Letter from a Death Star Employee
I am an employee looking for some advice as to whether I would be entitled to compensation for the effects on my health following exposure to ionising radiation. On top of that, I have also developed cataracts.
I am employed by Mr Darth Vader and work aboard the Death Star, in the Empire. My duties include the inspection and maintenance of the technical elements of the Death Star including control & power systems amongst others. I spend my day working with not only radiation but also plasma and molten debris. I often work 12 hour days with constant exposure to ionizing radiation with no thought from my employer, for my health and safety.
I have worked aboard the Death Star for over 15 years and have been exposed to ionizing radiation in all areas of the ship, on a daily basis. I have never been provided with any personal protective equipment such as a mask or filtering equipment. I also don’t consider that I have been provided with the appropriate spacesuit to limit exposure. I am aware that masks are available as the stormtroopers and Darth, himself, wears a mask!
Around four months ago, I began to develop lumps and discoloured patches on my face as well as a persisting cough and vocal changes. I have discussed this with my wife, who read up on the dangers of ionizing radiation.
I have since visited an intergalactic doctor who referred me for investigatory scans and has now confirmed my disease. The primary source appears to be thyroid but I have been advised that skin cancer cannot be ruled out. As noted above, I also have cataracts, the symptoms of which include blurred vision and a general glare.
I am worried about what the future holds for me now and want to make sure my wife and children will be okay, if I am no longer around. I was wondering if you could provide me with information about making a claim for reparation as I believe my injuries are as a result of the negligence of my employer.
Please respond to this email address and do not write to me directly at the Death Star. My employer is not the easiest man to deal with and exercises some tough punishments. I do worry for my safety in making this claim but I have to act in the best interests of my wife and children. I am sending them to another galaxy far, far away, in the meantime.
Anonymous Death Star Employee
Response from Harper Macleod
“In a galaxy far, far away”, we are aware that yourself and your colleagues travel between planets and galaxies with no thought for safety from ionizing radiation. It is well known, that the human body cannot withstand such exposure to the harsh radiation, found in outer space, and especially not without personal protective equipment. This is why astronauts, who travel to outer space from Earth, are limited in terms of their time spent in space.
In space, radiation comes from many sources:
- Light from the sun (or suns)
- High energy x-rays
- Gamma rays
- Cosmic rays
- Solar particle events
Ionizing radiation can easily penetrate the walls of spacecrafts such as the Death Star as well as stormtrooper armour and other spacesuits. It is for this very reason that Darth Vader and other employers must protect their employees from exposure to such radiation or face the consequences.
In terms of the “Empire” in which you reside, there may be differences in terms of laws but you will most definitely benefit from understanding UK worker’s rights which are similar to other jurisdictions. Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH), the law requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health. Employers must prevent or reduce workers exposure to substances by limiting said exposure and providing personal protective equipment such as masks.
The Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 apply to a large range of workplaces, and perhaps also in galaxies far, far away. The regulations place stringent duties on employers to keep exposure to ionising radiations as low as practicably possible. Exposure must not exceed specified dose limits
As the pursuer, the onus is on you to prove that Mr Vader has unreasonably exposed you to excessive levels of ionizing radiation and that he could have taken practicable steps to prevent said exposure, by limiting your exposure and providing you with personal protective equipment such as masks, appropriate spacesuits and filtering equipment.
Thereafter, you must also prove that but for the negligence of your employer, on the balance of probabilities, you would not have developed the cancer, that you did. This can be done by instructing an expert witness, however, it is well known that being in outer space, greatly increases space traveller’s risks of developing cancer, cataracts and other radiation-related health problems. At high doses, ionizing radiation can be very damaging to a person’s body. It is also a carcinogen and, even at low doses, can lead to disease as it damages DNA. However, the lower the radiation, the lower the risk of harm.
As well as pursuing compensation, there are other avenues open to workers, in the UK, such as the industrial injuries disablement benefits scheme, this provides regular monetary benefits for those suffering with injuries linked to industrial employment.
We do consider that this is a case worth investigating and that perhaps international human rights law may be able to assist with any differences in regards to the laws of the ‘Empire’ and in particular those that are unfair. We suspect that your employer may be shortly working with a much reduced taskforce if he does not start protecting his employees from such radiation!!
We appreciate your concern for your safety as well as your family’s safety. We, too, have heard of your employer and his draconian policies and punishments. As a result, once you have read our advice, for the safety of you and us, this message will self destruct in 5 seconds ...
Yours sincerely (and may the Force be with you),
PS Get in touch
You could always check out our webpages on occupational diseases or get in touch with a member of our team for more information.