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Hanford Challenge, Local 598, and Attorney General Seek Immediate Protections for Hanford Workers

July 21, 2016

Hanford Challenge and United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local Union 598 (“Local 598”) today filed a motion aimed at improving protections for workers at the Hanford nuclear facility. The State of Washington filed a similar motion seeking immediate protections for workers while the case moves toward trial. Hanford Challenge, Local 598, and the State of Washington took this step because more than 50 workers were exposed to chemical vapors at Hanford in April and June alone.

Hanford workers are responsible for monitoring and cleaning up the hazardous waste left behind by our nation’s nuclear weapons program. Their mission is to ensure that millions of gallons of highly toxic waste stored in 177 underground tanks are handled as safely and responsibly as possible. For decades, Hanford workers have been exposed to releases of toxic chemicals from the waste storage tanks into the atmosphere. Despite hundreds of worker exposures and numerous cases of severe illness as a result of exposures to these toxic vapors, the Department of Energy (DOE) and Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS), the contractor managing the tank farms have failed to take reasonable steps to protect workers from harmful exposures.

The motions filed by Hanford Challenge, Local 598, and the State of Washington ask that the Court require use of supplied air whenever workers are in the tank farms. The motions also ask the Court to require that workers be given supplied air and when they are within 200 feet of the tank farms while waste is being moved from one tank to another.

Hanford Challenge and Local 598’s motion is available here.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s statement is available here.

Hanford Challenge’s mission is to help create a future for Hanford that secures human health and safety, advances accountability, and promotes a sustainable environmental legacy.

Hanford Challenge and Local 598 are represented by Smith & Lowney, Public Justice, and TMLG.

Read more here:

August 18, 2016: Legal papers depict Hanford managers eager to cut back on safety
King 5 News

August 5, 2016: Hanford worker: Getting sick on the job caused ‘financial ruin’
King 5 News

July 23, 2016: Washington attorney general seeks immediate help for Hanford workers
The Seattle Times

July 21, 2016: AG files emergency action to force end to Hanford safety ‘crisis’
King 5 News

July 21, 2016: Judge asked to protect Hanford workers from chemical vapors
The Oregonian