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U.S. Department of Energy site remediation workers: assessing the availability of worker, exposure, and medical history information.

Kinnes G; Silver S; Taulbee T; Ahrenholz S; Robinson C
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 1-6, 2002, San Diego, California. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2002 Jun; :82-83
Since 1989, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) mission has shifted from weapons production toward environmental restoration and remediation at 134 former and current sites. Remediation workers face diverse and sometimes unanticipated exposure hazards, both radiological and chemical, not previously encountered by production era workers. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently conducted feasibility studies at seven of these sites to identify the remediation workforce and their activities and to examine the availability of exposure data. DOE remediation workers are involved in defined activities including decontamination, decommissioning, deactivation, dismantlement, environmental restoration, and hazardous waste. These activities can involve exposure to one or more waste types such as low-level radioactive waste, low-level mixed waste, spent nuclear fuel, and transuranic waste which can involve over 50 different radioisotopes and a myriad of chemical agents. Remediation workers are not uniquely identified at most sites due to changes within the DOE and individual site management structure and organization from the production era to the present. The implementation of tiered subcontracting practices, which increased the number of on-site contractors, and the increasing use of general occupational job titles has made identifying and tracking remediation workers extremely difficult. Therefore, the number of workers involved in remediation activities at the seven study sites could only be estimated (approximately 10,000 in 1996).
Workers; Exposure-levels; Occupational-hazards; Radiation; Radiology; Decontamination; Hazardous-materials; Hazardous-waste-cleanup
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 1-6, 2002, San Diego, California
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division