Thursday, August 5, 1999

Nuke workers reassigned
for inadequate training

By Gregg K. Kakesako


Twenty-five Navy civilian workers were temporarily reassigned from their jobs on nuclear submarines at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard when a routine audit disclosed they lacked adequate training.

But Kevin Liborio, spokesman for the 2,700-member Hawaii Federal Employees Metal Trades Council, said there was never any danger to the shipyard or the civilian work force.

"Security was never compromised at any point," he said.

Liborio described the situation as merely a "paperwork problem."

"It was nothing major," he added. "It had nothing to do with safety or individual performance."

Liborio said the audits are routine and "one of many conducted" by the shipyard. "They are done to ensure that are workers are fully qualified."

He said the problem may have occurred because the shipyard is changing computer systems and not all personnel files may have been updated.

Mike Geffen, acting Pearl Harbor Shipyard public affairs officer, said the 25 riggers were assigned other work when it was learned that they had not completed a 12-hour refresher course.

"As a result, some work had to be rescheduled until the training was completed," Geffen said.

He said the refresher training was supposed to be completed Tuesday.

Jobs on two nuclear submarines had to be rescheduled, but no delays in getting the vessels out of the shipyard were anticipated, Geffen said.

The Navy said nuclear riggers are trained in the removal and replacement of heavy equipment found aboard nuclear submarines.

The problem apparently was only confined to Pearl Harbor's nuclear maintenance program, officials said.

The Navy said, "The reviews determined that, due to a high workload and computer database problems, some workers have not attended scheduled refresher training."

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