Workplace injury is not an uncommon occurrence in Pennsylvania, though some industries involve greater risk than others. When it comes to industrial sites and facilities, such as nuclear power plants, the risk of injury is certainly greater than it is in an office environment.
Back in October, a security guard at the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station suffered serious injuries on a 75-foot-tall security watchtower. Exactly what happened, as well the nature of the injuries and the plant’s response, are in dispute. By the accident victim’s own account, he was knocked unconscious when a tower wall collapse and left for about five hours until he was able to be rescued by somebody trained to remove him from the tower.
The accident left the security guard with severe injuries which required 36 hours of hospitalization. Under federal law, companies are required to keeps records of workplace injuries which result in death, medical treatment exceeding first aid, or loss of consciousness. Accidents which result in significant injuries or illnesses diagnosed by a doctor or other health care professional, even when they don’t result in death, time off of work, loss of consciousness, medical treatment exceeding first aid, work restriction or job transfer, must also be recorded. Accidents which result in death must be reported to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration within eight hours of their occurrence.
For nuclear power plants, there is also a federal requirement that incidents involving radiation exposure and contamination are reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the agency which regulates nuclear plants in the United States. Injuries at nuclear power plants which do not involve contamination or exposure do not have to be reported to the commission, which is what seems to be the case in this incident.
Failure to keep accurate records and to report to OSHA can result in penalties for companies. , and injured workers should be aware of whether or not their employer is in compliance with these laws.
Sources: pennlive.com, “Security guard at Peach Bottom nuclear plant injured – but that’s just the start,” Ivey DeJesus, Nov. 21, 2014.
United States Department of Labor, “Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illness,” Accessed Nov. 25, 2014.