Report issues recommendations for addressing unmet health care needs of current and former workers at Hanford nuclear site
Hanford Healthy Energy Workers Board finds over 57% of workers reported exposure to hazardous materials, call for independent information clearinghouse serving workers and health care providers
OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Hanford Healthy Energy Workers Board recently released its final report and recommendations on the unmet health care needs of current and former workers at the Hanford nuclear site. Nearly a third of more than 1,600 workers responding to a survey reported long-term exposure to hazardous materials and more than 57% of all workers reported being in an exposure event, according to the report
In addition to the worker survey, the board reviewed studies on how to prevent worker exposure, summarized existing results and recommendations, developed key indicators of progress in serving unmet health care needs, and assessed health surveillance systems for the Hanford site.
The report’s central recommendation calls for creation of a new, independent Hanford Healthy Energy Workers Center. This center would provide a centralized clearinghouse for dissemination of peer-reviewed and accepted medical and scientific literature. Important functions would also include evaluation and communication of newly available studies about Hanford-specific hazards and ongoing tracking of implemented healthcare practices. For incurable diseases such as chronic beryllium disease, information sharing could be key to finding cures. Additionally, the center would promote research to increase the overall body of knowledge for the unique healthcare needs for the Hanford workforce.
Read the full Hanford Healthy Energy Workers Board Report.
“The working families that make up the Hanford community represent a very unique population, with occupational risks not easily quantified or identified,” said Nickolas A. Bumpaous, Hanford Healthy Energy Workers Board co-chair. “Hundreds if not thousands of studies have been conducted over the years, each one focused in different areas and producing different recommendations. As we look at the history of workplace exposures related to Hanford’s clean up, it is explicit that a clearinghouse for information sharing, collaboration and research will be a key resource in protecting our citizens and advancing the cleanup mission.”