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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: December 7, 2018 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, December 7, 2018

Weekly E-Newsbrief

December 7, 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

Sick Nuclear Workers’ Benefits Petitions Have to Be Reviewed Within 6 Months. Some Have Languished About a Decade.

Ten years ago, security guard, Andrew Evaskovich, at Los Alamos National Laboratory submitted a petition to the federal government seeking compensation and benefits for his fellow lab workers who were sick with cancer and believed that radiation at the lab was to blame. The petition took advantage of a process put in place by Congress in 2000 that allowed groups of workers to secure benefits, if they could show that they worked at a nuclear facility and had a cancer linked to radiation. A decade later, Evaskovich and his colleagues are still waiting for a final answer. What has happened to Evaskovich’s petition is playing out at nuclear labs across the country.

ProPublica [Author: Rebecca Moss]

Critics Say DOE Is Limiting Safety Oversight at Hanford and at Other Nuclear Sites

The Hanford nuclear reservation and other sites will be less safe under a new order issued by the Department of Energy (DOE) that appears to limit a federal safety board’s access, critics say. The DOE issued a new order in May outlining how it plans to interact with the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, which has made numerous recommendations to improve the safety of operations at Hanford. A public hearing in Washington, D.C., did not appear to ease the concerns of the safety board that it will receive the cooperation it needs to provide independent assessments of safety issues at Hanford and other nuclear weapons sites.

Tri-City Herald [Author: Annette Cary]

Are We on the Cusp of a Breakthrough in Ebola Treatment?

Reports of new Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo keep climbing, but the focus isn’t just on treating the sick—it’s also on transforming the treatment. Despite the difficulty of working in the conflict-plagued country, researchers are deploying four experimental drugs. If successful, the new treatments could transform Ebola into a disease that can be treated at home rather than in isolation units.

The Guardian [Author: Sarah Boseley]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

FY 2019 Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup National Guideline Outreach Webinar

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will host an outreach webinar to assist applicants with understanding the Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup Grant Guidelines. EPA's Brownfields Program provides direct funding for brownfields assessment, cleanup, revolving loans, environmental job training, technical assistance, training, and research. The webinar will be held December 11, 2018, at 2 p.m. ET.

Information on Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup Grant Guidelines

Link to Access Webinar

The Disaster Debris Recovery Tool: Materials Management for Debris Planning and Emergency Response

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5's Disaster Debris Recovery Tool (DDRT) promotes the proper recovery, recycling, and disposal of disaster debris for emergency planners and responders at the federal, state, tribal, and local levels. This webinar will feature presenters from Region 5 and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojbwe. Region 5 will introduce the history, purpose, and a provide a demonstration of the tool. DDRT users from Millie Lacs Band and Region 5 will explain their experience using the tool in both a disaster debris planning and response perspective. Webinar takes place on Tuesday, December 18, 2018, from 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. ET.

Webinar Information and Registration

Save the Date: NACCHO Preparedness Summit 2019

The 2019 Preparedness Summit, sponsored by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), will look at how threats to our national health security have evolved significantly. The summit will feature experts from the healthcare and emergency management fields as well as public health preparedness professionals, looking at opportunities to address the gaps between these life-saving industries and work more collaboratively in the face of emerging threats. The summit will be held on March 26-29, 2019, in St. Louis, MO.

Preparedness Summit

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

2018 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change Brief for the United States of America

Published by the Lancet and American Public Health Association, this report focuses on connections between climate change and health in the United States in 2017. It draws out some of the most nationally-relevant findings of the global 2018 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change report with U.S.-specific data to highlight the key threats, including elevating the risk of mosquito-, tick-, and water-borne diseases, and opportunities climate change poses for the health of Americans.

Lancet Countdown

Wildfire Debris Removal Process Begins

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), along with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and county officials, will begin Phase I of a two-phase debris removal process for the areas affected by the Camp and Woolsey fires. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), and CalRecycle are leading the survey, collection, and disposal of household hazardous waste (HHW) at approximately 18,000 properties affected by the Camp Fire in the Town of Paradise and surrounding Butte County, as well as properties affected by the Woolsey Fire in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Cal OES News

Advancing Oil and Gas Workplace Safety and Health Research

The oil and gas extraction industry continues to expand in the United States, but this growth comes with increased risks for workers in the industry. During 2003–2016, 1,485 oil and gas extraction workers were killed on the job, resulting in an annual fatality rate more than six times higher than the rate among all U.S. workers. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is collaborating with partners in industry, government, academia, labor, and with other stakeholders to achieve successful and sustainable outcomes to improve worker safety and health across the oil and gas extraction industry.

