Posted on December 07, 2018 in Workers Compensation
A recent news article revealed that, seven years after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that caused a nuclear power plant at Fukushima, Japan to melt down, the first plant worker has died from radiation exposure. The immediate cause of death was lung cancer.
This was a major concession by the operators of the Fukushima plant, who have strived to keep health issues arising from the plant accident relatively quiet.
Radiation attacks and breaks up DNA in a human being. It can damage cells enough to kill them, or it can cause cells to mutate and morph into cancer.
Japan’s Radiation Nightmare
Fukushima was the nightmare power plant workers dread – meltdown – a catastrophic event that causes structures and surrounding areas to be permanently toxified.
There is little concern in our region that a one-two punch such as Fukushima suffered – a massive earthquake followed by a massive tsunami – will take out plants here.
The largest recent radiation accident in the United States happened three years ago at the Browns Ferry, Alabama, power plant. A worker fell into a hole and was exposed to a minor amount of radiation. He was immediately decontaminated and is okay today.
More Common Nuclear Power Plant Injuries
Nuclear plant workers will tell you that, despite safety efforts to prevent radiation exposure, non-radiation injuries are most common at these sites.
Falls: Nuclear power plants are not one-story buildings. Workers must negotiate scaffolds, catwalks, ladders and drop-offs. In addition, massive and complicated things can fall on them, including walls, ceiling, tools, and other materials.
All of these may cause injuries ranging from brain injuries to back injuries, quadriplegia, and multiple broken bones. Fall protection systems can prevent predictable kinds of injuries, but they cannot prevent them all.
Caught In/Between: Workers get pinned between vehicles, trapped under building materials, and caught in machines. These injuries can be fatal or career-ending.
Fires and explosions: Power plant sites contain many flammable and toxic substances. Steam scalding and other burns are common occurrences.
Injury by Electricity: Faulty wiring or locations that have not been tagged-out are at the heart of serious injuries and electrocutions.
Cars, Trucks and Other Vehicles: Serious injuries occur when drivers of cars, trucks, forklifts and other vehicles fail to see workers nearby. Improperly loaded trucks can tip over and crush workers.
Loud Noises: All power plants feature noise levels beyond what human ears can tolerate. Plants that issue faulty safety equipment, or fail to issue any, may be responsible for instances of hearing loss.