A new interactive system posted on the internet by the Department of Labor should help former employees at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland understand what hazardous and radioactive materials they were exposed to on the job.
The information can be used to provide guidance in applying for compensation under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program if the exposure caused an illness that led to impairment or lost wages.
Under Part E of the compensation program, workers -- or in some cases their survivors -- may receive up to $250,000.
The Department of Labor with the cooperation of the Department of Energy has posted data in what it calls site exposure matrices that help workers link information about the type of jobs performed and the buildings they worked in with hazardous materials to which they may have been exposed.
The information is posted at www.sem.dol.gov or former workers may call the Hanford Resource Center for information at 946-3333 or 888-654-0014.
Earlier this year similar information was posted at the same website for Hanford nuclear reservation workers.
The information for PNNL lists four accidents in the lab's history that may have exposed workers to hazardous chemicals.
They include a plutonium release in 1965 at the Plutonium Recycle Test Reactor and releases of radioactive promethium in Building 325 in the late 1960s and in Building 308 in 1971. In 1980 a meltdown of a beryllium-sheathed thermocouple in the Engineering Development Laboratory may have exposed workers to beryllium, which can cause lung disease.
Other information in the database lists chemicals that different types of workers may have encountered in more routine operations. For instance workers at Building 326, the Physics and Metallurgy Building, could have been exposed to chemicals ranging from acetic acid to zirconium.
The site also links different diseases to chemicals that could be a potential cause.
w Annette Cary: 582-1533; email@example.com; More Hanford news at hanfordnews.com.