April 26, 2019
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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- Top Stories
- Calendar Features
- On The Web This Week
- Federal Agency Update
- Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
- Job Openings
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|Top Stories||Back to Top|
E.P.A. Moves to ‘Close the Door’ on Asbestos
The Trump administration on Wednesday issued a regulation it said would impose new restrictions on asbestos, a deadly substance once commonly found in insulation materials. The final Environmental Protection Agency rule goes somewhat further than the initial version the agency had proposed, but public health advocates said it still fell short of the protections needed.
The New York Times [Author: Lisa Friedman]
Water in Paradise, Site of Worst California Fire, Contaminated With Cancer Chemical
The drinking water in Paradise, where 85 people died in the worst wildfire in state history, is contaminated with the cancer-causing chemical benzene, water officials said. It is believed that the November firestorm created a “toxic cocktail” of gases in burning homes that got sucked into the water pipes as residents and firefighters drew water heavily, causing a vacuum in the system that sucked in the toxic fumes.
Stress, Overtime, Disease, Contribute to 2.8 million Workers’ Deaths per Year, Reports UN Labour Agency
In a new report underlining the United Nations (UN) International Labour Organization’s (ILO) message that no paid work should threaten your wellbeing, your safety or your life, the agency identifies several new or existing occupational risks of growing concern, that affect women more than men. These include modern working practices overall, world population growth, increased digital connectivity, and climate change, which are believed to account for losses of almost four percent of the global economy.
As 71 Additional Measles Cases Confirmed, FDA Reminds Public Vaccine is Safe
As the number of measles cases spirals upward, spread mostly by those who refuse to vaccinate, the FDA took the unusual step Monday of reminding the public that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is safe and effective. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there has been a total of 626 cases in 22 states since Jan. 1, the nation's second-highest total since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.
USA Today [Author: Ken Alltucker]
American Workplaces May Be Getting More Dangerous
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suffers from a severe staffing shortage, which undermines its ability to carry out safety inspections. A new report from the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health says that OSHA now has only 875 health and safety inspectors to cover the 9 million workplaces in its jurisdiction.
NY Magazine [Author: Sarah Jones]
|Calendar Features||Back to Top|
Spring WTP Awardee Meeting & Workshop – Agendas Available
Registration is now open for the WTP Spring Awardee Meeting and Steelworkers Charitable and Educational Organization (USW SCEO)/WTP Workshop being held May 14-16, 2019, at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The workshop will explore training interventions to address workplace stress, fatigue, and addiction. The awardee meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. The workshop will take place on Wednesday, May 15 (9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) and Thursday, May 16 (9:00 a.m. – noon).
National Environmental Justice Public Meeting with Teleconference Option
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) will convene a public meeting with a teleconference option beginning on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, starting at 6:00 p.m., ET. The NEJAC meeting will continue May 1-2, 2019, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., ET. The meeting will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, Maryland.
Preventing Injuries and Opioid Use Disorder Among Construction Workers
Construction workers face numerous hazards on the job, hazards such as high noise levels, musculoskeletal injuries, mobile equipment, and falls. Our webinar will discuss the percentages of contractors using best practices to prevent these injuries. The webinar will describe the extent of the problem in construction and focus on efforts to prevent injuries that lead to prescriptions of painkillers and also a program focused on reducing manual material handling. The webinar will be held on May 2, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
6th Annual National Fall Prevention Safety Stand-Down
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is joining with occupational safety organizations for the 6th annual National Fall Prevention Safety Stand-Down, May 6-10, 2019. The week-long event will focus attention on preventing falls in construction, the leading cause of fatalities in the industry. To help guide their efforts, the agency’s fall prevention webpage provides information on how to conduct a successful event, and educational resources in English and Spanish.
Securing a Nontoxic Work Environment Webinar
The Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) and esteemed guest speakers will host a webinar on “Securing a Nontoxic Work Environment.” CPR Policy Analyst Katie Tracy will begin the webinar with an overview of the resources and strategies explored in CPR’s latest publication, “Chemical Detox for the Workplace: A Guide to Securing a Nontoxic Work Environment.” The webinar will be held on May 8, at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Webinar: Stigma, Opioid Addiction, and MAT: Evidence and Implications from a National Survey
Stigma is used to describe the negative way we think about, feel, and act toward someone who is different from us. The world of stigma needs to be brought to attention to effectively address our nation’s opioid crisis. This webinar will present the findings from RTI’s survey of U.S. adults on their knowledge and opinions about opioid addiction, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and stigma toward people addicted to prescription opioids and the providers who care for them. The webinar will be held on Thursday, May 9th at 1:00 p.m. ET.
International Oil Spill Conference (IOSC) Abstract Submission Now Open
Abstracts for the International Oil Spill Conference (IOSC), scheduled for May 11 – 14, 2020 in New Orleans, LA are now open. IOSC 2020 brings together the broadest range of global oil spill response professionals to discuss the latest research, technology, and resources impacting our community today. Paper and poster presentations are the backbone of the IOSC’s technical program, contributing to the vast canon of oil pollution knowledge shared between government, industry, and academia.
