EEOICPA BULLETIN NO.08-14        

 

Issue Date:  January 23, 2008

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Effective Date:  January 23, 2008

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Expiration Date:  January 23, 2009

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Subject:  Supplemental guidance on implementation of Bulletin No. 08-01, “Rocky Flats SEC designations.”

 

Background: EEOICPA Bulletin No. 08-01, entitled “Rocky Flats SEC designations,” outlines the procedures for processing cases affected by the Rocky Flats SEC and other changes affecting Rocky Flats. EEOICPA Bulletin No. 08-11 provided new coding instructions to be associated with the Rocky Flats SEC and other instances. EEOICPA Circular No. 08-03 added Building NO. 881 to the list of buildings associated with the Rocky Flats SEC. 

 

References: Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000, 42 U.S.C. § 7384 et seq.; 42 C.F.R. Part 83, Procedures for Designating Classes of Employees as Members of the Special Exposure Cohort Under EEOICPA; the August 6, 2007 letters to Congress from the Secretary of HHS in which Secretary Leavitt makes the designations for Rocky Flats; EEOICPA Bulletin No. 08-01, entitled “Rocky Flats SEC designations;” EEOICPA Bulletin No. 08-11, entitled, “New coding instructions for cases that are reviewed under a new SEC or PEP/PER;” and EEOICPA Circular No. 8-03, “Rocky Flats Building 881.”

 

PurposeTo refine and clarify instructions for those instances in which a dose reconstruction report provides sufficient evidence, under Action Item #4 of Bulletin No. 08-01, such that it can be used to satisfy the criteria that the employee, “should have been monitored” for neutrons.

 

Applicability:  All staff. 

 

Actions:

 

1.  According to Action #4 in Bulletin No. 08-01, there are three evidentiary categories the CE can utilize to determine that the employee was “monitored or should have been monitored” for neutron exposure. If any of the three are met, the CE may find that the employee was “monitored or should have been monitored” for neutron exposure. These three are:

 

●    Inclusion on the Rocky Flats Neutron Dosimetry Reconstruction Project (NDRP) list;

 

●    Previously completed National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) dose reconstruction for named employee includes neutron exposure or mentions exposure to plutonium; or

 

●    Employment in a building identified as a plutonium building.

 

Further review of these criteria and discussion of the definition of the SEC class with NIOSH has necessitated a change in how to use a previously completed NIOSH dose reconstruction under the second criterion of this action item.  Under the Rocky Flats SEC classes definition, an employee does not meet the standard of “monitored or should have been monitored” for neutron dose unless there is sufficient neutron dose included in the dose reconstruction calculation to reach the threshold level for monitoring in at least one year during the period covered by the SEC classes.  The current threshold regulatory level for neutron monitoring is 100 millirem (mrem) per year.  Therefore, the CE will need to determine if there is at least one year in the period 1952 through 1966 for which the dose reconstruction credits the employee with at least 100 mrem for neutrons in that year. Only one year at or above 100 mrem during the period is needed.

 

To make this determination, the CE is to go to “Attachment 1: IREP Input Tables” of the dose reconstruction report. The CE will then look closely at the column in the table with the heading “Radiation Type” (generally the fourth column).  Radiation types include alpha, beta, electrons, protons, neutrons, photons, etc.  The CE identifies the rows of cells containing the neutrons.  Sometimes these tables are somewhat illegible in their printed form and if the CE is having difficulty discerning which rows reflect neutrons, it is recommended that the CE review the electronic version of the dose reconstruction report and search on “neu.”  This will highlight every instance of the word neutron, including those in the table.  Once the rows of the table containing the word “neutron” are found, the CE determines whether there is one year in which at least 100 mrem was included in the calculation for those years. On these tables, 0.100 is equal to 100 mrem and is in the column labeled, “Parameter 1” (generally the sixth column).  Then the CE reviews the table to determine whether the year is between 1952 and 1966, inclusive. The date is found in the column entitled, “exposure year,” and is generally the second column.  If the exposure year does not fall between these years, the CE continues to review the rows of neutron calculations to determine the presence of at least 100 mrem neutron dose included for any given year during the course of the Rocky Flats classes in the SEC.

