January 22, 2021
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 Stories
- Calendar Features
- On The Web This Week
- Federal Agency Update
- Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
- Job Openings
- We Want Your Feedback
- Newsbriefs Past Issues
|Top Stories||Back to Top|
Addressing the Role of the Vaccine in Workplace COVID-19 Prevention Webinar Recording Available
The recording and presentations from the Jan. 14 webinar, “Addressing the Role of the Vaccine in Workplace COVID-19 Prevention: How to Weed through Misinformation, Mistrust, and Improve Worker Protection,” hosted by the NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), are now available online, along with a host of other COVID-19 materials.
U.S. Supreme Court Affirms Tribal Jurisdiction over FMC
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected FMC Corporation’s final appeal to contest the jurisdiction of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes to regulate FMC’s storage of 22 million tons of hazardous waste on the Fort Hall Reservation at the Eastern Michaud Superfund waste site. The Supreme Court’s order affirmed the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals requiring FMC to honor its agreement to pay the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes $1.5 million a year for a permit fee.
Idaho State Journal [Author: Devon Boyer]
Report: Safety Failure Led to Fatal Injury at Surface Coal Mine in Eastern Kentucky
An accident that killed a worker at a surface coal mine in Eastern Kentucky happened because he hadn’t been instructed to turn off a piece of equipment before working on it, causing a fatal injury when he was knocked into a metal railing, federal regulators concluded.
Hazardous Waste Management Market to Reach $19.3B by 2027
As the amount of hazardous waste multiplies every year due to rapid urbanization and industrialization, companies in the hazardous waste management market are innovating unique techniques to battle this pressing challenge.
Dangerous Heat, Unequal Consequences
Heat-related illnesses are soaring in Arizona and Florida as the planet warms and temperatures rise. Among the hottest states in the country, none saw a sharper spike in summertime temperatures over the last century than these two. Poor communities are bearing the brunt of sickening heat in these states, an analysis by Columbia Journalism Investigations and the Center for Public Integrity found.
Public Integrity [Authors: Sofia Moutinho and Elisabeth Gawthrop]
EPA: Hawaii’s Military Bases Dumped 630,000 Pounds of Toxic Nitrate into the Ocean
U.S. military bases in Hawaii dumped more than half a million pounds of nitrate compounds – toxic chemicals commonly found in wastewater treatment plants, fertilizers and explosives – into the ocean in 2019, newly released federal data shows. Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam led with the release of 540,000 pounds, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest Toxic Release Inventory.
Civil Beat [Author: Yoohyun Jung]
Tribal Elders Are Dying from the Pandemic, Causing a Cultural Crisis for American Indians
One by one, those connections are being severed as the coronavirus tears through ranks of Native American elders, inflicting an incalculable toll on bonds of language and tradition that flow from older generations to the young.
New York Times [Author: Jack Healy]
|Calendar Features||Back to Top|
Register Now for the Environmental Justice and Natural Disasters/COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Meeting: Southeast and Caribbean Basin Region
The Federal Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Environmental Justice (EJ) and Natural Disaster Subcommittee is hosting three virtual Regional Town Hall Meetings in early 2021. The first two-hour virtual Town Hall Meeting will focus on the Southeast and Caribbean Basin Region (including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) on Wednesday, Jan. 27.
CBPR Partnership Academy Requests for Applications
The Detroit Community Academic Urban Research Center invites applicants for their Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Partnership Academy. It is designed for community members and academic researchers with little or no CBPR experience who are interested in enhancing their knowledge and skills using a CBPR approach, to conduct research and action in collaborative partnership aimed at eliminating health inequities in their communities. The deadline to apply is Jan. 27.
Forklift Safety & Compliance: Answering the Tough Questions
Forklifts and other powered industrial trucks (PITs) have seen a renewed focus recently with the observance of National Forklift Safety Day, a revised ANSI lift truck industry standard, and a regulatory agenda item to revise the Occupational Safety and Health Administration standard. The webinar will be held on Feb. 11 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Online Abstract Submissions for APHA’s "Creating the Healthiest Nation: Strengthening Social Connectedness"
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is now accepting abstract submissions for oral and poster presentations for the APHA 2021 Annual Meeting and Expo. Authors are encouraged to submit abstracts on the meeting theme, “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Strengthening Social Connectedness," and current and emerging public health issues. The deadline to submit is March 21.
Brownfields 2021 Second Call for Ideas Now Open
The call for ideas for the 2021 National Brownfields Training Conference is now open. A great Brownfields 2021 educational program will motivate brownfields stakeholders to engage, learn, and share their experiences and knowledge of community revitalization challenges and solutions. The Call for Ideas will close on Mar. 8.
|On The Web This Week||Back to Top|
Three Mile Island Sale Clears Another Hurdle on Eve of Biden Administration
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the sale of Three Mile Island’s Unit 2 last month amid ongoing concerns about the new owner’s ability to pay for decommissioning the reactor that partially melted down in 1979.
Pennsylvania Real-Time News [Author: Wallace McKelvey]
Wildfire Smoke Accounted for up to Half of Air Pollution in the West in Recent Years
Wildfire smoke accounted for up to half of all health-damaging small particle air pollution in the western U.S. in recent years as warming temperatures fueled more destructive blazes, according to a study released on Jan. 11.
Colorado Sun [Author: Matthew Brown, The Associated Press]
Worker Safety Goes Beyond Human Error
Disasters in high-risk industries can have catastrophic environmental, financial and human safety consequences. One way these industries help prevent and mitigate disasters is formal procedures designed to standardize how work is done. These procedures typically come in the form of a written document workers use while performing a task.
