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Newsbrief Current Issue from The National Clearinghouse for Worker Safety and Health Training

Weekly E-Newsbrief, July 12, 2024

Weekly E-Newsbrief

July 12, 2024

The E-Newsbrief of the National Clearinghouse is a free weekly newsletter focusing on new developments in the world of worker health and safety. Each issue provides summaries of the latest worker health and safety news from newspapers, magazines, journals, government reports, and the Web, along with links to the original documents. Also featured each week are updates from government agencies that handle hazmat and worker safety issues such as DOE, EPA, OSHA and others.

Subscribing to the National Clearinghouse Newsbrief is the best way to stay on top of the worker health and safety news.

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The WTP E-Newsbrief Will Move to GovDelivery Next Week!

Starting next Friday, July 19, the WTP E-Newsbrief, will be delivered by a new online email delivery system called “GovDelivery.” The Newsbrief will now be delivered from the email address If you do not receive the Newsbrief in your inbox next week, please be sure to check your spam folder and save the new email address as a trusted address to ensure it goes to your inbox.

Protecting Our Communities: Tools and Resources for Natural Disaster Preparedness and Response

As the risk of natural disasters continues to increase, the Department of Health and Human Services and other organizations have committed to providing tools and resources to help communities better prepare for, respond to, and recover from these events. The NIEHS Worker Training Program is hosting an Environmental Justice and Natural Disasters webinar aimed to provide resources and tools for communities to better prepare for, respond to, and recovery from disasters. The webinar will take place on July 29, 2024, from 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. EDT.

Event Registration

Worker Training Program Strives to Protect the Most Vulnerable

The NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) is addressing disparities among workers to narrow gaps that make some more vulnerable to getting sick or injured on the job than others. The 2024 WTP Spring Workshop in May allowed WTP grant recipients and federal and local partners to discuss strategies to address gender, racial, and other disparities in the workforce, hoping to help workers achieve better health outcomes. Grant recipients shared success stories and ongoing efforts to tackle occupational health disparities (OHDs) and took part in scenario-based exercises to recognize and respond to OHDs.

NIEHS Environmental Factor [Author: Lee Cannon]

Environmental Career Worker Training Program Improves Lives

A relatively small federal investment in the Environmental Career Worker Training Program (ECWTP) results in vast societal and economic benefits, according to a new program evaluation report covering 2014 to 2022. Through well-targeted training, the program helps people from disadvantaged communities obtain careers in environmental construction, remediation, and cleanup. Part of the broader Worker Training Program, the ECWTP is administered by NIEHS. More than 14,500 individuals have been trained by the ECWTP since its inception in 1995. Through grant recipients, the program has reached people in 30 communities across 15 states and U.S. territories.

NIEHS Environmental Factor [Author: Carol Kelly]

Environmental Career Worker Training Program

Safe + Sound Week

Safe + Sound Week is a nationwide event held each August that recognizes the successes of workplace health and safety programs and offers information and ideas on how to keep America's workers safe. This year Safe + Sound Week will be held from August 12-18 and will provide resources for businesses on Job Hazard Analysis. Successful safety and health programs can proactively identify and manage workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness, improving sustainability and the bottom line. Participating in Safe + Sound Week can help get your program started, energize an existing one, or provide a chance to recognize your safety successes.

Safe + Sound Week Information and Registration

Scientists Issue Critical Warning After Serious Disease Threatens to Spread Across Borders and into US: “The Storm’s Comin’, Folks”

In the U.S., mosquito bites have always been a part of summertime. Now, with rising global temperatures expanding their habitat, deadly-disease-carrying mosquitoes are beginning to encroach on southern states. Skyrocketing numbers of dengue fever led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a warning in June, alerting travelers and healthcare providers to be aware of increased dengue risk. One study found that, if temperatures continue rising at similar rates, an additional 2 billion people around the globe will be exposed to dengue in the coming decades.

