February 22, 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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State Lawmakers Consider More Help for Sick Hanford Workers, While Feds Push Back
The federal government sued Washington State in December of 2018 to overturn a new law that is paying state worker compensation benefits to more sick Hanford site workers. Now, some state lawmakers are working to change the new law to allow even more ill workers to be compensated. Before the Legislature eased requirements in 2018 for approving Hanford compensation claims, Hanford workers were required to show that a specific exposure, such as to hazardous chemicals or radiation, at the nuclear reservation caused an illness or injury.
Tri-City Herald [Author: Annette Cary]
Texas Estimates Hurricane Harvey Won’t Be an Overall Economic Hit
Texas’ robust economy helped the state sustain the economic shock of Hurricane Harvey with the spending required to rebuild eventually resulting in a projected $800 million gain in economic activity, according to an analysis from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Using the Regional Economic Models, Inc. model, the Texas Comptroller was able to estimate the economic impact to the state by comparing productivity losses like utility outages and lost wages to rebuilding gains like spending from insurance companies, government, and nonprofits.
Route Fifty [Author: Dave Nyczepir]
DOT Agencies Requiring Spill Response Plans for HHFTs
Two agencies within the Department of Transportation have issued a final rule aimed at strengthening railroads' preparedness for oil spills. The final rule from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration will take effect 180 days after being published. The final rule requires railroads to develop and submit Comprehensive Oil Spill Response Plans for route segments traveled by High Hazard Flammable Trains (HHFTs) traveling with certain amounts of petroleum oil tank cars.
New Problem for Legal Weed: Exploding Pot Factories
States are facing a new danger as legal marijuana spreads across the country: explosions and fires at cannabis factories are sending workers to the hospital with severe burns, revealing the nascent industry's lack of proper safety standards. In the 33 states where the drug is legal for medical or recreational use, at least 10 fires or explosions have occurred in the past five years at facilities that extract hash oil used in edible products. Nearly all resulted in serious injuries for production-line staff. Most of the states where marijuana is legal offer no safety and health guidance for the new industry.
Politico [Author: Rebecca Rainey]
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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.
Save the Date: Workers’ Memorial Week
Join the 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. Visit the COSH website to find ways to get involved in Workers’ Memorial Week, occurring April 22–28, 2019.
Symposium: Disasters and Health: State of Science
This symposium will be a dynamic event convening the leading disaster experts from the fields of science, academia, government, finance and technology. The objective of the symposium is to identify the important issues enabling and constraining an evidence-based approach to disaster preparedness and response, with a particular focus on health. This event aims to provide a constructive forum for disaster scientists, disaster health practitioners, academics, federal agencies, health organizations, nonprofit organizations, and others. The meeting will be held at the headquarters of American Geophysical Union in Washington, DC on April 25-26, 2019.
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.
Public Meeting on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic
Join the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for a public meeting of the Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic. The meeting 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.
IOSC Call for Papers and Posters
As an internationally recognized technical and policy forum, the International Oil Spill Conference (IOSC) is seeking thematically related papers and posters for its next convening in New Orleans, Louisiana, on May 11 – 14, 2020. The paper and poster presentations are the backbone of the IOSC’s technical program and contribute to the vast canon of oil pollution knowledge shared between government, industry, and academia. Invited authors present their respective papers or posters during speaker platform or interactive sessions scheduled during the IOSC.
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The Opioid Crisis and Connecticut’s Workforce
Substance abuse costs Connecticut employers millions of dollars every year in lost productivity and days away from work, increased healthcare costs, human resources activities, and other resource expenditures. In response, the Connecticut Department of Public Health has published The Opioid Crisis and Connecticut’s Workforce, a multidisciplinary white paper that challenges conventional, “punitive discipline” human resource models as ineffective in addressing complex substance abuse issues in the workforce. The white paper is the result of collaboration between practitioners and researchers in the fields of public health, substance abuse treatment and recovery, employer human resources, legal services, and insurance providers.
National Disaster Medical System: Bringing More Than Teams of Professional Medical Providers
The National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) has a heroic, yet complex, mission to save lives and protect Americans. When disaster strikes, it’s potentially the worst day in the lives of hundreds – if not thousands – of people. Therefore, mobilization, implementation, and execution need to be streamlined and seamless. NDMS has identified three pillars, outlined in this blog, to expand the service’s capabilities and provide a robust response anytime, anywhere.
ASPR Blog [Author: Elizabeth Jarrett]
Ebola Under Control in Beni Amid More Cases in Other Hot Spots
In a promising development in the former Ebola hot spot of Beni, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) announced that a full Ebola incubation period—21 days—have passed without any new cases. The announcement came as the country's health ministry reported four new cases from the current epicenters, Katwa and Butembo. In its statement, the health ministry called the situation in Beni a "major breakthrough," following a peak in cases that occurred there between September and November in 2018.
