Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tunnel Rats Make The National News

I've written a few times about the "tunnel rats" -- the US Capitol employees who labor in asbestos laden tunnels beneath the nation's capitol ((here, here and here). Well, their story made the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams yesterday.Lisa Myers reported the story:
Inside tunnels that snake their way for miles, huge slabs of concrete fall from ceilings and white powder coats some pipes and floors. But it’s not all dust. Much of it is asbestos — harmful fibers that can scar lungs and, potentially, cause death. Ten men work down in these tunnels every day, where temperatures often exceed 150 degrees. They call themselves “the tunnel rats.”

Federal investigators recently found that conditions in the tunnels pose an “imminent danger” to the workers, and that the owner of the tunnels had “effectively ignored” safety warnings for six years. So who owns these tunnels? The United States Congress.
You can watch the entire broadcast here (Microsoft Explorer seems to be needed, sorry Firefox people.)

Just one amusing note. Brian Williams introduces the piece describing the environment and says workers claim that "their employer has ignored their safety problems for years and doesn't seem to care. And you might be surprised to learn just who that employer is."

Not likely.