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

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Weekly E-Newsbrief, March 1, 2024

Weekly E-Newsbrief

March 1, 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.

Top StoriesBack to Top

From Muddy Caves to D.C. Boardrooms, Decades of Worker Safety Leadership Earns Purdue Health Sciences Alumnus a Top Position in the U.S. Department of Labor

Jim Frederick, 1990 Purdue University Health Sciences alumnus, previously served as the deputy assistant secretary of labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). He sees OSHA not as the safety police but as a life-saving resource for workers, both on the clock and off. Today, Frederick still leads numerous worker safety initiatives that are applied nationally. Purdue will recognize Jim Frederick on March 22, 2024, with the Health and Human Sciences Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Purdue University [Author: Tim Brouk]

These Farmworkers Created America’s Strongest Workplace Heat Rules

Created in 2011 by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the Fair Food Program (FFP) certifies farms that follow a strict set of workplace safety rules. Heat stress kills dozens of workers and sickens thousands more each year, according to the Department of Labor. At FFP certified farms, every worker takes 10-minute breaks every two hours during the hottest part of the year. When they feel the effects of heat illness coming on, they have the right to cool down in the shade.

The Washington Post (subscription may be required) [Author: Nicolás Rivero and Eva Marie Uzcategui]

Mayor Adams Won’t Release 9/11 Toxin Reports Until NYC’s Liability Risk Determined

Mayor Adams won’t be releasing any data about the toxic chemicals floating around Ground Zero after 9/11 until an “extensive legal review” determines the city’s liability risk. An estimated 400,000 people were exposed to Ground Zero toxins on 9/11 and the days that followed, including 91,000 first responders, 57,000 residents who lived south of Canal Street And 15,000 students and administrators at lower Manhattan schools, according to city statistics. Releasing the documents could help promote public health and safety and potentially enable further research and medical care for those affected by the World Trade Center toxins.

Daily News [Author: Thomas Tracy]

Researchers Find Link Between Disabling Work Injuries, Other Health Problems

A permanent disability caused by a work-related injury can increase the risk of other serious health disorders and even premature death, results of a recent study suggest. A team led by researchers from West Virginia University (WVU) looked at workers’ compensation claims for carpal tunnel syndrome. The team previously conducted a similar study involving low back pain. The two conditions are the most common conditions causing disabilities in people on workers’ compensation, according to a WVU press release. In both studies, the risk of early death for the workers who were disabled because of their injury was 40% higher compared with those who weren’t disabled.

Safety + Health Magazine

Increased Mortality Associated With Disability Among Workers' Compensation Claimants With Upper Extremity Neuropathy

‘The Customer Is Always Right’ May Be Wrong for Workers’ Mental Health

The long-standing approach that “the customer is always right” can take a toll on workers’ mental health and limit their capacity to serve customers, according to a recent study. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst surveyed 183 frontline workers in the hospitality field. The workers represented hotels, restaurants, clubs, airlines, and theme parks. Findings show that when employers in the hospitality industry adopt policies that support workers and make it clear to customers that uncivil behavior isn’t tolerated, workers struggling with mental health issues benefit and perform better at work.

Safety + Health Magazine

The impacts of organizational support and customer incivility on employee vulnerability and job performance: The moderating role of employee mental health

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Reusable Health Care Textiles for Personal Protective Equipment: A Workshop

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will host a virtual public workshop to examine opportunities to increase the use of reusable health care textiles (HCTs) for personal protective equipment (PPE) used in health care settings. This workshop will provide the opportunity for technical experts, policy makers, manufacturers, PPE users, and others to explore the potential benefits and feasibility of integrating more reusable HCTs into health care operations. The workshop will be hosted virtually on March 4, 2024, from 10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. EST, and March 5, 2024, from 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. EST.

Workshop Registration

2024 Public Health Symposium National Crisis to Community Solutions: Public Health`s Role in the Opioid Epidemic

This symposium will highlight local trends and adaptations of national strategies to address the opioid crisis in the New York/New Jersey area. Please join the Rutgers School of Public Health to network, learn, and explore new ways to raise awareness about substance use disorders, prevent overdoses, and reintegrate recovering individuals back into their jobs and communities. The event will be hosted on April 1, 2024, from 12:00 - 4:30 p.m. EDT, located at the Livingston Student Center.

