The United Steel Workers is sending a team of international safety department scientists to take samples and test workers at the WIPP facility. Out of a handful of workers were tested 13 were found to be contaminated. These positive findings were apparently discovered through whole body scans according to the Carlsbad Current Argus.
The local union rep also expressed concerns with how worker safety was conducted during the incident:
“The Carlsbad chapter of the United Steelworkers is baffled as to why the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Waste Partnership, a private company contracted to manage WIPP operations, have not required the scans for employees and are calling for outside help.
“I was one of the employees that they speak of that was there the next morning, and that was one of the questions we had when the alarms went off the previous night,” said Rick Fuentes, president of the United Steel Workers District 12, Local 9477. “We feel that there should have been different steps that were taken.”
The article goes on to cite that most of the workers at WIPP have never received any testing for exposure risk in the years of operation.
There have been concerns about worker safety and the work environment at WIPP before as mentioned in these two union newsletters:
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