updated 9/28/2006 1:51:02 PM ET 2006-09-28T17:51:02

The following statement was e-mailed to NBC News by Cathy Mann, Director of Communications at Halliburton.

While there has been media coverage of a September 2005 convoy attack since its occurrence, KBR's priority has always been the safety and security of its employees, regardless of where they work around the world. The U.S. military has command and control of all KBR convoys in Iraq, such as supplying pre-trip threat assessments and determining routes, and is required to provide security for KBR's employees through the company's contract with the Army.

Every potential employee on the LOGCAP III contract receives very specific warnings about the dangers of working in a war zone. Not one of our employees leaves the United States for Iraq without thorough and repeated briefings on the dangers in Iraq. In fact, during the training process, we spend most of our time giving recruits all the reasons they should NOT accept this job. In Iraq, however, we have a situation that is constantly changing. Both the military and our employees have to change with it.

In addition to extensive medical screening and preparation to ensure the potential employee is fit for working in a potentially harsh environment that may involve limited medical care, the company also prepares potential employees for the possible threat of nuclear, biological and chemical attacks as well as extensive security and detailed safety briefings prior to being deployed to the work site as well as upon arrival at the new work location.

Personnel mobilizing to any location as part of the LOGCAP III contract voluntarily sign employment agreements which include, among other employment details, insurance provisions. Coverage for our employees working on the contract, which include hazardous areas such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Djibouti, is provided through the Defense Base Act. At the federal level, the DBA is administered by the Department of Labor.

The DBA provides comprehensive coverage for any employee injured or killed while working.

While processing for employment, personnel attend a mandatory session devoted solely to employee benefits. During this session, a KBR representative thoroughly explains the company's health care benefits for employees and their families.

Also, during the pre-employment processing, personnel are asked to personally designate primary and secondary contacts that may be notified if the employee is killed or becomes so severely injured or ill that he/she is unable to communicate. Personnel acknowledge that their self-designated emergency contact(s) will be the primary interface for all Company communication regarding their personal situation. Out of concern for employee privacy and realizing that family dynamics may change during an employee's deployment, the Company advises all personnel that the Company will not establish contact with the employee's self-designated emergency contact(s) unless the employee asks that a Company representative perform this action or if the employee is unable to communicate for him/herself. In the extremely unfortunate event of a death, the Company immediately dispatches a professionally trained notification team to the employee's self-designated emergency contact(s) to convey what confirmed information is immediately available and assist them as necessary.

Additionally, all KBR employees are informed of their ability to access services from the company's Employee Assistance Program, or EAP, which is staffed with licensed mental health counselors.

In Iraq, the company has strategically placed EAP counselors, and 24-hour access via telephones, internet and e-mail to stateside-based counseling and support resources are available. Family members from the states can call the company's toll-free number 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for EAP counseling services, or be referred to individual counseling services right in their local communities.

KBR's EAP program, which services employees around the world, was established in 1980 because the company recognized the importance of helping employees resolve personal problems so they can work safely and productively. In addition to counseling for general stress-related issues, counseling is available for a variety of other life issues such as family problems, parenting, eldercare, relationships, substance abuse, legal and financial problems.

While KBR cannot discuss personnel records for privacy reasons, we can offer that the KBR employees injured during the September 20, 2005, convoy attack in Iraq were placed on a 60-day leave status that is consistent with the terms and conditions of the employment agreement each person voluntarily signs prior to mobilizing for any work assignment as part of the LOGCAP III contract.

The work that KBR is doing in the Middle East could not be accomplished without a dedicated workforce, and the company is proud of its 50,000 employees and subcontractors who daily face danger to support the troops serving there. Sadly, 91 KBR employees and subcontractors have lost their lives and more than 400 personnel have been injured while performing services under KBR's US government contracts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments