Workers bid for special cohort status

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By Roger Snodgrass

A petition for special compensation for a new class of workers at Los Alamos National Laboratory is under review by an advisory board of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the petitioner said last week.

Andrew Evaskovich, a LANL guard, said he hoped the board would visit Los Alamos during their deliberations, later this year or early next year.

Evaskovich said he started his efforts in the fall of 2006, by helping former State Sen. Harriet Ruiz, who led a successful petition on behalf of her late husband Ray Ruiz and hundreds of LANL workers. They were designated a Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) in July 2007.

“Approval of that petition cut my work in half,” Evaskovich said, “because it covered exposures up until 1975.”

The first SEC that was approved covered LANL workers likely to have been exposed to radioactive lanthanum in Technical Area 10 at the Bayo Canyon facility from Sept. 1, 1944, to July 8,1963.

The special status speeds up the process by which certain laboratory employees from March 15, 1945, through 1975 would receive compensation under a federal entitlement program for nuclear workers.

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