June 19, 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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NIEHS WTP Essential and Returning Worker Online Training Course Now Available
As workplaces reopen, workers and employers are safeguarding against COVID-19. Vivid Learning Systems designed an online version of the NIEHS WTP Essential and Returning Worker Training course, which is now available from Vivid Learning Systems. This training includes an Introduction and modules on Assessing Exposure Risk to SARS CoV-2, Workplace Exposure Prevention, Cleaning and Disinfections, and Resilience. Access to this course is free of charge.
Rush to Disinfect U.S. Offices Has Some Health Experts Worried
Businesses across the U.S. have begun intensive COVID-19 disinfection regimens, exposing returning workers and consumers to some chemicals that are largely untested for human health, a development that’s alarming health and environmental safety experts. The rush to disinfect is well-intentioned. Executives want to protect employees while abiding by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
Bloomberg News [Author: Arianne Cohen]
Thousands Fled for Their Lives When Two Michigan Dams Collapsed. More Disasters Are Coming, Experts Say.
Thousands of Americans live downstream from aging dams that have fallen into disrepair. Many of those dams are privately owned. Many no longer generate electricity. Many have not complied with laws requiring them to file emergency evacuation plans. Many are facing unprecedented weather conditions from climate change, with higher waters and heavier rains.
NBC News [Author: Erin Einhorn]
Considering COVID-19 Makes People Less Inclined to Seek Community Help, Shelter During a Natural Disaster
When prompted to factor in the pandemic, a smaller share of adults say they would use public resources. 59% of adults say they would seek public resources, like shelters, if their community was hit by a natural disaster. That figure dropped 19 percentage points when respondents were asked to consider the coronavirus pandemic in their decision-making.
Morning Consult [Author: Lisa Martine Jenkins]
'Still Scared': Health Workers Feel the Toll of Virus Fight
While the global pandemic hasn't abated, the days when gasping patients arrived at Elmhurst Hospital in New York nonstop, when ventilators ran low and deaths so high that a refrigerated morgue truck was stationed outside, have subsided. Not necessarily the pain. At Elmhurst and hospitals around the country, nurses, doctors and other health care workers are reckoning with the psychological toll of the virus fight.
Associated Press [Author: Jennifer Peltz]
Public Health Workers Fighting Virus Face Growing Threats
Health officials across the country have been threatened, fired or felt they had to quit because of political pressure, harassment and abuse. In the battle against COVID-19, public health workers spread across states, cities and small towns make up an invisible army on the front lines. But that army, which has suffered neglect for decades, is under assault when it’s needed most.
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Safety 2020 Is Now Virtual
The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) presents Safety 2020: Virtual. Now more than ever, safety professionals need access to the valuable training, networking, knowledge and skills that Safety 2020 provides. ASSP has a long-standing reputation of delivering top-quality occupational safety and health education that members can immediately put into practice. The event will be held June 23-25.
OSHA and DOT Request Public Input in Advance of International Meetings
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration plan to hold public meetings on June 24, in advance of July meetings. The purpose of the June 24 public meetings is to discuss proposals and receive input for the July meetings. Both June 24 meetings will be convened virtually and are open to the public.
U.S. Department of Labor Schedules Advisory Committee On Construction Safety and Health Meeting
The U.S. Department of Labor has scheduled a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) via teleconference and WebEx on Wednesday, July 1 at 12:00 p.m. The meeting will include an update on key Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiatives from Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt.
New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Workplace – Risk Factors and Solutions
New Solutions seeks manuscripts on the subject of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and its occupational and environmental health policy impacts from the local to international levels. The journal is accepting a variety of topics and article types. The extended deadline to submit manuscripts is now Aug. 31.
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CONVERGE IRB Procedures and Extreme Events Research Training Module and Demo Webinar
The University of Colorado (UC) Boulder Natural Hazards Center released CONVERGE IRB Procedures and Extreme Events Research Training Module, a free online module to help accelerate the training of the next generation of hazards and disasters researchers. UC Boulder will also host a webinar on June 25 at 12:00-12:30 p.m. MT to demo the tool.
