Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Safety Problem for Shaw Group

Workers claim they suffered radiation poisoning during Texas cleanup

March 10, 2005, 4:43 PM EST

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- A group of nuclear-industry workers who helped clean up a contaminated industrial site in Texas in 2002 claim in a federal lawsuit they suffered serious radiation poisoning because their Louisiana-based employer failed to provide adequate safeguards.

Eighteen people employed by subcontractors allege that Shaw Group Inc., based in Baton Rouge, La., created such unsafe working conditions at the former Gulf Nuclear site in suburban Houston that many workers ended up walking off the job.

Shaw Group failed to provide adequate protection to workers and allowed them to suffer "excessive external and internal radiation exposure," according to the lawsuit filed last week at the federal court in Rochester.

One worker, Dominic Cotroneo of Rochester, suffered health problems that may be linked to acute radiation exposure, including hair loss, attorney Linda Shaw said in Thursday's Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

"They were put in constant danger every day," Shaw said. "Some of them have been, we believe, significantly overexposed."

The workers, six of whom reside in New York state, accuse Shaw Group of violating federal regulations and industry standards and ignoring their complaints about safety. The Shaw Group declined to comment on the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.

The industrial site in the Houston suburb of Webster, where radioactive sensors used in the oil industry were once made, was filled with radioactive cesium and americium _ radiological material that federal authorities feared could potentially be used to make "dirty bombs."

The building was cleaned up and razed and the hazardous material was shipped to secure disposal sites.

Copyright © 2005, The Associated Press
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