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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: August 14, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, August 14, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

August 14, 2020

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

Opioids and the Workplace Prevention and Response Materials Available in Spanish

Several of the materials associated with the Opioids and the Workplace: Prevention and Response Training are now available in Spanish. The translated materials include: Opioids and the Workplace: Prevention and Response Training Tool, Instructor Tips, Small Group Activities – Opioids, and Injured on the Job or at Home? Ask Your Health Care Provider These Questions Before Accepting Opioids.


CDC Closes Some Offices Over Bacteria Discovery

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told employees that some office space it leases in the Atlanta area would be closed again after property managers of the buildings discovered Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, in water sources at the sites. No employees were sickened. The announcement was reported on Aug. 7.

New York Times [Author: Max Horberry]

Final Canister of Nuclear Waste Transferred to Storage Facility at San Onofre

It took 32 months, but the transfer of dozens of canisters filled with nuclear waste from wet storage pools to a newly constructed dry storage facility at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station wrapped up on Aug. 7. Shortly before 5 a.m., workers lowered the final canister of spent radioactive fuel into its assigned enclosure at the north end of the plant, known as SONGS.

Los Angeles Times [Author: Rob Nikolewski]

Beirut Blast a Wake-Up Call on Dangers of Ammonium Nitrate, Experts Warn

Some countries have banned ammonium nitrate as a fertilizer because it has been used by militant bomb-makers and since the Beirut blast, some governments have been urged to relocate stockpiles. Chris Owen, a U.N. explosives adviser, said few countries make ammonium nitrate but many use it, often importing it by sea.

Reuters [Author: Maayan Lubell, Rami Ayyub, Katharine Houreld]

Stalled New Jersey Environmental Justice Bill With Big Permit Implications Likely to Pass

Stakeholders say a New Jersey bill that would significantly weigh environmental justice factors in a number of decisions around industrial projects is still likely to pass despite momentarily stalling in the state legislature. The legislation could affect new permits and renewals for facilities, with major implications for the waste and recycling industry.

Waste Dive

United Hospital Faces Lawsuit Over Safety After Firing ER Nurse

As the COVID-19 pandemic was ramping up aggressively in Minnesota in May, Cliff Willmeng was fired from his job as an Emergency Department nurse at United Hospital in St. Paul. His offense? Wearing hospital-issued scrubs on duty while caring for COVID-19 patients, and then defying the hospital policy against nurses wearing uniforms that the hospital has to launder.

Minneapolis Star Tribune [Author: Joe Carlson]

Pandemic Recovery Depends on Worker Safety

If there is a silver lining in COVID-19's impact on industry, it's that the pandemic has revealed "what sustainability looks like," according to Lorraine Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council (NSC). Participating in a recent American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) webinar panel composed of safety and health CEOs discussing pandemic recovery, Martin added that she believes the pandemic has provided HS&E and other sustainability-focused professionals with a new platform for "richer dialogue around what sustainability really means for our planet, nation and the enterprises that populate it."

BIC Magazine

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

National Environmental Justice Public Teleconference Meeting

The National Environmental Justice Advisory Committee will convene a public teleconference meeting on Aug. 19 and Aug. 20 starting each day at 3:00 p.m. ET. The meeting discussion will focus on several topics including, but not limited to, action items from the Feb. 25-27 public meeting in Jacksonville, Florida, and discussion and deliberation of a charge related to the reuse and revitalization of Superfund and other contaminated sites.

Meeting Registration

Brownfields 2021: Call for Ideas Now Open!

The Brownfields 2021 Call for Ideas is now open. Please submit ideas for dynamic educational sessions in Oklahoma City that will motivate brownfields stakeholders to engage, learn, and share their experiences and knowledge of community revitalization challenges and solutions. Submissions must be received by Aug. 24 for consideration.

More Information

Cal/OSHA Webinar on the Use of Elastomeric Respirators in Health Care Settings

As the COVID-19 crisis in California enters its eighth month, many health care facilities and individual providers are considering using elastomeric respirators as a more reliable and sustainable means of respiratory protection. California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) will host a webinar on Aug. 26 at 10:00-11:30 a.m. PT that will provide information on how elastomeric respirators function to protect against COVID-19.

