Skip to Main Content U.S. Department of Energy
Sustainable PNNL - Balancing social, environmental, and economic needs for a more sustainable future

Social Responsibility

Social responsibility at PNNL means fostering the next generation of scientists and engineers, protecting the health and safety of employees, investing in their professional development, and creating an inclusive work environment. We were named one of Washington's top 10 best places to work in 2010 by the Puget Sound Business Journal because we take care of our employees, and, in turn, they are inspired to find solutions to global and national challenges.

Employees are also inspired to give back to the community in myriad ways, such as volunteering for an environmental restoration project, hosting interns, and mentoring high school students at the Delta High School. PNNL leadership catalyzes innovation and improvement in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education at the local, state, and national levels in order to foster the next generation of scientists and engineers

Delta High School students (left to right) Avika Sharma and Anahi Antonio-Hernandez with mentor Signe White.

"We all want our legacy to be carried on by someone else. Mentoring, internship programs, one-on-one or group meetings, and working on collaborative projects bring students into the pipeline and connect them with scientists and the work environment."
—PNNL scientist and STEM expert Signe White

Protecting Worker Safety and Health

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory safeguards and security staff provide resources to promote the safe, secure and compliant conduct of work across the laboratory campus.

PNNL's safety performance, as measured by injury and illness rates, has improved dramatically over the past several years. Our Total Recordable Case Rate (incidence rate for all cases of injuries and illnesses) is 30 percent below the average for "Scientific Research and Development Services" employers with greater than 1,000 employees, according to the North American Industry Classification System. Likewise, the Days Away Restricted or Transferred case rate is 40 percent below the current average for similarly sized employers.

Staff members have a keen awareness of health and safety, both at work and at home, and they are encouraged to identify and correct safety issues before they become problems in the open environment we have created through our Voluntary Protection Program.

In addition, the Directorate Zero Accident Councils provide a forum for staff members and management to exchange ideas, and, as a result, 100 percent of employees are involved. For 2011 and beyond, our safety goal is always zero accidents—we want employees to go home at the end of each day in the same or better condition as when they arrived.

Advancing Employee Skills

PNNL offered a broad set of skills development programs in 2010 for scientists and engineers, managers, and advanced leaders, in which a total of 156 staff members participated. Responding to input from our staff members about other skill development areas that would support their career paths, PNNL plans to add two new programs in 2011. The Emerging Leader Program will develop mid-level managers, and the Project Manager Development Program will have a broad-ranging positive effect on the viability and effectiveness of all Laboratory functions.

Creating an Inclusive Work Environment

More than 500 PNNL staff members, friends, and families participated in one of our athletic leagues or clubs last year. These programs bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds and promote teamwork and healthy lifestyle choices.

Enhancing the lives of our employees—both at work and outside of work—is a central objective of our social responsibility efforts. A key way we do that is through our Life@PNNL program. Life@PNNL provides a centralized resource for information on the benefits of working for PNNL and encourages participation in sponsored events and staff-organized activities. It helps staff members to connect through clubs and professional networks and raises awareness about programs available. It is one-stop shopping for employees to benefit from—and contribute to—creating a positive work environment and local community.

Life@PNNL approaches enhancing the total employee experience through four important elements:

  • Safety and health—taking responsibility for your own safety and health, and that of others
  • Social responsibility—enhancing the welfare of our organization and society at large
  • Quality of culture—valuing the uniqueness of our staff members and the quality of our place
  • Environmental stewardship—contributing positively to the condition of our environment.

PNNL Sustainability