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Weekly E-Newsbrief, September 15, 2017

Weekly E-Newsbrief

September 15, 2017

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

Call for Abstracts: Spring 2018 National Trainers' Exchange and WTP Awardee Meeting

Abstract submissions are now being accepted for the 2018 National Trainer’s Exchange! The 2018 Trainer’s Exchange will take place in Phoenix, AZ from May 10-11, 2018 and is hosted by the Western Region Universities Consortium (WRUC) in conjunction with the NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP). The National Trainers’ Exchange will bring together safety and health trainers and training stakeholders from the Department of Energy and the NIEHS WTP to exchange ideas about how to make training for hazardous materials and emergency response workers more effective and empowering. Participants will share best practices, training techniques, and ways to overcome challenges. The deadline for submission is October 20, 2017.

Abstract Submission Form

Conference Webpage

Houston’s Floodwaters Are Tainted, Testing Shows

Floodwaters in two Houston neighborhoods have been contaminated with bacteria and toxins that can make people sick, testing organized by The New York Times has found. Residents will need to take precautions to return safely to their homes, public health experts said. It is not clear how far the toxic waters have spread. But Fire Chief Samuel Peña of Houston said over the weekend that there had been breaches at numerous waste treatment plants. The Environmental Protection Agency said that 40 of 1,219 such plants in the area were not working.

The New York Times [ Authors: Sheila Kaplan and Jack Healy]

The Mental Health Impact of Major Disasters Like Harvey and Irma

When major disasters like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit, the first priority is to keep people safe. This process can involve dramatic evacuations, rescues and searches. However, after the initial emergency passes, a much longer process of recovering and rebuilding begins. For individuals, families and communities, this can last months or even years. Research shows that natural disasters can have an impact on survivors’ mental and behavioral health. These issues typically emerge as people try to recover and move forward after the devastation.

The Conversation [Authors: J. Brian Houston and Jennifer M. First]

Augmented Reality Simulations Moving into the Real World

The Augmented Reality HAZMAT Training System combines real-world information with online information to train emergency responders on how detect real hazards, such as slow methane leaks or ruptured ammonia containers. The system was created by Cell Podium, a company in New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), in collaboration with the Rutgers School of Public Health.

New Jersey Local News [Author: Troy Dreier]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

EPA Webinar: Decontamination Preparedness Tools for Water Utilities

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Water, Water Security Division, and Water Laboratory Alliance is hosting a webinar for interested parties to explain a detailed overview of a new decontamination tool that will help utilities be prepared prior to an incident. The webinar will focus on how the tool is used for the three phases of remediation, including: characterization, decontamination, and clearance. The webinar will also address how utilities can contain and dispose large amounts of contaminated water. The webinar will take place on September 20, 2017 at 1:00 pm ET.

Webinar Information and Registration

Registration Now Open for WTP Fall Meeting

Registration for the 2017 NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) Fall awardee meeting and workshop is now open! The WTP Awardee Meeting will be held on Monday, October 16, 2017 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The WTP Workshop will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 17 – 18, 2017. Both events will take place on the NIEHS campus in Research Triangle Park, NC. The WTP workshop will focus on updating the Minimum Health and Safety Training Criteria document, a national guidance document for training hazardous waste workers and emergency responders, which was last updated during a 2005 WTP workshop. Registration closes Friday, September 22, 2017 at 5 p.m. ET.

WTP Fall Workshop and Awardee Meeting

Meeting Registration

PEPH Webinar: Ethics and Citizen Science

The NIEHS Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) is hosting a webinar to discuss opportunities in study design, data collection, and community engagement in the field of citizen science. The webinar will address the different ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) one should consider for community-based participatory research. Presenters include Kelly Edwards, Ph.D., from the University of Washington and Lisa Rasmussen, Ph.D., from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The webinar will take place on October 5, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Information and Registration (required)

Registration Now Open: National Conference on Worker Safety and Health

The National Conference on Worker Safety and Health is scheduled for December 5-7, 2017 at the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, Maryland (outside Baltimore). Sponsored by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH), the conference provides a unique opportunity to reach a targeted audience in an intimate setting that offers exhibitors and sponsors one-on-one contact with attendees. Check the link below for a conference overview and details about registration, exhibits, and sponsorship.

COSH Conference Details

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

“A True Game Changer”: Toxic Wastes and Race 30 Years Later- An Interview with Charles Lee

Thirty years ago, Charles Lee was principal author of the landmark report "Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States." This frequently cited work pioneered a new field of study as it demonstrated the pervasive reality of environmental racism across the country by documenting the disproportionate presence of toxic waste near communities of color. To mark the 30th anniversary of the report, Lee reflects on the impact and significance of the report in an interview.

United Church of Christ [Author: Brooks Berndt]

AJPH Publishes Supplemental Issue on The Evolution of Public Health Emergency Management

The American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) published a supplemental issue of 17 original articles covering public health preparedness capabilities, including: biosurveillance, incident management, community resilience, information management, countermeasures and mitigation, and surge management. It assembles a collection from academia, public health departments, federal agencies, and public and private partnerships with first responders. The issue was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

AJPH [Authors: Tanya T. LeBlanc, Christine Kosmos, and Rachel N. Avchen]

Hurricane Irma’s Chemical Fallout Could be Worse Than Harvey’s

Before flames and smoke leaped into the sky over the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, Jolyn Masters was hunkered down at home on a Hurricane Harvey-flooded street a mile away. Then came a knock. A National Guard evacuation boat was waiting because of what was expected at Arkema. For the next three days, Masters called a company hot line for information about the nine trailers containing volatile chemicals on Arkema’s property. What happened in Crosby could happen in Florida, with more disastrous results.

