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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: January 31, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, January 31, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

January 31, 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 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.


Coronaviruses: Outbreak Preparedness and Response, Infection Control, and Public Health Policy Free Articles

The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security has selected 10 relevant articles from its Health Security Journal on coronaviruses, outbreak preparedness and response, infection control, and public health policy; these articles will be freely available through Feb. 29 to facilitate the conversation around health security. We hope these pieces will serve as resources for the community as it works to ensure that the 2019-nCoV outbreak is fully understood and contained.

Health Security Journal

South Bruce Mayor Sees Bright Side of Being Host to Canada’s Nuclear Waste

With word that South Bruce is a step closer to being host to a $23-billion deep underground storage vault for Canada’s high-level nuclear waste, Mayor Bob Buckle sees potential benefits for decades to come. His rural municipality, with a population of less than 6,000, is one of two areas of Ontario still in the running to be home to a deep geologic repository for long-term storage of spent fuel rods currently stored above ground at nuclear sites.

The London Free Press [Author: Scott Dunn]

Amarillo EDC Helps Recruit Wind Energy Company, 150 Full-Time Jobs to Amarillo

The Amarillo City Council approved a Location Incentive Agreement presented by the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation (Amarillo EDC) to support the attraction of Suspendem Inc. to Amarillo. This ratification comes after approval by the Amarillo EDC Board of Directors on Jan. 16, according to an Amarillo EDC news release. This final step in the approval process allows the Amarillo EDC to provide an incentive agreement which will allow Suspendem Inc. to hire up to 150 full-time employees.

ABC 7 Amarillo [Author: Matthew Watkins]

Alabama Facing Shortage of Skilled Labor, Report Finds

A new report warns that Alabama faces a frightening shortage of skilled workers within the next five years if there isn’t more collaboration between business, education and career tech training programs. The Business Education Alliance of Alabama, a public policy group, is out with its report, “Education Matters,” the first in a series of reports from the Alliance on workforce development in Alabama. BEA Chairman and President Joe Morton unveiled the report for business executives at the Alabama Workforce Council. [Author: William Thornton]

Nuclear Waste Storage Plans Aren’t As Safe as We Thought, Experts Warn

Current methods for storing high-level nuclear waste are "severely" unsafe, scientists have warned. Researchers at Ohio State University discovered that long-term plans to store radioactive waste from nuclear arms production are unsustainable and would result in radioactive materials being released into the environment. The materials used to store the hazardous waste corrode far more quickly than previously thought, researchers write in a study published in scientific journal Nature Materials detailing their findings.

The Independent [Author: Anthony Cuthbertson]

Gulf Shrimpers Fight for Their Livelihoods in a Fertilizer-Fueled Dead Zone

Increasingly, Gulf Coast fishermen find themselves reckoning with a different type of pollution, a threat to ocean biodiversity and Louisiana’s $2 billion seafood industry that’s unrelated to oil and much harder to fix. The Gulf of Mexico dead zone is a massive, oxygen-deprived swath of water concentrated off the coast of Louisiana and Texas, fed by polluted freshwater from states along the Mississippi River.

Public Integrity [Author: Spike Johnson]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

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.


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. 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

Deadly Gessner Explosion the Latest in String of Major Chemical Incidents for Houston Area

The explosion early Friday, Jan. 24, morning at a manufacturing plant was the latest deadly reminder of the potential danger posed by hazardous material facilities in the Houston area. In 2019, there were at least five major chemical incidents in Southeast Texas. The Houston area is home to more than 2,500 chemical facilities. A 2015 Houston Chronicle investigation found there was a major chemical incident in the greater Houston area every six weeks. The investigation found many facilities posed serious threats to the public but were unknown to most neighbors and largely unpoliced by government at all levels.

Houston Chronicle [Author: Matt Dempsey]

Chemical Safety Board’s Staffing Criticized As It Probes Houston Explosion

A federal agency investigating Jan. 24’s deadly blast at a Houston manufacturing facility was criticized Jan. 29 for being too poorly staffed and equipped to properly probe chemical accidents. Steve Sallman, assistant director of health and safety for the United Steelworkers union, warned a Senate panel that the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board has been unable to complete investigations because of understaffing.

