Steve Jones' 20-year career in federal safety
inspection may be over. He was fired Sept. 14 by the contractor
that is building and operating a chemical weapons incinerator at
Utah's Tooele Army Depot. Jones says he's spent a frustrating three
months trying to track down safety violations there. Now Jones is
commiting what he calls "career suicide" to publicize the dangers.
More than 500 safety violations have been identified at the
facility, Jones says, including the release of hazardous chemicals
that put workers in immediate danger (see essay page 15). But when
he outlined safety problems in writing to the contractor, EG&G;
Defense Materials, Jones says he was sternly reprimanded and told
never to put anything negative in writing. "The impression I was
given was that my job was to keep inspectors from other agencies
away," he says. The Army and EG&G; say Jones is a "disgruntled"
employee who was "volatile" and "uninformed." However, Utah Gov.
Mike Leavitt's science advisor, Suzanne Winters, has promised Jones
hearings before the Citizens' Advisory Board, which is charged with
monitoring the incinerator and protecting whistle blowers, and the
state's Science Board.