9-04; 11:16 am]