MSN News [Author: Jenny Allison]

EV Batteries’ Chemical Risks to US Workers Rising as Plants Grow

While the fire risks of lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles have made headlines around the world, the dangers from the batteries’ chemical powders, liquids, and fumes are not as well known, and the risks to American workers are increasing as more EV batteries are made in the United States. So far in 2024, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and its state partners have issued citations for 47 violations. That’s already more than the 44 violations alleged in 2023 and a 147% boost over the 19 violations found in 2022. For many chemicals and metals, there is a lack of scientific study on long-term exposure effects. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued exposure guidelines, most aren’t covered by specific OSHA exposure limits.

Bloomberg Law: Occupational Safety & Health Reporter [Authors: Bruce Rolfsen & Ian Kullgren]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

National Environmental Justice Community Engagement Call

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites Environmental Justice (EJ) advocates to participate in the next National Environmental Justice Community Engagement Call. The call is free and open to the public, and the purpose of these calls is to inform the community and other stakeholders about EPA's EJ work and enhance opportunities to maintain an open dialogue with EJ advocates. The call will take place on July 16, 2024, from 2 – 4 p.m. EDT.

Event Registration

Overcoming Language Barriers for a Safer Workplace

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates, language barriers are cited as a contributing factor in 25% of workplace incidents. These incidents endanger the lives of employees and result in significant financial losses for businesses. As the U.S. workforce evolves, language skills are becoming an essential training need for businesses across many industries. This webinar will explore how the U.S. workforce is evolving and the intersection of language learning and workplace safety, providing practical strategies and best practices for better collaboration and communication between multilingual teams. It will take place on August 8, 2024, from 12 – 1 p.m. CDT.

Event Registration

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Fireworks Trigger Wildfires. Climate Change May Increase the Risk.

Each year, fireworks trigger tens of thousands of accidental fires across the country, and unsurprisingly, most happen on July 4. A growing body of research shows that climate change could make this American pastime even more risky. As fire departments and government officials stress safety measures surrounding celebratory pyrotechnics, others are pushing to phase fireworks out altogether and replace them with a different luminescent display. Researchers parsed through wildfire data stretching from 2000 to 2019 and noticed that nearly twice as many wildfires were recorded on July 4 as almost any other day in the U.S. West. As climate change accelerates, droughts and heat waves worsen and make vegetation incredibly dry, which can increase the risk of wildfires caused by fireworks.

High Country News [Author: Kiley Price]

Cow Flu Crisis? Decoding the Dangerous Jump of H5N1 to Humans

A series of experiments with highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza viruses circulating in infected U.S. dairy cattle found that viruses derived from lactating dairy cattle induced severe disease in mice and ferrets when administered via intranasal inoculation. The virus from the H5N1-infected cows bound to both avian and human-type cellular receptors, but, importantly, did not transmit efficiently among ferrets exposed via respiratory droplets. Typically, avian and human influenza A viruses do not attach to the same receptors on cell surfaces to initiate infection. The researchers found, however, that the bovine HPAI H5N1 viruses can bind to both, raising the possibility that the virus may have the ability to bind to cells in the upper respiratory tract of humans.


Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Proposed Rule to Protect Indoor, Outdoor Workers from Extreme Heat

The Department of Labor (DOL) has released a proposed rule with the goal of protecting millions of workers from the significant health risks of extreme heat. If finalized, the proposed rule would help protect approximately 36 million workers in indoor and outdoor work settings and substantially reduce heat injuries, illnesses and deaths in the workplace. Heat is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S. Excessive workplace heat can lead to heat stroke and even death. While heat hazards impact workers in many industries, workers of color have a higher likelihood of working in jobs with hazardous heat exposure. The proposed rule would require employers to develop an injury and illness prevention plan to control heat hazards in workplaces affected by excessive heat.

DOL News Release

U.S. Chemical Safety Board Urges Chemical Companies to Prepare for Harsh Hurricane Season

In response to Hurricane Beryl, the Atlantic Ocean’s earliest Category 5 storm on record, the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) is once again urging the chemical industry to act expeditiously to prepare for a season of potentially more frequent and more powerful hurricanes and other extreme weather events. In light of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration prediction of an 85% chance of an above-normal 2024 Atlantic hurricane season and Hurricane Beryl’s early arrival, chemical and refining facilities in the United States must ensure that they are prepared for any potential impacts.