Webinar Registration

New Request for Applications to Support Equitable Development & Environmental Justice in Brownfields Communities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces the availability of funds and solicits applications from eligible entities, including nonprofit organizations, to provide direct technical assistance to communities nationwide on the integration of environmental justice and equitable development when developing solutions to brownfields cleanup and revitalization challenges. The application submission deadline is Sept. 21.


New Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the availability of funds and solicits applications from eligible entities, including nonprofit organizations, to deliver Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) programs that recruit, train, and place local, unemployed and under-employed residents with the skills needed to secure full-time employment in the environmental field. The closing date is Sept. 22.

EPA EWDJT Information

Request for Information on Federal Coordination To Promote Economic Mobility for All Americans

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is publishing this Request for Information (RFI) to seek public input until Oct. 2 on the development of a federal interagency Council on Economic Mobility (Council). HHS and the Council will analyze information collected in this RFI to gather feedback from our stakeholders to better inform the Council's priorities and how the Council can promote economic mobility, recovery, and resilience.

Federal Register

JOEH Seeks Submissions for Special Issue on Health Equity in the Workplace

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH) plans to publish a special issue on health equity in the workplace in May 2021. For this special issue, the journal seeks research on a range of topics, including how racial inequities affect workplace exposures and the effects of gender inequity on worker exposures and outcomes. The deadline to submit is Oct. 30.

More Information

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

The Complicated History of Environmental Racism

Many people understand the environment as a force of nature that cannot favor or disfavor different populations. However, similar to all things on Earth, the environment is subject to human influences. Unfortunately, these influences often tend to lower their hands to the worsts of our society including racism and classism. This can ultimately create environmental racism. [Author: Victoria Peña-Parr]

Demanding Justice: Detroit Activists Make Formal Complaint Over Hazardous Waste Sites

Residents with support from the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center filed a formal complaint with Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy over the agency’s January decision to allow a storage site to increase capacity by nine-fold. The license alteration granted by EGLE allows the plant operator, U.S. Ecology, to expand storage capacity from 76,000 tons to 677,000 tons.

Great Lakes Now [Author: Gary Wilson]

Toxic Legacy Comes To Light With Claims That Union Carbide Failed To Report Landfill

A lawsuit filed by the Courtland Co., a private, West Virginia-based landholding firm that owns property near Davis Creek, alleges Union Carbide has for decades knowingly leaked potentially toxic pollutants into the waters of Davis Creek. Union Carbide, purchased by Dow Chemical Co. in 2001, insists in court filings that there is “no evidence to support that UCC is currently endangering the public and adversely impacting public resources.”

Ohio Valley Resource [Author: Brittany Patterson]

Without Federal Protections, Farm Workers Risk Coronavirus Infection To Harvest Crops

Farms have already reported outbreaks among hundreds of workers in states that include California, Washington, Florida and Michigan. While migrant worker advocacy groups say this allows farms to take advantage of their workers and increase their risk of exposure to the coronavirus, farms say they're doing what they can to protect workers with the limited resources they have, while also getting their crops harvested.

NPR [Author: Victoria Knight]

How the Clean Energy Transition Affects Workers and Communities

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has a new series on fairness for workers and communities. The ongoing decline in coal jobs and its impact on communities – from West Virginia to Wyoming – highlights the need for proactive policies. It also provides relevant examples of what could happen to other fossil fuel workers and communities if serious action to ensure a fair transition is not taken.


Workers, Advocates say Strauss Fired Meatpacking Workers After COVID-19 Safety Complaints

Some meatpacking workers and advocates say meat processing company Strauss Brands fired many of its employees in Franklin after some complained about the lack of COVID-19 safety measures. Voces de la Frontera, which filed a workplace safety complaint with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration in late April, says the company fired 30 employees who had worked for Strauss for 12 to 20 years.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel [Author: Maria Perez]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

International Overdose Awareness Day: August 31

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Director John Howard, M.D., issued a statement on drug overdose. As International Overdose Awareness Day approaches, during a year of interlinked public health crises, NIOSH reflects on the work that has been done and the road ahead in the wake of the nation’s overdose epidemic and the global COVID-19 pandemic. In 2018, there were 67,367 drug overdose deaths in the U.S.