CIDRAP News [Author: Lisa Schnirring]
Ebola Outbreak Reminds Us That We Need Pandemic Preparedness
Smallpox virus caused an estimated half-billion deaths in the 20th century before the World Health Assembly declared it eradicated in 1980. Our ability to diagnose and treat infectious diseases has advanced tremendously over the last century, but they continue to pose significant threats to public health. For example, the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has become one of the worst in decades. Congress has already made substantial investments to guard against these threats and should ensure continued funding before the current authorization expires in 2020.
The Hill [Authors: Brian T. Garibaldi and Lisa L. Maragakis]
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EPA Releases First Major Update to Chemicals List in 40 Years
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an update of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory listing the chemicals that are actively being manufactured, processed and imported in the United States. A key result of the update is that less than half of the total number of chemicals on the current TSCA Inventory (47 percent or 40,655 of the 86,228 chemicals) are currently in commerce. As the result of a tremendous effort on behalf of thousands of stakeholders and manufacturers from across the country, this information will help EPA focus risk evaluation efforts on chemicals that are still on the market.
Twenty-Nine Year Summary of Silicosis in Michigan
Silicosis is a lung disease caused by exposure to airborne silica. Generally, it causes scarring (pulmonary fibrosis) after 20 or more years of exposure. Since 1988, Michigan has been identifying individuals who develop silicosis with the goal of targeting prevention actions. Michigan’s system is both the longest running and only comprehensive surveillance system for silicosis in the United States. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently reported on the 1,048 Michigan residents with confirmed silicosis identified over 29 years.
NIOSH [Authors: Kenneth D. Rosenman and Mary Jo Reilly]
Notes from the Field: Lead and Cadmium Exposure in Electronic Recyclers—Two States, 2015 and 2017
In 2012, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) became aware of the potential for occupational and take-home exposures to lead and cadmium in the electronics recycling industry. Thus, electronics industry stakeholders were contacted to discuss these exposures and provide information about NIOSH’s ability to investigate workplace hazards. The findings of these health hazard evaluations confirm workplace exposures to lead and cadmium at these facilities. They also suggest that employees in shredding facilities might be at higher risk for exposure than are those at nonshredding facilities.
NIOSH [Authors: Reed Grimes, Catherine Beaucham, and Jessica Ramsey]
NIOSH Announced Free, Confidential Screenings In 2019 For Coal Miners
Beginning in April 2019, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) will offer a series of free, confidential health screenings to coal miners as part of the Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP). The screenings are intended to provide early detection of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP), also known as black lung, a serious but preventable occupational lung disease in coal miners caused by breathing respirable coal mine dust.
NIOSH Releases Software Tool for Hazard Recognition Training in Mines
Mineworkers can now challenge themselves to identify workplace hazards with a preview release of EXAMiner software from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). This new training tool, developed by NIOSH’s Mining Program, is a PC-based software application that allows both novice and experienced miners to test their examination skills in a simulated, interactive environment with more than 30 panoramic photos from a real surface limestone mine, or with uploaded images taken by smartphones or digital cameras in their own mine in any sector.
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NIOSH and OSHA Resources to Protect Outdoor Workers from Extreme Cold and Other Winter Weather Hazards
Winter weather presents hazards including slippery roads/surfaces, strong winds, and cold stress. Employers must prevent illnesses, injuries, or fatalities, by controlling these hazards in workplaces impacted by winter weather. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) present information aimed at improving the way people prepare for and respond to severe weather. These pages are designed to remind workers to be prepared and aware of winter weather hazards, to help businesses and workers prepare for winter weather, and provide information about hazards workers may face during and after winter storms.
Webinar Recording Now Available: An Introduction to the Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic
The National Academy of Medicine held a webinar on February 13, 2019, featuring an overview of the Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic and the work it will undertake over the next two years to share knowledge, align initiatives, and advance multisector solutions to improve outcomes for those impacted by the opioid epidemic.
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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.
MassCOSH Seeks Labor-Community Training Coordinator and Organizer
The Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) is currently seeking a Labor-Community Training Coordinator and Organizer. This person will be responsible for conducting outreach to unions and community-based partners to build relationships and assist workers to identify priority health, safety, and environmental concerns; assisting with the development and dissemination of materials/training curricula to help unions and community-based partners; and conducting health and safety trainings and workshops using a popular education model.
Featured Safety Jobs with the American Society of Safety Engineers
Featured Safety Jobs with the American Industrial Hygiene Association
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