August 16, 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
- Calendar Features
- On The Web This Week
- Federal Agency Update
- Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
- Job Openings
- We Want Your Feedback
- Newsbriefs Past Issues
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NIEHS Worker Training Program Funding Opportunity: Hazardous Materials Worker Health and Safety Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) invites applications for cooperative agreements to support the development of model programs for the training and education of workers engaged in activities related to hazardous materials and waste generation, removal, containment, transportation and emergency response. This funding opportunity announcement aims to prevent work-related harm through safety and health training. The training programs will transmit skills and knowledge to workers in how best to protect themselves and their communities from exposure to hazardous materials encountered during hazardous waste operations, hazardous materials transportation, environmental restoration of contaminated facilities or chemical emergency response.
NIEHS Worker Training Program Funding Opportunity: HAZMAT Training at DOE Nuclear Weapons Complex
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) invites applications for cooperative agreements to support the development of model programs for the training and education of workers engaged in activities related to hazardous materials and waste generation, removal, containment, transportation and emergency response within the Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear weapons complex.
New Worker Training Program Web Pages
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Worker Training Program (WTP) has updated their website. New content includes a map that shows where grantees have trained. You can filter it by Program Area, Training Year, and see the number of courses delivered or the number of workers trained.
Hurricane Season Reminders for Research Response Teams
As we approach peak hurricane season, preparedness before deploying a research response is critical to the success of your research and to your personal safety. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Disaster Research Response Program (DR2), the national framework for research on the medical and public health aspects of disasters and public health emergencies, offers tools and resources available online to expedite pre- and post-disaster research. DR2 provides a range of technical assistance for response teams for storms and hurricanes. If you live in a hurricane prone area: review your organization and personal preparedness plans to ensure your own safety, connect with local emergency management, and touch base with your community partners. If you live outside hurricane areas: touch base with your partners in hurricane prone areas and discuss possible research efforts and known needs. Additional NIH resources for storm research include the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Deployment Guide and Worker Training Program Training Tools for Storms, which is also covered in their Disaster Preparedness App available on the Google Play store or the Apple store.
Ebola Now Curable After Trials of Drugs in DRC, Say Scientists
Ebola can no longer be called an incurable disease, scientists have said, after two of four drugs being trialed in the major outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were found to have significantly reduced the death rate. ZMapp, used during the massive Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, has been dropped along with Remdesivir after two monoclonal antibodies, which block the virus, had substantially more effect, said the World Health Organization and the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which was a co-sponsor of the trial.
The Guardian [Author: Sarah Boseley]
Battle Emerges Over Nuclear Waste in America’s Oil Patch
A plan to build two big nuclear-waste storage facilities in the heart of the most important U.S. oil field is igniting a fight between frackers and the atomic-energy industry. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is considering proposals to put up to 210,000 tons of nuclear waste – including the most dangerous high-level waste – at two sites in the Permian Basin, the booming oil-and-gas producing region along the Texas-New Mexico border.
Wall Street Journal [Author: Lauren Silva Laughlin]
Exposure to Dispersant Raised Likelihood of Neurological Symptoms in Deepwater Horizon Responders: Study
U.S. Coast Guard members who were exposed to oil while responding to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe were twice as likely to experience headaches and dizziness as those who were not, according to a new study by researchers with the Uniformed Services University, a health science university in Maryland that is run by the federal government. And those who were exposed to dispersants as well as oil were significantly more likely to report acute neurological symptoms than those who were exposed only to the oil, said Jennifer Rusiecki, one of the study's authors and a professor in the university's department of preventive medicine and biostatistics.
Nola [Author: Sara Sneath]
High Lead Levels at Old Incinerator Site in Central City Trigger Residents’ Fears; City Plans Remediation
Nadiyah Taylor and Benny Dominach didn’t know that their house was facing the former site of an incinerator that blew so much toxic waste into the air that state air quality control officials warned the city twice in 1974. Complaints about the toxic fumes and ash forced the dump, five blocks from St. Charles Avenue, to shut down completely by 1986. The city has planned a remediation for the space 10 years after the Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative commissioned a grant-funded survey showing the dangerous levels of contamination. The work should be completed by the end of the year, according to the city.