Clean Energy Industry Sheds 27,000 Jobs in May
More than 27,000 U.S. clean energy jobs were lost in May, bringing the total jobs lost since the start of the pandemic past 620,000, according to a new analysis. The report noted that the 620,590 jobs since March represent more than 18% of the country’s clean energy workforce.
The Hill [Author: Rachel Frazin]
Activism Is the Key to Protecting Worker Health as We Reopen America
Risking human health and safety for the sake of the economy has long been the norm – but this history should give us pause before returning to the hazardous pre-coronavirus status quo. Throughout American history, people have been compelled to work regardless of the consequences to their health, including coal workers facing explosively dangerous work environments and more recently the toxic labor performed by immigrant workers.
Washington Post [Author: Jessica Levy]
During Pandemic, Farmworkers Kept Their Jobs and Raised Risk Of Infection
The state of Washington has issued safety guidelines for fruit packing facilities, telling employers to hand out masks and install plastic dividers between workers. Agricultural employers are doing everything they can to keep up and implement evolving guidelines, Jon DeVaney, president of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association says.
NPR [Author: Enrique Perez de la Rosa]
Virginia’s Proposed Workplace Safety Rules Would Make Social Distancing Mandatory
Virginia workplace safety regulators are proposing emergency COVID-19 rules for businesses that would make social distancing mandatory and require employers to notify their employees within 24 hours if a coworker tests positive for the virus.
Virginia Mercury [Author: Ned Oliver]
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Employees: How to Cope with Job Stress and Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Whether you are going into work or working from home, the COVID-19 pandemic has probably changed the way you work. Fear and anxiety about this new disease and other strong emotions can be overwhelming, and workplace stress can lead to burnout. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC) developed a webpage on managing stress during this time.
Low-Level Waste Being Shipped on to Texas After Railcar Fire
On June 4, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) was contacted by the Texas Radiation Control Program to advise that a rail car containing radioactive material had caught fire at the Belt Railway Co. of Chicago (BRC). IEMA staff contacted BRC and was informed that a lidded gondola transporting a load of UN2912 LSA-1 was found to be smoldering.
New Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Data and Tools
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) TRI Program has redesigned its Data and Tools webpage to better describe the available TRI data resources and help direct viewers to the content and tools most relevant. This will make it easier and faster to find the data and information to answer questions about how industrial and federal facilities manage toxic chemicals.
EPA Pesticides Chief Leaving for Role at Chemical Safety Office
The longtime director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pesticides Programs is leaving his role for a position at that office’s parent agency, according to an internal email and confirmed by an agency spokesman. Rick Keigwin will become the acting deputy assistant administrator for management at Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention starting June 22.
Bloomberg Law [Authors: Stephen Lee and Adam Allington]
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Workplace Checklist for Prevention of Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 Virus in Non-Healthcare Industries Now Available in Spanish
The Workplace Checklist for Prevention of Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 Virus in Non-Healthcare Industries is now available in Spanish on the NIEHS WTP COVID-19 Toolbox. This checklist is a tool to help employers, unions, and workers in non-healthcare facilities assess workplace exposure, and identify prevention and control measures for SARS-CoV-2.
Supporting Addiction Treatment During COVID-19 Webinar Recordings
Individuals experiencing addiction have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical distancing protocols have separated patients from their clinicians, made medications to treat addiction much more challenging to obtain, and shuttered many long-term recovery groups. A new webinar series from the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and the American Society of Addiction Medicine will provide insight and targeted guidance on how to ensure that these individuals are cared for and protected during this ongoing public health crisis.
Two Additional Safe Cleaning and Disinfecting Trainings
Connecticut Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, Northeast NY Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health and the Philadelphia Area Project on Occupational Safety and Health, with support from the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health have joined efforts to provide a training on Safe Cleaning and Disinfecting. The training will discuss ways you can keep yourself safe if you are cleaning and disinfecting during an infectious disease outbreak.
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CPWR Seeks Training Specialist
The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) is hiring a training specialist, who will work as part of a team to ensure the delivery of CPWR’s Construction Consortium for Hazardous Waste Training and National Resource Center courses remains at the highest quality.
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