NIOSH eNews [Author: John Howard]

A $50 Million Infusion in the Opioid Fight

Following news of a yet another decline in US life expectancy, Michael R. Bloomberg announced that he will put $50 million into helping up to 10 states fight the opioid epidemic over the next three years. The funds will support a unique collaboration between states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), academia, and other organizations to improve treatment and prevention programs, develop novel interventions, and share the most effective solutions. In addition to the funding, experts from the partner organizations will be embedded in state and local agencies with a mission of reducing opioid-related deaths.

Global Health Now [Author: Brian W. Simpson]

NASEM Health and Medicine Report: Reusable Elastomeric Respirators in Health Care: Considerations for Routine and Surge Use

Reusable respirators (specifically, reusable half-facepiece elastomeric respirators) are the standard respiratory protection device used in many industries. With support from the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory and the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) conducted a study on the use of half-facepiece reusable elastomeric respirators in health care. This report explores the potential for using elastomeric respirators in the U.S. health care system. It focuses on economic, policy, and implementation challenges and opportunities.

NASEM Health and Medicine Report

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

HHS Secretary Azar Declares Public Health Emergency in Alaska Due to Earthquake Damage

Following President Trump’s lead in declaring an emergency in Alaska after the November 30 earthquake, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar declared a public health emergency in Alaska. The declaration triggers other legal authorities that give the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) beneficiaries, their healthcare providers, and suppliers greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs in the aftermath of the earthquake.

HHS News Release

Department of Labor Provides Assistance for California Wildfires Recovery

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other federal agencies are joining to help those impacted by devastating wildfires in California. OSHA is partnering with the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division to help protect worker safety and wages during cleanup and recovery operations.

OSHA News Release

FY 2019 Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup Grant Guidelines Request for Proposals

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Program announced the opening of the request for proposals for Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup Grants. Grants offered by the Brownfields Program can be used to address sites contaminated by hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants (including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum) and petroleum. Opportunities for funding includes multipurpose grants, assessment grants, and cleanup grants. The proposal submission deadline is January 31, 2019.

EPA Brownfield Grant Funding

OSHA Continues to Provide Support in Areas Hardest Hit by Hurricane Michael

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) continues to provide technical assistance and outreach in areas hit hardest by Hurricane Michael and is returning to normal enforcement operations throughout most of Florida and Georgia. To date, OSHA’s safety and health technical assistance has reached more than 2,400 workers, and on-site interventions have removed more than 600 workers from serious hazards. This work will continue in heavily impacted areas.

OSHA News Release

NIOSH: Improving Programs to Control Hazardous Energy: New Website Offers Tools and Templates

A new website from the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Manufacturing Sector Council features ways in which businesses and companies can safeguard employees from the release of hazardous energy (any source of electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or other energy) during service and maintenance activities. The new website features a resource guide with step-by-step guidance, customizable materials, and templates to help implement effective strategies for controlling the release of unsafe hazardous energy.


Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

New in WISQARS Data Visualization: Compare Injury Data

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) WISQARS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System) is an interactive, online database that provides fatal and nonfatal injury, violent death, and cost of injury data from a variety of trusted sources. Injury death data from 2001 to 2016 is now available. WISQARS Data Visualization provides capabilities for comparing injury data, including comparing different causes of death to understand their prevalence and rates; comparing injury-related death statistics across states; and comparing injury data visually.


CPWR Infographic Provides Trench Safety Tips

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) developed an infographic focusing on trench safety, including best practices to protect workers in trenches. The infographic is available in English and Spanish.

CPWR Infographic

Job OpeningsBack to Top

Arise Chicago Seeks Development Director

Arise Chicago, a leading workers’ rights organization, seeks a creative, motivated, full-time Development Director to lead and expand fundraising strategies to support and grow the organization to increase their ability to fight for workplace justice across Chicago. Arise Chicago trains, organizes, and develops the leadership of low-wage, primarily immigrant workers and religious allies to improve working conditions and advance working family policies. To apply, send resume and cover letter to Please include “Development Director Application” in the subject line.

Job Description

Featured Safety Jobs with the American Society of Safety Engineers

Featured Jobs

Featured Safety Jobs with the American Industrial Hygiene Association

Featured Jobs

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