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Agent blows the whistle on dangerous training site

Even in retirement, this former Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) agent is pushing for a South Carolina training site to be probed for potential health hazards. According to the March 11 news, he wants to see a deeper investigation that would look into the number of health hazards law enforcement officers ended up exposed to during a tactical training course they took in a local copper factory.

The FBI veteran states that when he raised concerns about the amount of toxic chemicals, lack of running water and mold at the site, he faced retaliation. He retired in September after a 21-year career with the FBI.

When he complained about the health-related issues in the facility, he was told not to bring it up again. He filed complaints with the Department of Justice after he retired. He also let the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) know about the potential hazards.

After receiving the complaint, OSHA did cite that the FBI claimed no hazards were found. After reviewing the OSHA file through the Freedom of Information Act, he claims OSHA never went to the site to investigate. He believes the site is truly unacceptable despite assurances.

Since he faced perceived retaliation, he waited to contact the Justice Department and OSHA until after he was sure he'd receive his pension. He believed he'd potentially lose it if he made a complaint before that time.

When a worker blows the whistle on dangers or hazards in the workplace, he or she may struggle with retaliation. Regardless, hazards have to be taken seriously. If someone gets hurt, he or she should be able to receive compensation through workers' compensation, but it's better to eliminate the risks if possible.

Source: The Post and Courier, "Retired FBI agent pushes for probe of health hazards at South Carolina training site," Glenn Smith, March 11, 2018

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