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Toxic culture at Sellafield ‘threatens safety’ | Ashleigh Webber

Sellafield workers have warned that a toxic culture of bullying, sexual harassment and drug use could have dangerous consequences for safety at Europe’s largest nuclear waste processing site.

An investigation by the Guardian found that the HR department at the Cumbrian nuclear facility has been accused of bullying and bribing employees who raised concerns about safety and their colleagues’ behaviour, while there have been reports of suicides linked to the pressures of working at the site.

Whistleblowers told the newspaper that there was a longstanding unhealthy working culture at Sellafield, which is one of the largest employers in the northwest of England with 11,000 employees.

A former young worker said he was repeatedly mocked by colleagues to the point where he considered suicide, while others claimed they had witnessed or experienced sexual assault.

It was alleged that some staff regularly brought cocaine onto the premises and kept samples of urine in case they were drug-tested.

It’s not the first time that allegations of a toxic working culture at Sellafield have emerged. In 2021, a letter leaked to the BBC made allegations of sexual harassment, racial abuse and homophobic bullying. At the time, Sellafield said it was committed to eradicating unacceptable behaviour.

Whistleblower Alison McDermott, a former HR consultant at Sellafield who claimed she was dismissed in 2018 after raising concerns over Sellafield’s culture and sexual harassment, told the…

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