August 9, 2019
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||Back to Top|
Cleaning Up After a Hurricane Can Be Hazardous to Your Health
Last fall, Hurricane Florence pounded Robeson County, North Carolina. The rain and storm surge devastated homes and businesses. In the aftermath, residents had to deal with mold and other dangerous conditions. But a growing number of people there now know how to safely clean up their homes. They learned through the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences “Worker Training Program.” Industrial hygienist Sharon Beard, a staffer with the program, says if people do not know how to protect themselves, they may put themselves in danger.
U.S. Drug Epidemic Becoming More Urban
The nation’s drug epidemic is becoming increasingly urban, with death rates from overdoses in cities overtaking those of rural areas for the first time in several years, according to a new federal analysis published Aug. 2. For years, death rates from drug overdoses rose faster in rural America, as supply chains of opioids and other drugs expanded, and abuse took off. But urban overdose death rates overtook those of rural counties in 2016, the analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed. The findings reflect the effects of bootleg synthetic opioids such as fentanyl on a large, older cohort of longtime drug users in urban areas, some experts said. Fentanyl, a potent opioid with 50 times the strength of heroin, is a major culprit in a skyrocketing number of deaths from drug use since 2014, according to the CDC.
The Wall Street Journal [Authors: Betsy McKay and Jon Kamp]
Pennsylvania Promotes Playbook for Redeveloping Former Coal Plant Sites
As coal-fired power plants continue to close across Pennsylvania, state officials hope they now have a playbook to help find new uses for the properties. The state economic development department recently used a grant from the federal POWER initiative to develop a series of plans to help speed the decommissioning and redevelopment of coal-fired power plants. The federal program is aimed at providing funding to address workforce opportunities in communities affected by coal plant closures.
Pennsylvania Energy News Network [Author: Marie Cusick]
Nevada's Veto Power a Sticking Point in Congressional Negotiations on Yucca Mountain
House proponents of storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain are unwilling to negotiate with members of the state’s congressional delegation over whether to give the state veto power over building the repository. But key members of the Senate, led by Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski, who are frustrated with the lack of progress on the long-delayed project, are working with Nevada’s senators to pass nuclear waste legislation that would include a consent provision for the state. California Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney and Illinois Republican Rep. John Shimkus have introduced legislation to restart the licensing process to build the national nuclear waste repository.
The Nevada Independent [Author: Humberto Sanchez]
Nuclear Waste Shipments to Nevada Never Passed Through Utah, Gov. Herbert Says
Worrisome shipments of mislabeled radioactive waste never passed through Utah before they arrived in Nevada, Gov. Gary Herbert assured concerned environmental groups through a letter on Aug. 6. He added that he and key state agencies are notified any time that “dangerous and highly sensitive radioactive waste travels through Utah.” Another state official says that occurs once or twice a month, and emergency, transportation and public safety officials are also notified.
The Salt Lake Tribune [Author: Lee Davidson]
Philippines Declares Dengue Epidemic As Deaths Surge
The Philippines has declared a "national dengue epidemic" after at least 622 people lost their lives from the mosquito-borne disease this year. At least 146,000 cases were recorded from January to 20 July - a 98% increase on the same period last year - the health department said. The epidemic was declared so that officials can identify areas in need of emergency attention. The infection causes flu-like illness, but occasionally becomes more severe. The global incidence of dengue has grown dramatically in recent decades, according to the World Health Organization. The Philippines declared an initial "national dengue alert" in July.
Third Ebola Case Confirmed in DR Congo’s Goma
A year after the start of a deadly Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a third case has been confirmed in the major border city of Goma. DRC authorities on Aug. 1 said the one-year-old daughter of an Ebola patient who died had also contracted the virus. Congo's presidency said the border with Rwanda was reopened hours after its eastern neighbor closed it over the deadly Ebola outbreak. Congo had protested the closure, which went against international health recommendations.
1,800 Dead as Malaria 'Epidemic' Rages in Burundi: UN
Malaria has killed more than 1,800 people in Burundi this year, the United Nations humanitarian agency has said, a death toll rivalling an Ebola outbreak in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. In its latest situation report, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said 5.7 million cases of malaria had been recorded in Burundi in 2019 - a figure roughly equal to half its entire population. Of those cases, a total of 1,801 died from the mosquito-born disease in Burundi between January 1 and July 21, OCHA said.
|Calendar Features||Back to Top|
NLM Webinar: Are You Ready? Essential Disaster Health Information Resources for Keeping Your Loved Ones Safe”
This class covers National Library of Medicine (NLM) disaster health information and other emergency preparedness resources for community educators, families, friends and caregivers. Resources for special populations and those with special needs are highlighted. Audience: consumers, public and consumer health librarians, pre- hospital responders, health care professionals, first-responders, or disaster preparedness administrators. The webinar is Wednesday, August 28, 2019 2-3 pm ET.
Notice of Funding Opportunity: FY 2019 Brownfields Training, Research, and Technical Assistance Grant
This notice announces the availability of one $1,400,000 Brownfields Training, Research, and Technical Assistance Grant and solicits proposals from eligible entities to conduct research and provide technical assistance to new, existing, and/or prospective U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) grantees. In addition to providing on-going technical assistance throughout the project period, the successful applicant will be responsible for developing an annual meeting to facilitate peer-to-peer networking and provide training to the EWDJT grantees. The award is anticipated to be funded incrementally on an annual basis over seven years, at approximately $200,000 per year. Proposals must be submitted through www.grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. ET on September 20, 2019.
APHA Annual Meeting: Creating the Healthiest Nation: For Science. For Action. For Health.
