U.S. Department of Labor
of Workers’ Compensation Programs
SUBJECT: Sandia National Laboratories Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) Class from January 1, 1995 through December 31, 1996.
The purpose of this Circular is to notify all Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC) staff of the SEC class designation for the Sandia National Laboratories located in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Pursuant to the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 (EEOICPA) and 42 C.F.R. Part 83, a petition was filed on behalf of workers at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico to be added to the SEC.
The decision to initiate this petition occurred after the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) determined that it could not reconstruct a dose under 42 C.F.R. § 83.13. NIOSH submitted its findings to the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health (“the Board”) on August 22, 2018. On September 24, 2018, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) received the Board’s recommendation to add to the SEC a class of employees who worked at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
On October 18, 2018, the Secretary of HHS designated the following class for addition to the SEC in a report to Congress:
All employees of the Department of Energy, its predecessor agencies, and its contractors or subcontractors who worked in any area at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, during the period from January 1, 1995 through December 31, 1996, for a number of work days aggregating at least 250 work days, occurring either solely under this employment or in combination with work days within the parameters established for one or more other classes of employees included in the Special Exposure Cohort.
A copy of the Secretary’s letter to Congress recommending the designation is included as Attachment 1. Although Congress had the authority to reject the recommendation within a 30-day period, Congress took no action. Therefore, the SEC designation for this class became effective as of November 17, 2018, which was 30 days after the Secretary of HHS designated the class for addition to the SEC in the report to Congress.
This is the third SEC class for workers at the Sandia National Laboratories. Prior classes were the subject of EEOICPA Circular Nos. 11-10 and 12-10. To qualify under this SEC class, the employee must have worked at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico from January 1, 1995 through December 31, 1996.
If the employee does not have 250 work days at the Sandia National Laboratories during the period noted, the case file must be reviewed to determine if additional days in the SEC can be found by combining days from employment meeting the criteria for other SEC classes and aggregating them together to meet the 250-workday requirement.
While a new SEC class has been added for employees who worked at the Sandia National Laboratories, NIOSH intends to use any available internal and external monitoring data that is available for an individual claim (and that can be interpreted using existing NIOSH dose reconstruction processes or procedures). This means that for claims that do not satisfy the SEC membership criteria, a partial dose reconstruction is to be performed by NIOSH.
A copy of the NIOSH letter to affected employees at the facility is included as Attachment 2.
This Circular should be used in conjunction with the Federal (EEOICPA) Procedure Manual (PM) Chapter 14.8 (Version 2.3). A screening worksheet is included as Attachment 3.
As outlined in the Federal (EEOICPA) PM, the district offices and Final Adjudication Branch (FAB) offices are to use the comprehensive list provided as the basis for an initial screening of cases associated with all SEC classes. For screening only, the results reflected on the initial screening worksheet must be recorded in ECS using the Screening (SEC/PER/Other) Navigation Panel. From the Screening (SEC/PER/Other) Navigation Panel on the case, select the ‘Create’ button. Based on the result of the review and in accordance with the ‘SEC Class Screening Worksheet’, select the appropriate result of “Likely” if the case is likely an SEC, “Unlikely” if it is unlikely that the case will be an SEC or “Development Needed” if development is needed. The date of the signed worksheet is recorded in the “Date” field. The reason associated with the SEC is selected in the “Reason” field. For this SEC, the reason is “Rvwd per Circular 19-01 Sandia National Laboratories (1/1/1995 – 12/31/1996).” If the District Office and FAB staff determine that the case is going to be awarded based on an SEC, a positive SEC causation path must be created in the Causation tab found under Development Components in ECS. In the SEC causation path, select the SER and SEF blocks, and enter the dates and the SER Reason and SEF Reason “Rvwd per Circular 19-01, Sandia National Laboratories (1/1/1995 – 12/31/1996).”
RACHEL P. LEITON
Director, Division of Energy Employees
Occupational Illness Compensation
Distribution List No. 1: Claims Examiners, Supervisory Claims Examiners, Technical Assistants, Customer Service Representatives, Fiscal Officers, FAB District Managers, Operation Chiefs, Hearing Representatives, District Office Mail & File Section