Nola [Author: Emily Woodruff]
Big Tech Needs to Use Hazardous Materials Warnings
The technology sector has a hazardous materials problem, beyond the mountains of electronic waste it generates. More immediately, Big Tech fails to warn users when its products and services are hazardous. Users are long overdue for a clear, concise rating system of privacy and security risks. Fortunately, tech can learn from another industry that knows how to alert consumers about the dangers of improperly storing and leaking toxic products: the chemical industry. Nearly sixty year ago, the chemical industry and its regulators realized that simple communication of hazards is critical to safety.
WIRED [Author: Stephen Nowicki]
Port of Wilmington Contractors Fined by OSHA After Worker’s Fatal Fall
Seven months after a 30-year-old Port of Wilmington worker fell to his death, two contractors have been cited by the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The two companies, Enerfab Process Solutions & Fabricated Products Inc. and Industrial Services Group Inc., doing business as Universal Blastco, face $687,619 in fines, according to a release from OSHA. The man was cleaning a juice storage tank when he fell from a scaffolding platform on Jan. 9, 2019, according to the Wilmington Fire Department. Employees of both companies were renovating a 1.5-million-gallon storage tank at a juice processing facility when the man fell 40 feet, the OSHA release stated.
Delaware News Journal [Author: Sarika Jagtiani]
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Call for Comments on OSHA's Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) Standard
The control of hazardous energy is regulated under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) control of hazardous energy (Lockout/Tagout) standard. The standard's purpose is to protect workers from the dangers of hazardous energy. This Request for Information seeks information regarding two areas where modernizing the Lockout/Tagout standard might better promote worker safety without additional burdens to employers: control circuit type devices and robotics. OSHA's Lockout/Tagout standard currently requires that all sources of energy, including energy stored in the machine itself, be controlled during servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment using an energy-isolating device (EID). Comments must be submitted by August 19, 2019.
Disasters—Keeping Volunteers, Workers, and Responders Safe Webinar
Are you helping clean up, rebuild, or support other response and recovery efforts after a flood, earthquake, storm, fire, or other disaster? If so, then it’s a good idea to be prepared and informed about how you can stay safe and healthy while responding. Join Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Emergency Partners Information Connection and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to learn how to reduce risk from injuries, chemical exposures, environmental hazards, and psychological stressors. CDC will host this webinar on August 21 at 1:00 pm ET. Closed captioning will be available.
A Look at CPWR’s Spanish Language Materials and Resources
The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) will be hosting a webinar with Program Assistant Kathy Tolentino-Gonzalez. The number of both Hispanic workers and contractors in construction continues to increase year after year. And while the gap has narrowed significantly over time, Hispanic workers are at a greater risk of fatal injury than their white, non-Hispanic counterparts. Because of these industry trends, CPWR has been working hard over the last several years to translate our training materials, contractor tools, and worker handouts into Spanish. Learn more about these free resources and how they can help keep your workers safe in this 30-minute webinar, including Q&A. The webinar will be held August 21, 2019 at 2:00 pm ET.
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.
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Poor Fit Between Job Demands, Reasoning Abilities Associated With Health Conditions
Older workers whose reasoning abilities no longer allow them to meet the demands of their jobs may be more likely to develop chronic health conditions and retire early, which may not be ideal for the employee or employer, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. With a growing proportion of older adults in the workforce, Margaret Beier, PhD, of Rice University and lead author of the study, wanted to learn about the factors involved in maintaining health and determining when people choose to retire.
HBN Announcing: The Combined Powers of Pharos and Data Commons
Healthy Building Network (HBN) is excited to announce that they are combining Pharos and the Data Commons. Next month they will add new functionality and an improved interface in one easy to access platform. The new Pharos will provide open access to a wealth of information to support chemical hazard assessment, alternatives assessment, and informed substitutions. This includes data for over 140,000 chemicals, covering hazard, function, use, and exposure, as well as a forum for discussing critical hazard assessment issues. It will also contain common content and associated hazards for many types of building products, through Common Product profiles.
