Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: April 24, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, April 24, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

April 24, 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

A Decade After the BP Oil Spill: Sick Fish, Gulf Pollution, and Human Health Problems

The BP oil spill continues polluting the gulf even today, according to recently released findings by scientists from the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Sciences. Meanwhile the disaster’s effects on human health have lingered as well, said Dale Sandler of the National Institutes of Health, who for the past decade has been heading up a study of the effects on 33,000 people who worked to clean up BP’s oil.

Florida Phoenix [Author: Craig Pittman]

Nuclear Cleanup Sites Can Endure Prolonged Use of Skeleton Crews, Sources Say

Federal and industry sources said this week they don’t foresee major environmental or public safety concerns emerging if the current level of reduced staffing at U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear cleanup sites due to COVID-19 lingers for months. Nearly all of the 16 remediation sites overseen by DOE’s Office of Environmental Management have temporarily reduced their workforce inside the fence to anywhere from 10% to 25% of normal levels.

Exchange Monitor [Author: Wayne Barber]

‘I’ve Already Got Infected Lungs’: For Sick Coal Miners COVID-19 Is a Death Sentence

Scarring of the lungs caused by years of coal dust inhalation, more formally known as coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, leaves miners at high risk of developing serious complications from coronavirus. Now the mining industry is trying to cut its payments to the fund that supports those affected.

The Guardian [Author: Michael Sainato]

Navajo Nation Has a Higher Coronavirus Testing Rate than Utah and Most States

Since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed on the Navajo Nation in mid-March, the near-daily updates released by the tribal government have been alarming. The Navajo Epidemiology Center announced 1,127 confirmed cases of the disease and 44 deaths as of April 18, and Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez has warned the peak may still be weeks away.

The Salt Lake Tribune [Author: Zak Podmore]

In the Pandemic, the Threat of Natural Disasters Still Looms. The Thought of Facing Both at Once Worries Some Who’d Be in Charge

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has already been tasked with leading the government's sprawling response to the coronavirus and helping to fill the needs of hospitals fighting to secure vital medical supplies in a chaotic global marketplace. The agency is still prepared to provide relief if disaster strikes, with only about 3,000 of its 20,550 employees now supporting the coronavirus response, according to a FEMA advisory.

CNN [Authors: Drew Kann, Leyla Santiago, and Priscilla Alvarez]

Congo Records Five New Ebola Cases, Shelves Declaration of End to Epidemic

Five new Ebola infections have been recorded in eastern Congo since last week in a new flare-up just as the government was about to declare an end to the deadly epidemic, the World Health Organization said on April 17. Small outbreaks or one-off transmissions are common towards the end of an epidemic. Healthworkers are often able to prevent the virus spreading out of control by quarantining and vaccinating contacts of new cases.

The New York Times

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Workers' Memorial Day Virtual March

A virtual Workers' Memorial Day march will be on Sunday, April 26, at 1:00 p.m. ET to honor workers who have fallen ill or died from COVID-19. This is a time to thank and honor essential workers' who put their health and lives on the line every day when they leave the safety of their homes to go to work. From nurses and emergency responders to transit workers, grocery store clerks, warehouse workers and more.

Registration Form

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.


Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board Sunshine Act Meeting

The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) will convene a public meeting on Wednesday, April 29 at 11:00 a.m. ET. The Board will discuss open investigations, the status of audits from the Office of the Inspector General, and financial and organizational updates. Any member of the public may listen to the meeting in its entirety.

Meeting Details

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 held April 29 at 3:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Details

PPE Use During COVID-19

The U.S. Department of Energy is hosting a webinar on April 30 at 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET. The webinar will cover the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and a general discussion during COVID-19 operations with speakers Dan Field and Jim Dillard of DOE.

Meeting Link

U.S. Department of Labor to Hold Meeting to Solicit Public Input on OSHA Whistleblower Program

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will hold a teleconference meeting May 12, in Washington, D.C., to solicit public comments and suggestions on key issues facing OSHA’s whistleblower protection program. The meeting will be held from 1:00-3:00 p.m. ET.


