DuraLabel's Weekly Safety News

Blog Author Angelique Sanders

Weekly safety news. Stay in touch with regulations from OSHA, NFPA, and other safety codes. Find out about other companies' best and worst practices. We scour the internet to provide you with helpful training resources and the latest safety information.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

OSHA Orders Enercon Services To Pay $261,152.69 To Fired Engineer

The following is from an OSHA press release:

Enercon Services Inc. has been ordered to pay $261,152.69 in back wages, compensatory damages and interest, plus attorney's fees, to a senior engineer following an investigation by OSHA which found the company violated the whistle-blower provisions of the Energy Reorganization Act.

OSHA found that Enercon wrongfully terminated a senior engineer for raising safety concerns during construction projects at the Wolf Creek Generating Station.

OSHA's investigation concluded that the civil and structural engineer was terminated Jan. 30, 2012 for reporting breaches of minimum soil coverage requirements for emergency service water piping and for refusing to provide Enercon Services an engineering justification for the use of concrete as backfill over the piping.

The Wichita Eagle reports that Enercon will appeal the finding.  According to the article Enercon issued a statement that saying that "Enercon 'objects to, and is appealing, the finding of reasonable cause issued by OSHA after its preliminary review,' and it welcomes 'a full hearing to establish that the termination was for legitimate business reasons, and not for reporting safety concerns.'"

Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/2013/05/20/2810697/osha-slaps-wolf-creek-power-plant.html#storylink=cpy

The OSHA press release continued by stating:

The breaches occurred when a trench was dug to bury a grounding cable for a new security fence being constructed for the emergency service water pump house at Wolf Creek. The trench encroached on the minimum soil coverage requirement for the pipes, necessitating that it be backfilled to bring the plant back in compliance. The evidence shows that a manager for Enercon Services proposed to backfill the pipes with concrete before the arrival of NRC inspectors, but the engineer refused to implement the design change because he believed concrete fill was insufficient. The engineer was fired a few days later. Wolf Creek ultimately used cohesive soil as backfill over the pipes.

OSHA has ordered Enercon Services to reinstate the engineer to his former position with all pay, benefits and rights and pay back wages of $206,360, plus interest currently estimated at $4,142.69, compensatory damages of $50,650 and reasonable attorney fees. The ERA does not provide for an award of punitive damages.

Any party to these cases can file an appeal with the department's Office of Administrative Law Judges within 30 days of receipt of the findings.

Enercon Services Inc. provides engineering support services to nuclear facilities nationwide. Its headquarters are in Kennesaw, GA.

Companies providing services to nuclear power plants are subject to the ERA, and may not discharge any employee or otherwise discriminate against any employee with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because the employee notified his employer of an alleged violation of the ERA or the Atomic Energy Act of l954.

OSHA enforces the whistle-blower provisions of the ERA and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, worker safety, public transportation agency, maritime and securities laws. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or to the government.

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posted by Steve Hudgik
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