April 21, 2023
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.
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Applications Due Soon - Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Promoting Health, Safety, and Recovery Training following Declared Disasters in 2022 (Admin Supp Clinical Trial Not Allowed), FAQs Available
This initiative would support partnerships between WTP grantees, worker populations, local community organizations, and other federal partners with the goal of reducing morbidity and mortality related to responding to and recovering from activities associated with major disasters. Applications are due by April 25, 2023.
National Work Zone Safety Week
National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) is an annual spring campaign held at the start of construction season to encourage safe driving through highway work zones. The key message is for drivers to use extra caution in work zones. NWZAW will be held April 17-21 and is hosted by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).
Tribal Colleges Tap U.S. Energy Funds to Build ‘Living Labs’
Tribal colleges and universities around the U.S. will be able to tap nearly $15 million in grant funding to boost clean energy development as part of the federal government's latest investment in creating more reliable and sustainable electricity generation for Native American communities. The Blackfeet Community College in Montana already has found success with construction of a smart building that houses math and science classes and the installation of solar panels on campus buildings.
The Economic Impact of the Opioid Epidemic
There is strong evidence that the opioid epidemic has reduced labor force participation in the United States. While use of prescription opioids aimed at pain management for some individuals may enhance their ability to work, the widespread misuse of opioids has resulted in an epidemic of opioid use disorders (OUD), labor supply disruptions, and unprecedented deaths. Opioid misuse can compromise labor supply in a variety of ways, including absenteeism, increased workplace accidents, and withdrawal from the labor force due to disability, incarceration, or death.
Brookings [Authors: Julia Paris, Caitlin Rowley, and Richard G. Frank]
Railroad Safety Agency Calls for Caution on Train Car Placement
The Federal Railroad Administration calls on all railroads to exercise due diligence and be proactive about potential safety risks related to operating train builds “with varying configurations, load and empty placement, distributed power arrangements, and other factors.” The agency also said proper training of operating employees on technologies and handling of complex trains is necessary to ensure safe operation and minimize human error.
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Laying the Foundation for New and Advanced Nuclear Reactors in the United States: Report Release Webinar
Next-generation nuclear reactors have the potential to be smaller, safer, less expensive to build, and better integrated with the modern grid. However, the technical, economic, and regulatory outlook for these technologies remains uncertain. During the webinar, members of the committee will discuss how the United States could support the successful commercialization of advanced nuclear reactors through near-term policies and practice. The webinar will be held on April 27, 2023, 2:00 p.m. EDT.
Workers’ Memorial Day Events
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created an interactive map with upcoming events honoring Workers’ Memorial Day. Events can be added to the map by submitting a request through the event form. Additionally, photos can be submitted to the memorial page of loved one’s lost to work-related incidents. Workers’ Memorial Day is observed on April 28 annually. Events listed on the OSHA map vary by location and time.
Emergency Response Research Webinar Series
EPA's Office of Research and Development hosts this webinar series to share current research activities and results. This webinar series covers the latest information on research supporting EPA's response to chemical, biological, and radiological incidents, as well as natural disasters. This forum allows EPA to communicate directly with partners and stakeholders to foster collaboration and dissemination of information. The next webinar will be held on May 24, 2023.
2023 FOA - SBIR E-Learning for HAZMAT and Emergency Response (R43/R44 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant applications from small business concerns (SBCs) that propose to further the development of technology-enhanced training products for the health and safety training of hazardous materials (HAZMAT) workers. Technology-enhanced training products as defined by the Worker Training Program include, but are not limited to, supporting training through various venues such as online training, mobile device training, virtual reality, and serious gaming. Applications are due July 14, 2023.
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10 Years After West Explosion, Safety Questions Remain
A decade after the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, the community has largely rebuilt — but chemical safety advocates worry that regulators haven't done enough to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring.
