February 11, 2022
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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NIEHS WTP Releases New Opioids Initiatives Document
This new document titled “Initiatives to Prevent Opioid Misuse and Promote Recovery Friendly Workplace Programs" includes summaries of opioid training conducted by organizations funded by the NIEHS WTP. It also highlights training programs, toolkits, resources, and initiatives from other agencies and organizations. This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list, because there are many other organizations doing important work that we may not know about.
Tonnes of COVID-19 Health Care Waste Expose Urgent Need to Improve Waste Management Systems
Tens of thousands of tonnes of extra medical waste from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has put tremendous strain on health care waste management systems around the world, threatening human and environmental health and exposing a dire need to improve waste management practices, according to a new World Health Organization (WHO) report.
U.S. Flood Risk Is About to Explode — But Not for the Reasons You Think
A new study published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change projects that the number of people in the U.S. who are exposed to flooding will almost double over the next 30 years — but not for the reasons you might think. Most new risk will come not from climate change but from population growth in areas that are already vulnerable to flooding.
By 2029 North America Could Lose 1.2 Million More People to Opioid Overdose
Experts of the Stanford-Lancet Commission warn that there could be over 1.2 million additional opioid overdose deaths expected in North America by 2029. The estimated number is more than double the amount of opioid overdose deaths that have occurred in the past 2 decades.
HCP Live [Author: Giuliana Grossi]
N95 Masks for COVID-19 Can Be Safely Decontaminated Up to 25 Times
N95 respirators are commonly used in hospitals worldwide to protect healthcare personnel from infectious pathogens. During the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare facilities have experienced shortages of the respirators, forcing personnel to re-use them or resort to less protective masking alternatives.
How Long Can You Wear an N95 Mask?
Recognized as the best protection against COVID-19, N95 masks are now free for Americans at pharmacies, retailers and health centers nationwide. Participating pharmacies are currently distributing the first batch of masks from the 400 million free N95 masks promised by the White House. Customers are limited to three masks per person.
CNET [Author: Dan Avery]
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Cal/OSHA Announces Advisory Committee for Domestic Workers
California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) is announcing the creation of an advisory committee that will develop occupational safety and health guidance for domestic workers. Qualifying domestic workers with experience inside or outside the home, and employers of domestic workers are encouraged to apply to become committee members. The deadline to submit an application is Feb. 18.
NIH Webinar: Climate Change, Air Pollution, and Health: What Lies Ahead
The NIH Climate Change and Health Webinar Series presents a webinar on air pollution. Climate change will influence air pollution, changing the mix of air pollution sources and the generation of air pollution. This webinar will address how the nexus of climate change, air pollution, and health will evolve with mitigation and adaptation to climate change. It will be held on Feb. 22 at 1:00 p.m. ET.
New SC-SMIS Strengthens Safety Culture
The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) has just launched the Safety Climate-Safety Management Information System (SC-SMIS). The latest resource to help contractors and safety professionals improve job site safety culture and safety climate – and therefore reduce the potential for injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. CPWR will host a webinar to demonstrate the tool on Feb. 24 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
EPA Releases Screening Methodology to Evaluate Chemical Exposures and Risks to Fenceline Communities
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released for public comment and peer review version 1.0 of a proposed screening level methodology to evaluate potential chemical exposures and associated potential risks to fenceline communities in Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluations. EPA will hold a public virtual meeting of the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals on March 15-17, to peer review the screening level methodology.
|On The Web This Week
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Ludwig Benner Jr.: The Father of Modern Hazmat Thinking
Ludwig “Ludi” Benner Jr. was a pioneer in hazardous materials response research and development in the 1970s. He also is the Father of Modern Hazmat Thinking. Benner passed away Nov. 15, 2021, in Virginia. He was 94 years old.
Firehouse [Author: Robert Burke]
Incident Investigations Pose Uphill Battle, But Boost Contractors' Safety
Just the term "incident investigation" can sometimes make employees nervous or hesitant to participate in important safety assessments. Nevertheless, getting to the bottom of a construction site incident is the best way to prevent similar situations in the future. Companies can overcome employee concerns and gather more complete information that results in valuable action items by planning and solidly executing incident investigations.
