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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: April 10, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, April 10, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

April 10, 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.

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

eRA Moving to the Cloud April 17 to April 20

The electronic Research Administration (eRA) is planning to migrate its modules and data to the cloud April 17-20. As a result, during this cloud migration, from 8:00 a.m. ET on Friday, April 17 to 8:00 p.m. ET on Monday, April 20, all eRA modules (eRA Commons, ASSIST, IAR, iEdison, etc.) and all informational websites (, etc.) will be unavailable. Any affected due dates will be covered under National Institutes of Health’s late application policy due to COVID-19, which allows all applications submitted late for due dates between March 9 and May 1 to be accepted through May 1.


New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy May 2020 Issue Available

New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy released its May 2020 issue. The journal stands at the intersection of health, work, and the environment. It investigates problems of occupational and environmental health with the people at risk – the workers and the community – uppermost in mind.

New Solutions May 2020 Issue

Recommendations for a Metropolitan COVID-19 Response

The Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health Expert Insights developed a strategy document that aims to slow transmission of the novel coronavirus and interrupt its spread. In metropolitan areas where cases are increasing, this strategy should delay and reduce the peak number of cases. In metropolitan areas where case numbers may be stable or declining, this strategy should accelerate the decline, creating more opportunities for decisions to relax social distancing policies.

Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Cleanup of U.S. Nuclear Waste Takes Back Seat As Virus Spreads

The U.S. government's efforts to clean up Cold War-era waste from nuclear research and bomb making at federal sites around the country has lumbered along for decades, often at a pace that watchdogs and other critics say threatens public health and the environment. Now, fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic is resulting in more challenges as the nation's only underground repository for nuclear waste finished ramping down operations April 1 to keep workers safe.

Associated Press [Author: Susan Montoya Bryan]

NRC Proposes Allowing Nuclear Waste at Dumps, Recycling Sites

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) may change its rules to allow the nuclear industry to dump some of its waste in landfills. Opponents say the change poses a public health risk and would allow waste to go unmonitored. The proposal would enable the NRC to reinterpret the meaning of low-level radioactive waste so that it could be accepted at dumps and hazardous waste sites, rather than regulated storage facilities.

Public News Service

FEMA Braces for a Multi-Front War As Hurricane Season Looms

Federal emergency managers are bracing themselves for the herculean task of handling multiple natural disasters while the coronavirus pandemic taxes their resources. According to current and former Department of Homeland Security officials, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is considering setting up a second National Response Coordination Center to handle disasters unrelated to the global outbreak.

Politico [Authors: Betsy Woodruff Swan and Daniel Lippman]

Healthcare Waste: What to Do With It?

In an interview with Keith Alverson, Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) International Environmental Technology Centre in Osaka, Japan, Alverson talks about the Centre’s recent Compendium of Technologies for Treatment and Destruction of Healthcare Waste, a scientific and practical publication covering all aspects of medical waste – a topic that is highly relevant to the current novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.


For Half of Americans, the Coronavirus is Harming their Mental Health

A tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, conducted March 25 to 30, found that 45% of adults say the pandemic has affected their mental health, and 19% say it has had a “major impact.” The rates are slightly higher among women, Hispanic adults and black adults, the survey found. A nationwide, psychological concern is not comforting at all, but it might be calming to know that if you’re scared, anxious, depressed, struggling to sleep, or just on edge, you are not alone.

Occupational Health and Safety

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

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.

Call for Papers

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.

Federal Register

CPWR Fall Prevention and Protection in the Roofing Industry Webinar

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) is leading a webinar on fall prevention. Falls are the leading cause of death in construction, but roofers are at an even greater risk of falling than those in other trades. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration-National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health-CPWR National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls and the National Roofing Contractors Association are working to improve these numbers by increasing employer and worker awareness. The webinar will be held April 16 at 1:00 p.m. ET.


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.

Webinar Registration

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, 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 may not conduct, or sponsor and a person 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.

Federal Register

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.


On The Web This WeekBack to Top

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 novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).


How an Energy Jobs Coalition Can Help the U.S. Economy Bounce Back (Opinion)

The energy sector – in the early stages of a low-carbon transition – has seen natural gas, renewables, storage and efficiency play a greatly expanded role over the last decade and is a powerful job creator. The recently released 2020 U.S. Energy and Employment Report underscores this connection: while the energy and auto sectors make up 5.4% of the American workforce, they created 10.7% of all new jobs since 2015. Translation: 915,000 new jobs, over 40% of them in energy efficiency alone.

The Hill [Author: Ernest Moniz]

Fire Inspections Can Foster a Workplace Culture of Prevention

A key aspect of fire prevention for buildings are fire codes. In the U.S., fire codes are developed primarily by two organizations: The International Code Council (ICC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The NFPA’s National Fire Codes are developed and backed by technical committees staffed by more than 6,000 volunteers, and the codes are adopted and enforced worldwide.

Occupational Health and Safety [Author: Thomas Maloney]

The Psychology of Safety: It Is a State of Mind

The correlation between health and wellness and workplace safety continues to grow stronger. Safety is no longer just about avoiding injury in the workplace. It’s about ensuring the physical, emotional and mental wellbeing of employees, in and out of the workplace, so they are healthy, alert and engaged while at work. This, in turn, contributes to the prevention of mistakes that can lead to accidents and injury.

Occupational Health and Safety [Author: Donna Chrobak]

Frequent Cleaning to Fight COVID-19 Could Bring U.S. HazCom Requirements

Companies that enhance cleaning efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus Covid-19 could find themselves subject to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), experts have warned. Facilities not usually subject to HCS requirements may have to provide safety data sheets.

Chemical Watch

TEPCO Simulates Release of Fukushima Wastewater

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has made public a simulation showing the flow of radioactive wastewater released into the ocean from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. TEPCO says winds and tides will spread the wastewater in an elongated shape along the coastline.

HK News

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

EPA Seeks Nominations for Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking nominations of candidates for the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC). Nominations are due no later than April 20. The SACC is a federal advisory committee that provides independent advice and expert consultation, at the request of the EPA Administrator, with respect to the scientific and technical aspects of issues relating to implementation of TSCA.


CDC’s Engagement with Community and Faith-Based Organizations to Improve Response of Vulnerable Groups

In a recent publication in the American Journal of Public Health, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) colleagues described the significance of CDC engagement with communities and faith-based organizations to improve response time in public health emergencies. The authors recall in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina exposed troubling gaps in areas with inadequate resources, it highlighted the ability of community and faith-based organizations to respond quickly to the needs of vulnerable communities.


Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

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.


NIEHS Spring 2020 Meeting

COVID-19 Workers Training Tool 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.


Job OpeningsBack to Top

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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