January 5, 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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Resources to Prepare for Winter Weather Emergencies
Winter storm Grayson has strengthened off the east coast of the United States. Snow has already begun to accumulate as far south as Florida. More freezing rain, sleet, and snow are in store, with blizzard conditions in some areas. Coastal flooding and hurricane force winds are also a concern with this storm. Prepare for the first major storm of 2018 with resources you can trust on the health impacts of winter weather.
A Year of Disasters, Delays, and Debate
It's easy to identify the biggest safety stories of 2017—they involve the year's repeated disasters. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria were devastating, especially in south Texas and Puerto Rico; a June fire at a London residential high-rise building killed at least 80 people; and California wildfires in the fall killed 42 people and burned more than 8,000 structures. Beyond these, however, there were many other big events during the year.
Occupational Health & Safety [Author: Jerry Laws]
The Disasters We Lived Through in 2017
In 2017, there were at least 16 natural disasters that each racked up more than $1 billion in losses — one record-breaking catastrophe after another that made this year, by some counts, the most expensive disaster year in American history. Most devastating were the three Category 4 hurricanes that barreled into the US in late summer: Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
Vox [Authors: Kainaz Amaria and Eliza Barclay]
Coal Mining Deaths Surge in 2017 after Hitting Record Low
Coal mining deaths surged in the U.S. in 2017, one year after they hit a record low. The nation’s coal mines recorded 15 deaths last year, including eight in West Virginia. Kentucky had two deaths, and there were one each in Alabama, Colorado, Montana, Pennsylvania and Wyoming. In 2016 there were eight U.S. coal mine deaths.
The Associated Press [Author: John Raby]
Energy Department to Permanently Close Damaged Hanford Tank
The Energy Department says it will permanently close a damaged radioactive waste storage tank on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The department says that Tank AY-102 has widespread damage and should not be repaired. The Tri-City Herald reports that this is the oldest of the double-walled underground tanks at Hanford.
LANL Contract Raises Questions about BWXT
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad had been under new management for just 16 months when two of its most severe and costly accidents occurred. Within an eight-day span in February 2014, a salt truck caught fire in the mine 2,150 feet below ground, forcing workers to evacuate — crawling on hands and knees through the smoke — and a hazardous waste drum packed with radioactive materials burst, contaminating parts of the plant and dozens of workers with radiation.
The Santa Fe New Mexican [Author: Rebecca Moss]
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Call for Abstracts: APHA Now Accepting Submissions for Annual Meeting and Expo
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is now accepting abstracts for the APHA's 2018 Annual Meeting & Expo taking place November 10 – 14 in San Diego, CA. The theme of the meeting is Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity Now. Authors are encouraged to submit abstracts on the theme and current and emerging public health issues. Abstracts are due between February 20-24. See the list of components via link below for specific deadlines.
Webinar: Training Evaluation Doesn’t Have to Be as Formal as You Think
The webinar is hosted by Kirkpatrick Partners, and will focus on specific tactics to use before, during, and after training to ensure that participants grasp the content, apply it in their work, and see the desired outcomes. Participants of this webinar will discover how to incorporate training evaluation elements into their programs, gather training evaluation data using simple non-technical methods, and maximize results from the training programs. The webinar will take place on January 11, 2018 at 12:00 pm ET.
World Trade Center Health Program Seeks Committee Membership Nominations
The World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) is seeking nominations for membership on the Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee (STAC). Nominations for STAC must be submitted by January 26, 2018.
Call for Abstracts and Session Proposals: National Occupational Injury Research Symposium
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and partners are hosting the 7th National Occupational Injury Research Symposium, known as NOIRS 2018. NOIRS is the only national forum focused on the presentation of occupational injury research. This year’s theme is Advancing Worker Safety in the 21st Century Through Research and Practice. Abstracts and session proposals are due March 2, 2018.
NFPA Wildfire Community Preparedness Day
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is celebrating the 5th anniversary of its Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on May 5, 2018. NFPA will support funding for 150 awards to help with project implementation to improve wildfire hazard mitigation projects. Applications are open from January 8 to March 2, 2018. Projects will be implemented on May 5, with the goal to create safer, more resilient communities across the nation.
Spring 2018 National Trainer’s 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’s 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 is now open, and registration will open in mid-January.
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President Announces Pick for Assistant Secretary of Energy (Environmental Management)
Anne M. White of Michigan, has been nominated an Assistant Secretary of Energy (Environmental Management). Ms. White is the founder of Bastet Technical Services, LLC, a consulting firm that has been engaged in providing strategic solutions to solve complex environmental challenges across the Department of Energy complex. She has more than 25 years of experience across a broad range of activities within the nuclear field, mainly focused on project and program management projects with complex technical, regulatory, and stakeholder challenges.
Radium Girls: The Dark Times of Luminous Watches
A century ago, glow-in-the-dark watches were an irresistible novelty. The dials, covered in a special luminous paint, shone all the time and didn't require charging in sunlight. It looked like magic. One of the first factories to produce these watches opened in New Jersey in 1916. It hired about 70 women, the first of thousands to be employed in many such factories in the United States. It was a well-paid, glamorous job.
CNN [Author: Jacopo Prisco]
Worker Safety Data Shows We’re Slipping
We’re in the time when it becomes common to look back at the preceding 12 months and form conclusions about what occurred — the good, the bad, and the ugly — with the idea we will make some kind of resolution for improvement in the new year. On the topic of safety in the workplace, the United States needs to make a collective resolution to reverse numbers clearly heading in the wrong direction. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that fatal injuries on the job reached 5,190 in 2016. That’s up 7 percent from the previous year and marks the third year in a row for a year-over-year increase.
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Non-occupational Uses of Respiratory Protection – What Public Health Organizations and Users Need to Know
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has been certifying respirators and conducting research on these devices for over 40 years. In the last decade, respirator use by the general public has become a more frequent topic of debate as public health officials at the local, state, and federal level consider which public health and non-pharmaceutical interventions to recommend. In this blog, NIOSH teamed with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) colleagues to assist state and federal public health agencies, and other safety professionals, by translating lessons learned from respirator use at work to respirator use by the public.
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.
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Webinar: Review of Safety Management in the Construction Industry 2017 Report
The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) is hosting a webinar to review the key findings from Dodge Data & Analytics’ new report, Safety Management in the Construction Industry 2017. This study is the third in an ongoing series that examines the positive impacts of a wide variety of safety-related practices. The webinar will take place on January 23, 2018 at 2:00 pm ET.
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Fe y Justicia Worker Center Seeking a Director for Worker Empowerment Clinic
Fe y Justicia Worker Center's mission is to provide a safe space for low-wage workers to gather and learn about their rights in the workplace, network for various social services, file complaints with government agencies, meet with attorneys and connect with community allies. The Worker Empowerment Clinic Director will lead client education and consultation, direct casework, and referral services through a network of volunteers sustained jointly with the Worker Justice Organizer. This position develops and sustains relationships with Law and Social Work Schools, local attorneys, and government agencies to maximize justice for workers in Houston.
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