Podcast: Building a Culture of Safety
In the last episode of Stereo Chemistry, the hosts talked to chemists who survived accidents at the bench and learned what went wrong and what lessons they could share to improve lab safety. In this episode, they look at what it takes to build a culture of safety. That is, what can organizations do to let researchers know that their safety is not only valued but expected? Hosts Jyllian Kemsley and Matt Davenport talk to experts about the importance of leadership, commitment, and education to transform lab safety from an exercise in compliance to a core element of the central science. Listen to the episode now at cenm.ag/cultureofsafety.
Chemical and Engineering News [Authors: Jyllian Kemsley and Matt Davenport]
Mold Can Cause a Persistent Cough
Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus are the most common molds found in almost all environments. These are just a few of the hundreds of thousands of species of fungi. Molds grow in damp, warm areas and are spread by spores both indoors and outdoors. People are typically exposed to mold by contact, ingestion, or inhalation. The most common places to find mold indoors are bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. (And don’t forget that loaf of bread that has been sitting on the counter for too many days.) Outside, mold may reside in compost piles of hay, leaves, or vegetation or in damp, shady areas. Keep in mind that the higher the humidity, the more conducive the environment is to mold, and stirring up mold can send the spores into the air.
The Pharmacy Times [Author: Kristen L. Marjama]
Chemical Safety Board Withdraws Appeal Over Accident Reporting
The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) has withdrawn its appeal of a federal district court judge’s order to adopt regulations requiring people to report accidental chemical releases to the agency. A judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the CSB to promulgate reporting regulations within 12 months of the court’s Feb. 4 order, according to court documents in Air Alliance Houston et al v. U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board. The CSB filed an unopposed motion to drop its appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Business Insurance [Author: Gloria Gonzalez]
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HHS Awards Nearly $400 Million to Combat the Opioid Crisis
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded nearly $400 million to combat the nation’s opioid crisis. The investments will enable HRSA-funded community health centers, rural organizations and academic institutions to establish and expand access to integrated substance use disorder and mental health services. The awards support HHS's Five-Point Opioid Strategy introduced under President Trump in 2017. The number of patients receiving medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction at HRSA-funded health centers increased 142 percent from 2016 to 2018 and, since President Trump took office, the number of patients receiving buprenorphine, a common form of MAT, has increased 28 percent.
U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA Requests Information on Table 1 of the Silica Standard for Construction
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is requesting information and comment on Table 1 of the agency’s Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction. OSHA seeks information on additional engineering and work practice control methods to effectively limit exposure to silica for the equipment and tasks currently listed on Table 1. The agency is also requesting information about other construction equipment and tasks that generate silica that it should consider adding to Table 1, along with information about their associated engineering and work practice control methods.
Contaminated Sites, Natural Disasters, Changing Environmental Conditions and Vulnerable Communities: Research to Build Resilience
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting applications for research to build resilience in vulnerable communities. The funded research activities under this announcement are intended to build better resilience in vulnerable communities against issues such as chemical contaminants, natural disasters and changing environmental conditions. Applications will be accepted through September 17, 2019.
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Worker Trainers as Workplace Experts: How Worker Trainers Enhance Safety and Health at Department of Energy Facilities
John S. Morawetz, Director of the International Chemical Workers Union Council Center for Worker Health and Safety Education, coauthored a research article in Labor Studies Journal. The article looks at the importance of worker trainers through two case studies. Worker trainers not only teach health and safety in the classroom setting but also serve informally as important peer resources on the shop floor. They are often the “go to” people, for both hourly workers and managers, when there is a health or safety question—be it about tank vapors or personal protective equipment, confined space, or specific chemicals. These worker trainers actively use health and safety resource materials, both hard copy and online.
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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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