July 20, 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.
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|
FEMA Report Acknowledges Failures in Puerto Rico Disaster Response
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) acknowledged for the first time it failed to properly prepare for the 2017 hurricane season and was unable to provide the support victims needed in the wake of an unprecedented season of catastrophic storms, according to an internal report released by the federal agency. Most of the shortcomings focused on the response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and many of those outlined in the report — a lack of key supplies on the island before the storm, unqualified staff, and challenges with delivering emergency supplies — were detailed in a recent FRONTLINE and NPR documentary.
NPR [Authors: Emma Schwartz and Laura Sullivan]
More Dangerous Outbreaks Are Happening. Why Aren’t We Worried About the Next Epidemic?
As the catastrophic Ebola outbreak killed 11,300 people and cost billions, the World Health Organization (WHO) worked to lay the groundwork to make sure an outbreak never again reached that level of global health security threat. As part of its overhaul in 2015, the international body set about identifying which diseases had the highest risk for causing a widespread public health emergency and little to no countermeasures to prevent their spread in order to catalyze funding for their prevention. Three years later, six of the eight categories of disease highlighted in the WHO’s “Blueprint priority diseases” list were in the midst of outbreaks ― at the same time.
The Huffington Post [Author: Lauren Weber]
Nuclear Material Stolen from Energy Department Car
Two nuclear security experts for the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory lost samples of plutonium and cesium, materials that can be used in nuclear and radioactive bombs, after their rental car was broken into in March 2017. The agents — in possession of radiation detectors and small amounts of the radioactive materials needed to calibrate the devices — traveled from the national lab to San Antonio, Texas, in order to secure additional nuclear materials from a nonprofit research lab to be returned to Idaho.
Federal Times [Author: Daniel Cebul]
OSHA Warns on Workplace Fatality Uptick in Certain States
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is sounding the alarm about a recent spike in workplace fatalities in Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. The agency has investigated 34 fatalities in these three states since October, OSHA regional administrator Kim Stille said in a statement. OSHA has seen an increase in fatalities associated with falls, struck-by objects and vehicles, machine hazards, grain bin engulfment, and burns.
Business Insurance [Author: Gloria Gonzalez]
EPA Eases Rules on How Coal Ash Waste Is Stored Across U.S.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule to overhaul requirements for handling the toxic waste produced by burning coal, providing more flexibility to state and industry officials who had sought a rollback of restrictions put in place in 2015. The far-reaching rule will dictate how coal ash, which has contaminated waterways in two high-profile spills in Tennessee and North Carolina in the past decade, is stored at more than 400 coal-fired power plants around the country.
The Washington Post [Authors: Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis]
|Calendar Features||Back to Top|
OSHA/NALP Webinar: Heat Illness Prevention
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) are hosting a webinar focusing on heat illness prevention. Understanding heat stress hazards and solutions is crucial to the safety and health of landscape and lawn care workers. The webinar will identify the potential exposure factors to heat stress and suggests methods for preventing or limiting their impact. It will be held on July 25, 2018 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. ET.
The Role of Educators in Public Health Emergencies
Teachers and other educators play an important role in public health emergencies. They can help students and parents know what to do to stay safer and healthy during natural disasters, disease outbreaks, and other types of public health emergencies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) EPIC Team, Children’s Preparedness Unit, and Division of State and Local Readiness are hosting a webinar to discuss the valuable communication role of educators during public health emergencies. The webinar will be held on July 25, 2018, at 1 p.m. ET.
National Minority Mental Health Month 2018: #MinorityMH Twitter Chat
In observance of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) will host a Twitter chat to talk about important topics related to minority mental health care. Mental health organizations, researchers, federal agencies, and professionals will discuss: 1) current issues, opportunities, and barriers in minority mental health; 2) opportunities for improving mental health care and interventions for health disparities populations; and 3) ways to motivate communities to address mental health and help individuals seek care. The Twitter chat will be held on July 26, 2018, from 2:00–3:00 p.m. ET—using the hashtag #MinorityMH.
Save the Date: Safe + Sound Week
The second annual Safe + Sound Week will be held August 13-19, 2018. The event is a nationwide effort to raise awareness of the value of workplace safety and health programs. These programs can help employers and workers identify and manage workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness, improving a company’s financial bottom line. Organizations are encouraged to host events and activities that showcase the core elements of an effective safety and health program, including: management leadership, worker participation, and finding and fixing workplace hazards. For more information and to sign-up for email updates, visit the Safe + Sound Week webpage.
|On The Web This Week||Back to Top|
Expanding the Concept of Translational Research: Making a Place for Environmental Health Sciences
NIEHS introduces a new translational research framework that builds upon previous biomedical models to create a more comprehensive and integrated environmental health paradigm. The framework was developed as a graphical construct that illustrates the complexity of designing, implementing, and tracking translational research in environmental health.
How Are Psychosocial Risks Managed in Europe’s Workplaces?
A new European Agency for Safety and Health at Work’s (EU-OSHA) report examines barriers to and drivers of workplace psychosocial risk management, and how this is influenced by different national and organizational contexts. The exposure of workers to psychosocial risks is increasing. However, the level of risk and the effectiveness of management vary across sectors and countries.
