June 2022 Hanford Law Update
Hanford workers continue to be protected despite the US Supreme Court striking down the 2018 Washington State law. “The decision should have little impact on current and former workers at the site because new legislation in 2022 corrected the fault the Supreme Court found with the earlier law,” said Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. “Hanford workers, and all others working with dangerous radioactive waste, remain protected,” Ferguson said after the Supreme Court ruling. “The federal government has not challenged this new law.”
This law made it easier for Hanford employees to receive compensation for work-related illnesses. The Supreme Court struck down the 2018 law because it “discriminated against the federal government by singling it out for unfavorable treatment.” However, the new 2022 legislation has corrected the issue with the previous 2018 law, and the ruling should have little effect on current and former employees. The new law will also apply retroactively to claims under the 2018 law. Should the new law be challenged, Attorney General Bob Ferguson states he is prepared to defend it all the way to the Supreme Court.
Workers can learn more about state and federal compensation programs and how to apply for them at the Hanford Workforce Engagement Center at 309 Bradley Blvd., Suite 120, in Richland. The center can be reached at 509-376-4932.
As of March 2022, the Hanford Presumption Law has been updated. RCW 51.32.187 makes it easier and less difficult for Hanford Energy workers to successfully open an L&I occupational disease claim, or an EEOICPA claim. The DOE has a track record of unfair decisions for the L&I claims of Hanford workers. However, this new law provides help to L&I claims in Washington state, and the EEOCIPA provides federal benefits for Hanford Energy Employees and for their survivors.
This page will provide you with the information you need about the new RCW 51.32.187 law, when to consult a lawyer, and to maneuver and win a Hanford claim. Contact us for more information.
What is RCW 51.32.187?
RCW 51.32.187 states that for radiological hazardous waste facility workers, as defined in this law, there exists a presumption that certain diseases or medical conditions are considered occupational diseases – diseases caused by a direct result of their work. These medical conditions are:
Heart problems, experienced within 72 hours of exposure to certain substances on-site.
More specifications on medical conditions can be found here.
Who is affected by this law?
RCW 51.32.187 is aimed at all “exposed workers” who engaged in work at a “radiological hazardous waste facility” for at least one 8-hour shift covered under the law. These terms are specifically defined under the law as follows:.
“Exposed worker(s)” means a worker working at a radiological hazardous waste facility for at least an eight hour shift covered under this title, including conducting inspection of the facility.
“Radiological hazardous waste facility” means any structure and its lands where high-level radioactive waste as defined by 33 U.S.C. Sec. 1402 or mixed waste as defined by WAC 173-303-040 is stored or disposed of, except for military installations as defined in 31 C.F.R Part 802.227 and listed in Appendix A to 31 C.F.R. Part 802.
Starting Your Own L&I Claim
To increase your chances of having your Hanford L&I case resolved successfully, you must make sure to file an L&I claim. To file your claim you must:
Report and file an accident report, through your doctor, to your employer.
You will need a SIF-2 form and a PIR form, which can be obtained from the Workers Compensation Representative (WCR) for your company.
Fully complete the forms. The SIF-2 form can be completed with the help of your WCR. The PIR form should be completed with your doctor.
Check-in with all parties involved to ensure the forms are complete and delivered.
Once your claim is filed, you will be contacted for more information about your employment.
Getting Legal Assistance
RCW 51.32.187 is making it easier to have Hanford L&I claims to be resolved, and in some cases, you may be able to get it done without legal assistance. However, these claims can at times get messy. You may be trying to file a claim on someone else’s behalf, or you may simply run into complications with your own claim. In these times it is always good to have a professional in your corner.
Smart Law is the leading legal representative for Hanford L&I claims. We have helped dozens of Hanford site employees successfully resolve their cases with efficiency. If you need assistance getting your claim resolved, Smart Law can help!
Is There a Time Deadline to File a Hanford Washington State L&I Claim?
For injuries there is a short one year Statute of Limitations (SOL)
For occupational diseases, the SOL is longer and may never begin to run. This means the occupationally exposed worker or their survivor can often file a claim even many years after their exposure or the death.
Don’t quit on this. File a claim.
Do I Need to Hire a Hanford Personal Injury Lawyer?
I Want to DIY
This website can answer some of your questions to help get you started.
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Hanford site workers—Prima facie presumption of certain occupational diseases—Rebuttal—Definitions.
(1) The definitions in this section apply throughout this section.
(a) "Hanford nuclear site" and "Hanford site" and "site" means the approximately five hundred sixty square miles in southeastern Washington state, excluding leased land, state-owned lands, and lands owned by the Bonneville Power Administration, which is owned by the United States and which is commonly known as the Hanford reservation.
b) "United States department of energy Hanford site workers" and "Hanford site worker" means any person, including a contractor or subcontractor, who was engaged in the performance of work, either directly or indirectly, for the United States, regarding projects and contracts at the Hanford nuclear site and who worked on the site at the two hundred east, two hundred west, three hundred area, environmental restoration disposal facility site, central plateau, or the river corridor locations for at least one eight-hour shift while covered under this title.