July 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 Stories
- Calendar Features
- On The Web This Week
- Federal Agency Update
- Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
- Job Openings
- We Want Your Feedback
- Newsbriefs Past Issues
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Minimizing Workplace Exposures through Design and Engineering Controls Webinar Recording
The NIEHS Worker Training Program hosted a webinar on July 1, which featured a panel of speakers discussing how occupational exposures to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 can be prevented through building, workplace, and job design using engineering controls such as architectural features, physical barriers, local and general dilution ventilation, directional airflow, ultraviolet radiation, and filtration. The webinar recording and presentations are now available.
Three DOE Cleanup Sites Advance to Next Phase of COVID-19 Remobilization
Three nuclear cleanup sites have received approval from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to bring back more staff who have been at home for months during the COVID-19 pandemic. DOE announced the status change for the Portsmouth Site in Ohio, the Paducah Site in Kentucky, and the West Valley Demonstration Project in New York in online postings on July 14.
Exchange Monitor [Author Wayne Barber]
Gov. Whitmer Mandates Training for Michigan Health Care Workers to Reduce Bias
Countless Black families in Michigan have mourned loved ones that died disproportionately during the pandemic. As many as 40% of COVID-19 deaths in Michigan have been among Black people, while they make up just 14% of the state's population. Governor Gretchen Whitmer said July 9 the state will require implicit bias training to societal problems that cause racial health disparities.
Detroit Free Press [Author: Kristen Jordan Shamus]
Pandemic Allows for New Front in Fight Against Southwest Nuclear Waste Storage Contracts
Two proposals to send high-level spent nuclear fuel to sites in Texas and New Mexico are seeing renewed opposition as environmental activists, the oil and gas industry and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have formed an unlikely and informal alliance leveraging the pandemic as a reason to delay.
Morning Consult [Author: Lisa Martine Jenkins]
Virginia Adopts First-in-the-Nation Workplace Safety Standards for COVID-19 Pandemic
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced the adoption of statewide emergency workplace safety standards in response to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. These first-in-the-nation safety rules will protect Virginia workers by mandating appropriate personal protective equipment, sanitation, social distancing, infectious disease preparedness and response plans, record keeping, training, and hazard communications in workplaces across the Commonwealth.
Philadelphia Hotels Are Slowly Seeing More Guests, But Workers Say Conditions Aren’t Safe
Philadelphia’s hotel industry was gutted when the city went into lock down to slow the spread of the coronavirus. More than half of the city’s approximately 50 hotels suspended operations. Occupancy dropped to 22% in early April. And thousands of workers were laid off. Now, as occupancy creeps back up and hotels start to recall staff, workers are fighting for policies that will give them the ability to follow city and state public-health orders.
Philadelphia Inquirer [Author: Juliana Feliciano Reyes]
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Webinar Ethical Considerations Regarding Meat Processing Plant Operations, Worker Safety, and Community Welfare
The NIEHS Worker Training Program and University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) Global Center for Health Security Ethics Advisory Committee is hosting a webinar on July 22 at 2:00 p.m. ET. The session will explore the ethical considerations regarding meat processing plant operations, worker safety, and community welfare. The panelists will illustrate the challenges of providing guidance to meat processing plants, as well as discuss the issues workers are facing. It will also examine strategies and interventions that can most effectively and ethically reduce the risks of outbreaks to protect the people working in meat processing plants.
ADAO Conversation with Award-Winning Photojournalist, Earl Dotter, about BADGES: A Memorial Tribute to Asbestos Workers
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) is hosting their fifth conversation on July 20 at 1:00 p.m. ET. This conversation is with award-winning photojournalist Earl Dotter. Dotter is the photographer and creator of the exhibit BADGES: A Memorial Tribute to Asbestos Workers.
COVID-19 Complexities: Converging Threats, Fractured Resources Virtual Webinar
The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense is hosting a virtual webinar, COVID Complexities: Converging Threats, Fractured Resources, to help the Commission better understand the potential for COVID-19’s reemergence, the country’s efforts to track the spread of the disease, and national readiness to address future biological threats. The webinar will be held on July 21 at 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET.
Brownfields 2021: Call for Ideas Now Open!
The Brownfields 2021 Call for Ideas is now open. Please submit ideas for dynamic educational sessions in Oklahoma City that will motivate brownfields stakeholders to engage, learn, and share their experiences and knowledge of community revitalization challenges and solutions. Submissions must be received by Aug. 24 for consideration.
