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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: July 30, 2021 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, July 30, 2021

Weekly E-Newsbrief

July 30, 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 StoriesBack to Top

At Least Two Dead and Dozens Injured After an Acetic Acid Leak at a Facility Near La Porte, Texas

At least two people were killed and dozens were injured after an acetic acid leak at the LyondellBasell facility near La Porte, Texas, officials said on July 27. “The leak has been isolated, and air monitoring at the facility perimeter indicates no offsite impact. There is no shelter in place or other protective actions being recommended at this time,” the La Porte Office of Emergency Management said in a tweet.

CNN [Author: Joe Sutton]

Chemical Safety Board News Release

C.D.C. Internal Report Calls Delta Variant as Contagious as Chickenpox

The Delta variant is much more contagious, more likely to break through protections afforded by the vaccines and may cause more severe disease than all other known versions of the virus, according to an internal presentation circulated within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

New York Times [Author: Apoorva Mandavilli]

More Frequent, Extreme Heat Waves Linked to Workplace Injuries

The dangers of heat in the workplace go beyond heat exhaustion and dehydration, said University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) professor Jisung Park. He’s the lead author of a new paper that found higher temperatures were linked to more injuries at work.

Marketplace [Author: Meghan McCarty Carino]

State Worker Safety Agencies Mostly Adopt U.S. COVID-19 Standard

Nineteen of the 21 U.S. states with their own occupational safety agencies covering private and public workplaces, plus Puerto Rico, have told the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that they’ll adopt the agency’s rules for protecting most medical workers from COVID-19, leaving only Utah and South Carolina workers without that regulatory shield.

Bloomberg Law [Author: Bruce Rolfsen]

SC OSHA to Adopt Infectious Disease Standard

South Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) plans to adopt a standard that will address all infectious diseases in the workplace, including COVID-19, as an alternative to Federal OSHA’s COVID-19 standard, which went in effect last month. As a state plan state, South Carolina is required to adopt standards that are the same as or at least as effective as the requirements of Federal OSHA standards.

SC OSHA

Officials Urge Residents to Flee as Dixie Fire, California’s Biggest Blaze This Year, Continues to Grow

A fire scorching parts of Northern California’s Butte County — the same county that in 2018 endured the deadliest wildfire in state history — has ballooned into the state’s largest wildfire this year. The Dixie Fire, which ignited July 13, has burned through 192,849 acres in swaths of Butte and Plumas counties as of July 25, CAL Fire incident commander Nick Truax said in a news briefing. Officials expect more extreme fire behavior ahead.

Washington Post [Authors: Paulina Firozi and María Luisa Paúl]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

NIEHS WTP COVID-19 Webinar Series: Practical Considerations for Using Portable Air Cleaners to Prevent Transmission of Infectious Aerosols

NIEHS WTP is hosting a webinar on Aug. 16 at 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET. In this webinar, participants will learn about 1) assessing ventilation systems within a building or space and 2) selection and use of portable air cleaner(s), when appropriate. English/Spanish interpretation will be available during this webinar.

WTP

NIHB Webinar: Delta Variant’s Impact on Indian Country

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is hosting an educational webinar about the Delta variant, and it’s impacts in Indian Country on Aug. 16. The Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP) and NIHB are teaming up to provide this important information to Tribes, Tribal health departments, and Tribal serving organizations.

More Information Coming Soon

Needs and Challenges in PPE Use for Underserved User Populations

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) requests information on the needs and challenges in personal protective equipment (PPE) use for underserved user populations. The NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory is expanding its portfolio to include activities that consider the needs of U.S. worker populations who are underserved related to PPE. Comments must be submitted by Aug. 23.

Federal Register

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Cal/OSHA Board Members Call for Transparency Around California’s Workplace Outbreaks

Members of California’s workplace safety board are questioning the state’s tight-lipped approach to releasing information about COVID-19 workplace outbreaks after reviewing an investigation by this news organization that found most county health departments — as well as the California Department of Public Health — are refusing to make specific outbreak data public.

East Bay Times [Author: Fiona Kelliher]

Bay Area Regulators Just Delivered on a Promise to Help Frontline Communities Breathe Easier

Across the bay from San Francisco’s glittering downtown sit two large petrochemical refineries spewing more than 550 tons a year of particulate matter — which can cause deadly cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses — into the air and communities nearby. The Chevron refinery in Richmond and PBF Energy refinery in Martinez are responsible for 11 percent of all particulate matter emissions from facilities regulated by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, or BAAQMD, the local air emissions regulator.

Grist [Author: Naveena Sadasivam]

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to Investigate Lung Cancer Rates Among Uranium Workers

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is leading a national study examining incidences of lung cancer in uranium workers from across the country. The Canadian Uranium Workers Study (CANUWS) will examine health data from 80,000 past and present employees at Canada’s uranium mines, mills and processing and fabrication facilities.

Mother Jones [Author: Charles Mandel]

New York to Require Vaccination or Weekly Testing for City Health Workers

For months, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has been reluctant to make coronavirus vaccinations mandatory for anyone. But with two million adult New Yorkers still unvaccinated and the Delta variant threatening the city with a third wave of cases, City Hall is trying out a new tactic: requiring workers in city-run hospitals and health clinics to get vaccinated or else get tested on a weekly basis.

