August 10, 2018
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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Safe + Sound Week 2018
The second annual Safe + Sound Week will be held August 13-19, 2018. The event is a nationwide effort to raise awareness of the value of workplace safety and health programs. These programs can help employers and workers identify and manage workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness, improving a company’s financial bottom line. Throughout this week, organizations are encouraged to host events and activities that showcase the core elements of an effective safety and health program, including: management leadership, worker participation, and finding and fixing workplace hazards. To learn more and get involved, visit the Safe + Sound Week webpage.
Biggest Blaze in California History Challenges Firefighters
Firefighters struggled against rugged terrain, high winds, and an August heat wave to slow the spread of the biggest wildfire ever recorded in California, an inferno that exploded to be nearly the size of Los Angeles in just 11 days. Firefighting efforts were also initially hampered by stretched resources, said the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. When the fire started July 27, thousands of firefighters were hundreds of miles north battling a massive blaze that spread into the city of Redding, destroying more than 1,000 homes, in addition to a dozen other major blazes.
The Washington Post [Author: Paul Elias]
Firefighter’s Cancer Death Rules “In the Line of Duty”
The North Carolina Industrial Commission has ruled that the death of 34-year-old Will Willis, an engineer with the Asheville Fire Department who had “a rare subtype of translocation renal cell carcinoma” in a kidney, was incurred in the line of duty. The ruling means Willis’ family will receive full benefits offered to any other firefighter who died in the line of duty. Cancer is the leading cause of death among firefighters, the Firefighter Cancer Support Network reported, saying that 70 percent of in-the-line-of-duty deaths since 2016 were caused by cancer.
Sun News [Author: Colin Fluxman]
NIOSH Confronts the Opioid Crisis and How It Affects Workers
In a recent newsletter, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Director, John Howard, M.D., discusses the health challenges our nation faces due to the epidemic of opioid overdoses. To confront the opioid crisis, NIOSH recently released a new web page to outline its approach to understanding and responding to the epidemic. Their approach considers the “lifecycle” of opioid use, from precursors in the workplace, to use conditions, to containment and decontamination, and to recommendations targeted for protecting workers.
NIOSH eNews [Author: John Howard]
Massachusetts Health Officials Find High Rate of Opioid Overdoses for Construction Workers
The Occupational Health Surveillance Program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released a report looking at the industry and occupation of those who died of opioid overdose between 2011-2015. The construction industry stands out in the study as having both a high rate and number of opioid-related overdose deaths. The opioid-related death rate for those employed as construction and extraction workers was six times the average rate for all Massachusetts workers.
Boston Globe [Author: Felice J. Freyer]
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Disaster Health Education Symposium 2018
The Uniformed Services University National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health (NCDMPH) will be hosting the Disaster Health Education Symposium at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD. This symposium will provide a forum with a specific focus on education and training in disaster medicine and public health. The event will: 1) Highlight current and future education initiatives in disaster medicine and public health education; 2) Present a unique forum for collaboration and networking among disaster medicine and public health professionals; and 3) Explore the challenges and opportunities for the current state of disaster education. The Symposium will be held on September 12, 2018, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET.
National Academies’ Gulf Research Program Announces Grant Opportunity for Enhancing Coastal Community Resilience in the Gulf of Mexico Region
The Gulf Research Program (GRP) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine announced a new grant opportunity focused on enhancing coastal community resilience and well-being in the Gulf of Mexico region. Applications for this funding opportunity have two stages, including a required letter of intent due September 19, 2018, by 5 p.m. ET. For those who submit a letter of intent, a full proposal is then due by November 28, 2018, by 5 p.m. ET.
Registration Now Open for COSHCON18, Dec. 4-6, 2018, Baltimore, MD
The National Conference on Worker Safety and Health(#COSHCON18) will take place December 4-6, 2018 at the Maritime Conference Center (MCC), located in Linthicum Heights, Maryland. #COSHCON18 will be an exciting gathering of grassroots health and safety groups. The MCC is just outside Baltimore and minutes from the BWI airport.
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Breathing ‘A Chore’: California Wildfires Threaten the Health of Young and Old
At least 17 large fires are burning across California, destroying hundreds of thousands of acres, sending toxic pollutants into the air and contaminating water supplies. The air quality in certain areas, particularly near the massive Mendocino Complex Fire in the northern part of the state, is among the worst officials have ever seen. Children, older people, and those with respiratory illnesses such as asthma and COPD are particularly at risk of smoke-related health problems.
Weary California Firefighters Mourn a Fallen Colleague, ‘Our Brother’
The Redding Fire Department firefighters have been working 24- and 36-hour shifts straight since the Carr Fire first ripped through a city of 90,000 people in Northern California. But their grief must still come second to their duty. The Carr Fire had grown so large that it began to create its own out-of-control weather system. A “fire tornado” as large as 400 feet wide on the outskirts of Redding tore trees, homes, and cars off the ground and hurled them about, incinerating them at the same time. Mr. Stoke, 37, a Redding fire inspector who had been helping evacuate residents, was caught in the middle.
