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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: February 14, 2019 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, February 14, 2019

Weekly E-Newsbrief

February 14, 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.

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

Report Criticizes Fire Agencies’ Cooperation During Mendocino Complex Blaze

A fire in the Mendocino Complex of Mendocino, CA., that almost killed a group of firefighters from L.A. and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, is thought to be the result of infighting among fire leaders from multiple agencies. A recent report, compiled by staff from the U.S. Forest Service, Cal Fire and the L.A. Fire Department, suggests that tension among leaders, along with substantial communication issues, including radio “dead spots” where communication wasn’t possible, might have contributed to the chaos that ensued.

The Los Angeles Times [Author: Marcus Yam]

Residents of Paradise and Other Towns Destroyed by Wildfire Must Wait to Go Home

Three months have passed since the deadly Camp Fire devastated towns in the mountains of Butte County, California, leaving residents with burned-out properties covered with potentially toxic debris. Due to the devastation, health officials declared much of the burn area a public health emergency, restricting residents from returning to their property. Residents are eager to rebuild their homes, but public health officials fear the return of residents will delay the cleanup of toxic debris.

NPR [Author: Kirk Siegler]

Local Construction Workers’ Unions Sue Drug Companies Over Opioid Crisis

Two Chicago-area labor unions representing construction workers, the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, filed a lawsuit seeking damages from drug companies over their role in the nationwide opioid crisis. The unions are claiming opioid manufacturers contributed to the promotion of opioid use and increase in prescription and sales, leading to a nationwide rise in overdoses and fatalities. The nine-count suit is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.

The Chicago Sun-Times [Author: Luke Wilusz]

A Toxic Crisis in America’s Coal Country

Appalachia, the heart of America’s coal country, is home to some of the poorest and most isolated communities in the United States. Southern West Virginia, specifically, has a legacy of mining that threatens not only the health of mining workers, but also that of neighboring communities. Unregulated, private wells supply water to inhabitants, transporting pollution from mining waste throughout the area. This pollution, according to recent research, has taken a major toll on the health of those whose water supply lies in its path, including increased cancer diagnoses, respiratory and dermatological issues.

BBC News [Author: Gareth Evans]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board Meetings on the Sunshine Act

An upcoming hearing on the Sunshine Act aims to: 1) gather information from Department of Energy (DOE) Field Offices regarding Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) interfaces and access to information, facilities, and personnel managed; and (2) receive input from the public, regarding the role of independent oversight and interfaces between DNFSB and the DOE. Session 1 will take place from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. MST. Session 2 will be held from 7:15 - 9:00 p.m. MST and will allow members of the public to provide comment. The meeting will take place on February 21, 2019, at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

DNFSB Meeting

Call for Abstracts: APHA's 2019 Annual Meeting & Expo

The American Public Health Association’s (APHA) Occupational Health and Safety section is seeking high-quality abstracts on topics related to workers’ health and safety for the 147th Annual Meeting of the APHA in Philadelphia, PA. To complement the APHA 2019 meeting theme, preference will be given to abstracts which address research, policy, and action. Please submit an abstract for a poster, oral, or roundtable presentation. The submission deadline is February 23, 2019.

APHA Call for Abstracts

Apply Now to the 2019 Health Disparities Research Institute

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) will host the Health Disparities Research Institute (HDRI) from August 12-16, 2019, in Bethesda, MD. The HDRI aims to support the research career development of promising minority health/health disparities research scientists early in their careers and stimulate research in the disciplines supported by health disparities science. The program is intended for early-stage research investigators and will feature lectures on minority health and health disparities research; mock grant review; seminars and small group discussions. Applications are to be submitted by March 22, 2019, 5:00 p.m. EST.

2019 HDRI Application

2019 National Health Security Award Application

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) are pleased to announce the fourth annual National Health Security Award! This award recognizes local health departments that have demonstrated significant accomplishments in implementing health security-related initiatives within their jurisdictions. Applications are being accepted now through April 26, 2019.

2019 National Health Security Award Application

Save the Date: Workers’ Memorial Week (4/22 – 4/28)

Join National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) and individuals across the country to honor workers killed on the job and to renew the fight to strengthen worker health and safety protections. There will be events hosted across the country in observance of both workers’ families and workers themselves. You can visit the COSH website to find ways to get involved in Workers’ Memorial Week, occurring April 22 – 28, 2019.

