Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: January 17, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, January 17, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

January 17, 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, March 17-18. The workshop is tentatively scheduled from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday and 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday.


More Americans Are Killing Themselves at Work

America’s climbing suicide rate has become a problem for businesses, too. Buried in a report last month by the U.S. Bureau of Labor of Statistics on occupational fatalities was this tragic fact: More people are killing themselves in the workplace than ever before. The number of such suicides for 2018 was 304 — an 11 percent increase from the year before and the highest number since the bureau began tracking the data 26 years ago. Companies are struggling with how to respond.

Washington Post [Author: William Wan]

The Blackest City in the U.S. Is Facing an Environmental Justice Nightmare

Growing up in southwest Detroit, Vince Martin thought it was normal for the sky to be orange. When he was three years old, his family moved from Cuba to one of the black areas of town. At the time, discriminatory housing practices segregated the city. His Afro-Cuban family settled in the 48217 district, now Michigan’s most polluted zip code, where 71% of the population is black and air pollution makes the sky look like it’s on fire.

The Guardian [Author: Drew Costley]

U-Haul's Nicotine-Free Hiring Rule Reflects a Trend that Troubles Workers' Advocates

When U-Haul recently announced it will no longer hire people who use nicotine in any form in the 21 states where such hiring policies are legal, the Phoenix-based moving company joined a cadre of companies with nicotine-free hiring policies. U-Haul's announcement is receiving outside attention because nicotine-free hiring policies are more common at high-profile hospitals such as Cleveland Clinic that are especially protective of their healthy image. But the policies are raising concern around labor and medical ethics. Harald Schmidt, a medical ethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, says targeting smokers disproportionately harms poor people.

NPR [Author: Blake Farmer]

Some Hanford Radiation Exposure Records Could Harm Workers and Taxpayers, Report Says

Recordkeeping at Hanford could be improved to track worker radiation exposure, including to ensure fair compensation for workers who develop cancer, according to an inspection report of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Inspector General. Issues in recordkeeping can be a problem for both individual workers and the federal government under a compensation program for ill workers, said the report released Jan. 13.

Tri-City Herald [Author: Annette Cary]

California Sends Disaster-relief Team to Puerto Rico After Earthquakes

The state of California sent a delegation of disaster relief specialists to earthquake-stricken Puerto Rico on Jan. 12. The U.S territory is reeling from two back-to-back 6.4 and 5.9-magnitude quakes that caused large-scale damage in the southern regions of the island — specifically in Guayanilla, Ponce, Yauco and Guánica counties. After a request for assistance from Puerto Rico, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services deployed 35 specialists.

The Hill [Author: Alexandra Kelley]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

NSC 2020 Congress and Expo Call for Papers

The National Safety Council (NSC) Congress and Expo is the world's largest annual event for safety, health and environmental professionals. The event attracts decision makers, end users, and distributors from a wide variety of industries including manufacturing, construction, petrochemical and utilities. They are currently accepting papers for their technical sessions and professional development seminars. Proposals must be submitted by Jan. 31.

Call for Papers

PEPH 2020 Annual Meeting: Past, Present, and Future Registration Open

The Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) Annual Meeting will bring the environmental health network together to reflect on the past, discuss the present, and consider future opportunities. In addition to learning about strategies and approaches used to improve environmental public health, the PEPH2020 meeting will be an occasion to inform a new 10-year vision for the PEPH program in the context of the NIEHS Strategic Plan and the new Translational Research Framework. The meeting will be held Feb. 12-13 in Durham, North Carolina.


Register Now: 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 (NETEC) are conducting a joint webinar focused on Highly Pathogenic Infectious Disease Training and Exercise Resources on March 5, 1:30-300 PM 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 August 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. A number of studies have shown that certain high-risk industries and occupations, such as construction and extraction, are at high risk for opioid misuse, addiction, and overdose fatalities. 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

Recording Now Available: Healthcare Challenges in Chemical Incidents Webinar

HHS ASPR’s Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) hosted a webinar on January 14, 2020 on Healthcare Challenges in Chemical Incidents. The presentation and link to the webinar are now available. The title page of the presentation includes a link to the recording. Please note: you will need to enter your name and email address to access the recording.


Management of DOE Cleanup Office, Industry Consolidation, Procurement Issues Linger Into 2020

Several residents living near the former gaseous diffusion site have sued current and former Portsmouth contractors for allegedly failing to keep contamination inside the fence of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) site. DOE named longtime federal manager William (Ike) White as senior adviser for environmental management. The move effectively made the former chief of staff and associate principal deputy administrator at DOE’s semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration the new top official for cleanup. Ike White, however, has not been named acting EM-1: the agency designation for assistant secretary for environmental management.

Exchange Monitor [Author: Wayne Barber]

Federal Employee Suicides Reach a New Record

While the job-related fatality rate for Federal workers is less than half the rate in private industry, suicides are increasingly becoming the reported cause of Federal employees’ deaths. New data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics over this past holiday season show that Federal employee suicides are at their highest level as measured by records going back 15 years, with suicides accounting for 28% of the 124 Federal employee job-related deaths in 2018.