Bloomberg [Authors: Jack Kaskey, Ryan Collins, and Bryan Gruley]

Hurricane Irma Causes Catastrophic Damages in the Caribbean

After Hurricane Irma stormed through the Caribbean, the United States government declared Culebra and Vieques, Puerto Rico island municipalities, as disaster zones. Thirty homes were destroyed by Irma and forty were severely damaged. Residents interviewed after the hurricane describe their devastating experiences and how they lost everything.

El Nuevo Día [Author: Benjamin Torres Gotay]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

NIOSH Releases New Software for Emergency Responder Health

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is offering a new software platform called Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance (ERHMS) Info Manager. The software tracks and monitors emergency response and recovery worker activities during all phases of the response. It collects, analyzes, and reports on health data decreasing the time required to identify exposures, signs, and symptoms of illness during an emergency response while ensuring the health and safety of emergency responders.


ERHMS Info Manager

WTP Disaster Worker Resiliency Training Materials

To address unmet mental health and resilience needs identified following multiple disasters, the NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP), with support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), launched the Gulf Responder Resilience Training Project (GRRTP) in 2012 to develop behavioral health training for disaster-impacted communities. This page contains training materials and other resources developed under the GRRTP, including a training presentation, participant manual, instructor manual, and podcast.

Disaster Worker Resiliency Training Materials

OSHA Worker Safety and Health Resources for Hurricane and Flood Cleanup and Recovery

In efforts to protect all workers involved in Hurricane Harvey and Irma cleanup and recovery operations, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has consolidated the key resources related to worker safety and health hazards and protective measures into a comprehensive resource list. This page allows employers, workers, and stakeholders in affected areas to find information on hurricane and flood cleanup and recovery specifically by hazards or topic.

Worker Safety Resources for Hurricane and Flood Cleanup and Recovery

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

COSH Resources to Help Workers Prepare for Safe Hurricane Cleanup

As communities in Texas and Louisiana begin recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, the Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) Network is acting to ensure that workers are protected during cleanup efforts. We know from experience after other disasters – 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Rita – that recovery workers will be exposed to mold, sewage, toxic ash, chemical debris and other hazards. The COSH network offers a number of resources to help day laborers, construction workers, utility workers and other prepare.

COSH Resources

Disaster Preparedness Mobile App

The NIEHS/CPWR Disaster Preparedness mobile app allows workers exposed to hazards on disaster sites to access a full suite of awareness-level training resources with a simple tap of the screen. From within the app, users can select and download training materials on a variety of disaster types and related topics. Once downloaded, the materials can be accessed anytime, anywhere—no Internet connection required. Training topics include: Avian Influenza, Chemical Incidents, Debris Removal, Dirty Bombs, Earthquakes, Floods, H1N1, Hurricanes, Mold Cleanup and Treatment, Oil Spills, and Wildfires. Some training materials are available in more than one language.

Disaster Preparedness Mobile App (Android)

Job OpeningsBack to Top

University of California Los Angeles Seeks Environmental Health and Safety Specialist

The Labor Occupational Safety Health Program (LOSH) at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), is seeking an Occupational/Environmental Health and Safety Specialist to provide technical advice and assistance to LOSH staff, consultants, specialists, and members of the Western Region Training Consortium. Tasks involve conducting needs assessments; developing new training activities; reviewing and updating curricula and training activities; assuring the technical accuracy of educational materials and classes; teaching; and advising on the technical and regulatory aspects of diverse topics. Applications will be accepted until September 18, 2017.

Job Description

CPWR Seeks to Fill Medical Director Position and Other Openings

CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training has several current job openings, including positions for medical director, research scientist, training specialist, and communications/ health specialist. Please visit the page below for specific job descriptions. A resume and cover letter addressed to CPWR’s Executive Director (Chris Cain) should be emailed to The cover letter should describe experiences relevant to the job description and any previous construction-related training experience. CPWR is headquartered in Silver Spring, MD.

Job Description

CPWR Seeks Industrial Hygiene/ Public Health Intern

CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training is seeking a highly-motivated graduate student for an Industrial Hygiene/ Public Health internship/Co-Op opportunity. The successful candidate will work with our Construction Solutions team and will help them develop an occupational exposure and control database. Responsibilities include: 1) assisting with organizing occupational exposure data, 2) assisting with drafting step-by-step functional requirements for website development, and 3) gathering exposure data from published sources, such as peer-reviewed articles and government reports. To apply, please send your resume and cover letter to:

Job Description

Make the Road Seeks Bilingual OSH Trainer

Make the Road New York’s (MRNY) Workers’ Health and Safety Program seeks a highly motivated, organized, dedicated full-time, Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Trainer with a great sense of responsibility and desire to contribute her/his best to support the organization’s occupational health and safety program and organizing work. S/he will be responsible for conducting training, developing curriculum and trainings material, database and admin work, among other tasks related to the Workers Health and Safety programming. Please send a resume and cover letter to Applications will be accepted until September 20, 2017 or until the position is filled.

Job Description

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