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

Worker Safety Podcast Interview with Chip Hughes of NIEHS

The Accidental Safety Pro Podcast, hosted by Jill James, Vivid Learning System's Chief Safety Officer, interviewed NIEHS Worker Training Program Director Chip Hughes in its most recent episode. Hughes runs an innovative program securing cooperative agreements for rapid deployment of new safety and health training programs for workers involved in hazardous substance response.

The Accidental Safety Pro Podcast

AFL-CIO Workers Memorial Day Toolkit and Resources

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) released two new resources to help workers, unions and others prepare for commemorating Workers Memorial Day (WMD) on April 28. The Workers Memorial Day toolkit includes talking points, information on WMD events and actions, and more.

AFL-CIO Toolkit

Environmental Protection: A Half Century of Progress

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Alumni Association has prepared a series of reports, Protecting the Environment: A Half Century of Progress. The goal of these reports is to inform high school and college students about the major environmental problems and issues encountered in the U.S. in the 1960s, how they were addressed, and the importance of continued effort to overcome remaining challenges and address newly and emerging problems.

EPA Alumni Association

Tracking and Trafficking: Monitoring the Movement of Nuclear Material

The latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency notes that there were six incidents related to the trafficking or malicious use of nuclear materials in 2019. JP Casey considers how this figure relates to data from previous years, and what the agency’s role is in ensuring safety in the nuclear sector.

Power Technology

A Day in the Life of a Biohazard Cleaner, Who Scrubs Sites Contaminated With the Coronavirus

Cory Chalmers is the CEO of Steri-Clean, a professional cleaning service with locations in more than 30 states across the U.S. His team specializes in biohazard cleaning for sites contaminated with infectious diseases. For the past month, they've dedicated themselves almost exclusively to scrubbing down places contaminated by the new coronavirus. That includes cruise ships, offices, fast food restaurants, and coffee shops.

Business Insider [Author: Aria Bendix]

COVID-19 Took 106,000 Clean Energy Jobs Last Month. These Three Sectors Were Impacted Most

Just last month alone, the clean energy sector shed a record number of jobs. That number is 106,000 – and to put it into perspective, that loss is equivalent to about a year’s worth of gains. But job loss during times of economic bust isn’t homogenous. A study done by BW Research Partnership for advocacy group E2 verifies that this one is no different. Specifically, just three sectors shed over 98,000 jobs, or 92.6% of the total job loss.

Forbes [Author: Steven Li]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

Developing a Workplace Supported Recovery Program: A Strategy for Assisting Workers and Employers With the Nation's Opioid and Substance Use Disorder Epidemics; Request for Information; Extension of Comment Period

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opened a docket to obtain public input on a NIOSH plan to develop resources and conduct research on the topic of workplace supported recovery.

Federal Register

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

TNEC Offers Free Trainings on COVID-19 Worker Safety

The New England Consortium (TNEC) is offering free trainings on how to keep essential workers safe. The workshops cover the basics of COVID-19 and how it’s transmitted; how to assess risks for exposure and infection; different ways of controlling the work environment to minimize those risks; and updated Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidance that applies specifically to COVID-19.

University of Massachusetts Lowell

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.


Job OpeningsBack to Top

DOL Seeks Workforce Analyst

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is hiring a Workforce Analyst in the Employment and Training Administration, Office of Workforce Investment (OWI). OWI is responsible for providing national leadership, oversight, policy guidance, and technical assistance to the workforce system authorized under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The work includes providing technical assistance to grantees. The deadline to apply is May 1.

USA Jobs

We Want Your FeedbackBack to Top

We Want Your Feedback

What kinds of stories or other content would make this newsletter especially valuable to you?

Send your ideas for this newsletter to:

To go back and subscribe to the newsletter, click here

Back issues of our Newsbrief are available at our archives page

to Top