Fed Smith [Author: Michael Wald]

California Sees Rise in Worker Deaths in 2018 Stats

The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) just reported an increase in worker deaths from years past. In 2018, 422 workers in the state died on the job compared to 376 in 2017, 388 in 2016, and 344 in 2014. Overall, California’s rate of fatal workplace incidents per 100,000 workers remains stable, with minor fluctuations since 2008. The state’s rate has consistently been lower than the national average.

Occupational Health and Safety

Meet the Group Trying to Electrify America’s Railroads

Mary Paterson’s involvement in solutionary rail, a vision to electrify rail corridors spanning the U.S., began with a book review. Paterson is a Seattle-area environmental activist, and in 2017 penned a review for Real Change after reading a book written by the solutionary rail campaign. On the surface, it might seem like the environmental movement in the Pacific Northwest is at odds with large railroad companies.

Vashon-Muary Island Beachcomber [Author: Aaron Kunkler]

Louisiana Regulators Consider Denying Hazardous Waste Permit

Louisiana regulators have filed their intent to deny a permit to a company that burns explosive material unless it pursues more environmentally sound practices. Clean Harbors has burned materials including propellant for car air bags, solid rocket fuel and TNT at its private facility in Grant Parish since 1985, The Advocate reported on Jan. 12.

Shelton Herald

Workforce Development Program for Buffalo Youth Receives $1.5 Million Grant

Buffalo congressman Brian Higgins announced a $1.5 million federal grant for the Service Collaborative of Western New York Jan. 13. The grant will support the collaborative’s YouthBuild: Leaders Under Construction program. Western New York YouthBuild provides job training in construction, hospitality and advanced manufacturing, as well as high school equivalency coursework for youth aged 16 to 24.

WBFO [Author: Kyle Mackie]

Careers in the Construction Industry are Booming

For individuals, unafraid of getting their hands dirty and learning the true meaning behind a hard day’s work, there is an abundance of opportunity within the construction industry. There are countless positions available for work and advancement within the trades, especially for sought after minorities like Native Americans and women. A major access point for entry into these desirable career paths for tribal citizens and their families continues to be Tulalip’s TERO Vocational Training Center (TVTC), in Washington. The TVTC is the first and only state and nationally recognized Native American pre-apprenticeship program in the entire country and TVTC’s autumn cohort recently celebrated completion of the program.

TulapiaNews [Author: Kim Kalliber]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

NIOSH Is Seeking Input on its New 10-year Plan for Motor Vehicle Safety

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announces the availability of a draft strategic plan titled NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety Strategic Plan, 2020-2029 now available for public comment. Electronic or written comments must be received by Feb. 14.

Federal Register

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Children of Construction Workers Are at Risk of Secondhand Lead Exposure

Construction workers themselves aren’t the only people at risk of lead exposure – so are their loved ones at home, including their children, whose small bodies can be disproportionately affected by lead exposure. In a study funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a team of Boston College researchers will recruit participation from 60 families within the Greater Boston area, especially focused on homes where a person performs building renovations, bridge constructions, welding, metal work, demolition, or construction work at high risk for metal exposure, and who are living with at least one child.

The Brink [Author: Jessica Colarossi]

Steelworkers Challenge Rule Easing Chemical Safety

United Steelworkers has joined a legal challenge to an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule finalized in December that weakens an Obama-era chemical disaster regulation. The rule rescinds many provisions in a regulation released during the final days of the Obama administration, including requirements for third-party compliance audits and analyses of the root causes of chemical releases.

Bloomberg Environment [Author: Peter Hayes]

USW Press Release

Job OpeningsBack to Top

NYCOSH Seeks Safety and Health Specialist

The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) is seeking a safety and health specialist to develop, coordinate and conduct safety and health campaigns in New York City for construction workers, in particular Latino day laborers. In addition to conducting training, the job includes outreach to unions, community-based organizations and institutions, liaison with unions and production and distribution of appropriate safety and health materials. The deadline to apply is Jan. 31.

Job Posting

LHSFNA Seeks Safety and Health Specialist

The Laborers’ Health & Safety Fund of North America (LHSFNA) is seeking a highly motivated Safety and Health Specialist to provide technical health and safety support to the members and affiliates of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA). The position reports to the Director of Occupational Safety and Health. LHSFNA is a joint labor-management trust fund dedicated to enhancing jobsite health and safety, bolstering the health of Laborers and their families, boosting the competitiveness of LIUNA signatory employers, and supporting LIUNA.

Job Posting

Teamsters Seek Industrial Hygienist

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) is seeking a highly motivated Industrial Hygienist in comprehensive practice to provide technical and regulatory health and safety support to Teamster members and affiliates. The position reports to the Director and Deputy Director of the IBT Safety and Health Department. The Industrial Hygienist conducts workshops, seminars, and meetings on occupational safety and health topics to Teamster membership, and drafts comments and testimony on safety and health related technical, regulatory, and policy issues.

Job Description

We Want Your FeedbackBack to Top

We Want Your Feedback

What kinds of stories or other content would make this newsletter especially valuable to you?

Send your ideas for this newsletter to:

To go back and subscribe to the newsletter, click here

Back issues of our Newsbrief are available at our archives page

to Top