Washington Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray are asking the Department of Energy’s Inspector General to investigate the company that processes workers’ compensation claims.
Washington Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray are calling for more investigation of worker conditions at the Hanford nuclear reservation.
In a letter to the Department of Energy’s Inspector General, the Democratic senators asked for a review of workers’ compensation-claims processing and examination of Penser North America, the company that handles those claims as a contractor to the department.
“Multiple accounts of workers’ compensation claims being dismissed on arbitrary grounds, tactics bordering on intimidation, and actions taken to discredit claims have been shared with us,” the senators wrote to the Inspector General.
That office “should investigate the treatment of workers and claims throughout the tenure of Penser’s contract with the Department,” the senators added.
The senators also expressed concern over the Energy Department’s stay of whistleblower-protection regulations in January.
“We fear halting this regulation would discourage whistleblowers from stepping forward with safety concerns and workers from raising concerns with health and safety practices,” they wrote.
Several timeslast year, workers reported possible exposure to chemical vapors at the Hanford nuclear reservation. Meanwhile, the cost of cleaning up the polluted nuclear-weapons production site continues to rise, and Hanford has seen numerouswhistleblower complaints over safety issues.