After dozens of Hanford workers reported exposure to chemical vapors in just the last few months NBC Right Now was invited this week to get a an up close look at some of the tank farm safety equipment.
HANFORD, WA - After dozens of Hanford workers reported exposure to chemical vapors in just the last few months NBC Right Now was invited this week to get an up close look at some of the tank farm safety equipment.
While representatives under the Department of Energy explained that no workers have been in areas anywhere near above dangerous exposure levels, they believe some workers have exposure symptoms. They told us that tank farm workers can elect to wear more safety gear including full breathing masks, but often times they do not because it can prevent them from being aware of their surroundings.
"I'm also having a hard time hearing what you say when I'm breathing air,” said Bob Wilkinson from Washington River Protection Solutions as he breather through a mask. “Additionally as I walk around I'm carrying weight on my back. Everywhere I go has got weight on my back. I have limited vision down to my feet so if I'm walking on uneven terrain I have a potential fall hazard."
Many of the workers who report inhaling vapors do in fact smell the chemicals and each farm tank has signs posted to point out the area has the potential for exposure. Currently workers are on tropical shifts to avoid heat stroke and other complications under all of their gear.