At approximately 8:40 a.m. today, a crash involving an Idaho National Laboratory bus, a private fuel tanker, two government vehicles and two private vehicles occurred on U.S. 20 west of Idaho Falls.
The passengers on the bus were 30 newly hired INL employees on a Site tour. Nine people were transported by ambulance, 21 people were transported by bus, and three went by personal vehicle to INL’s Central Facilities Area Medical Dispensary for evaluation. Initial reports are that any injuries are minor and non-life-threatening. The cause of the accident is under investigation by Idaho State Police.
Consistent with our commitment to the safety of our employees and the public, Idaho National Laboratory evaluates the routes to its facilities daily, especially in inclement weather. INL dispatches road scouts to drive the roads used to transport its employees. During the winter months, an early morning conference call is convened between the road scouts, Bus Operations personnel, facilities personnel, laboratory management and representatives from other Site contractors to make decisions on whether it’s safe to transport employees to work. Employees are notified about road conditions and other cautions by text message, email and automated calls. The Idaho Transportation Department makes the decision whether to close a public highway, and on this day, the highway was open.
INL employs professional drivers operating well-maintained buses, and employees are encouraged to ride the bus, which is offered to them free of charge. Employees who make the decision to drive their personal vehicles are urged to be cautious during Idaho’s rapidly changing winter weather conditions. Every effort is made to ensure INL’s employees get to work and return to their homes safely, including rerouting buses, delaying starts and occasionally curtailing operations.
“The safety of our employees is always our number one concern,” said Juan Alvarez, INL chief operations officer. “I am very relieved that everyone involved is safe and that there were no serious injuries. I want to personally thank the first responders, including the Idaho State Police and the Idaho National Laboratory ProForce and Fire Department.”