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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: April 17, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, April 17, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

April 17, 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

‘Broken’ Interior Agency Struggles 10 Years After Gulf Spill

Ten years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the U.S. Department of the Interior that regulates offshore energy development is fractious, demoralized, and riddled with staff distrust toward its leadership, according to multiple accounts from current and former employees. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement was created to correct shortcomings revealed by the explosion that killed 11 men and spilled nearly 4 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

E&E News

What If California Faces a Disaster During the Pandemic?

California has evacuation plans for earthquakes, floods, mudslides and, of course, wildfires, but what if one of those disasters occurs as the state is dealing with the coronavirus outbreak when everyone is being urged to stay home? State and local officials are trying to figure that out.

AP News [Author: Don Thompson]

Polluted U.S. Areas Are Among Worst-Hit by Coronavirus – Putting People of Color Even More at Risk

The coronavirus pandemic is hitting hard in America’s most vulnerable communities already burdened by toxic industries and environmental pollution. Polluted neighborhoods in cities such as Los Angeles, Houston, Newark, and Detroit, as well as the Navajo Nation are among the country’s worst virus hotspots, a Guardian analysis found. It follows a preliminary U.S. study published last week indicating that even small exposure to pollution in the years before the virus outbreak is associated with a 15% higher risk of death from coronavirus.

The Guardian [Author: Emily Holden and Nina Lakhani]

EPA Charts Path to Suspend Hazardous Waste Cleanup Amid Coronavirus

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on April 10 announced that the cleanup of hazardous waste sites and other pollution spills may be slowed or paused during the coronavirus outbreak. The agency said it would consider on a case-by-case basis whether to delay any cleanup projects, which may be carried out by private companies or state and local governments in coordination with the EPA.

The Hill [Author: Rebecca Beitsch]

EPA News Release

Calendar FeaturesBack 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.


Understanding the Connection Between Suicide, Opioid Misuse, and Opioid Overdose Webinar

The American Public Health Association is hosting a webinar on April 22 at 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET. The webinar will describe the relationship between opioid abuse, opioid use disorder, and suicidality. It will identify resources for accessing state- and community-level data on suicidal behaviors, opioid abuse, and overdose and explore limitations in our data. The webinar will end with identify populations at increased risk for overdose and suicide death and factors that contribute to these risks.

Webinar Registration

Responding to COVID-19: A Science-Based Approach Webinar Series

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.


Make MAGIC in the Virtual Classroom Webinar

The Training Magazine Network is hosting a webinar with speaker Cynthia Clay, author of Great Webinars: Create Interactive Learning that is Captivating, Informative, and Fun (revised and updated). The webinar will explain the five secrets of masterful online training that can help you create stellar experiences for your audience. The webinar will be help April 29 at 3:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Details

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

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

American Journal of Public Health May 2020 Issue Available

The mission of American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) is to advance public health research, policy, practice and education. The May 2020 issue commemorates the 50-year anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Act by reviewing the past, assessing the present, and proposing future directions for OSHA. It also contains articles exploring the outbreak of COVID-19.

AJPH May 2020 Issue

PA Gov. Wolf: Health Secretary Signs Order Providing Worker Safety Measures to Combat COVID-19

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced that Dr. Rachel Levine under her authority as Secretary of the Department of Health to take any disease control measure appropriate to protect the public from the spread of infectious disease, signed an order directing protections for critical workers who are employed at businesses that are authorized to maintain in-person operations during the COVID-19 disaster emergency.

Pennsylvania Governor’s Office News Release

Natural Disasters Will Push the U.S. Further Into Crisis Mode

Tornadoes in Atlanta, flooding in Detroit, dire hurricane predictions for the Gulf Coast, and wildfires in the country’s interior: 2020’s extreme weather season has already begun. Agencies around the country are rushing to prepare for these potential disasters, despite already being in disaster mode.

Popular Science [Author: Kat Eschner]

The National Academies Resources Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The National Academy of Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic is focusing on this critical issue and remains wholly committed to supporting the health and well-being of individuals with substance use disorders and who experience pain. The following resources at the link below offer more information on how to support patients and the clinicians who treat and manage the care of patients with substance use disorder and/or who experience pain during public health emergencies, including the COVID-19 response.

National Academy of Medicine

Latinos’ Coronavirus Deaths at Meat Processing Plant Raise Alarms About Worker Safety

The deaths of at least three Latino employees from coronavirus at a Greeley, Colorado, meat plant are raising alarms about the safety of workers and the vulnerability of the nation's food supply. The deaths have come amid temporary closings of other meat processing plants and news of workers’ coronavirus infections at plants around the country.

NBC News [Author: Suzanne Gamboa]

Hospital Visits Declined After Sulfur Dioxide Reductions from Louisville-Area Coal Plants

A new study found a 55 percent reduction in lung-irritating pollutants and 400 fewer hospital admissions after one coal plant closed and others added scrubbers. By taking advantage of a "natural experiment" brought on by the closure of one coal-fired power plant and the addition of new pollution controls at others in the area, health researchers have documented how lowering air pollution improves the lives of asthma patients.

Inside Climate News [Author: James Bruggers]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Alert to Keep Package Delivery Workers Safe During COVID-19 Pandemic

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued an alert listing safety tips employers can follow to help protect package delivery workers from exposure to coronavirus. Safety measures employers can implement to protect employees in the package delivery industry.


EPA Releases Eighth Update to the Administrator’s Superfund Emphasis List, Continuing the Commitment to Help Accelerate Progress at Sites Across the Country

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the eighth update to the Administrator’s Emphasis List of Superfund Sites Targeted for Immediate, Intense Action. In this latest update, certain sites were removed from the list, and the Abandoned Uranium Mines contamination in the Navajo Nation was added to the list.


Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

The LHSFNA's Coronavirus and COVID-19 Resources

The Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America (LHSFNA) is monitoring all aspects of this pandemic and its potential impact on LIUNA District Councils, Local Unions, health and welfare funds, signatory contractors, members and their families. The materials and recommendations below may be updated as this situation continues to evolve.


CPWR COVID-19 and the Construction Industry Webinar

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) is hosting a webinar on the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). For construction workers, potential exposure sources include having close contact with coworkers or the public with COVID-19 or touching contaminated surfaces or items. This webinar features National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Director Dr. John Howard about the COVID-19 pandemic and more about what NIOSH and CPWR are doing to address it. The webinar will be held April 22 at 11:00 a.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

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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