The U.S. Department of Labor has acknowledged that some work environments, such as nuclear power plants and energy powered facilities, pose a special risk to workers. Over the last 12 years, in fact, the risks associated with nuclear energy facilities have resulted in the granting of over eight billion dollars in workers compensation benefits to workers and their families.

Many of the risks associated with working in a nuclear power plant or energy powered plant can have potentially devastating consequences on workers and their families. Some common health problems faced by these workers include cancer, beryllium disease, silicosis, and other diseases caused by exposure to work-related radiation, beryllium and silica. Additionally, workers may sustain serious illnesses such as asbestosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pulmonary fibrosis, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

This is why The Office of Workers’ Compensation developed a program designed specifically to address the unique concerns of nuclear energy workers. The Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation, created under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000, provides benefits to Department of Energy workers who are affected by job-related injuries and illness.

Since the program was created over 12 years ago, monetary compensation and medical benefits have been paid to 78,000 employees or their families nationwide. Over eight billion dollars in benefits have been paid in total. Since 2009 alone, the program has paid more than $3.5 billion in benefits to workers and their families.

Despite the success of the program, the U.S. Department of Labor has said that many eligible individuals are not aware that benefits are available to compensate for the losses faced by workers. Raising awareness about the program has become an important initiative for workers’ compensation advocates.

Source: Unites States Department of Labor, “Compensation for Energy Workers, $8 Billion and Counting,” Gary Steinberg, July 3, 2012.

To read more about the benefits available for work-related illnesses and injuries visit our workers’ compensation pages.