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.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Last Week's Significant OSHA Citations

Last week's citations range from Hanford to a violation totaling nearly a million in fines -- it's been a whistleblower week!

OSHA defines a significant citation as one with more than $100,000 in proposed fines. An OSHA citation is a claim by OSHA that there has been a safety violation. It does not mean a violation has taken place, nor that the violation is as severe as claimed. The company has 15 days to contest OSHA claims. The following are the citations OSHA announced last week that have total fines of $100,000 or more.

OSHA orders Hanford nuclear facility contractor to reinstate worker fired for raising environmental safety concerns

Workers prepare tank used to remove toxic waste - Hanford, 2010
SEATTLE – A contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy's Hanford nuclear facility in Washington state has been ordered to reinstate an environmental specialist and pay more than $220,000 in back wages and other expenses after it fired the employee for voicing nuclear and environmental safety concerns, a violation of federal whistleblower provisions.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration took the actions against Washington River Protection Solutions, of Richland, after the employee repeatedly reported nuclear and environmental safety and permit and record-keeping violations. When the employer advertised the vacant position, the employer refused to rehire the employee despite adequate qualifications and previous satisfactory performance reviews.

OSHA has ordered Washington River Protection to rehire the employee with the same pay and benefits that the employee would currently receive if not for the termination; pay the employee $185,949 in lost pay plus interest, $24,380 in compensatory damages, and $10,000 in exemplary damages and reasonable attorney's fees. Washington River Protection must post a "Your Rights Under the Energy Reorganization Act" poster; remove disciplinary information from the employee's personnel record; and provide whistleblower rights information to its employees.

The Hanford Site produced plutonium for nuclear weapons from 1943 until approximately 1987. The production processes left solid and liquid waste that posed a risk to the local environment. The Department of Energy entered into an agreement in 1989 to clean up the Hanford Site.

Related post >> Nuclear waste -- safe and unsafe storage and disposal

"For five months, doctors removed shards of glass and metal from his skin and he was scrubbed down and shaved every day. All the bath towels and water were considered nuclear waste. McCluskey received 600 shots of zinc DTPA, which helped his body excrete the radioactive americium. He lived for 11 more years, unable to work, suffering four heart attacks in four months as well as a number of other physical ailments, until dying of coronary artery disease."
Related post >> Three dozen Hanford workers mysteriously sickened

posted by Angelique Sanders
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