Everyone has a role to play in creating a healthier nation. In light of today’s most pressing health issues, science and advocacy are the keys to developing health equity to improve the lives of people locally, nationally and worldwide. The American Public Health Association (APHA)’s Annual Meeting and Expo will be held November 2-6, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Annual Meeting gives more than 12,000 public health professionals an opportunity to put science and action to work to achieve a healthier nation.
National Conference on Worker Safety and Health
The National Conference on Worker Safety and Health (#COSHCON19) brings together a diverse, inclusive and bilingual group of participants of workers, occupational health and safety experts, unions, activists and academics united around common goals. The conference aims to empower workers, make workplaces safer and reduce the toll of on-the-job injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The conference will take place December 3-5, 2019 in Baltimore, MD.
2019 National Brownfields Training Conference
Cosponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the International City/County Management Association, the National Brownfields Training Conference will take place December 10-13, 2019, in Los Angeles, CA at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Offered every two years, the conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing formerly utilized commercial and industrial properties. Registration is now available.
|On The Web This Week||Back to Top|
Extreme Heat Doesn’t Stop the Mail — Even at the Cost of Postal Workers’ Health
Since 2012, Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the U.S. Postal Service for exposing about 900 employees across the country to the risks of heat-related illness and death. Inspection records describe workers experiencing extreme muscle cramps, vomiting while walking, losing consciousness, feeling shooting pains in their head and chest and getting heatstroke, among other conditions. Over the same years, at least five mail carriers have died from heatstroke, heat exhaustion, hyperthermia or heart failure with heat as an underlying factor.
Public Integrity [Author: Maryam Jameel]
Workplace Suicide Remains a Disturbing Trend
Security professionals tend to have their fingers on the pulse of their organization, though it’s not always easy to track potential workplace risks when there are few, if any visible red flags. Could you or your security team spot the red flags presented by an employee at your company that was be considering suicide? Would you be able to intervene if they were planning to do it at the office or on the jobsite? It’s a prospect no one wants to consider, but workplace suicides can and do happen. That number of workplace suicides reached an all-time high of 291 in 2016. Of the 5,147 American workers who died on the job in 2017, 275 died by suicide. There were fewer suicides than homicides; but suicide claimed more workers’ lives than aircraft incidents, electrocution, or explosions and fires.
Total Security Daily Advisor [Author: Guy Burdick]
Long-Term Health Monitoring of Populations Following a Nuclear or Radiological Incident in the United States
Accidents and terrorist attacks that lead to the release of radioactive materials can cause deaths, injuries, and a range of psychosocial effects in the surrounding community and team of emergency responders. On March 12-13th, 2019, the National Academies convened a workshop to discuss the process for preparing a radiation registry for monitoring long-term health effects of populations affected by a nuclear or radiological incident. Participants assessed existing information, useful practices, and tools for planning a radiation registry that will enhance incident monitoring and response methods. This publication summarizes the discussions and presentations from the workshop.
As Emerging Technologies Gain Traction in the Workplace, NIOSH Focuses on Safety
As emerging technologies continue to impact the workplace, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is keeping a watchful eye on whether these new materials and processes will create new on-the-job hazards. Speaking June 12 during the agency’s Expanding Research Partnerships Series webinar titled “Occupational Safety and Health Issues of Emerging Technologies,” Associate Director for Nanotechnologies Charles Geraci said technology is creating opportunities for workers – and identifying possible skills gaps. A 2018 Deloitte report states that 4.6 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled over the next decade. Of that total, almost 2.7 million openings will emerge because of retirements, while nearly 2 million will be added as a result of the natural growth of the industry. That will leave 2.4 million jobs, according to the report’s estimate, likely to be vacant because of a skills shortage.
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A Robot May Not Injure a Worker: Working Safely with Robots
Robots are used in increasing numbers in the workplace and in society in general. As their numbers and capabilities increase, observers have urged that scientists, engineers, and policymakers explore the implications of robotics for society, to ensure that the rise of robots will not spell “doom for humanity” as some critics have warned. To avoid this scenario, in 1942 Isaac Asimov set out three laws of robotics in his short story “Runaround”. The first law of robotics centered on the safety of people states: “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.” How well has this law been applied to worker safety as robots take on more tasks in the 21st century workplace and become robot workers? Judging from continuing headlines about workers injured or killed by robots, not sufficiently.
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Opioids and Work: A Critical Connection
Workplace conditions can contribute to or help prevent opioid addiction – and employers and unions can play a vital role in supporting people in recovery, experts told community members at a regional forum held at the university. Three-quarters of people using opioids are working, and many become addicted because of job-related injuries and stress, said Joseph Hughes, head of the worker education and training branch of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
OSHA Renews Alliance With CPWR
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) renewed its alliance with the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) to provide guidance and training resources for construction safety. CPWR and the agency agreed to a new 5-year alliance to address hazards such as falls, silica exposure, trenching, and working in hot and cold weather, as well as foster outreach efforts that include elevator construction safety, emergency response and recovery operations, and safe practices when working in enclosed cabs.
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Drexel University and City of Philadelphia Seek Public Health Emergency Preparedness Librarian Fellow
The Public Health Emergency Preparedness Librarian fellowship is a collaboration between Drexel University and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness. At Drexel, the fellow will work with a team of researchers on a CDC-sponsored project to address the disaster information needs of families with special health care challenges and support the Center's web-based information dissemination platforms including diversitypreparedness.org. At PDPH, the fellow will lead the creation of an electronic resource library for staff and external partners, to support internal educational programming and communication with health care partners. The deadline to apply is August 17, 2019.
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