The Nuclear Facility Employment Guide to Occupational Safety

Nuclear Facility Worker

Any nuclear facility worker, including contractors and subcontractors, who have caught an illness caused by radiation exposure can file a claim under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act to receive compensation and other benefits.

Occupational Facts in Nuclear Facilities

While nuclear facilities produce small amounts of direct radiation and pose little to no danger, a good number of workers in these facilities become unknowingly exposed to high amounts. When a person is exposed to radiation for a period of time, their body becomes compromised. For this reason, the US Congress created the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) so that workers in nuclear facilities are properly compensated in the event their bodies suffer from radiation illnesses.

Possible Radiation Effects

The effects of nuclear radiation vary depending on the dose, which is the amount of energy deposited in the body. People who receive low doses may experience mild radiation sickness in a few hours characterized by vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue. Serious cases, on the other hand, can lead to hair loss, brain damage, heart failure, gastrointestinal complications, reproductive problems, and even death.

EEOICPA Coverage

Nuclear Care Partners notes that employees who experience radiation-induced sickness are entitled to receive up to $250,000 and payment of medical expenses from the date they file their EEOICPA claims. Several conditions must be met before receiving any of the two, but the most important are that the radiation-induced sickness is developed after working at the facility. For employees that are no longer living, the compensation will be received by their eligible survivors in the following order: spouse, children, parents, grandchildren, and grandparents of the disease.

Improving the Chances of Compensation

EEOICPA claims are not handed out easily. EEOICPA mailings to and from the DOL and NIOSH must be kept to justify the claim. Make sure to review documents documenting the radiation exposure, and ask help from the Senate and House Constituent Departments.

Radiation Treatment Centers

Many healthcare providers are equipped to manage radiation emergencies. Some specialize in providing in-home care to workers who have contracted diseases while working in nuclear facilities as long as they are eligible for benefits under EEOICPA. Services usually include assessment of health status, medication maintenance, help with daily tasks, and others.