July 7, 2023
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.
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Admiral Levine commends Worker Training Program
Sharon Beard, who directs the NIEHS Worker Training Program, led a roundtable discussion at the St. Louis Environmental Career Worker Training Program site, which featured Admiral Rachel Levine, M.D. and training providers and partners. The program is part of a pilot for the White House Justice40 initiative, which aims to deliver 40% of the overall benefits from federal investments in workforce development and other key components to disadvantaged communities.
Heat is a Mortal Threat to Farmworkers. A Nurse May Have Found a Way to Protect Them.
As the climate becomes warmer and more humid, people who work outdoors are some of the first to contend with life-threatening heat exposure. Measuring and mitigating how heat affects them is critical, not only because they have a right to safety and the U.S. food supply depends on their health, the researchers say, but because the world also needs to prepare for these impacts to worsen and affect more people.
Washington Post (subscription required) [Author: Sarah DiGregorio]
California's Fire Season Has Begun as Debate Over Wildfire Retardant Heats Up
Climate change is bringing us longer and more severe wildfire seasons especially in the western U.S. A major tool in the fight against wildfires is a neon pink fire retardant dropped from planes. It's called Phos-Chek. Many fire crews insist it's indispensable, but critics say it's contaminating waterways and making it harder to fight future fires.
In an Arizona Coal Mine, One Man Recalls the Retired Navajo Miners Suffering from Black Lung
Retired coal miners across the Navajo Nation are suffering from black lung disease and other health problems as a result of exposure to coal mine dust. Alex Osif, a retired coal miner himself, is helping people find out if they’re eligible for federal black lung benefits.
The Daily Yonder [Author: Chris Clements]
U.S. is Destroying the Last of Its Once-Vast Chemical Weapons Arsenal
At the 15,000-acre Blue Grass depot, workers carefully pulled fiberglass shipping tubes holding sarin-filled rockets out of earth-covered concrete storage bunkers and drove them to a series of buildings for processing. Workers inside, wearing protective suits and gloves, X-rayed the tubes to see if the warheads inside were leaking, then sent them down a conveyor to meet their doom.
New York Times (subscription required) [Authors: Dave Philipps and John Ismay]
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2023 NOFO - SBIR E-Learning for HAZMAT and Emergency Response (R43/R44 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
This Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) encourages Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant applications from small business concerns that propose to further the development of technology-enhanced training products for the health and safety training of hazardous materials (HAZMAT) workers. Technology-enhanced training products as defined by the Worker Training Program include, but are not limited to, supporting training through various venues such as online training, mobile device training, virtual reality, and serious gaming. Applications are due July 14, 2023.
TRB Webinar: Community-Based and Equitable Transportation Response in Disaster
Disadvantaged and underserved communities are disproportionately impacted by disasters, necessitating guidance and policies that will safely evacuate communities and quickly distribute resources for an equity-centered transportation response. The Transportation Research Board (TRB) will host a webinar centered on equity in vulnerable populations, community resilience, and transportation resources across all phases of a disaster. The webinar will be held on July 19, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. EDT.
|On The Web This Week
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Lessons From COVID-19 for Protecting Workers in the Next Pandemic
COVID-19 has rarely been treated or tracked as an occupational disease by public health agencies, particularly in non–health care workplaces. The lessons from the failure to protect workers during the COVID-19 pandemic can be helpful as the nation anticipates and prepares for the next public health emergency.
A New Law Is Supposed to Protect Pregnant Workers — But What If We Don’t Know How?
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is a law that requires employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” to those who are pregnant. The new law has a big hole in it: Public health experts say not nearly enough is known about which work circumstances are dangerous for pregnancies, especially when chemical exposures are involved. That’s because occupational health studies overwhelmingly have been centered on men, and so have the health and safety standards based on those studies.
Q&A: Heather McTeer Toney Reflects on the Ongoing Struggle for Environmental Justice in America
Heather McTeer Toney is saying Black America, along with everyone else, needs to take climate action before the darkness of climate catastrophe descends. The former mayor of Greenville, Mississippi, McTeer Toney served as the Southeast Regional Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama. McTeer Toney is now the Executive Director of Beyond Petrochemicals.
|Federal Agency Update
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Statement from President Joe Biden on National Wildland Firefighter Day
National Wildland Firefighter Day takes place during the Wildland Firefighter Week of Remembrance that is held annually from June 30 to July 6. The day and week of remembrance serves as a moment for the entire nation to reinforce our commitment to wildland firefighter safety, as we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
U.S. Department of Energy Releases Plan to Ensure Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released a plan to ensure the Department’s Federally funded research is more open and accessible to the public, researchers, and journalists as part of a broader effort by the Biden-Harris Administration to make government data more transparent.
CSB Releases Final Report on 2020 Fatal Propylene Release and Explosion at the Watson Grinding facility in Houston, Texas
The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) released its final investigation report on the 2020 propylene release and explosion at the Watson Grinding facility in Houston, Texas, that fatally injured two workers and a nearby resident and damaged hundreds of neighboring homes. The report highlights two key safety issues: the lack of a comprehensive process safety management program at the Watson Grinding facility to manage the risks of its thermal spray coating operations and an ineffective emergency response plan.
|Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
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OHCOW Fact Sheets on Preventing Occupational Illnesses
The Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) has developed fact sheets on various occupational illnesses and potential exposures. The fact sheets include information on wildfire smoke, heat stress, noise, and many more exposures in the workplace.
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LBNL Seeks a Construction Safety Specialist
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab's (LBNL) Environment, Health & Safety Division seeks a Construction Safety Specialist. The candidate will provide advanced construction health and safety services in support of the LBNL Construction and Maintenance Field Support Safety Program. Also, they will develop, recommend, evaluate and implement programs for occupational health and safety hazards, recommend effective controls, and provide technical expertise and field support to customers.
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