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Mon Feb 26, 2018, 01:50 PM

Federal Watchdog Identifies New Workplace Safety Problems at Los Alamos Lab

This article was produced in partnership with The Santa Fe New Mexican, which is a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network.

Los Alamos National Laboratory has failed to keep track of a toxic metal used in nuclear weapons production, potentially exposing workers to serious health consequences, a federal watchdog has found.

The New Mexico lab’s failure to adequately track beryllium — small amounts of which can cause lung disease and cancer — violates federal regulations put in place to prevent worker overexposure, according to a report last week from the Department of Energy’s inspector general.

The report is the latest example of serious workplace safety violations that have occurred at Los Alamos — which gave birth to the atomic bomb during World War II — including radioactive contamination and other injuries to workers.

In October, for example, an independent federal safety board said the lab was ill equipped to respond to emergencies and found recurring flaws in emergency preparedness dating back to 2011. Soon after, the Department of Energy launched an investigation following a “near-miss” incident in which a worker responded to an alarm and entered an oxygen-deprived room, which could have resulted in asphyxiation.

https://www.propublica.org/article/federal-watchdog-identifies-new-workplace-safety-problems-at-los-alamos-lab


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