Houston Chronicle [Author: James Osborne]

Fourteen States Sue EPA Over Chemical Safety Regulations Rollback

Attorneys general from 14 states filed a lawsuit Jan. 29 against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over its rollback of Obama-era chemical plant safety regulations. A rule change finalized by the Trump administration last year eased safety regulations for chemical plants, making it so that they no longer deal with what officials called "unnecessary regulatory burdens."

The Hill [Author: Rachel Frazin]

World Faces ‘Weak’ Emergency Preparedness as Coronavirus Spreads

The outbreak of coronavirus that began in China and spread across the world, leaving more than 130 people dead, has raised alarm about the ability of countries to handle an epidemic or pandemic. The recent Global Health Security Index gives insights into which of 195 nations are ready to fight a major health emergency that could wreak havoc on the global economy. The report’s bottom-line conclusion is that national health security is “fundamentally weak around the world” and no country is fully prepared for major disease disaster.

Bloomberg [Author: Alexandre Tanzi]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

EPA Environmental Justice Grants Opportunity is Now Open

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) Cooperative Agreement Program provides funding to support community-based organizations in their efforts to collaborate and partner with local stakeholder groups to implement community-driven solutions that address environmental and public health issues for underserved communities. The EJCPS program will award approximately $1.2 million nationwide for this competitive opportunity.

EPA Grants

U.S. Department of Labor Forms Alliance with Boise School District to Promote Workplace Safety and Health

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has signed a two-year alliance with the Boise School District in Idaho to teach good workplace safety and health practices to young and vulnerable employees who are entering the workforce. The new alliance between OSHA’s Area Office in Boise and the school district’s Dennis Technical Education Center will introduce youth to OSHA, and provide training on employee rights and employer responsibilities; construction hazards, such as falls, caught-in or -between, struck-by, and electrocutions; and youth employment issues related to safety and health.

OSHA News Release

Anhydrous Ammonia Chemical Release — Lake County, Illinois, April 2019

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) finds that at least 500 gallons (1,893 L) of anhydrous ammonia gas was released from two tanks towed by a farm tractor in a residential area, resulting in evaluation of 83 persons at local emergency departments. Fourteen persons were hospitalized, including seven patients with respiratory failure. Preparation for hazardous materials (HAZMAT) responses should ensure timely and informative public communication, effective communication among first responders, accurate field information provided to health support personnel, and regular hazmat exercises for all response and support personnel.


Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

CPWR Silica and Emerging Respiratory Hazards in Construction

Many construction tasks can expose workers to respiratory hazards when the risk is not understood and controlled. The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) will provide an update on the latest research, controls and resources available to help contractors comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s silica standard and respond to emerging issues regarding nano-enabled construction materials including concrete. Contractors will be able to apply the information provided to protect the safety and health of their employees and improve their operations. The session takes place Feb. 4 at 3:30-5:00 p.m. ET.


Job OpeningsBack to Top

WJP Posts Three Job Opportunities

The Worker's Justice Project (WJP) is hiring three job positions. The positions based in New York City are Workplace Rights Organizer and Health and Safety and Community Organizer. WJP promotes justice and opportunity for low-wage immigrant workers in New York City by pushing for systematic enforcement and expansion of workplace protections, including labor and occupational health and safety standards; advocating for industry-specific efforts to improve working conditions; and educating immigrant communities about their rights in the workplace and how to exercise those rights.

Workplace Rights Organizer

Health and Safety Community and Community Organizer

OAI Seeks EHS Training Programs Associate Director

Chicago-based Opportunity Advancement Innovation (OAI) is conducting a national search to fill the key executive position of Associate Director, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Training Programs. The successful candidate will be a mission-driven safety professional who will play a key role in developing, implementing and overseeing OAI’s nationwide OSHA and EHS-related training programs. These programs address the health and safety training needs of underrepresented workers and job seekers who are most vulnerable to workplace-related injuries and illnesses.

Job Posting

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