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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: June 11, 2021 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, June 11, 2021

Weekly E-Newsbrief

June 11, 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

Selection and Use of Portable Air Cleaners to Protect Workers from Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 Fact Sheet Now Available

WTP released a new fact sheet on selection and use of portable air cleaners. The fact sheet provides guidance to help employers, building operators, and union officials select and use portable air cleaners to remove virus-contaminated air in indoor spaces.


New Company Sought to Operate Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Under $3 Billion Contract

A new primary contractor could be coming to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) as the U.S. Department of Energy sought bids from prospective contractors for the management and operations of the nuclear waste site near Carlsbad. The current holder of the contract Nuclear Waste Partnership began its work at WIPP in 2012 and its contract will expire in September 2021, with an extension carrying the contract through September 2022.

Carlsbad Current-Argus [Author: Adrian Hedden]

Nearly 4,900 COVID-19 Cases Logged at EM Since Pandemic Began

There have been 4,867 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management workforce since the pandemic took root in the United States in early 2020, according to figures provided by the agency’s cleanup branch.

Exchange Monitor [Author: Wayne Barber]

Tons of Nuclear Waste Predicted at Proposed SRS Project

A plan to restart a defunct South Carolina nuclear facility near Aiken with a new mission has safety advocates worried about tons of new nuclear waste in a state with a checkered radioactivity record. The U.S. Department of Energy’s new budget includes a request for $603 million toward the production of plutonium pits, a key component in nuclear warheads, at Savannah River Site (SRS).

Charleston Currents

Where Are the U.S.’s Natural Gas Pipelines? Often In Vulnerable Communities.

Ryan Emanuel remembers when he first heard that a company was planning to route the Atlantic Coast Pipeline through the part of North Carolina where many members of his tribe, the Lumbee, lived. The area was already littered with fossil fuel infrastructure, such as compressor stations and other big pipelines. Why, he wondered, was more under construction in the area? How could that be fair or safe for the 30,000 Native residents in the region?

National Geographic [Author: Alejandra Borunda]

An Explosion in Texas Shows the Hidden Dangers of Tanks Holding Heavy Fuels

Over the last decade, at least 17 heated storage tanks containing asphalt or No. 6 fuel oil, another heavy oil, have exploded at asphalt plants or terminals around the United States, according to news reports and filings from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In some cases workers were injured or killed, and some explosions ignited fires in other, nearby tanks, causing whole neighborhoods to be evacuated.

Inside Climate News [Author: Sabrina Shankman and Julia Kane]

Firefighters Denied Coverage by Veterans Affairs After Exposure to PFAS Firefighting Foam

When Kevin Ferrara was starting out in the Air Force in 1991, he and his fellow firefighters developed a method for cooling each other down. His training at Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois involved repeatedly putting jet fuel and other chemicals and debris into a pit, setting them on fire, and then putting the flames out with firefighting foam known as AFFF. Ferrara and the other members of the fire crew became unbearably hot as they stood around the fiery pit. For relief, they would cover each other with foam.

The Intercept [Author: Sharon Lerner]

Where Nursing Home Staff Vaccinations Lag, COVID-19 Outbreaks May Follow, Experts Warn

When 28 residents in two Rochester, New York, nursing homes tested positive for COVID-19 last month, officials there saw the unexpected outbreak as a stark reminder of the potency of the coronavirus vaccine. While much of the country was lining up for shots, by early May, fewer than 45% of the staff across Rochester Regional Health's skilled nursing facilities was fully vaccinated.

ABC News [Authors: Laura Romero and Meredith Deliso]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

2021 William K. Reilly Awards for Environmental Leadership

The American University Center for Environmental Policy at the School of Public Affairs is hosting a special event on June 16 at 2:00 p.m. ET honoring the 2021 winners of the William K. Reilly Award for Environmental Leadership: Peggy Shepherd, co-founder and executive director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) career civil servants, represented by current EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.

More Information

Overview of EPA’s Climate Change Indicators

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a major update, expansion, and enhancement of its Climate Change Indicators in the United States website. This webinar will explore the new website, which now includes 54 indicators (140 figures). The indicators show clear evidence of changes to our climate reflected in rising temperatures and sea level, increases in drought conditions, heat waves, and wildfires, among many other climate-related changes. The webinar will be held on June 17 at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Meeting Registration

Ventilation for COVID-19: An Overview

The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) is hosting a webinar on basic ventilation principles, including infection control, using mechanical and natural ventilation systems, and industrial ventilation technology. This webinar will explore the ways ordinary ventilation design should be modified in order to build systems that can be easily adapted to address hazards ranging from a local infectious diseases outbreak to the next pandemic. The webinar will be held on June 17 at 3:00-5:00 p.m. ET.

