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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: August 24, 2018 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, August 24, 2018

Weekly E-Newsbrief

August 24, 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.

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

Registration Now Open for WTP Fall Meeting

Registration for the 2018 NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) Fall Awardee Meeting and Workshop is now open! The WTP Awardee Meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 24, 2018, from 9:00 a.m. to noon. The WTP Workshop will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, October 24 – 25, 2018. Both events will take place on the NIEHS campus in Research Triangle Park, NC. The WTP Workshop will focus on opioid-related hazards in the workplace and developing a training framework to address exposure, use, and prevention. Registration closes Wednesday, October 10, 2018, at 5:00 p.m. EDT.

Information and Registration

CDC MMWR: Occupational Patterns in Unintentional and Undetermined Drug-Involved and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths

This Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) looks at how the opioid epidemic negatively affects workers, workplaces, and employers. During 2007–2012, proportional mortality ratios (PMR) for heroin-related overdose deaths (1.46) and methadone-related overdose deaths (1.34) were highest for the construction occupation group. PMRs for natural and semisynthetic opioids were highest for the extraction (1.39) and health care practitioner (1.81) occupation groups. Identification of occupations associated with drug overdose deaths further characterizes the opioid epidemic. Incorporating workplace research and targeted interventions might benefit the opioid epidemic response.


Texas Refineries Urged to Plan Storm Shutdowns to Cut Pollution

A new report released by the Environmental Integrity Project states that the Texas industry, including refineries and petrochemical plants, released an extra 8.3 million pounds of air pollutants, including cancer-causing benzene, during Harvey. The report recommends Texas environment regulators to coordinate shutdowns of oil refineries and other petrochemical plants during major storms to avoid big releases of air pollution.

Reuters [Author: Timothy Gardner]

Environmental Integrity Project Report

As the World Burns, There Will Be Fewer Firefighters to Share

As wildfires raged across the West, U.S. firefighting authorities took a seemingly unusual step: they called up Australia and New Zealand and asked for help. In early August, 140 firefighters from Australia and New Zealand arrived at the National Interagency Fire Center headquarters in Boise, Idaho, after which they were dispatched to help fight the Carr and Mendocino Complex fires in Northern California, as well as several wildfires in Oregon and Washington. This nearly 20-year-old partnership has proven its value time and again over the years, with Australian and New Zealand firefighters coming north during their off-season and vice-versa.

Earther [Author: Maddie Stone]

Hawaii Facing a Rare Threat: A Major Hurricane

The state of Hawaii is facing a rare threat: A Category 4 hurricane is moving toward it, with hurricane watches and warnings in effect for most of the islands. Hawaii is no stranger to natural hazards like volcanic eruptions. But due to high-pressure weather patterns over the central Pacific, and a lot of deep, cool water around the islands, tropical storms usually steer clear. It’s unclear if the storm — which is currently howling with 155 mph winds — will just graze the islands as it approaches, or if it will make landfall.

Vox [Brian Resnick]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

September Is National Preparedness Month

The devastating hurricanes and wildfires of 2017 reminded the nation of the importance of preparing for disasters. National Preparedness Month (NPM), recognized each September, provides an opportunity to focus on how we all should improve our preparedness efforts. This year’s NPM will focus on planning, with an overarching theme: Disasters Happen. Explore the link below to find NPM resources and ideas to promote preparedness.

National Preparedness Month

SRP Progress in Research Webinars - Session II

The NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) is hosting a series of webinars to highlight work by SRP Centers that received grants in 2017. Session II will highlight three SRP Centers, including: 1) the University of Louisville SRP Center, which studies the cardiometabolic effects of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), 2) the University of New Mexico’s Metal Exposure and Toxicity Assessment on Tribal Lands in the Southwest SRP Center, which focuses on risk reduction for Native Americans exposed to hazardous metal mixtures from abandoned uranium mine waste, and 3) the University of Washington SRP Center, which investigates the mechanisms and ramifications of metal neurotoxicity in humans and aquatic species. The webinar will be held September 4, 2018, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Information and Registration

NASEM Health and Medicine Workshop: Medical Product Shortages during Disasters: Opportunities to Predict, Prevent, and Respond

Recent disasters and public health emergencies, including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and the treatment of Ebola patients, highlight the impact that shortages of commonly used medical supplies, equipment, and pharmaceuticals can have on health care delivery and emergency response. This workshop hosted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) will explore opportunities to improve and build upon the current evidence base on the effects of medical product shortages. The workshop will be held September 5-6, 2018, in Washington, DC.

Information and Registration

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.

Information and Registration

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 (NASEM) 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. A full proposal is then due by November 28, 2018, by 5 p.m. ET.

