Chemical agent disposal facility reaches important safety milestone

The Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Pine Bluff, Ark., which is uses incineration technology to destroy chemical agent stockpiles, has recorded a major safety milestone.

On November 13, the Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility completed one full year of operations without a recordable injury. Project general manager David Reber said that the milestone should not be taken lightly and that it was one of the bigger accomplishments in the history of chemical demilitarization.

Officials says that one year without a recordable injury is the first time such a safety milestone has been reached by a chemical demilitarization site. The Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility was also the first chemical demilitarization site to reach one million hours with a recordable injury, a number it surpassed in July.

The Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility is operated by the Global Security Group of URS Corp. The facility is primarily used to destroy the stockpiled chemical agents of the Pine Bluff Arsenal. More than 700 workers and subcontractors are employed at the facility.

Pine Bluff Arsenal, of which the facility is part, is one of six Army installations in the United States currently used to store chemical weapons, which include GB or VX nerve agents and HD blister agents. Approximately 12 percent of the nation's chemical weapons have been stored at the arsenal since 1942.

Weapons disposal began at the Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in March 2005.