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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: June 26, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, June 26, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

June 26, 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 StoriesBack to Top

Virginia Poised to Create First Pandemic Workplace Safety Mandates in Nation, As Trump Labor Agency Sits on Sidelines

Virginia took a big step on June 24 toward ushering in a new set of coronavirus-era safety rules that companies would be forced to implement to protect workers from infection – a first in the country and potentially way forward for other states in the face of federal inaction. The emergency temporary standard was drafted by the state’s Department of Labor and Industry, under direction from Gov. Ralph Northam in late May.

Washington Post [Author: Eli Rosenberg]

Hanford, SRS Report New COVID-19 Cases; Sites Slowly Get Back to Work

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Hanford Site in Washington state has confirmed two more cases of COVID-19 among its workforce since June 19, which would bring its total to 15. In addition, DOE’s Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina has confirmed its 36th case. Twenty-three of those workers have recovered and returned to work.

Exchange Monitor [Author: Wayne Barber]

New Report Finds Increased Threat From Radioactive Oil and Gas Waste in North Dakota

A new report released by the national environmental nonprofit Earthworks reveals that North Dakota’s massive surge in fracking wastewater production, also known as “produced water,” has potentially increased North Dakotans exposure to carcinogens, heavy metals, and radioactivity. Earthworks calculates that in 2018 alone, the fracking boom generated 460 million barrels of waste water–one barrel for each barrel of oil crude produced.


Eula Bingham, Champion of Worker Safety, Dies at 90

Eula Bingham, a toxicologist who energized the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as its director and set stringent standards to protect workers from hazardous materials, died on June 13 in Cincinnati. She was 90. Bingham was appointed director of OSHA by President Jimmy Carter in 1977.

New York Times [Author: Katharine Q. Seelye]

Epidemic of Contaminated Waste Is Following the Coronavirus

The world is struggling to deal with the spread of another medical problem created by the coronavirus, a deluge of contaminated waste. During the peak of the crisis, Wuhan, the city where the outbreak began, generated 240 tons a day of medical refuse, six times the normal level, according to the nation’s Environment Ministry. Manila in the Philippines produced an additional 280 tons a day of medical trash, while Jakarta generated 212 tons, the Asian Development Bank estimated.

Bloomberg News [Author: Heesu Lee]

Nursing Home Administrator Says Loneliness Is ‘Second Epidemic’ As Coronavirus Isolates People

We know older people are the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. But it’s not just the disease itself. It’s also the loneliness brought on by the isolation. Jeff Weinberg, a licensed nursing home administrator and patient advocate in Pittsburgh, calls loneliness a second epidemic.

CBS Pittsburgh [Author: Kristine Sorenson]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Nursing Homes and COVID-19: Mitigating the Spread of the Virus through Federal Guidance and Technology

The concentration of COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes greatly impacts both counties and our residents. The National Association of Counties (NACo) and United Health Care is hosting a webinar outlining federal guidance and telehealth technology resources that help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes and protect our nation’s vulnerable populations. The webinar will be held June 30 at 12:00-1:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Information

EPA Research on Environmental Cleanup and Disinfection of SARS-CoV-2 Webinar

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientists are building on a foundation of world-class research by applying their knowledge to reduce the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This research will help reduce the risk of exposure. This webinar will highlight research EPA is working on related to environmental cleanup and disinfection. The webinar will be held on June 30 at 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET.


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.


Minimizing Workplace Exposures through Design and Engineering Controls

NIEHS WTP and AIHA are sponsoring a webinar that will feature 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 will be held on July 1 at 1:00-2:30 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

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.

Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense

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.

Call for Papers

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Former U.S. Chemical Safety Board Member Kristen Kulinowski Reflects on Her Term

This spring, one of the longest-serving members of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) in recent history resigned shortly before the end of her term. Kristen Kulinowski served on the board for nearly five years, during some of its most tumultuous times. As a Ph.D. chemist and nanotechnology and science policy expert, Kulinowski brought a science focus to the board, whose members are often drawn from other fields.

Chemical and Engineering News [Author: Jeff Johnson]

Nevada Division Announces New Tribal Coordinator for Emergency Response

The Nevada Division of Emergency Management (DEM) is pleased to name Cassandra Darrough as DEM's Tribal Coordinator, helping with emergency management support for Nevada’s 27 federally-recognized Tribal Nations in close collaboration with Nevada Indian Commission. Division of Emergency Management is the state agency responsible for the administration of emergency preparedness, prevention, response, recovery, and mitigation.

