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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: February 21, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, February 21, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

February 21, 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

Spring 2020 NIEHS WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop Registration Open

The semi-annual NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) Awardee Meeting brings awardees together to provide program updates, exchange information regarding training, and discover new areas of interest to awardees. Emory University Woodruff Health Sciences Center, in conjunction with the NIEHS WTP, is sponsoring a workshop on Bio-Preparedness. The workshop will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, Mar. 17-18. The hotel room block closes Feb. 23 at 5:00 p.m. ET and registration closes Feb. 29 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The draft agenda is now available.


Coronavirus Angst Driving Demand for Worker Safety Respirators

Coronavirus fears could lead to shortages of respirators commonly worn by construction and factory workers as consumers buy them up and medical workers get high priority. The respirators being grabbed off store shelves and ordered online by people worried about inhaling the coronavirus are the same respirators used by workers who labor in dusty conditions to avoid breathing in a host of airborne hazards from stone silica dust to wildfire ash.

Bloomberg Environment [Author: Bruce Rolfsen]

Oregon Landfill Accepted Two Million Pounds of Radioactive Fracking Waste From North Dakota

A chemical waste landfill near the Columbia Gorge has been accepting hundreds of tons of radioactive fracking waste from North Dakota in violation of Oregon regulations. Oregon Department of Energy officials issued a “notice of violation” to Chemical Waste Management’s landfill near the small town of Arlington on Feb. 13 for accepting a total of 2 million pounds of Bakken oil field waste that was delivered by rail in 2016, 2017, and 2019.

Oregon Live [Author: Laura Gunderson]

Delegation Should Support Strong Review of Pit Production

“Awkward” was how a recent article by the Associated Press appropriately described the position of New Mexico’s congressional delegation when it comes to environmental review of plans to ramp up production of plutonium “pits” at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). On LANL, which produces radioactive waste and will produce much more when it starts making the grapefruit-sized cores of nuclear weapons on a grand scale over the next decade, elected officials have walked something of a tightrope.

The Albuquerque Journal

Cincinnati Construction Company Owner Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud Involving Worker Safety and Embezzlement From Company 401(k) Program

The owner of a Cincinnati-based construction company pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining employee safety training certificates and embezzling from the company’s pension benefit program. Ron Craig Estes, owner of R&R Steel, LLC, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Black to one count of mail fraud and one count of theft from an employee benefit plan.

The Highland County Press

Early Workforce Opportunities for High School Students Discussed at Panel

A new job training program and the Early College program were leading topics discussed Feb. 13 at a workforce development panel during the Economic Outlook Conference at Columbia College. Beginning before spring break in March, Columbia high school students will have the opportunity to learn the basics of construction in an on-site trailer with equipment simulators.

The Missourian [Author: Evan Musil]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Climate Justice: How Enforcement Can Help Communities at Risk

The Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) is hosting on a webinar on Feb. 26 at 2:00 p.m. with leading experts on legal enforcement, litigation, and the climate crisis. Building on insights from the experts’ extensive analysis of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency enforcement policy, the webinar will delve into the challenges of using 1970s-era laws to address community-level impacts of the climate crisis and opportunities for progress.


SBIR Fast Track Innovation Showcase

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Fast Track Innovation Showcase will be June 29-30 at TechConnect World in National Harbor, Maryland. The conference connects individuals for commercialization partnerships with corporate, investment, government, and military customers. The TechConnect innovation prospecting platform is now accepting innovation submissions until Feb. 28. The information provided will qualify technology to be enrolled in corporate partnering, awards program, and innovation-pitch style presentations.

SBIR Innovation

NIMHD 10th Anniversary Scientific Symposium: Innovations to Promote Health Equity

The National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) is hosting their 10th Anniversary Scientific Symposium: Innovations to Promote Health Equity. The symposium will showcase the latest discoveries in minority health and health disparities research. Leading researchers investigating salient topics will help crystalize and further explore our current knowledge about the determinants of health and their impact on minority health and health disparities. The symposium will take place Mar. 3 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET at the National Institutes of Health Main Campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

Symposium Details

Highly Pathogenic Infectious Disease Training and Exercise Resources Webinar

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE), and the National Ebola Training and Education Center are conducting a joint webinar focused on Highly Pathogenic Infectious Disease Training and Exercise Resources on Mar. 5, 1:30-300 p.m. ET. During this webinar, speakers will highlight new online courses and exercise templates.


Meeting Registration

NACCHO 2020 Preparedness Summit Registration Open

Registration is now open for the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) 2020 Prep Summit, which will be held Mar. 31-Apr. 3 in Dallas. This year’s theme, Fixing Our Fault Lines: Addressing Systemic Vulnerabilities, will focus on methods to identify systemic weaknesses and highlight tools and policies that can empower all communities, and particularly the ones that are most vulnerable, to address those weaknesses and become more resilient.

