A new class of employees at the Y-12 National Security Complex is being evaluated for possible inclusion in a worker compensation program that involves certain illnesses and work at sites affiliated with the U.S. Department of Energy.
The class of employees being evaluated now would have worked at Y-12 between January 1, 1958, through December 31, 1976, and they would have had an aggregate total of at least 250 work days, according to a notice published in the Federal Register on Friday. The class could change, however, based upon the evaluation.
The decision to evaluate the petition for the Y-12 employees was announced by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
It’s not clear when the petition was filed, who filed it, or how long the evaluation might take. Oak Ridge Today has requested more information from the CDC.
The new class of Y-12 employees are being evaluated for inclusion in what is known as the Special Exposure Cohort, which is part of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act, or EEOICPA.
Among the employees already included in that Special Exposure Cohort as part of work at Oak Ridge sites are certain classes of workers at Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant (K-25), Clinton Engineer Works, Oak Ridge Hospital, Oak Ridge Institute for Nuclear Studies Cancer Research Hospital (ORINS), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (X-10), S-50 Oak Ridge Thermal Diffusion Plant, and Y-12.
The Y-12 classes already included in the Special Exposure Cohort worked at the plant between March 1, 1943-December 31, 1947, and January 1, 1948-December 31, 1957.
The new class that is being evaluated worked at Y-12 later (1958-1976).
The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act established the Special Exposure Cohort for certain classes of employees. It allows eligible claimants to be compensated without the completion of a NIOSH radiation dose reconstruction or determination of the probability of causation. To qualify for compensation as a member of a special cohort class, a covered employee must have at least one of 22 specified cancers and must have worked for a specified period of time at one of the Special Exposure Cohort work sites.
Employees or their survivors from any of the facilities that are included are eligible for benefits if they contracted one or more of the specified cancers after they began their covered employment.
The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act, which includes the Special Exposure Cohort, was enacted in October 2000.
It includes several Special Exposure Cohort classes established by statute, including employees who worked at gaseous diffusion plants (used to enrich uranium) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Paducah, Kentucky; and Portsmouth, Ohio, for at least 250 days before January 1, 1992, among other conditions.
Other employee classes can be added to the Special Exposure Cohort by the secretary of Health and Human Services under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act. That could include the new Y-12 class.
The Federal Register included a notice Friday that one new class has been added. It’s for employees at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, between January 1, 1995, and December 31, 1996.
The Special Exposure Cohort includes many other classes of employees across the country, including at other laboratories, companies, and sites. (You can see the list here.)
Part B of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act, which became effective on July 31, 2001, compensates current or former employees (or their survivors) of the U.S. Department of Energy, its predecessor agencies, and certain of its vendors, contractors, and subcontractors who were diagnosed with a radiogenic cancer, chronic beryllium disease, beryllium sensitivity, or chronic silicosis, as a result of exposure to radiation, beryllium, or silica while employed at covered facilities.
The EEOICPA also provides compensation to individuals (or their eligible survivors) awarded benefits by the Department of Justice under Section 5 of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA).
Part E of the Act, which was enacted later, on October 28, 2004, compensates DOE contractor and subcontractor employees, eligible survivors of such employees, and uranium miners, millers, and ore transporters as defined by RECA Section 5, for any occupational illnesses that are causally linked to toxic exposures in the DOE or mining work environment.
You can learn more about the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act here.
You can learn more about the Special Exposure Cohort here.
You can see the Federal Register notice here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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