 

Attachment 1 to this Bulletin provides an example of an IREP table from a dose reconstruction report in which the employee was credited with at least 100 mrem for neutrons for 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, as well as a number of years outside the class period. In the example, the neutrons are identified by yellow highlighting and one can see that the entire word “neutron” does not always display and will sometimes appear truncated, such as “utrons” and this is the reason for searching on “neu” in the electronic version, as the “neu” is electronically present in the table, just not visible. In the sample, each instance in which there is at least 100 mrem of neutrons included in the calculation is highlighted in light blue.  The years highlighted in purple are those which meet all the criteria for a determination that the employee “should have been monitored” for neutrons.  Only one year meeting all the criteria need be found for such a determination. 

 

Additionally, please note that on the table in the example, within the section on neutrons, some years appear three times and for each instance of a given year there is a different number in the “parameter 1” column.  These disparate numbers represent different energy levels of neutron dose assigned to the employee for each year.  Therefore, if the CE is unable to find one line on the table that meets the 100 mrem criteria, but notices that there are multiple entries for the same year, each for neutrons, the CE is to add the numbers within the year.  The CE should not add other types of radiation for that year – only neutrons.  If the resulting sum for any one year in the class totals at least 100 mrem for neutrons, the employee meets the threshold for “should have been monitored.”  In the example provided there are numerous instances where one line provides at least 100 mrem of neutrons, and therefore no addition is needed, but CE’s need to be alert to the possibility of the need to add the numbers within years, within the neutron portion of the table, in the event that no one line meets the threshold of at least 100 mrem of neutron exposure. 

 

2. If, upon a review of the IREP table, the CE determines that there is no year within the class period for which the employee is credited with a dose of at least 100 mrem of neutrons, then the CE needs to develop the case to determine whether the employee has employment aggregating at least 250 days in one or more of the buildings listed in either EEOICPA Bulletin No. 08-01 or EEOICPA Circular No. 08-03. An employee who worked in one or more of the plutonium buildings in any combination for 250 days does not need to meet the threshold of at least 100 mrem of neutron exposure. 

 

3. If the CE finds an instance in which there is neutron dose of at least 100 mrem, but it is attributed entirely to a building or buildings other than those referenced in Bulletin 08-01 or Circular 08-03, the case is to be pended and the dose reconstruction sent to the National Office for a health physics review with a cover memo stating that the case is being forwarded as per this Bulletin.  The DD codes the case in ECMS as WS with HP as the reason code and a status effective date of the cover memo.

 

4. The procedures in this Bulletin apply prospectively to all Final Decisions.  FAB is to review all pending Rocky Flats recommended decisions pursuant to this Bulletin and ensure that acceptances based upon neutron exposure meet the parameters outlined in this Bulletin.  If a case does not meet these parameters, FAB is to remand the case back to the District Office for development on building location. The appropriate reason code for the remand is OTH (Other).

 

5. This Bulletin also corrects a typographical error in Bulletin 08-01 in Action Item 10 (b).  That action item instructs CEs to code cases requiring a return to NIOSH as “NI” (sent to NIOSH) with a reason code of “PER” (based upon Program Evaluation Report).  That reason code is incorrect.  The correct reason code is “PEP” (based upon a Program Evaluation Plan. 

 

Disposition:  Retain until incorporated in the Federal (EEOICPA) Procedure Manual.

 

 

 

 

 

PETER M. TURCIC

Director, Division of Energy Employees

Occupational Illness Compensation

 

 

Attachment 1

 

 

 

Distribution List No. 1: Claims Examiners, Supervisory Claims Examiners, Technical Assistants, Customer Service Representatives, Fiscal Officers, FAB District Managers, Operation Chiefs, Hearing Representatives, and District Office Mail & File Sections