April 3, 2020
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.
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- On The Web This Week
- Federal Agency Update
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Notice of Special Interest NIEHS Worker Training Program Coronavirus and Infectious Disease Response Training
The purpose of this supplement is to provide support for the conduct of worker-based training to prevent and reduce exposure of hospital employees, emergency first responders, and other workers who are at risk of exposure to Coronavirus through their work duties. Applications are due April 24.
Spring 2020 NIEHS WTP Protecting Infectious Disease Responders During the COVID-19 Outbreak Webinar Recording
On March 17, the NIEHS Worker Training Program, in collaboration with the Emory Woodruff Health Sciences Center, hosted the webinar, “Protecting Infectious Disease Responders During the COVID-19 Outbreak.” The webinar featured a time-sensitive discussion on worker protection and biosafety issues. The presentations, speaker slides, along with Q&As from participants are now available on the NIEHS website.
COVID-19 Workers Training Tools Available in Spanish
The National Institutes of Health recently launched a new website with important educational resources for coronavirus workers dealing with the spread of COVID-19. The NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) has been tracking information about coronavirus as it pertains to protecting workers involved in emergency response and cleanup activities performed in the U.S. The webpage contains health and safety resources for workers who may be at risk of exposure. All resources are now available in Spanish.
Still Rebuilding After Hurricane Michael, the Florida Panhandle Responds to COVID-19
Officials in Bay County, Florida joined communities across the country in declaring a state of emergency this week as the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, spreads rapidly. Unlike most places, though, they were already in one: The county’s emergency declaration from Hurricane Michael, which tore through the Panhandle with winds over 150 miles per hour in October 2018, is still in effect.
Southerly Magazine [Author: Sophie Kasakove]
As Nuclear Waste Piles Up, Scientists Seek the Best Long-Term Storage Solutions
More than a quarter million metric tons of highly radioactive waste sits in storage near nuclear power plants and weapons production facilities worldwide, with over 90,000 metric tons in the U.S. alone. Emitting radiation that can pose serious risks to human health and the environment, the waste, much of it decades old, awaits permanent disposal in geological repositories, but none are operational.
Chemical and Engineering News [Author: Mitch Jacoby]
Chemical Accidental-Release Reporting Rule Issued
On Feb. 21, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) adopted its final regulation requiring the reporting of certain accidental releases by business. The rule’s declared purpose is to help the board more quickly determine which incidents it should investigate. The kinds of emissions covered by the new rule are defined as those coming from a stationary source into the ambient air that cause the death or the in-patient hospitalization of any person.
EHS Today [Author: David Sparkman]
BP Agrees to Draft Climate Change Shareholder Resolution
BP PLC said it has agreed to draft a shareholder resolution to be voted on next year that would enshrine its pledge to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, as investors urge major oil companies to diversify their portfolios to cleaner energy. The British energy company said the resolution would address BP’s overall greenhouse-gas emissions from its operations to the products it buys and sells and lay out how it would boost investment in clean energy.
Wall Street Journal [Author: Dieter Holger]
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New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Workplace - Risk Factors and Solutions
New Solutions seeks manuscripts on the subject of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and its occupational and environmental health policy impacts from the local to international levels. Manuscripts can be submitted immediately and for the foreseeable future. Accepted papers will be published as quickly as possible.
NACOSH Seeks a Request for Nominations
The Secretary of Labor (Secretary) invites interested individuals to submit nominations for membership on National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration established NACOSH to advise, consult with, and make recommendations to the Secretary and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on matters relating to the administration of the OSH Act. NACOSH is a continuing advisory committee of indefinite duration.
Disaster Preparation: The Safety Professional's Role in Planning for a Pandemic Webinar
Safety and health professionals face many challenges in understanding and responding to pandemics, especially COVID-19. Columbia Southern University, New Pig, Honeywell, and 3M are sponsoring a webinar to best guide employers in strategically managing the work environment to protect all employees. The webinar will be held April 16 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; General Hazardous Waste Facility Standards
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to submit the information collection request (ICR), General Hazardous Waste Facility to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. The EPA is soliciting public comments on specific aspects of the proposed information collection. An agency is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. Comments must be submitted on or before May 26.