OSHA Public Whistleblower Stakeholder Meeting
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is holding a public meeting to solicit comments and suggestions from stakeholders on issues facing the agency in the administration of the whistleblower protection provisions under Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The public meeting will be held on May 14, 2019, from 1:00-4:00 p.m., ET. Persons interested in attending the meeting must register by April 30, 2019.
|On The Web This Week||Back to Top|
Estimating Risk to Responders Exposed to Avian Influenza A H5 and H7 Viruses in Poultry, US, 2014-2017
In late 2014 and early 2015, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N2), A(H5N1), and A(H5N8) viruses were detected in poultry and wild birds in the United States and Canada. In the United States, outbreaks of avian influenza H5 and H7 virus infections in poultry have raised concern about the risk for infections in humans. Authors in this study reviewed data collected during 2014–2017 and found no human infections among 4,555 exposed responders who were wearing protection.
CDC Authors: Sonja J. Olsen, Jane A. Rooney, Lenee Blanton, Melissa A. Rolfes, Deborah I. Nelson, Thomas M. Gomez, Steven A. Karli, Susan C. Trock and Alicia M. Fry]
Report: More Than 80% of Waste From Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Drilling Stays in the State
More than 80% of all waste from Pennsylvania's oil and gas drilling operations stays inside the state, according to a new study that tracked the disposal locations of liquid and solid waste from these operations over 26 years. The study, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, looked at waste from both conventional oil and gas drilling and fracking. This is the first comprehensive assessment of Pennsylvania’s waste-disposal practices since 1991.
Environmental Health News [Author: Kristina Marusic]
Scientists Dig Into Hard Questions About The Fluorinated Pollutants Known As PFAS
Scientists are ramping up research on the possible health effects of a large group of common but little-understood chemicals used in water-resistant clothing, stain-resistant furniture, nonstick cookware and many other consumer products. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are generally referred to by their plural acronym, PFAS. PFAS are resistant to water, oil and heat, and their use has expanded rapidly since they were developed by companies in the mid-20th century.
NPR [Author: Rebecca Hersher]
Growth of Most Safety Inspection Jobs Likely to Exceed National Average, BLS Reports
Most safety inspection jobs are expected to outpace projected overall national employment growth over the next several years, a Bureau of Labor Statistics report indicates. The report states that, between 2016 and 2026, the U.S. workforce is likely to grow by 7.4%, to nearly 167.6 million workers from around 156.1 million. Occupational health and safety technicians (10.1%), construction and building inspectors (10%), health and safety engineers (8.6%), and occupational safety and health specialists (8.1%) are predicted to experience higher-than-average growth.
Michigan Health Professionals Learn to Tackle Drug Crisis, Infectious Disease Outbreaks
The state Department of Health and Human Services put together a Michigan Harm Reduction Summit to ensure public health professionals use the best practices to protect Michigan residents. The event invited more than 300 public health, safety and substance-abuse professionals and educators to learn about a number of new tools to handle our nation's drug crisis.
|Federal Agency Update||Back to Top|
EPA Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces the availability of funds and solicits proposals from eligible entities, including nonprofit organizations, to deliver Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) programs that recruit, train, and place local, unemployed and under-employed residents with the skills needed to secure full-time employment in the environmental field. EWDJT program is to further environmental justice by ensuring that residents living in communities historically affected by economic disinvestment, health disparities, and environmental contamination, including low-income, minority, and tribal communities, have an opportunity to reap the benefits of revitalization and environmental cleanup. The grant application deadline is June 10, 2019.
CSB Calls on EPA to Update HF Study in Wake of the 2017 Husky Refinery Fire
The US Chemical Safety Board released a letter calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to review its existing Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) study to determine the effectiveness of existing regulations as well as the viability of utilizing inherently safer alkylation technologies in petroleum refineries.
Preventing Falls in Construction: NIOSH Issues Fact Sheet
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published a new fact sheet intended to help construction employers and workers prevent falls from roofs, ladders and scaffolds. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls are the leading cause of death among construction workers, who average more than 310 fatal falls and 10,350 serious fall-related injuries a year. Additionally, the majority of fatal falls from scaffolds, roofs and ladders occur in construction.
NIH Funds Study in Four States to Reduce Opioid Related Deaths by 40% Over Three Years
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), on April 18, selected four research sites for the HEALing Communities Study in four states hard hit by the opioid crisis. This ambitious study aims to reduce overdose deaths by 40 percent over three years in selected communities by testing a set of proven prevention and treatment interventions. More than $350 million will support the multi-year study under a cooperative agreement supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the NIH.
|Awardee Highlights/Online Learning||Back to Top|
Fighting for All Workers on Workers’ Memorial Day
Each year on April 28th, we observe Workers’ Memorial Day in both the U.S. and Canada as a way to remember all the workers who have been killed or injured on the job. The day serves as a reminder of why organizations like LIUNA and the LHSFNA, as well as the entire labor movement, continue to fight for strong safety and health protections for workers.
Fall Protection: When Your Job Takes You to the Edge
In worksites of every variety, edges are much more common than people realize, and they may pose a greater risk than you'd expect. Whether you're laying roofing, traversing a beam, or simply working near the unprotected sides of an upper floor, falls over an edge are more hazardous than other falls. Join this webinar to discuss the issues, applications, and solutions workers need to eliminate these dangerous hazards. The webinar will be held on May 23, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
|Job Openings||Back to Top|
NRDC Seeks a Climate Change and Worker Health Science Fellow
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is seeking a Climate Change and Worker Health Science Fellow who can provide subject matter expertise and conduct multi-disciplinary research and analysis on the occupational health effects of climate change. As part of the Federal Policy team of NRDC’s Climate and Clean Energy Program, the Fellow also will develop broadly accessible communication materials about occupational health and climate change.
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