New York Times [Author: Joseph Goldstein]

In Louisiana, Vaccine Misinformation Has Public Health Workers Feeling ‘Stuck’

Dr. Martha Whyte, the top public health official in the northwest corner of Louisiana, was sitting at the back of a City Council meeting here on a muggy day recently when she was called to the front of the room to respond to an attack on the coronavirus vaccine.

New York Times [Author: Noah Weiland]

Hitting Global Climate Target Could Create 8M Energy Jobs, Study Says

If some politicians are to be believed, taking sweeping action to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement would be calamitous for jobs in the energy sector. But a study suggests that honoring the global climate target would, in fact, increase net jobs by about 8 million by 2050.

The Guardian [Author: Natalie Grover]

Big Data-Derived Tool Facilitates Closer Monitoring of Recovery from Natural Disasters

By analyzing peoples' visitation patterns to essential establishments like pharmacies, religious centers and grocery stores during Hurricane Harvey, researchers have developed a framework to assess the recovery of communities after natural disasters in near real time. They said the information gleaned from their analysis would help federal agencies allocate resources equitably among communities ailing from a disaster.

Science Daily

$1M in Fines After Nitrogen Kills Six at Georgia Poultry Plant

Federal workplace safety officials are proposing nearly $1 million in fines against four companies following a January liquid nitrogen leak that killed six workers at a Georgia poultry processing plant. U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh announced citations and fines by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

ABC News [Author: Jeff Amy, Associated Press]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidelines on July 27 to urge vaccinated people in certain areas of the country to resume wearing masks because of COVID-19. In addition, CDC provides an integrated, county view of key data for monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

Interim Guidance

COVID-19 Data Tracker

Pentagon Failing to Study Firefighter PFAS Exposure, Says Internal Audit

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is not planning to study the long-term health of military firefighters exposed to toxic PFAS chemicals despite taking steps to obtain the necessary blood testing data, according to an internal inspector general audit.

Mlive.com [Author: Garret Ellison]

DoD Inspector General Audit

Tribal Intergovernmental Relations Group Reboots

This past year, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Legacy Management (LM) and the Navajo Abandoned Mine Lands Reclamation/Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (AML/UMTRA) Department were looking for innovative ways to stay connected to community members and identify projects to benefit all entities. With new faces and new outreach needs on the Navajo Nation, LM and AML/UMTRA successfully re-engaged the Tribal Intergovernmental Relations Group (TIGR), which hasn’t met since 2019.

DOE

Coalition Calls on Chemical Safety Board to Make ‘Significant Changes’ to Fulfill Agency Mission

Citing concerns that reported management and staffing issues have resulted in the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) falling behind on investigations, a coalition of worker unions and other safety advocacy groups is offering suggestions “to right the path of the CSB and assist in fulfilling the goals of protecting communities, workers and our planet.” In a letter dated July 8 and sent to CSB Chair and CEO Katherine Lemos, the group of 22 organizations calls on the agency to take several actions.

Safety and Health Magazine

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

WTP COVID-19 Prevention Fact Sheets and Briefs

WTP has created a new category of COVID-19 outreach materials, titled COVID-19 Briefs. The first brief, “WTP COVID-19 Brief: Selection and Use of Portable Air Cleaners to Protect Workers from Exposure to SARS-CoV-2” is now available. This is a companion document to the fact sheet of the same title. The briefs are meant to provide concise, essential information on the topic. Additional briefs will follow and can be found on the WTP COVID-19 webpage under the heading COVID-19 Briefs in the Toolbox.

WTP COVID-19 Toolbox

Back to Basics: Conducting a Vulnerability Analysis

Back to Basics is a new weekly feature that highlights important but possibly overlooked information that any EHS professional should know. In this edition, we examine emergency planning, and specifically, how to conduct a vulnerability analysis of your business.

EHS Daily Advisor

Job OpeningsBack to Top

Make the Road New York Seeks Safe and Just Cleaners Campaign Associate

Make the Road New York is hiring an associate for its Safe and Just Cleaners Study. The Safe and Just Cleaners Study is a community-based participatory research partnership funded by NIEHS. The study is collecting data on domestic cleaners’ chemical exposures and other working conditions to develop safer cleaning approaches to reduce exposure for cleaners and their clients.

Job Posting

EDF Seeks Director of Chemical Policy

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is hiring a Director of Chemical Policy. The director is responsible for directing and managing the execution of the Health Program’s chemical policy priorities to drive significant reductions in the use of and exposure to toxics across the supply chain using the Toxic Substances Control Act, with a particular focus on protecting high-risk populations and communities.

Job Posting

UCLA-LOSH Job Opportunities

The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program (LOSH) offers exciting opportunities for individuals who are passionate about promoting workplace safety and health in Southern California. They are currently hiring a Project Coordinator and two Program Assistants to support LOSH activities and training initiatives.

Job Posting

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