The New York Times [Author: Jose A. Del Real]
Engaging the Private-Sector Health Care System in Building Capacity to Respond to Threats to the Public’s Health and National Security: Proceedings of a Workshop
This report summarizes the presentations and discussions from a workshop held on March 20-21, 2018, to identify and understand approaches to aligning health care system incentives with the American public’s need for a health care system that is prepared to manage patients during a disaster, public health emergency, or other mass casualty event. Participants discussed interest among health care institutions in collaborating with the public and private sectors to strengthen capacity to respond to disasters and public health emergencies.
NIOSH: New CBRN Respiratory Protection Handbook Available
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released a new Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Respiratory Protection Handbook. This handbook fills the need for authoritative technical information on CBRN respiratory protective devices. The information will assist users in the selection, use, and maintenance of CBRN respirators and will be particularly useful to individuals responsible for administering respiratory protection programs and/or developing training programs.
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CDC MMWR: Opioid Use Disorder Documented at Delivery Hospitalization
This Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) looks at how national rates of opioid use disorder are increasing among reproductive-aged and pregnant women. Opioid use during pregnancy is associated with adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes. According to the report, national, state, and provider efforts are needed to prevent, monitor, and treat opioid use disorder among reproductive-aged and pregnant women.
Twelve Members Appointed to Advisory Board Focused on Health of Nuclear Weapons Workers
The Department of Labor has announced 12 appointees to the Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker Health for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA). The 12 members were appointed to the Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker Health for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act for two-year terms. Eight returning members served on the initial board appointed in 2016, and four members are new to the board.
Department of Labor Extends Some Compliance Dates for General Industry Beryllium Standard
The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule to extend the compliance date for specific ancillary requirements of the general industry beryllium standard to Dec. 12, 2018. This extension affects provisions for methods of compliance, beryllium work areas, regulated areas, personal protective clothing and equipment, hygiene facilities and practices, housekeeping, communication of hazards, and recordkeeping.
EPA Signs $200 Million Remedy for the Hanford Reservation Superfund Site
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), together with the Department of Energy and with concurrence from the Washington State Department of Ecology, has issued the Record-of-Decision (ROD), or Cleanup Plan, for the Hanford 100 Area D and H areas. The $200 million remedy includes removal, treatment, and disposal of contaminated soil and debris; upgrading the existing groundwater treatment system; monitored natural attenuation; and institutional controls (ICs) to prevent contamination exposure until cleanup levels are met.
EPA’s Air Monitoring Response to Hurricane Harvey
The Office of lnspector General (OIG) for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to begin preliminary research to determine whether the EPA's and the state of Texas' air quality monitoring and related activities after Hurricane Harvey 1) addressed potential high-risk areas, 2) indicated any potential health concerns, and 3) were accurately communicated to the public with respect to monitoring results and potential health concerns.
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Webinar: Preventing Valley Fever in in Construction Workers
California saw a big increase in new Valley Fever cases in 2016 and again in 2017. The California Occupational Health Branch (OHB) is offering a webinar on Valley Fever in construction work to discuss the findings from OHB investigations and a California employer sharing how Valley Fever impacted his employees and business. The webinar will be held on August 21, 2018 at 2:00 pm ET.
SRP Progress in Research Webinars Session I
The NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) is hosting a series of webinars to highlight work by SRP Centers that received grants in 2017. Session I will highlight Research Centers Duke University and University of Arizona. The Duke University SRP Center focuses on early, low-dose exposures to toxicants and developmental impacts. The University of Arizona SRP Center is addressing the risk and remediation of metal mining wastes in arid and semi-arid environments. The webinar will be held on August 23, 2018, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm ET.
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UniteHere! Seeks Senior Occupational Health Specialist
Unite Here! seeks an occupational health specialist to support campaigns, training programs, research and policy activities, and requests for technical assistance from union locals. The specialist will also assist in the development of training programs to develop health and safety capacity of campaigners, union staff, members and unorganized workers to improve working conditions. Position is based out of Oakland, CA. More information available via link below.
NCOA Seeks Director of Center for Healthy Aging
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) seeks a Director for their Center for Healthy Aging to oversee programs with partners across the country, including public and private organizations at the national, state, and local levels. The director will oversee two established national programs – the National Chronic Disease Self-Management Resource Center and the National Falls Prevention Resource Center. To apply for this position, email your resume to Aileen Hedden at firstname.lastname@example.org with “NCOA-Director, Center for Healthy Aging/2018-2364 CW” as the subject of the email.
City of Albuquerque Seeks Environmental Health Director
The City of Albuquerque seeks qualified candidates to apply for its Director of Environmental Health position. The Director manages and oversees a wide range of programs and activities within the Environmental Health Department. The Environmental Health Department is responsible for promoting and protecting public health, by preventing disease, and by preserving the integrity and quality of our environment through sustainable management and responsible stewardship.
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