Event Registration

2024 Annual Scientific Meeting Use of Wearable and Sensors for Exposomic, Occupational and Environmental Health Research

This annual scientific meeting will have speakers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to discuss sensor initiatives and speakers from around the globe to discuss international efforts towards exposomic environmental health research. More topics that will be covered at the event include; ‘Use of Low-Cost Aerosol Monitors in the Workplace’ and ‘Applied Use of Wearable Sensors in Exposomic and Occupational and Environmental Health Studies.’ Please join the Rutgers School of Public Health and the New York and New Jersey Education and Research Center to learn about exposomic, occupational, and environmental health research. The event will be hosted April 19, 2024, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. EDT, located at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Event Registration

Safety at Work: Addressing Gender-Based Violence and Harassment in the Construction Industry

Join the Department of Labor for the second in a series of four webinars with the Labor Department’s Women's Bureau and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This webinar will focus on the importance of addressing gender-based violence and harassment (GBVH) in the construction industry and how GBVH impacts worker health and safety. Spanish interpretation will be available. The webinar will be hosted online on March 5, 2024, 2:00- 3:00 p.m. EDT.

Webinar Information and Registration

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

USDA Funded Program Works with Wool, Cotton Producers on Climate Smart Practices

A new initiative from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) aims to help wool and cotton producers practice better climate smart land practices that build drought resilience, improve soil health, and can increase profitability of family ranches and farms. Cotton will be the focus in the South and in California, while wool will be utilized in New York, California and in the Great Plains region of Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota.

The Daily Yonder [Author: Kristi Eaton]

Boeing Hit by Damning FAA Report Faulting Safety Culture

U.S. regulators issued a scathing assessment of Boeing Co.’s safety culture, putting further pressure on the company as it contends with the fallout from a near-catastrophic accident at the start of the year. The plane maker was faulted for ineffective procedures and a breakdown in communications between senior management and other members of staff, a panel of experts convened by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a report.

Bloomberg Law [Author: Ryan Benne]

Department of Labor Investigation Finds Fort Worth 7-Eleven Store Operator Failed to Pay Workers for All Hours Worked

The Department of Labor (DOL)’s Wage and Hour Division found that Gaston Group LLC – operating as 7-Eleven in Fort Worth – failed to pay 21 employees for all hours worked, leading to minimum wage and overtime violations. The employer paid salary non-exempt employees straight time for all hours including those over 40 in a workweek and failed to keep accurate records as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act.

DOL News Release

Texas Panhandle Wildfires Force Evacuations and Brief Shut Down of Nuclear Facility

A series of wildfires swept across the Texas Panhandle, prompting evacuations, cutting off power to thousands, and forcing the brief shutdown of a nuclear weapons facility as strong winds, dry grass, and unseasonably warm temperatures fed the blazes. The weather forecast provided some hope for firefighters — cooler temperatures, less wind, and possibly rain coming.

PBS News [Author: Jim Vertuno]

We Must Cut Carbon from Industry. Here’s How We Can Do It.

Worldwide, there is growing agreement that eliminating human-caused greenhouse gas emissions is essential to securing a livable climate for humanity. The European Union, the United States, and dozens of other countries have set 2050 targets. There is greater optimism about the possibility of rapid emissions cuts than ever before, driven by plunging prices of clean energy technologies and policy pathways that will achieve economic growth and create jobs.

Yale Climate Connections [Author: Jeffrey Rissman]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Over $1 Billion to Start New Cleanup Projects and Continue Work at 100 Superfund Sites Across the Country

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a third and final wave of more than $1 billion for cleanup projects at more than 100 Superfund sites across the country as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. Thousands of contaminated sites exist nationally due to hazardous waste being dumped, left out in the open, or otherwise improperly managed. These sites can include toxic chemicals from manufacturing facilities, processing plants, landfills and mining, and can harm the health and well-being of local communities in urban and rural areas.

