Improve Worker Safety at Nuclear Site

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Target:  Matthew Moury, Associate Undersecretary for Environment, Health, Safety and Security, United States Department of Energy

Goal: Improve worker health and safety at Hanford nuclear site

The Hanford nuclear site has experienced ongoing issues with nuclear leaks and worker safety. However, despite the site’s history of safety violations and poor management, workers are afraid to come forward with safety concerns for fear of losing their jobs. Former employees are speaking out to the media to demand better worker protection at the site.

Former employee Lonnie Poteet is speaking out for Hanford workers after suffering major injuries from exposure to leaked radiation. He asserts that during his time as a Hanford employee, he was not warned about a radioactive leak and was permitted to work on the site. This resulted in permanent damage to his brain and eyes. He believes that current employees are at a high risk for health problems due to the company’s demonstrated disregard for employee safety. Most of the workers on-site today, however, are too afraid to bring up safety concerns, after several employees who spoke out against the company were terminated.

The official policy at Hanford is that workers are supposed to come forward with concerns. However, this policy does not translate into actual practice. Instead, employees are discouraged from speaking up and forced to endure unsafe working conditions. This disregard for workers’ rights and safety is unacceptable. Demand that Hanford create a safer working environment for its employees.


Dear Matthew Moury,

The Hanford nuclear site has been subject to ongoing criticism for its health, safety and environmental performance. Several employees who raised safety concerns about the plant’s operations were fired from their jobs at the Hanford site. This has created a culture of fear where employees do not feel they are able to discuss safety concerns with management. Employees are forced to work in an environment where their safety concerns are discredited and left uncommunicated.

According to Hanford’s official policy, workers should be able to come forward with concerns. This policy does not appear to translate into actual practice. Former Hanford employees have been publicly discussing concern for worker’s rights and safety at the Hanford site. This petition urges the Department of Energy to ensure that employees at the Hanford site have safe working conditions and are allowed to communicate concerns without fear of losing their jobs.


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Photo credit: RIANbot via Wikimedia Commons

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