Carson Now [Author: Jeff Munson]

Green Energy’s Dirty Side Effects

As economies in the West address the climate crisis, another crisis is worsening elsewhere. Making all those vehicles, panels, and turbines requires resources such as copper, lithium, and cobalt, which, like fossil fuels, are extracted from the ground. But unlike fossil fuels, many raw materials for green energy come disproportionately from developing countries.

Foreign Policy

Cal/OSHA Issues Emergency Temporary Guidance Regarding Medical Surveillance Examinations amid Potential Exposure to COVID-19

On June 5, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) issued temporary emergency guidance to assist physicians and other licensed health care professionals balancing the benefits of providing mandated medical surveillance examinations against the risks of potential COVID-19 exposure.


Workplace Safety Technology in the Time of COVID-19

Although there are signs that the infection rate is beginning to flatten in most countries, all of the experts agree that we can’t expect to go back to business as usual. We are going to have to adapt our business practices to accommodate the current pandemic, and we have to be better prepared for similar events in the future. As with many crises, this is accelerating the adoption of recent innovations, and this will also be the case for workplace safety.

Occupational Health and Safety [Author: Karl Bream]

Do Employers Need to Keep Track of Sick Workers?

Most states don’t require employers to report COVID-19 cases to local health departments, though large workplace clusters are often identified by those agencies. However, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration does require most companies with more than 10 employees to keep internal records of COVID-19 cases, but only when they’re confirmed and deemed “work-related.”

Marketplace [Author: Megan McCarty Carino]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

DOE Worker Safety and Health Policy Clarification Portal

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Worker Safety and Health Policy (AU-11) is pleased to announce the launch of the Safety and Health Policy Clarification Portal, “PC Portal,” formerly called the Safety and Health Regulatory and Policy Response Line. The PC Portal is user-friendly and makes submitting questions and searching for previous AU-11 policy clarifications more effective.


Office of Legacy Management June 2020 Update

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Legacy Management (LM) has prepared the April-June 2020 Program Update newsletter. This issue of Program Update is dedicated to the DOE Environmental Justice (EJ) Program. Along with the normal articles detailing LM program activities and achievements, the update has included stories highlighting the DOE commitment to incorporate EJ into the Department’s policies, programs, and values.


CSB Issues New Video Safety Message and Safety Alert

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) issued a video safety message and a safety alert entitled “2020 Hurricane Season: Guidance for Chemical Plants During Extreme Weather Events.” The video and safety alert highlight recent actions by the Center for Chemical Process Safety to produce industry guidance meant to help hazardous chemical facilities better prepare for extreme weather events.


Information for Sanitation and Wastewater Workers on COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published information for sanitation workers during the COVID-19 outbreak. These standard practices can include engineering and administrative controls, hygiene precautions, specific safe work practices, and personal protective equipment (PPE) normally required when handling untreated wastewater.


Hazardous Waste: Final Rule from EPA Modernizes Ignitable Liquids Determinations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule on June 8 that revises the hazardous waste regulation at 40 CFR 261.21, which addresses how the characteristic of “ignitability” is identified as a hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

EHS Daily Advisor

EPA Disaster Debris Directory Includes Recycling Options

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it has undertaken a nationwide expansion of its “interactive dataset that maps recyclers and landfills for the planning, response and recovery of debris” created by a natural disaster. The expansion of the recovery tool was supported by the E-Enterprise Initiative that emphasizes collaboration and data sharing among EPA, states and tribes.

Waste Today Magazine [Author: Brian Taylor]

FDA Advises Consumers Not to Use Hand Sanitizer Products Manufactured by Eskbiochem

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises consumers not to use any hand sanitizer manufactured by Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico, due to the potential presence of methanol (wood alcohol), a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested. FDA has identified the following products manufactured by Eskbiochem.


Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

The Future of Safety

As the COVID-19 pandemic advances, safety professionals across the country have felt the effects. But are the various changes here to stay? Safety+Health gathered perspectives from prominent voices in safety on the question: Do you believe the COVID-19 pandemic will have a lasting impact on occupational safety and health and, if so, how? Among the responses included WTP grantee Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR).

Safety+Health Magazine

NIEHS WTP Essential and Returning Worker Online Training Course Now Available

As workplaces reopen, workers and employer 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.

Vivid Learning System LMS

Job OpeningsBack to Top

OAI Seeks EHS Training Supervisor

OAI, Inc. is hiring an environmental health and safety (EHS) training supervisor. The position works with EHS training programs that address the health and safety training needs of diverse, under-represented, multi-cultural workers and job seekers who are most vulnerable to workplace-related injuries and illnesses.

Job Posting

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