Special Issue Call for Papers on Disaster, Infrastructure, and Participatory Knowledge
Citizen Science: Theory and Practice seeks papers for a special issue. The issue encourages a broad array of researchers, practitioners and disciplines beyond both science and technology studies on the topics of disaster research and critical disaster studies, public health, and research on humanitarian relief and refugees. The deadline to submit papers is Aug. 16.
Call for Papers JOEH Special Issue May 2021
The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH) is proposing a special issue for next May 2021. AIHA will host a special topic issue in May 2021, the anniversary of George Floyd’s death, focusing on a myriad of issues and solutions associated with health equity in the workplace. The deadline to submit is Oct. 30.
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Show Compassion, Provide Stability, Share Hope: Total Worker Health Experts Talk Return-To-Work Planning
L. Casey Chosewood, the director of National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) Office for Total Worker Health says employers should think about the physical and mental health needs of their employees returning to the job amid the COVID-19 pandemic. NIOSH colleagues R. Todd Niemeier, industrial hygiene team lead, and Kevin H. Dunn, a research mechanical engineer, joined Chosewood in discussing reopening scenarios.
Occupational Exposures and Asthma in 14,000 Adults From the General Population
The American Journal of Epidemiology published a new article on occupational exposures and asthma. In the study, risks increased further with increasing specificity of the definition of asthma when considering jobs or specific agents, such as industrial cleaning agents, latex, flour, highly reactive chemicals, and textiles. Results underlined the importance of the specificity of exposure and asthma definitions and indicated a deleterious role of occupational exposure on asthma, especially for cleaning agents.
Industry Associations Petition EPA to Develop Risk Management Procedural Rule under TSCA Section 6
On June 3, the American Coatings Association (ACA), National Association of Manufacturers, Toy Association, National Association of Home Builders, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a petition under Section 21 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requesting that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) develop a risk management procedural rule under TSCA Section 6.
California’s Domestic Workers Push for Safety Protections in Home Settings
Domestic workers in California such as nannies, house cleaners and caregivers for the elderly are excluded from the enforcement of workplace health and safety rules that govern most other jobs. The California Senate has passed a measure that would include domestic workers under its occupational health and safety laws. The bill is now before the California Assembly.
Marketplace [Author: Paulina Velasco]
American Healthcare Workers Are Scrambling for PPE, Again
Nurses are reusing N95 masks for days – or even weeks. Doctors are not reopening offices because of a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE). State and federal officials say they are working as quickly as possible to fill shortages. Experts worry that the problem is only going to get worse. A major issue that has contributed to the lack of PPE is the miscommunication about who is responsible for filling those shortages.
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EPA OIG Finds Safer Choice Program Would Benefit from Formal Goals and Additional Oversight
On June 30, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report on its audit to determine whether the Safer Choice program effectively meets its goals and whether the program achieves quality standards through its product qualification, renewal, and required audit processes. OIG states that EPA’s Safer Choice program does not have formal goals included in the fiscal year (FY) 2018-2022 EPA Strategic Plan.
EPA: Local Air Quality on the Mend
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved West Virginia’s request to redesignate its portion of the Steubenville-West Virginia area to attainment for the 2010 federal sulfur dioxide national ambient air quality standard under the Clean Air Act.
OSHA Publishes Responses to Frequently Asked Questions on Worker Safety During COVID-19 Pandemic
On July 2, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published an FAQ web page based on COVID-19 related inquiries that the agency received from the public. The FAQ page provides a central location for information and links on a variety of topics related to best practices to ensure worker safety and protect workers’ rights during the ongoing pandemic.
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Operational Challenges for EMS during COVID-19 Webinar
The Alabama Fire College Workplace Safety Training Program and the Deep South Biosafety Worker Training Program is hosting a webinar on July 21 at 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET. The COVID-19 pandemic has created numerous challenges for emergency medical services (EMS) including out-of-hospital management of patients and personal protective equipment (PPE) use by EMS personnel. Lekshmi Kumar, M.D., and Alexander Isakov, M.D., M.P.H., will discuss best practices in protecting EMS healthcare personnel.
COVID-19 in Pediatrics
The Alabama Fire College Workplace Safety Training Program and the Deep South Biosafety Worker Training Program is hosting a webinar on July 28 at 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET. The webinar will discuss COVID-19 in pediatric patients specifically focusing on their pre-hospital management with a target audience of first responders.
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CSB Seeks Chemical Incident Investigator
The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) is hiring a chemical incident investigator. The position serves as an expert in industrial chemical safety and nationwide incident investigation and analysis of major incidents involving the accidental release of hazardous materials and, developing and presenting reports with safety recommendations for adopting by the Board. The deadline to apply is July 27.
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