Hanford workers compensation program meeting - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hanford workers compensation program meeting

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PASCO, WA - The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs and former Hanford workers convened on the Red Lion in Pasco this afternoon.

The topic? Discuss how former workers can utilize the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act.

Reporter Rex Carlin was at the meeting, where dozens of people turned out to voice concerns, ask questions, and get help filing claims. Various agencies were on hand to answer the wide array of questions former workers may have.

The Federal Compensation Program is in place for workers at sites nationwide, and uses a 15-person advisory board to advise the Secretary of Labor about information relating to the program.

One former worker says his experience with EEOICPA has been positive and recommends that other former workers explore their options with the program.

"If somebody is needing the help, go to these people," said Lonnie Rouse, a former Hanford worker. "They are really good, and they will help. A lot of times it can be very frustrating, but you have to stay with it."

Rouse says the EEOICPA accepted his claim within a year and reported him to be 89 percent disabled.

He says he was exposed to numerous toxic substances during his years working on the site.

A representative Rex spoke with from the Department of Labor told him the next step for both sides is increasing the communication and education about what the EEOICPA program consists of, so the program can be fully utilized by former site workers.