Minnesota workers who are employed in industries in which they are exposed to radiation may take precautions to guard against this possibility. However, workers may suffer a work injury if they come in contact with dangerous chemicals. Such was the case at a waste dump facility in New Mexico.
Thirteen employees who were working at the Waste Isolation Pilot Project nuclear waste dump facility came in contact with dangerous chemicals after toxic particles leaked inside and around the plant. The problem was due to a container that leaked. The 13 individuals all tested positive for radiation exposure. All workers who were inside the plant when the leak occurred were tested for contamination before they were permitted to leave the plant. Additionally, personnel took biological samples to inspect for potential exposure that could result after a worker inhaled the radioactive particles. The site was the first underground nuclear waste retention facility in the United States and is also the only one that can store clothing and tools from federal nuclear sites that are contaminated with plutonium.
The U.S. Department of Energy said that it would discuss the incident during a news conference. However, officials stated that they would need to wait weeks before they will be able to go underground to find the specific cause of the accident. Some potential causes of the accident include a forklift or a ceiling collapse that could have punctured a canister. Elevated radiation levels in the air surrounding the plant have been detected. However, officials say that these readings do not indicate a public health threat.
Consulting with a workers' compensation attorney may be a good option for individuals who were injured while completing a work-related task. Through such a course of conduct, they may decide to file a claim to seek wage replacement and reimbursement for medical expenses.
Source: USA Today, "13 exposed to radiation at U.S. plant", February 27, 2014