Meeting Registration

2020 Health Disparities Research Institute Save the Date

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) will host the Health Disparities Research Institute (HDRI) from Aug. 3-7 in Bethesda, Maryland. The online application system will open in early February 2020. The HDRI aims to support the research career development of promising early-career minority health and health disparities research scientists and to stimulate research in disciplines supported by health disparities science.


New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy Call for Papers

New Solutions seeks high quality manuscripts for a special issue, Opioids and the Workplace - Risk Factors and Solutions, dedicated to work and the opioid crisis. The workplace has been the forgotten element in the national response to the opioid crisis, even though workers and their families have been particularly impacted nationwide. Emerging research, case studies, and advocacy programs will be reviewed in this issue. Manuscripts will be accepted until June 30. Accepted papers will be published March 2021.

Call for Papers

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Early Intervention Key to Better Worker Safety

Worker safety is a big deal – like a $161.5 billion big deal (the total cost of worker injuries, according to recent available data). Or, another way to look at it is $1,100 per worker or $39,000 per medically consulted injury. As a result, many companies are seeking creative solutions – and not just solutions that help workers after an injury occurs but solutions that help employees before they experience a workplace injury, thus working to prevent an injury before it occurs.

EHS Daily Advisor [Author: Rebecca Lee]

Dallas City Council Votes to Buy Nearly $9 Million of New Firefighting Gear in Effort to Prevent Occupational Cancer

Cancer is a big concern for firefighters, but a new move by the Dallas City Council could help alleviate some of those concerns. On Feb. 12, a major milestone passed with the City of Dallas. City Council members voted unanimously to add a second set of gear for every Dallas firefighter. Nine million dollars will fund 1,750 sets of gear.

MSN News [Author: Tiffany Liou]

Clean Economy Act Would Bring Changes to Virginia’s Electric Utilities

Appalachian Power Co. plans to shut down its Clinch River power plant in 2026, eliminating its last source of fossil fuel-based generation in Virginia. Yet the utility currently gets nearly 80% of its electricity from coal and natural gas-fed power plants in other states – largely sparing it from parts of a proposed Virginia law that would require a conversion to all renewable energy, critics say. “This legislation will grow our economy, protect public health and improve Virginians’ lives,” Michael Town, executive director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, said in a statement.

The Roanoke Times [Author: Laurence Hammack and Amy Friedenberger]

Chemical Reaction Behind Explosions That Rocked Newburyport Plant

Officials on Feb. 14 said a chemical reaction was behind several explosions that rocked a pharmaceutical plant in Newburyport, Massachusetts, a day earlier. The Department of Fire Services said in a statement the explosions at SEQENS, formerly PCI Synthesis, occurred during "a sampling procedure of product from a large vat."

NBC Boston [Author: Jake Levin and Ryan Kath]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

Are There Nano- and Microplastics in the Workplace?

The growing problem of plastic pollution in the environment is receiving an increasing amount of attention. Small particles of plastics are often referred to as microplastics (plastic particles smaller than 5 mm) and nanoplastics (the nanoscale fraction of plastic particles). Nano- and microplastic particles can be formed through environmental and mechanical degradation. They can be also generated through condensation of molecular species, for example, during heating or burning of plastics.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Science Blog

EPA Proposes Additional Amendments to the Regulations for Coal Combustion Residuals

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced further proposed revisions and flexibilities to the regulations for the management of coal combustion residuals, commonly known as coal ash, from electric utilities. This proposal follows others that are intended to implement the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, respond to petitions, address litigation, and apply lessons learned to ensure smoother implementation of the rule.


Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Opioid Use and Worksite Overdose Fatalities in the Construction Industry: A Look at the Data and CPWR Resources & Efforts

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) is hosting a webinar on Feb. 27 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET on opioid use and worksite overdoses. Recent state-level studies of opioid overdose deaths show that construction workers are six to seven times more likely to die of an overdose than workers in other professions. CPWR Sue Dong will review their Quarterly Data Report and Chris Cain will present additional resources.


Job OpeningsBack to Top

NSC Publicizes VP, Roadway Safety and VP, Workplace Safety Job Opportunities

The National Safety Council (NSC) is a nonprofit organization with the mission of saving lives and preventing injuries from the workplace to anyplace, through leadership, research, education and advocacy. To further the vision for the organization, NSC is hiring two practice leads to evaluate and grow their respective business lines. The Vice Presidents will be responsible for establishing and overseeing the Roadway Safety and Workplace Safety practice areas.

Vice President, Workplace Safety Job Posting

Vice President, Roadway Safety Job Posting

Public Citizen Seeks Worker Health and Safety Advocate

Public Citizen is hiring a worker health and safety advocate. The worker health and safety advocate will play a leading role managing Congress Watch’s policy and advocacy on occupational health and safety, including in the topic areas of whistleblower rights, environmental impacts on worker health, appropriations implications, and others as necessary, and manage related public education and outreach.

Job Announcement

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