CSB News Release

CDC Reports Fourth Human Case of H5 Bird Flu Tied to Dairy Cow Outbreak

A human case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5) (“H5 bird flu”) virus infection in the United States has been identified in the state of Colorado. This is the fourth case associated with an ongoing multistate outbreak of A(H5N1) in dairy cows and the first in Colorado. As with previous cases, the person is a worker on a dairy farm where cows tested positive for A(H5N1) virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been watching influenza surveillance systems closely, particularly in affected states, and there has been no sign of unusual influenza activity in people, including in syndromic surveillance. Based on the information available at this time, this infection does not change CDC’s current H5N1 bird flu human health risk assessment for the U.S. public, which the agency considers to be low.

CDC News Release

EPA Releases Updated Climate Indicators Report Showing How Climate Change is Impacting People’s Health and the Environment

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Fifth Edition of Climate Change Indicators in the United States. The report highlights new data showing the continuing and far-reaching impacts of climate change on the people and environment of the United States. EPA partners with more than 50 data contributors from various U.S. and international government agencies, academic institutions, and other organizations to compile these key indicators of climate change. EPA’s indicators show multiple lines of compelling evidence that climate change is increasingly affecting people’s health, society, and ecosystems in numerous ways. The report includes new features, including an indicator on Marine Heat Waves and a feature on Heat-Related Workplace Deaths.

EPA News Release

Climate Change Indicators in the United States: Fifth Edition

Biden-Harris Administration Invests $10 Million to Improve Risk Communication During Weather Emergencies Through Investing in America Agenda

The Department of Commerce and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced $10 million in funding to support social science research related to flooding services and products. These funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will allow NOAA to better understand how the public uses communication products and reacts to emergency announcements during floods and other weather events, with the goal of ultimately helping communities to better prepare for weather emergencies such as flooding caused by atmospheric rivers. This initiative will focus on ensuring that communities across the country understand and know how to respond to severe weather alerts in order to keep themselves and their families safe.

NOAA News Release

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Prevent Harassment in Construction: New Guide from EEOC

Preventing harassment in the construction industry is the focus of a new guidance document from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). While workplace harassment is an issue in all sectors and industries, it is prevalent on many construction jobsites, and some of the most egregious incidents of harassment investigated by the EEOC have arisen in the construction industry. The document identifies risk factors related to the nature of the industry that may increase the likelihood of harassment, including workforces that are predominantly male, workplaces that are decentralized, pressure to conform to traditional stereotypes and the potential presence of multiple employers on a jobsite.

Safety + Health Magazine

Promising Practices for Preventing Harassment in the Construction Industry

Job OpeningsBack to Top

EPA Seeking Deputy Assistant Administrator for Program Operations

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is looking to hire a deputy assistant administrator for program operations to serve in their Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights (OEJECR). The OEJECR provides leadership on EPA's environmental justice and external civil rights compliance priorities, conflict prevention and resolution. Job responsibilities include planning, directing, and executing program policy guidance, strategic planning, enforcement, and overall management of environmental justice, conflict prevention and resolution, and external civil rights program operations; and promoting collaborative efforts across agency organizations and serving as a point of contact for programs to institutionalize strong partnerships relating to environmental justice and civil rights, among other tasks.

Job Posting

Clean Production Action Seeking Executive Director

Clean Production Action seeks a dynamic, entrepreneurial, networked, and collaborative individual to lead the organization. The successful candidate will be committed to growing Clean Production Action’s existing programs and innovating new initiatives to advance safer chemicals, materials, and products in the transition to a sustainable, non-toxic, and circular economy. Founded in 2001, Clean Production Action is an innovative non-profit organization whose mission is to design and deliver strategic solutions for green chemicals, sustainable materials, and environmentally preferable products.

Job Posting

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