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Worker Health and Safety

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) worker health and safety requirements and expectations ensure protection of workers from the hazards associated with Department operations.  Worker health and safety policy, program tools and assistance resources available for current and former DOE Federal, contractor, and subcontractor workers who work at Department of Energy facilities.

The Department implements medical surveillance and screening programs for current and former workers and support the Department of Labor in the implementation of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA).  Health studies are conducted to determine worker and public health effects from exposure to hazardous materials associated with Department operations and supports international health studies and programs.  Departmental worker health and safety programs and activities also serve to assist DOE Headquarters and field elements in implementation of policy and resolving worker safety and health issues.

Electrical Safety

The Department has undertaken recent and ongoing efforts to improve electrical safety.

Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program

The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) was enacted to provide compensation and medical benefits to employees who worked at certain Department of Energy (DOE) facilities, including contractors and subcontractors at those locations, and certain number of its vendors.

Adjudication of issues pertaining to all claims for benefits under the EEOICPA is the responsibility of the Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL is supported in its role by the DOE, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Former Worker Medical Screening Program

The Former Worker Medical Screening Program (FWP) provides ongoing medical screening examinations, at no cost, to all former DOE Federal, contractor, and subcontractor workers who may be at risk for occupational diseases. The FWP is supported by DOE's corporate health and safety program within the Office of Environment, Health, Safety and Security (EHSS) and reflects our commitment to the health and safety of all DOE workers - past and present - who have served the Nation in its National security and other missions.

The FWP was established following the issuance of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1993 (PL 102-484), which called for DOE to assist workers with determining whether they had health issues related to their prior work with DOE. The medical screening efforts were initiated in 1996.

The FWP uses independent occupational health experts from universities, labor unions, and commercial organizations to administer the medical screening program. To ensure objective and credible medical examinations, the exams are offered by third-party providers. Screenings are provided at clinics in communities near DOE sites, as well as through a large network of health clinics nationwide to allow for services to be provided in close proximity to most workers' residences. In fact, this vast network of clinics has allowed the FWP to provide participant exams in all 50 states, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines.

Health Effects

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) administers research programs and monitoring activities, both domestic and international, that support the protection and promotion of the health of DOE workers, their families, residents of neighboring communities, and people affected as a result of nuclear weapons testing, use and accidents. Domestic activities include studies of historical workplace exposures, responding to disease outbreaks and radiation accidents; and by addressing critical reserch needs for important occupational exposures. International health studies and activities support the health and safety mision of DOE by providing new knowledge and information about the human response to ionizing radiation and other industrial exposures encountered in the workplace and in communities both nationally and internationally.

  • Domestic Health Studies and Activities

    The Atomic Energy Act of 1957 — Section 8(a) requires research and development activities relating to the protection of health during research and production activities. The requirement is fulfilled by conducting and supporting health studies and other research activities to determine if DOE workers and people living in communities near DOE sites are adversely affected by exposures to hazardous materials from DOE operations; by enabling appropriate responses to disease outbreaks and radiation accidents; and to address critical research needs for important occupational exposures. The ultimate use of the information is to protect and promote the health of DOE workers, their families and residents of neighboring communities and to share the information and data with the public.

  • International Health Studies and Activities

    The purpose of international health studies and activities is to support the health and safety mission of DOE by providing new knowledge and information about the human response to ionizing radiation and other industrial exposures encountered in the workplace or within nearby communities; and as a result of nuclear weapons testing, use and accidents. The activities mandated by congress or required by international agreement include studies of human health, environmental impacts, and provision of medical services. Activities are underway in Japan, Marshall Islands, Russian Federation, and Spain. The studies and activities represent unique opportunities to enhance our knowledge and to establish science-based worker and public protection standards and to fulfill humanitarian purposes.

Integrated Safety Management

The Department and its contractors remain firmly committed to Integrated Safety Management (ISM) as first defined in 1996. The objective of ISM is to perform work in a safe and environmentally-sound manner. More specifically, as described in DOE P 450.4, Safety Management System Policy: "The Department and Contractors must systematically integrate safety into management and work practices at all levels so that missions are accomplished while protecting the public, the worker, and the environment. This is to be accomplished through effective integration of safety management into all facets of work planning and execution."

Voluntary Protection Program

The Department of Energy Voluntary Protection Program (DOE-VPP) promotes safety and health excellence through cooperative efforts among labor, management, and government at the Department of Energy (DOE) contractor sites. DOE has also formed partnerships with other Federal agencies and the private sector for both advancing and sharing its Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) experiences and preparing for program challenges in the next century. The safety and health of contractor and federal employees are a high priority for the Department.