OSHA Reprimands Wolf Creek Power Plant for Firing Whistleblower

An investigation by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)found that a contractor at the Wolf Creek Generating Station wrongfully fired an engineer who reported safety violations.OSHA sent a letter last week stating that Enercon Services Inc. violated Energy Reorganization Act, which prohibits retaliation against a nuclear power plant employee or contractor who raises safety concerns. Enercon provides engineering and management services to nuclear plants.

The engineer who reported the violations received back pay, benefits and compensatory damages, and the plant was ordered to reinstate him. The company released a statement that its practice is to “encourage and protect employees who report safety concerns.”

Based on findings from the investigation, the engineer was terminated soon after he pointed out to supervisors that required soil coverage for buried pipes did not meet federal safety requirements.

The engineer’s attorney said, “Whistleblowers in the nuclear power industry play a vital role in protecting the public against nuclear disasters. When they risk their careers to report nuclear safety concerns and suffer retaliation from their employers, it is critical that they have a strong agency to turn to that will enforce whistleblower protection laws and hold the employer accountable.”

OSHA interviews uncovered that the fired whistleblower was a senior engineer who properly reported the inadequate soil covering to supervisors. They also said that the engineer was a safety-conscious hard worker and good team member.

Pulgini & Norton, LLP attorneys have handled workers’ compensation claims for over 25 years in and around Boston and its surrounding areas. If you or a family member has been injured at work and would like to seek legal assistance, please contact us at (781) 843-2200 or (888) 344-2046 or email us.

Cited Sources:

OSHA slaps Wolf Creek power plant contractor for firing a whistleblower, The Kansas City Star, May 20, 2013

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