February 2, 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.
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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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Registration Now Open for Spring 2018 National Trainers’ Exchange and WTP Awardee Meeting
The 7th National Trainers’ Exchange is hosted by the Western Region Universities Consortium (WRUC) in conjunction with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Worker Training Program (WTP). The Exchange will bring together safety and health trainers and training stakeholders from the Department of Energy and the NIEHS WTP to exchange ideas about how to make training for hazardous materials and emergency response workers more effective and empowering. The Awardee Meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 9, 2018; the National Trainers’ Exchange will be held on Thursday and Friday, May 10-11, 2018. The meeting will be held at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix hotel. The hotel room block and registration are now open!
2017 PEPH and DR2 Annual Meeting Report Now Available
The NIEHS workshop “Engaging Diverse Partners: Strategies to Address Environmental Public Health,” brought together more than 100 researchers, community leaders, and government representatives to focus on successful approaches for engaging with diverse partners in environmental health research. The event was a joint effort of the NIEHS Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) network and the National Institutes of Health Disaster Research Response (DR2) program. This report contains the key messages and cross-cutting themes from the meeting and a list of collaborative actions identified during the breakout sessions.
Workers Exposed to Hazardous Chemicals at St. Francis Barrel Plant Didn’t Get Proper Training
Workers at a barrel refurbishing plant in St. Francis, Wisconsin were exposed to formaldehyde, mercury, and other hazardous chemicals but did not receive proper training in safely handling the materials, according to violations found by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The agency recently issued two citations with five violations against the plant and assessed $15,550 in fines. A whistleblower said workers at the plants were prepared to "stage" operations, hiding problems when an agency like OSHA arrived.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel [Author: John Diedrich]
More Radioactive Contamination Triggers Management Change at Hanford
The Department of Energy is replacing the managers of a critical radioactive clean-up project after the continued spread of contamination on the Hanford site. The move is intended to rebuild confidence with workers and the public and show the project is being safely managed. The announcement came after radioactive contamination was again found on a worker’s personnel vehicle.
Tri-City Herald [Author: Annette Cary]
Congress Looks to Reauthorize Pandemic Program as Flu Cases Swell
Congress is preparing to build on a law aimed at preventing and responding to pandemics just as the flu season is swelling in the U.S. and ways to address it are falling short. The law, the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act, or PAHPA, is up for its third reauthorization in the fall. The law originally passed in 2006, aimed to better organize the ways that federal, state, and local departments respond to outbreaks and disasters. Senators will spend the coming months looking for ways to make the law better and will consider whether the amount and the way they deliver funding for these efforts should change.
Washington Examiner [Author: Kimberly Leonard]
COSH Network & ICWUC Provide “Disaster Train-the-Trainers” Program in Puerto Rico
Four months after the devastation of Hurricane Maria, millions of people in Puerto Rico still need our help. Experienced worker trainers from the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) Network – along with our partners from the International Chemical Workers Union Council (ICWUC) and the Universidad de Puerto Rico (UPR) – were on the ground in San Juan, providing a “Disaster Train-the-Trainers” program to help protect workers during the recovery.
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National Occupational Research Agenda for Traumatic Injury Prevention
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH's) National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) for Traumatic Injury Prevention is posted for public comment. The public comment period runs through February 5, 2018. After the comment period ends, NIOSH will respond to each comment, revise the agenda as necessary, and then post it. The document number is 2017-26359.
Webinar: EPA 2016 Toxic Release Inventory National Analysis
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program announced the publication of the 2016 TRI National Analysis. The publicly available database shows that industrial facilities continue to reduce the releases of TRI chemicals through pollution reduction activities. The National Analysis contains local and national data on TRI chemical releases to air, water, and land, as well as information about what companies are doing to prevent these releases. EPA will host a webinar February 7, 2018 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. EST to look at highlights from the 2016 TRI data and help user navigate the National Analysis website.
NIOSH Webinar Series 2018: Expanding Research Partnerships
This new webinar series continues the learning and discussions on the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) research and partnerships from the Expanding Research Partnerships: State of the Science Conference. The 2018 webinar series will feature intramural and extramural research within the NIOSH Program Portfolio from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. ET on February 14, May 16, and November 14, 2018.