EPA News Release

HHS Announces a Multi-Pronged Effort to Strengthen Direct Care Workforce

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Administration for Community Living (ACL), announced several new initiatives and resources from ACL’s Direct Care Workforce Strategies Center to address the dire shortage of professionals who provide the services that many older adults and people with disabilities need to live in the community. These include two technical assistance opportunities to help states strengthen their systems for recruiting, retaining, and developing direct care workers; a national hub to connect states and communities to best practices and other resources related to the direct care workforce; and a webinar series for states and stakeholders focused on a range of direct care workforce topics.

HHS News Release

FHWA Announces $729 Million To Repair Roads and Bridges Damaged by Natural Disasters and Extreme Weather Events

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced it is providing $729.4 million to 34 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The funds will be used to support repair needs following natural disasters, extreme weather, or catastrophic events, such as hurricanes, flooding, and mudslides. These events will receive federal reimbursement funding under the FHWA’s Emergency Relief program as the result of major disaster declarations.

FHWA News Release

Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy Launch Initiative to Help Farmers Reduce Costs with Underutilized Renewable Technologies as Part of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Energy are launching a new initiative to help farmers cut costs and increase income using underutilized renewable technologies including smaller-scale wind projects. Through the Rural and Agricultural Income & Savings from Renewable Energy initiative, USDA is setting an initial goal of helping 400 individual farmers to deploy smaller-scale wind projects using USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program.

USDA News Release

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $24 Million To Expand America's Clean Energy Workforce and Enhance Manufacturing Efficiency

In support of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced a new $24 million funding opportunity for workforce training programs with a focus on training in clean energy jobs that do not require a four-year degree. This funding, from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will further expand the existing Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC) network to include more union training programs, community colleges, and trade schools. These IACs support the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals of growing our clean energy workforce and boosting the economy by helping small and midsized manufacturers identify opportunities to save costs and increase productivity.

DOE News Release

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $500 Million To Confront the Wildfire Crisis as Part of Investing in America Agenda

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Biden-Harris Administration is investing nearly $500 million from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to expand work on the USDA Forest Service’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy to reduce risk to communities, critical infrastructure, and natural resources from the nation’s ongoing wildfire crisis, which is exacerbated by climate change.

USDA News Release

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Electric Vehicle Fires: Best Practices and Free Training for First Responders

New resources from the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service are intended to help first responders safely confront fires and other emergencies resulting from electric vehicles (EV) and energy storage systems. Although fossil-fuel powered vehicles are more likely to ignite, electric vehicles contain hazardous materials that fire-extinguishing agents have trouble putting out. The resources include two free training programs, a 2.5-hour online course on EV Safety for the First Responder, and a four-hour in-person course on Lithium-Ion Response Awareness that will take place March 13-15, 2024, in San Marcos, Texas.

Training Registration

ITUC International Workers’ Memorial Day Theme Announced

The climate crisis is creating new and heightened occupational risks for workers, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is warning. Extreme weather and changing weather patterns affect job security and health for workers. In response to the crisis, ITUC named the theme for International Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28, 2024, ‘Climate risks for workers.’ The International Labor Organizations (ILO) will follow the theme adopted by ITUC and unions worldwide for the World Day for Safety and Health at Work. The ILO will organize a global event with guest speakers from governments, employers, and workers.

28 April

Job OpeningsBack to Top

NOVA Southeastern University Seeking Service Program Specialist

The NOVA Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College Of Osteopathic Medicine is seeking a service program specialist to serve Fort Lauderdale and Davie, Florida. The program specialist will be asked to plan trainings, communicate with trainers, record completed training hours, issue certificates, and collaborate with potential clients. The position is full time and is looking for candidates that have customer and personal service and English language skills.

Job Posting

Department of Health and Human Services Seeking Supervisory Health Scientist

The supervisory health scientist will be asked to participate in multiple scientific meeting venues to discuss interim research findings and health surveillance analytics, work with branch chiefs to foster, build, and maintain cooperative and collaborative relationships with appropriate officials of state, federal, non-federal and other organizations, and provide day-to-day direction and oversight of the division's technical programs.

Job Posting

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