Hanford Tank Workers Union Makes New Strong Safety Demands
In the wake of a long string of Hanford tank farm workers experiencing varying degrees of apparent exposure to vapors, a labor union that helps represent some 15 different labor groups at the site has sent strongly-worded demands to Hanford officials Monday.
HAMTC, or the Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council, is a group that has about 15 other groups of workers under it's wing, and they issued a set of strong demands. The demands were given to both the Department of Energy and overall contractor Washington River Protection Services.
The demands, they say, are designed to increase safety for the workers in the Hanford tank farms. So far in 2016, some 52 workers have been examined or treated for exposure to vapors that cause a variety of physical reactions, some even becoming ill.
The demands include:
- Vapor control zones be set up another 200 feet beyond current fence line perimeters around the tank area, especially in areas where work might trigger or cause vapors to be emitted. It includes areas where vapors are known to be present.
- Work that could cause vapors to be emitted be only done on later or weekend shifts, when there are fewer workers on site.
- All work on any tank farm area or inside the extended vapor control zones would require use of supplied air respirators. Currently, they are only required if officials believe the work being performed could cause vapors to be emitted.
The new demands also included proposals which they said were not actual demands, but strongly recommended. The list of demands and proposals also contained this statement:
“The council believes the time for requests, suggestions and/or recommendations has long since passed and that a more aggressive approach and immediate actions are required."