Responding to COVID-19: A Science-Based Approach Webinars
The American Public Health Association (APHA) and the National Academies of Medicine is hosting a series of webinars to explore the state of the science surrounding the current outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S. and globally, with a focus on the emerging evidence on how to best mitigate its impact. The webinars will feature trusted experts in such fields as public health, infectious disease, risk communication, and crisis standards of care.
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ASPR TRACIE Novel Coronavirus Resources
The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) developed a resource page highlighting resources identified or developed to address current response and recovery operations to the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
California Gov. Newsom Is Trying to Recruit Thousands of New Medical Workers With a New Health Corps
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new effort dubbed the California Health Corps to get thousands of new health care workers out into the field to help support a potential flood of patients with COVID-19. On Twitter, Newsom asked retired doctors, nursing students, members of medical disaster response teams, nursing students, medical students, medical assistants, emergency medical technicians and other professionals to sign up to work in California.
CNBC [Author: Christina Farr]
Abnormally Warm Gulf of Mexico Could Intensify the Upcoming Tornado and Hurricane Seasons
Water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico are running more than three degrees above average, increasing the prospects for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes this spring and potentially stronger hurricane activity in the summer and fall. The last time Gulf of Mexico waters were similarly warm in 2017, it coincided with an above-average tornado season through the spring, and then Category 4 Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas Gulf Coast at the end of summer.
Washington Post [Author: Matthew Cappucci]
Draft Request for Joint SRS Nuclear Materials, Liquid Waste Contract Expected Soon
A draft request for proposals for a contract that would significantly rearrange work done at the Savannah River Site (SRS) should be issued in the next few weeks. Under the contract, a single team would handle responsibilities currently delegated to two: Savannah River Nuclear Solutions and Savannah River Remediation. The contract would combine portions of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions' management and operations deal with Savannah River Remediation's liquid-waste mission.
Aiken Standard [Author: Colin Demarest]
Canada’s NWMO Publishes Report on Nuclear Waste Management
Canada's Nuclear Waste Management Organisation (NWMO) expects to select a single, preferred site for a deep geological repository for used nuclear fuel by 2023, according to its latest Triennial Report from 2017 to 2019. In the report, the NWMO notes that during the reporting period, the organization reduced potential host repository sites from nine in 2017 to two in 2019. Of the 21 communities that initially requested preliminary assessments for possible sites, two - Huron-Kinloss and South Bruce in southern Ontario and Ignace in north-western Ontario - remain under consideration as potential host areas.
Wind Power Continues Its March into The Energy Mainstream
Wind energy is becoming an increasingly important part of the energy mix around the world, as costs continue to fall and technology improves. Global economic activity is on hold at the moment, but 2019 was a boom year for wind energy, with more than 60GW of capacity installed around the world. New figures from the Global Wind Energy Council’s Global Wind Energy Report show that installations were 19% higher than the year before and the second highest ever.
Forbes [Author: Mike Scott]
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EJ IWG Framework for Collaboration Report
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the 2019 Progress Report for the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice. The EPA Environmental Justice Interworking Group (EJ IWG) plays a central role in creating healthy and sustainable communities by bringing together the federal family to address critical environmental justice issues. The Framework for Collaboration seeks to advance greater federal agency collaboration to improve the quality of life and to expand economic opportunity in overburdened and under-resourced communities.
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COVID-19 Resources for Applicants and Recipients of NIH Funding
In a message from Michael Lauer, M.D., Deputy Director for Extramural Research of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), NIH is deeply concerned for the health and safety of people involved in NIH research, and about the effects on the biomedical enterprise in the areas affected by the declared public health emergency for COVID-19. This is a rapidly evolving situation, and NIH is aware that many institutions are taking a variety of “social distancing” measures, including switching to telework and cancelling or postponing classes and non-essential meetings.
Steps Construction Employers and Workers Should Take in Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) has been working closely with the North America's Building Trades Unions and our research, government, and other industry partners to respond to questions about the spread of this disease and to provide the latest information on protecting construction workers on the job. To make this information readily accessible, CPWR developed a COVID-19 resource page on, including a one-page guidance document.
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OSHA Seeks Director Position
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is hiring a director for the Directorate of Whistleblower Protection Programs (DWPP). The position will provide executive-level direction to a cadre of professionals and has responsibilities to ensure effective administration of the whistleblower provisions of the 22 whistleblower statutes under OSHA's authority. The deadline to apply is April 20.
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