COSH Workers’ Memorial Week Resources

Public Meeting on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic - April 29-30

Join the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for a public meeting of the Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic will take place on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. This open session will include a keynote presentation and updates from the four working groups of the Action Collaborative. The meeting's keynote speaker will be announced in the coming weeks.

Registration Information

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Ready or Not: Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism, 2019

This new report from Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) provides an annual snapshot of states’ public health and emergency response preparedness—and finds mixed results in this years’ picture. Authored by TFAH since 2003 the report had documented significant progress in the nation’s level of emergency readiness as well as areas that need improvement. Overall, 17 states score in top tier, 20 states and DC in the middle, and 13 states fall to the bottom.

Trust for America’s Health

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

Environmental Justice Small Grants Program – Deadline Extended

The Environmental Justice Small Grants (EJSG) program awards grants that support community-driven projects designed to engage, educate, and empower communities to better understand local environmental and public health issues and develop strategies for addressing those issues, building consensus in the community, and setting community priorities. The EJSG program will award approximately $1.5 million nationwide for this competitive opportunity. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) anticipates awarding approximately 50 grants (5 per EPA region) of up to $30,000 each. Due to the government shutdown, the deadline has been extended to March 8, 2018.

Environmental Protection Agency

OSHA Signs Charter for Working Group to Improve Chemical Facility Security

The Department of Labor, Department of Homeland Security, and the Environmental Protection Agency recently created and signed the Chemical Facility Security and Safety Working Group Charter. The working group, which includes other federal agency representatives, was established by an Executive Order in response to several chemical facility catastrophes. The charter reaffirms the group's commitment to work with stakeholders to address safety and security at chemical facilities, and reduce risks associated with hazardous chemicals to workers and communities.


EPA Tools Help Local Decision-Makers Deal with Waste Resulting from Major Natural Disasters

Following a natural disaster, communities can face an unexpected challenge: what to do with the tons of waste and debris left behind. To help manage waste after disasters, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) researchers and partners developed a suite of tools to assist in both urban and rural waste management planning and emergency response. Tools include the Incident Waste Assessment & Tonnage Estimator (I-WASTE) and the Municipal Solid Waste Decision Support Tool (MSW DST). These web-based tools can assist in appropriate strategies to improve community resiliency after a natural disaster.

EPA Tools Available

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Webinar: Join the Next EPIC Webinar – Communications for a Nuclear or Radiological Disaster

Join the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Emergency Partners Information Connection on February 27, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. EST for a special webinar on nuclear and radiological emergencies. One of CDC’s top communication experts from the National Center for Environmental Health will discuss the misunderstandings and the reality of radiation exposure, how a nuclear event would affect people, what actions to take and avoid during a nuclear event, and how to communicate about this topic.

Webinar Information

Webinar: Hospital-Based Incident Command Systems: Small and Rural Hospitals

The Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) is hosting this second webinar as part of a series of real experiences and practical applications associated with hospital-based incident command systems. This webinar will feature speakers from small and rural hospitals who have experienced a recent emergency and activated their hospital-based incident command systems. They will provide a brief overview of the incident, describe how they implemented their incident command system, discuss tools and share lessons learned for small and rural hospitals, and discuss how they have incorporated these lessons into their current systems and plans. The webinar will be held on March 12, 2019 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. EST.

Webinar Information

Webinar Registration

Webinar: No Amount of Training Can Help Learners in All Work Conditions—So What Do You Do? “Train for the Unknown”

Ray Jimenez, Ph.D, architect of and Chief Learning Officer of Vignettes Learning, will aid webinar participants in implementing efficient solutions for all work conditions. Participants will gain an understanding of the differences between training and learning and what happens in real work; what the opportunities are that can bridge the perfect training ideas with the deviations; how to help learners and workers go beyond the training programs they are provided; and what tools can be used to help learners anticipate and take actions in unknown conditions. Webinar will take place March 21, 2019, at 3 p.m. EST.

Webinar Information

Job OpeningsBack to Top

TNEC Seeks Worker Health Educator

The New England Consortium (TNEC) is currently seeking a Worker Health Educator (WHE) for its Hazardous Waste Worker/ Emergency Responder Health and Safety Training Program based at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The WHE will help lead TNEC’s efforts to meet its worker-oriented training goals, build the regional H&S movement, and develop working relationships with labor, environmental organizations, government, and business.

Job Description

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