Save the Date: Fall 2020 NIH Virtual Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration!

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is offering a virtual seminar that will cover the NIH grant process. If you’re new to working with the NIH grants process as an investigator or administrator, then mark your calendar for Oct. 27-30 for a unique opportunity to learn, share and meet virtually with NIH and HHS experts.

NIH Extramural Nexus

Using Virus Sequencing to Determine Source of SARS-CoV-2 Transmission for Healthcare Worker

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC) Emerging Infectious Disease journal published an article on COVID-19. Whether a healthcare worker’s severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV-2) infection is community or hospital acquired affects prevention practices. This article used virus sequencing to determine that infection of a healthcare worker who cared for 2 SARS-CoV-2–infected patients was probably community acquired.


Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Environmental Career Worker Training Program Celebrates 25 Years

This year, NIEHS celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Environmental Career Worker Training Program (ECWTP). ECWTP has prepared and delivered trainings to hundreds of workers from disadvantaged and underserved communities in the fields of environmental cleanup, construction, hazardous waste, and emergency response. The National Clearinghouse for Worker Safety and Health Training worked with WTP staff to create an interactive webpage to commemorate the 25th anniversary.

ECWTP 25th Anniversary

Environmental Factor Article

Accidental Safety Pro Podcast

The Accidental Safety Pro Podcast, hosted by Jill James, Vivid Learning System's Chief Safety Officer, features a new episode with Jonathan Rosen, consultant for WTP’s National Clearinghouse for Worker Safety and Health Training. They discuss the work he has done during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Accidental Safety Pro Podcast

Job OpeningsBack to Top

JNJ Seeks Director of Global Public Health Policy

Johnson & Johnson’s seeks a director of global public health policy for their Global Public Health team. The Worldwide Government Affairs & Policy shapes the global policy environment so Johnson & Johnson can deliver innovative and sustainable solutions for patients and consumers and deliver measurable impact on our business objectives. The position will develop and implement strategies to advance J&J's global public health and global health security objectives in the U.S.

Job Posting

BlueGreen Alliance Seeks Director of Workplace and Environmental Health and Equity

The BlueGreen Alliance (BGA) is hiring for a director of workplace and environmental health and equity. The director will develop, educate, and advocate for occupational and environmental health and safety improvements in federal policies and in the states where BGA is actively engaged.

Job Posting

MCN Seeks Program Manager for Occupational and Environmental Health

Migrant Clinicians Network (MCN) is hiring a full time Program Manager to join the Occupational and Environmental Health Division and Puerto Rico Office, located in San Juan, PR. This position is responsible for managing health-related programs in Puerto Rico that focus on underserved and vulnerable populations and the clinicians who serve them. The position is open until filled.

Job Posting

Farmworker Justice Seeks Occupational Safety and Health Coordinator

Farmworker Justice (FJ) is hiring a highly qualified individual for the Occupational Safety and Health Project Coordinator position to support FJ’s health promotion, occupational safety and health, and capacity-building projects. The position provides an exciting and unique opportunity to provide technical and programmatic support to farmworker-serving organizations nationwide.

Job Posting

NIOSH Announces Two Job Opportunities

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) seeks incumbents to serve as Team Leads for the Special Studies Team in the Surveillance and Field Investigations Branch, Division of Safety Research, and will be responsible for providing oversight for surveillance research of occupational traumatic injuries and injury hazards; maintaining and managing data bases. The deadline to apply is Aug. 17.

Lead Research Epidemiologist

Lead Research Statistician (Health)

OSHA Seeks Supervisory Industrial Hygienist

The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is hiring a supervisory industrial hygienist position based in Washington, DC. The position will oversee and manage OSHA’s health enforcement program. He or she will be responsible for enforcement activities that include hazard communication, bloodborne pathogens, respiratory protection, workplace noise, hazardous waste cleanup operations, hazards covered by existing substance-specific OSHA health standards. The deadline to apply is Aug. 18.

Job Posting

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