The Energy Department (DOE)is proposing that Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) be assessed a $320,000 civil penalty for retaliating against an employee at its Savannah River site in 2015. In a Preliminary Notice of Violation, DOE said the company had violated worker safety and health requirements.
DOE’s Office of Enforcement conducted an investigation following a determination by the DOE Office of Hearing and Appeals (OHA) that SRNS subjected the employee to a reprisal. The OHA order requires SRNS to provide relief for the employee in the form of compensation and reinstatement. The nature of the reprisal wasn’t disclosed.
In addition to the prohibitions specified in the Act, subjecting an employee to reprisal for expressing a workplace safety and health concern also constitutes a violation of the federal code. DOE said it considers the safety significance of the violation as particularly egregious given the involvement of SRNS senior management in the retaliatory act.
Section 234C of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, authorizes the Energy Department to pursue regulatory enforcement against DOE contractors for violations of worker safety and health requirements. DOE’s enforcement program encourages contractors to identify and correct worker safety and health program deficiencies at an early stage, before they contribute to, or result in more serious safety and health events.
SRNS is the management and operations contractor for the Savannah River Site located in Aiken, South Carolina.