Workers Allege FAA Ignored Radiation Threat

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The Professional Airways Systems Specialists (PASS), the union that represents support staff and technical workers in the FAA air-traffic system, complained last week about working conditions at Burlington (Vt.) International Airport. Radiation leaks inside a radar facility were detected last August but the FAA didn't alert workers until February, the union said. "We don't believe people were exposed at [radiation] levels above the accepted level," FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told The Burlington Free Press. PASS said the incident reflects management's overall negligence regarding safety requirements, and cited other issues including exposure to PCBs, a fall on a faulty staircase and the storage of hazardous waste with inadequate safeguards. "Safety should be the FAA's number one concern, both for air travelers and for its employees," said Tom Brantley, PASS national president. "The agency has no excuse for allowing these hazardous working conditions to remain unaddressed. The FAA should investigate and report why supervisors in Burlington let their employees work in dangerous conditions for so long without any attempts to fix the problem." The situation is being assessed, said Brown. "We're very concerned about the safety of our employees and we take every precaution we can," she told The Free Press.