News Release

Funding Information

Webinar: Green Chemistry: Finding Safer Alternatives for Occupational Applications

The Rutgers School of Public Health is hosting a webinar focused on green chemistry as an essential component of occupational health. The webinar will discuss how to apply new tools and resources for transitioning to safer chemicals in the workplace, and how green chemistry research, applications, and educational activities can advance safety and health. Guest speakers include Nancy Simcox from the University of Washington Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and Saskia Van Bergen from the Washington State Department of Ecology. The webinar will be held on September 20, 2018, from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

PEPH Webinar: Air Sensor Stories

In response to growing interest in exploring local air quality concerns, NIEHS grantees developed an interactive workshop for audiences seeking to understand the potential benefits and challenges associated with using air sensors. This webinar will discuss how workshop materials were developed by a collaboration between four NIEHS-supported community engagement cores and pilot tested with diverse community partners. The webinar will be held on September 24, 2018, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. ET.

Information and Registration

Hurricane Harvey: In the Eye of the Storm

John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Global Health Now Live is hosting their second live event to discuss lessons drawn from the Harvey response. The event will feature David E. Persse, M.D., public health authority for the City of Houston, and Joshua M. Sharfstein, M.D., vice dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The event will be held in the Houston Methodist Hospital Research Institute on September 27, 2018, from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Global Health Now

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.

Information and Registration

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Staying Ahead of Risks During Disasters

For many organizations, natural disasters are often overlooked, pushed aside from the more every day, common workplace incidents. Businesses must take the time to proactively identify the potential risks they can face and develop remediation strategies to address them. These plans must go beyond the typical workplace incidents. This article discusses how developing comprehensive plans requires addressing employees, infrastructure, and business continuity.

EHS [Author: Quin Rodríguez]

Getting ‘Smart’ About Construction Safety

The construction industry, by its nature, can be dangerous. In this interview with SangHyun Lee, an associate professor in the University of Michigan’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, he discusses how wearable sensors can improve construction worker safety and also reduce costs through better data on worker health.

University of Michigan News [Author: Jim Lynch]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board Public Hearing

On August 28, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) will hold a public hearing at its Washington, DC Headquarters from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend and participate in the public comment portion of the meeting. Individuals interested in speaking during the public comment period are encouraged to pre-register by submitting a request in writing to or by telephone to the Office of the General Counsel at (202) 694–7000 or (800) 788-4016. Documentation related to the public hearing is available below. Additional documentation will be posted as it becomes available.

Information on Public Hearing

OSHA Extends Some Compliance Dates for General Industry Beryllium Standard

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule to extend the compliance date for specific ancillary requirements in the general industry beryllium standard to December 12, 2018. The extension applies to methods of compliance, beryllium work areas, regulated areas, personal protective clothing and equipment, hygiene facilities and practices, housekeeping, hazard communication, and recordkeeping.

OSHA News Release

Federal Register

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

NLM Wildfire Resources

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has several resources on wildfires and smoke inhalation intended for the general public. Resources are available in different languages, including Spanish, Arabic, Bosnian, and Somali.

NLM Fires and Wildfires

SHEA Outbreak Response Toolkits

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) Outbreak Response Training Program (ORTP) released four toolkits to help healthcare providers rapidly find resources important to outbreak preparedness, response, and recovery. The toolkits provide resources about emerging pathogens, horizontal strategies, communication, negotiation and implementation, and interactive guides that can be downloaded and completed with individual/facility information.

Outbreak Response Toolkits

Job OpeningsBack to Top

UW Occupational Health Services Research Program Seeks Doctoral Traineeship

The University of Washington is recruiting a doctoral trainee for their Occupational Health Services Research (OHSR) Program. The Occupational Health Services Research Training Program includes tuition, travel, research support, and a stipend. The program is one of only two National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-funded OHSR programs in the United States and is part of the Northwest Center for Occupational Health & Safety, a NIOSH-funded Education and Research Center (ERC). Trainees have the opportunity to participate in ongoing research projects through the Occupational Epidemiology and Health Outcomes Program, as well as to undertake field-based studies in external organizations, such as the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. The application deadline is December 15, 2018.

UW OHSR Information

Ford Foundation Seeks Program Officer

The Ford Foundation seeks a dynamic, strategic leader to serve as a Program Officer in its new ‘Future of Work’ (FoW) program area, which strives to actively ensure that the ‘future of work’ places workers and their well-being at the center and reduces inequality. The Program Officer would help shape FoW program strategy, develop grant portfolios and related activities, and participate as a thought-leader on issues related to the ‘Future of Work’ in various public and private settings. Apply for this position by September 25, 2018.

Job Description

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.

Job Description

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