As Temperatures Climb, Coalition Calls for Worker Protections
As extreme temperatures exacerbated by a warming planet continue to take a deadly toll on laborers across the country, a coalition of worker advocacy groups is calling on the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to create the country’s first national standard for heat stress. Without a federal heat stress standard, OSHA relies on a general requirement that employers provide workplaces free of hazards. But as global warming causes more frequent spells of extreme heat, the coalition said employers are falling far short.
The Huffington Post [Author: Yvette Cabrera]
The Most Worrying Wildfires Burning in The U.S. Right Now
After a record-breaking year of destruction, the summer is off to a fiery start. As of July 13, 2018, there are more than 50 active wildfires burning across California, Colorado, and the rest of the West, many in urbanized areas. Pacific Standard spoke with wildfire policy expert Char Miller to learn which wildfires he's watching, and what they can tell us about a pattern of destruction that he no longer calls the "new normal"—just "normal."
Pacific Standard [Author: Emily Moon]
Scientists Peer into Heart of Hurricanes to Improve Intensity Forecast
Despite advances in predicting where hurricanes are heading, forecasters are still struggling to determine a crucial factor in deciding emergency measures and evacuations: their intensity. With a better way to predict a storm’s power, or intensity, people on the ground will be more prepared in knowing whether a hurricane headed their way will cause devastating floods and winds that can uproot trees like Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico last year, or just shake branches and rattle windows.
Reuters [Author: Jon Herskovitz]
|Federal Agency Update||Back to Top|
Novel Blood Test Quickly and Accurately Detects Pesticide Exposure
A simple, fast, and inexpensive blood test accurately detected the level of exposure to potentially harmful pesticides among agricultural workers, according to a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-funded study at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, and the University of Washington in Seattle. The so-called sandwich ELISA test is unique in its ability to measure the level of immune response-triggering molecules, or antigens.
Biosensors and Bioelectronics [Authors: Yang et al.]
Workplace Violence a Major Hazard for U.S. Healthcare Workers
Workplace violence is a serious and growing problem in U.S. healthcare facilities, and nurses and nursing assistants face the greatest risk. At the same time, incomplete reporting of workplace violence highlights the need to improve monitoring and surveillance to protect healthcare workers, a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) study reports in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. Among hospitals participating in the Occupational Health Safety Network (OHSN), the rate of workplace violence increased dramatically from 2012 through 2015, climbing an average of 23% each year.
American Journal of Industrial Medicine [Authors: Groenewold et al.]
EPA Seeking Nominations for Science Advisory Board
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking your help in identifying a diverse range of qualified candidates to be considered for the Administrator's appointment to the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB). The SAB is a chartered federal advisory committee that provides independent, expert advice to the EPA about a range of science, engineering, and economic issues. The notice requests public nominations of candidate experts to serve on the following: Chartered SAB; Chemical Assessment Advisory Committee; Drinking Water Committee; Agricultural Sciences Committee; and Radiation Advisory Committee. Nominations are due August 8, 2018.
|Awardee Highlights/Online Learning||Back to Top|
Amarillo College Recognized for Hazardous Material Training
Amarillo College recently received recognition for its efficiency when leveraging federal funding and received $10,000 to augment its robust hazardous-materials training program for Department of Energy (DOE) workers. The accolades and the supplemental grant award were conferred at the national Partnership for Environmental Technology Education (PETE)/DOE advisory board meeting in May at Raleigh, NC.
|Job Openings||Back to Top|
Chemical Safety Board (CSB) Seeks Chemical Incident Investigators – Apply by July 26
The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has posted job announcements for chemical incident investigators to USAJobs.gov. These positions are open to external application from the public. To apply, please follow the instructions carefully and submit your application by Friday, July 26, 2018.
City of Albuquerque Seeks Environmental Health Director
The City of Albuquerque seeks qualified candidates to apply for its Director of Environmental Health position. The Director manages and oversees a wide range of programs and activities within the Environmental Health Department. The Environmental Health Department is responsible for promoting and protecting public health, by preventing disease, and by preserving the integrity and quality of our environment through sustainable management and responsible stewardship.
The BlueGreen Alliance Seeks Minnesota Field Organizer
The BlueGreen Alliance (BGA) is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and its most influential environmental organizations working to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. The Minnesota Field Organizer (MFO), will work closely with the Minnesota Regional Program Manager (MNRPM) to design and implement an organizing plan that brings unions and environmental organizations together to advance key priorities in the state. The MFO will build engagement with BlueGreen Alliance’s partner organizations to grow the breadth of supporters for these key priorities in the future through organizing, public events, and other activities.
The BlueGreen Alliance Seeks Eastern Pennsylvania Field Organizer
The Field Organizer (FO), based in Philadelphia or surrounding communities, will work closely with the Pennsylvania Regional Program Manager (PA RPM) to design and implement an organizing plan that brings unions and environmental organizations together to advance key priorities in the state. The FO will build engagement with BlueGreen Alliance’s partner organizations to grow the breadth of supporters for these key priorities in the future through organizing, public events, and other activities.
Recruiting Cal/OSHA Safety and Health Inspectors
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) is hiring safety and health inspectors throughout the state. These are field positions that conduct compliance inspections in many different settings and consult with employers on a wide range of health and safety issues. The upcoming application deadline is July 31, 2018, and the next deadline is October 31, 2018.
|We Want Your Feedback||Back to Top|