Construction Dive [Author: Katie Pyzyk]
Biden Administration Aims to Jump-Start Texas Oil Jobs by Cleaning Up Abandoned Wells
The Biden administration will soon start distributing money to states to help clean up and seal abandoned oil and gas wells, known as “orphan wells.” Texas is set to receive $343 million for that effort – more money than any other state.
Texas Standard [Authors: Jill Ament and Kristen Cabrera]
Nashville Expanding Mental Health Worker, Police Partnership
Nashville announced that it will expand a pilot project that pairs mental health professionals with police after the program’s first seven months yielded promising results. The announcement comes roughly a week after nine law enforcement officers — including six from Metro Nashville Police — fatally shot a man walking on Interstate 65.
Work Environment Risk Factors Causing Day-To-Day Stress in Occupational Settings: A Systematic Review
The BMC Public Health Journal published an article that provides a systematic review including studies assessing stress exposures as work environment risk factors and stress outcomes, measured via self-perceived questionnaires and physiological stress detection. These measures needed to be assessed repeatedly or continuously via Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) or similar methods carried out in real-world work environments, to be included in this review.
|Federal Agency Update
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Biden Administration Announces Nearly $725 Million to Create Good-Paying Union Jobs, Catalyze Economic Revitalization in Coal Communities
The U.S. Department of the Interior announced nearly $725 million in Fiscal Year 22 funding is available to 22 states and the Navajo Nation to create good-paying union jobs and catalyze economic opportunity by reclaiming abandoned mine lands (AML) as part of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The law allocates a total of $11.3 billion in AML funding over 15 years, which will help communities eliminate dangerous environmental conditions and pollution caused by past coal mining.
As Workers’ Injury and Illness Rates Soar, U.S. Department of Labor Urges Healthcare Facilities, Providers to Employ Effective Safety, Health Programs
Amid the pandemic, U.S. healthcare workers experienced a staggering 249 percent increase in injury and illness rates in 2020 while serving those in need. In fact, workers in the healthcare and social assistance industries combined, suffered more injuries and illnesses than workers in any industry in the nation.
EPA Releases New Calculator for Occupational Pesticide Exposure
In an effort to provide “more confidence and certainty” about risks and exposures related to occupational pesticide seed treatment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed a calculator and released updated worker exposure data.
Sun News Report [Author: Colin Fluxman]
EPA Science Advisers Recommend Tighter Soot Air Quality Standards in Draft Document
In a new draft document, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) science advisers recommended that the agency tighten its air quality standards for soot pollution. The new draft that was released by the EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) says “all CASAC members agree that the current level of the annual standard is not sufficiently protective of public health and should be lowered.”
The Hill [Author: Rachel Frazin]
|Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
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Unequal Impact: Putting Justice at the Heart of the Climate Fight
Beverly Wright, a leading voice on environmental justice and an advisor to the Biden White House, talks with Yale Environment 360 about why some climate policies do more harm than good for communities of color and why disaster relief remains insufficient or out of reach for so many.
Yale Environment 360 [Author: Jeremy Deaton]
Bill to Ban PFA’s Named After Late SoMD Firefighter George “Walter” Taylor
In a virtual press conference, Maryland State Senator Sarah Elfreth and Delegate Sara Love, joined by the Professional Fire Fighters of Maryland, announced their legislation that would limit the sale of firefighting foam, rugs, and carpets, and food packaging that contains intentionally added per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, otherwise known as PFAS.
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UAB Medicine Hiring Health Care and Support Workers
University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) Medicine is now hiring for a variety of medical specialties and support services, including nursing and respiratory therapy. In addition, UAB Medicine is hiring for entry-level positions in support services such as food and nutrition, supply chain, and guest services.
OSHA Seeks Emergency Management Specialist
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is seeking an emergency management specialist. The position will provide a wide variety of technical analysis, evaluative, and guidance development duties in supporting the organizational mission of protecting the safety and health of workers during preparedness for, response to, and recovery from natural and manmade disasters/emergencies and emerging infectious diseases. The deadline to apply is Feb. 15.
New Solutions Seeks Editorial Assistant
New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy seeks an editorial assistant to work between 10 and 20 hours per week (depending on experience, and expertise and workflow during production cycles,). New Solutions is a quarterly peer-reviewed journal published by SAGE Publications.
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