Axios Dallas [Author: Michael Mooney]
New Jersey Adopts Long-Awaited ‘Environmental Justice’ Rules
The rules require industries seeking permits to avoid and mitigate risks in areas the state classifies as environmentally overburdened communities. New developments must undergo an environmental impact analysis and regulators essentially have the power to block new permits in overburdened communities.
WHYY News [Author: Tennyson Donyéa]
Watch: Why So Many Amazon Workers Are Getting Hurt
For years, Amazon warehouse workers have been speaking up about unsafe conditions and the risk of injury they say they face while churning out millions of packages every day. Now their claims are being backed up by federal investigators who cited Amazon for “failing to keep workers safe” and new 2022 facility-level injury data that shows Amazon workers get injured at a rate of 6.9 for every 100 workers.
|Federal Agency Update
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U.S. Department of Labor Announces Launch of 'Beat the Heat' Contest
Do you have an idea for helping workers stay safe in the heat? The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the launch of a nationwide competition for stakeholders in all industries to share their best tools and other resources for informing workers about the dangers of heat exposure in indoor and outdoor workplaces. OSHA's "Beat the Heat" contest seeks to educate workers and employers about workplace heat hazards, raise industry and general public awareness of the dangers excessive heat presents to workers, and motivate employers and workers to act to prevent heat illness.
US Department of Labor, WeCount! Align to Educate Vulnerable Agricultural, Construction, Domestic Workers in South Florida on Workplace Safety, Health
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and WeCount! — a worker advocacy group for low-wage immigrant workers and families — have signed an alliance to promote workplace safety health and education for agricultural, construction, and domestic workers in South Florida. The alliance will focus on providing information, guidance, and access to training resources to help them protect vulnerable workers by reducing and preventing exposure to hazards and educating workers about their rights.
U.S. Department of Labor Announces $5M Funding Opportunity to Attract, Retain Women in Registered Apprenticeships, Nontraditional Occupations
To continue its support of the Biden-Harris administration’s historic infrastructure, manufacturing and clean energy investments, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the availability of $5 million to fund up to 14 grants to attract and support women in gaining access to Registered Apprenticeship programs in industries where they are underrepresented such as construction, manufacturing, and cybersecurity.
Department of Labor Announces $44M in Grants Available for Job Training, Services in Rural Communities
To help workers access new, high-quality career opportunities in rural communities, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the availability of $44.2 million in funding in Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) initiative demonstration grants. The WORC initiative seeks to address persistent economic distress and create pathways to high-quality careers for people living or working in the Appalachian, Lower Mississippi Delta and Northern Border regions, helping them to remain and thrive in these communities.
|Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
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Top Tips for Utilizing OSHA Accident and Injury Data
When it comes to workplace accidents and injuries, employers are often unaware of the benefits of data analytics and the readily available public data sets that can help employers assess their risks, reduce, or eliminate workplace injuries, and avoid significant penalties. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Injury Tracking Application (ITA) is not only a tool for submitting information, but it can also be used to view data submitted by peer organizations across an industry, making the ITA a valuable resource for data analytics.
JD Supra [Author: Michael Ryan]
Linda McCauley, Ph.D., R.N. – Integrating Nursing and Environmental Research to Promote Community Health
While working as a scientist in occupational and environmental toxicology at Oregon Health and Science University, McCauley won NIEHS funding to study pesticide exposure among Latino agricultural families in Oregon. Spanning 1996 to 2004, the community-based project relied on regular feedback from farmworker community representatives. Among her findings, she learned that worker protective equipment was essentially nonexistent. McCauley is a Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) grantee.
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Department of Energy Seeks an Industrial Hygienist
This position is part of the Office of Science - Oak Ridge National Laboratory Site Office, Department of Energy. As an Industrial Hygienist, you will be providing technical advice to the contracting officer, and management in monitoring and evaluating worker health and safety programs in identifying safety and health issues in diagnosing the root causes, and recommending and solving problems.
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