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article imageUS nuclear workers given whistleblower protection

By Lynn Herrmann     Mar 27, 2011 in Politics
Washington - A final ruling covering workers’ concerns over handling “nuclear and environmental retaliation complaints” has been handed down by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and establishes policy protecting nuclear industry whistleblowers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published a ruling on dealing with whistleblower complaints under the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 and six additional environmental statutes conforming to “retaliation complaint procedures” as outlined under other OSHA whistleblower protections.
Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, said: “Silenced workers are not safe worker. Changes in the whistleblower provisions make good on the promise to stand by those workers who have the courage to come forward when they believe their employer is violating an environmental or nuclear safety law,” according to an OSHA news release.
The ruling comes at a time amid growing concerns over the nation's controversial nuclear industry and when President Obama has called for a comprehensive safety review of the nation’s 104 nuclear reactors after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan that left crippled its nuclear energy industry.
The final ruling notes that
no particular form of complaint is required
and includes oral and written complaints, adding the complaint may be filed in any language. The ruling is expected to improve the whistleblower complaint process for workers who might otherwise have had difficulties submitting written complaints.
Additionally, subject to applicable privacy and confidentiality laws, the workers will receive copies of any documents submitted by their employer regarding whistleblower complaints.
The news should provide added securities for workers who voice their concerns over nuclear-related environmental and safety issues, especially in light of the ongoing disaster at the Daiichi nuclear facility in Japan, and just as importantly, over the Obama administration’s recent efforts in its attempts to stop embarrassing revelations over government activities.
The OSHA Act of 1970 requires employers to provide a safe and healthy workplace for their employees.
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