Texas A&M Today [Author: Callie Rainosek]
Nine Michigan Leaders Face Charges in Water Crisis That Roiled Flint
Prosecutors in Michigan announced 41 counts – 34 felonies and seven misdemeanors – against nine officials, which said the officials failed to protect the safety and health of the residents of Flint, who were sickened by increased levels of lead and by Legionnaires' disease after the city’s water supply was switched to the Flint River in April of 2014.
New York Times [Authors: Kathleen Gray and Julie Bosman]
Passage of Legislation to Support Creation of Affordable Housing, Workforce Training in Boston Celebrated
Mayor Martin J. Walsh celebrated the passage of legislation, "An Act to Further Leverage Commercial Development to Build Housing, Create Jobs, and Preserve Inclusionary Development," that will provide the City of Boston with more flexibility to leverage the strong development market to fund affordable housing and workforce training programs.
To Bolster Green Economy, New York Will Build Nation's Largest Offshore Wind Program
New York has selected Equinor Wind US to develop a pair of offshore wind facilities capable of generating 2,490 MW of power. The state has a goal of bringing online 9,000 MW of offshore wind by 2035, and the new announcement means there are now plans in place for almost half that target, supporting more than 50,000 jobs.
Utility Dive [Author: Robert Walton]
Diaper Masks, Close Quarters: Fast-Food Restaurants Have Struggled to Protect Workers from COVID-19
Fast-food restaurants have struggled to maintain the health and safety of front-line workers who face conditions that frequently put themselves and their families at risk of contracting COVID-19. A lack of protective equipment and social distancing and pressure to work at all costs have persisted deep into the pandemic, according to a review of summaries of 1,600 complaints.
Los Angeles Times [Author: Lance Williams]
|Federal Agency Update||Back to Top|
CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Toolkit for Essential Workers: Getting Started
In some states, essential workers already have access to vaccines to help protect them against COVID-19. These vaccines will be available to essential workers across the nation soon. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided a toolkit to help employers educate their essential workers about this important new prevention tool.
EPA and OSHA Sign MOU for Implementing TSCA Section 5 and Sharing CBI
On Jan. 12, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that advances collaboration and communication on EPA’s review of new chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
GAO Recommends EPA Track Use of Pesticide Information for Farmworkers
Farmworkers exposed to agricultural pesticides need additional information on how to protect themselves, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Since 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has had a Worker Protection Standard (WPS) for agriculture that permits farmworkers to identify someone who can request a farm’s pesticide information for their benefit.
Food Safety News [Author: Dan Flynn]
USDA Urged to Prioritize Agricultural Worker Safety
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is being encouraged to focus on agricultural worker safety moving forward. A group of more than 70 lawmakers is urging USDA to focus on safety measures as the department lays out spending priorities. The bipartisan group sent a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue calling on the department to fulfill its commitments as part of the latest COVID relief package.
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USW Applauds Worker-Friendly Choices for OSHA Leadership Roles
The United Steelworkers (USW) today praised incoming President Joe Biden’s decision to tap workplace safety advocates James S. Frederick and Joseph T. Hughes Jr. for leadership positions in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Hughes, who will serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Pandemic and Emergency Response for OSHA, also brings with him a strong commitment to workers.
Confronting Two Crises: The COVID-19 Pandemic, the Opioid Epidemic, and the Industrial Hygienist
Opioid overdoses in the U.S. have risen sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the absence of a real-time federal surveillance system, the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP), an online platform that supports reporting and surveillance of suspected fatal and nonfatal overdoses, provides near real-time overdose data across jurisdictions.
The Synergist from the American Industrial Hygiene Association [Authors: Jonathan Rosen and Peter Harnett]
Working Safely with Nanomaterials: CPWR Publishes New Resources
In an effort to protect workers who handle products containing nanomaterials, CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training has released a pair of toolbox talks and an infographic. Nanomaterials have at least one dimension that is smaller than 100 nanometers – thinner than a human hair. According to CPWR, hundreds of construction products such as cement, adhesives, and paints and coatings contain engineered nanomaterials.
CPWR Small Study Grant Funding Available
The Center for Construction Research and Training’s (CPWR) Small Study Program, which supports promising new research initiatives on improving construction safety and health, has a particular interest in studies that plan to work with and/or target small employers, those with 19 employees or fewer. CPWR are also interested in innovative approaches to reducing the spread of COVID-19 through ventilation, distancing, and respirators.
|Job Openings||Back to Top|
Duke University Health Systems Seeks Safety and Health Specialist
Duke University Health Systems (DUMS) is seeking a safety and health specialist within their Occupational and Environmental Safety Office (OESO). This office provides the focus for the administration of all safety programs to Duke University, Duke University Medical Center, and Duke University Health System.
UCLA LOSH Is Seeking a HAZMAT Outreach and Education Specialist
The UCLA Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program (LOSH) is currently seeking a Hazmat Outreach and Education Specialist to lead LOSH’s efforts to prevent worker and community exposures to hazardous materials, toxic releases, and environmental hazards. The Specialist oversees high-quality hands-on training programs, including the 40-hour HAZWOPER, 24-hour Hazardous Waste Operations, 8-hour annual Refresher, First Responder Operations, and other courses based on need.
BlueGreen Alliance Seeks Three Field Organizers
The BlueGreen Alliance is hiring an Appalachian, Midwest, and Rocky Mountain Regional Field Organizer. The position will build, maintain, and mobilize labor and environmental coalitions across the region to support BGA’s federal initiatives. BGA unites America’s largest labor unions and its most influential environmental organizations.
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