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After Harvey, Houston Suburbs Suffers a Persistent Problem: Waves of Foul Air
The Houston suburb of Manchester did not suffer the extensive flooding brought by Harvey around the region. But rainfall did cause a tank failure at a refinery, leading to a leak of chemicals including an estimated 1,881 lbs of benzene, a carcinogen. The leaks underlined that Harvey’s damage was not only at ground level. Advocates and residents fear that the city’s full attention will be on reconstruction and flood prevention – and that air quality won’t be a priority.
The Guardian [Author: Tom Dart]
Traditional Ecological Knowledge: A Different Perspective on Environmental Health
Many persistent health disparities exist between Native Americans and other racial groups in the United States. As part of a broader effort to address these shortfalls and their root causes, the authors of a new commentary in Environmental Health Perspectives highlight the value of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) to Tribal epidemiology and medicine.
Environmental Health Perspectives [Author: Nate Seltenrich]
Are There Zombie Viruses in the Thawing Permafrost?
In the past few years, there has been a growing fear about a possible consequence of climate change: zombie pathogens. Specifically, bacteria and viruses — preserved for centuries in frozen ground — coming back to life as the Arctic's permafrost starts to thaw. The idea resurfaced in the summer of 2016, when a large anthrax outbreak struck Siberia.
NPR [Author: Michaeleen Doucleff]
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NASEM Report: Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community, Protecting the Nation's Investment
The academic biomedical research community should improve its ability to mitigate and recover from the impacts of disasters, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). The authors recommend 10 steps that academic research institutions, researchers, and research sponsors should take to bolster the resilience of academic biomedical research. For example, the National Institutes of Health should convene a consortium of stakeholders to discuss efforts research sponsors can take to enhance the disaster resilience of the biomedical research enterprise.
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NIEHS Grantee Highlight: Paloma Beamer, Ph.D. – Understanding How Culture and Behavior Affect Environmental Exposures
Paloma Beamer, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of Arizona, examines how culture and behavior determine exposure risks for specific communities. Working with 20 different organizations and academic partners, Beamer helped address concerns from Native American communities following the 2015 Gold King Mine wastewater spill. The researchers measured lead and arsenic exposure in people living in Navajo communities downstream of the spill. They also measured these contaminants in the environment around the communities and will examine how the communities' perception of health risks from the spill compares to the actual risks.
CPWR Small Study Program Funding Opportunity
The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) Small Study Program funds research studies limited in time and amount that focus on construction safety and health issues. Successful applicants receive up to $30,000 for a study on a discrete topic that must be completed within one year. The Small Study Program provides flexibility for initiating studies that are generally for preliminary, short-term projects and are non-renewable.
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CPWR Seeks to Fill Deputy Director Position
The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) seeks a full-time deputy director. Please visit the page below for specific job description. CPWR is headquartered in Silver Spring, MD. Interested candidates should email their resume and a cover letter detailing their experience related to the position to email@example.com.
Health Care Union Seeks Education/Health and Safety Coordinator
The Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE), NJ’s largest health care union, is seeking an Education/Health and Safety Coordinator. Position involves developing program, curricula, training materials, and provides instruction for new union officers, Local Executive Boards, and State Executive Council members, worksite leaders, and union activists. Coordinator will facilitate a union-wide health and safety taskforce. To apply, please send résumé to: Chris Whalen, HPAE Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ITUC Seeking a Climate Policy Officer
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) seeks an experienced and talented Policy Officer for their Economic and Social Policy Department at IUTC’s global headquarters in Brussels. The position requires at least 5 years of union, not for profit, or other civil society leadership experience, and a proven ability to work strategically and collaboratively to achieve agreed outcomes. The successful candidate will be responsible for environmental policy research, analysis and advocacy, and coordinating global trade unions on climate justice and industrial transformation and occupational health and safety.
The Philadelphia Area Project on Occupational Safety and Health (PhilaPOSH) Seeking a Director
Serving as Director of PhilaPosh is an opportunity for someone with the skills, experience, and commitment needed to help build a powerful movement for social change that unites labor, and community constituencies. The Director is responsible for the overall staffing, programming, fiscal operations, and fundraising for the Organization.
Occupational Health Internship Program (OHIP) Offers Paid Summer Internships
The Occupational Health Internship Program (OHIP) online application is now open for summer 2018! The Occupational Health Internship Program (OHIP) is a national summer program dedicated to help students learn about the field of occupational safety and health (OSH) from those most at stake: working people. Please help spread the word about this nine-week, paid summer internship opportunity open to undergraduate and graduate students interested in occupational safety and health, and in working with worker organizations like unions and worker centers. The application deadline is February 16, at 11:59pm PST.
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