Boss Slammed for Potentially Exposing Employees to Radioactivity

A boss was criticized online for telling an employee to find a "better company" after receiving a complaint that the office's water supply should be moved away from the radioactive waste.

The Original Poster (OP), known as u/guardedDisruption, posted about the situation in Reddit's "Antiwork" forum, where it received more than 13,700 upvotes and 800 comments. The post can be found here.

Radioactive Exposure

Manal Aziz, a senior specialist in occupational safety and health for the International Labour Organization (ILO), told Newsweek that there are many standards in place to protect workers from radiation exposure.

"These standards express that workers' exposure to radiation should be reduced to the lowest practicable level," Aziz said. "It is also important that workers are aware of possible exposure to ionizing radiations. Workers shall be provided instruction before and during employment, so they understand precautions to be taken for protecting their health and safety."

Employee complained about radioactive materials at work
An employee was praised for calling out his boss for storing the office's water supply next to radioactive materials. koya79/iStock

The ILO also recommends that every effort should be made to ensure workers are not exposed to potential radiation. Radiation protection is part of ILO's worker protections against sickness, disease and injury.

Exposure to radioactive materials can lead to severe health complications including radiation sickness and a greater risk of cancer.

Individuals with short-term exposure can experience radiation sickness, which can sometimes result in comas or seizures.

Those with long-term exposure are at a higher risk of developing cancer later in life. Pregnant women should also be cautious of exposure as fetuses are highly affected by radiation in the first 18 weeks.

Exposure can lead to potential deformities as well as stunted growth and a higher risk of miscarriage.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the first step to decontaminate oneself after experiencing radiation exposure is to remove all clothing and take a shower. If a shower is not available, try to locate a sink and rinse off with soap and water.

To dispose of the clothing, place the items in a sealable bag or container and place them in a trash can that is not easily accessible.

'Find a Better Company'

In the post, the OP shared screenshots of an alleged text exchange between their friend and his boss.

In the photos, the employee texted his boss a picture of radioactive materials being stored next to the office's water supply.

"Manager tells an employee to 'go find a better company' when the issue was brought up about water being stored in a room with radioactive material," the post read above the screenshots.

The man texted his boss that it would be "good" if they found a "safe space" for the pile of water bottles that the office consumes.

He also sent a screenshot from Princeton University's Office of Environmental Health and Safety: "Do not store food, beverages, or medicines in refrigerators, freezers or coldrooms where radioactive materials are used or stored," the screenshot read.

The employee then texted his boss saying that "the only thing not valuable for the company is the physical and mental health" of the workers.

In response, the man's boss said that if he feels that way about the company then he should "find a better company" for his physical and mental health.

The boss also replied that the water will be moved into the office next to his. In the comments, the OP said the water was moved but that his friend is still thinking about reporting the incident.

Redditor Reactions

More than 800 users commented on the post, many urging the OP's friend to take further action against his boss.

"Immediately report to OSHA, and consider filing a whistleblower complaint," one user commented.

"Tell your buddy to document this in every detail, forward to every employee in the whole company and have a lawyer look at it," another user commented.

"Please tell him to report them to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission," another commented.

"I hope to god that every single employee at this place is made aware of the liability this company has taken on for the rest of their lives," another user commented.

"All radioactive sources must be in a controlled environment that cannot be accessed with nonessential people," another commented. "So, if this is just accessible by an unlocked door and water stored in there it would definitely be a violation."

Newsweek reached out to u/guardedDisruption for comment.