Meeting Registration

SRP Risk Communication Strategies to Reduce Exposures and Improve Health

This virtual workshop on June 21-22, sponsored by the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP), will bring together SRP grantees, partners, and colleagues to discuss strategies to communicate potential health risks with the goals of preventing and reducing exposures, and improving health.

Meeting Information

Changing the Blame Game: Moving from Burnout Shame to Moral Injury and Systemic Change

The American Public Health Association’s Pharmacy Section Task Force on System-mediated Medication Safety Issues and the Ethics, Occupational Health and Safety and Public Health Nursing Sections are co-sponsoring a webinar on the Moral Injury Program on June 23 at 9:00-10:00 a.m. ET. It will define moral injury and the factors driving its occurrence, describe the impact of moral injury on health professionals and their patients, and discuss the health care systemic change that needs to occur to address to prevent moral injury.

Meeting Link

Climate and Heat: Trends, Health Impacts and Risks

This webinar will highlight information on observed U.S. trends from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Climate Change Indicators and future conditions based on EPA’s Climate Impacts and Risk Analysis efforts. The presentation will feature recent science on extreme heat and health impacts including from the U.S. Global Change Research Program and EPA research on climate vulnerability and heat islands. It will be held on June 24 at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Meeting Registration

2021 National Cleanup Workshop

The National Cleanup Workshop is hosted by the Energy Communities Alliance with the cooperation of the Energy Facility Contractors Group and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management (EM). The 2021 workshop will be held on Sept. 8-10. The workshop will bring together senior DOE executives and site officials, industry executives, and other stakeholders to discuss EM’s progress on the cleanup of the environmental legacy of the nation’s Manhattan Project and Cold War nuclear weapons program.

Meeting Registration

Save the Dates for Brownfields 2021

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and ICMA are committed to ensuring the National Brownfields Training Conference provides the best networking and learning environment possible for the Brownfields community. Several considerations were made related to the current, and anticipated, COVID-19 situation. The event has been rescheduled from its September dates to December 8-11, 2021, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

More Information

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

How Canada Is Moving to End the Systemic ‘Environmental Racism’ That Has Been the Toxic Burden of Racialized and Indigenous People for Decades

Lounging on the deck of her family home in a rural town in Nova Scotia, Louise Delisle no longer has to bear the view of the dump site behind the now overgrown birch and fir trees. But the 70-year-old retired nurse can vividly remember the sight of people from outside this tiny Black community in Shelburne discarding and piling up unsorted industrial, medical and residential waste just half a kilometre from her house on Clements Street.

The Star [Author: Nicholas Keung]

A Decade After Deepwater Horizon, We’re Still Cleaning Up Oil Spills the Same Way

Off the coastline of Sri Lanka, where a burning cargo ship has been spilling toxic chemicals and plastic pellets over the past two weeks, the government is preparing for the next possible stage of the disaster: As the ship sinks, it may also spill some of the hundreds of tons of oil in its fuel tanks. The government is readying oil dispersants, booms, and oil skimmers, all tools that were used in the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Fast Company [Author: Adele Peters]

A Trip Down the Crooked River

Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Jane Goodman has been an advocate for the restoration of the infamous crooked river for decades. This well-known landmark, considered the "spine of the city" was once a cesspool of contaminated water and industrial chemicals. In 1969, the river caught fire, very literally sparking a national movement for water conservation.

EHN [Author: Cameron Oglesby]

Memphis Pipeline Rekindles Eminent Domain Fight

It's four words that Wyatt Price probably wishes he could take back. Explaining why a planned oil pipeline was taking a roundabout path around Memphis through a Black neighborhood, Price, a land agent for the Byhalia Connection pipeline, last year told a gathering it was the "point of least resistance."

E&E News [Author: Mike Soraghan]

G-7 Targets Environmental Crimes in Push for Greater Disclosure

The Group of Seven nations targeted environmental crimes with a move to push companies into disclosing the impact they have on the climate. Finance ministers from the G-7 meeting in London agreed for the first time to embed climate-change considerations into their decision making. They also expanded the work of a money laundering and corruption watchdog to root out crimes against the planet.

Bloomberg [Authors: Alessandra Migliaccio and David Goodman]

Are You Ready to Get Ahead of Summer Safety Hazards?

While the COVID-19 pandemic remains the most pressing health and safety issue, infections, hospitalizations, and deaths are all declining as the Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer vaccines roll out across the country. However, summer brings its own seasonal hazards and challenges.

EHS Daily Advisor [Author: Guy Burdick]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

OSHA Issues Emergency Temporary Standard to Protect Health Care Workers from the Coronavirus and New Guidance for All Industries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced it will issue an emergency temporary standard to protect healthcare workers from contracting coronavirus. The standard focuses on healthcare workers most likely to have contact with someone infected with the virus. OSHA announced the new standard alongside new general industry guidance, both of which are aligned with Centers for Disease Control guidance.

OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard

OHSA Safework

FEMA Funding Request Focused on Climate Resilience, Incident Response

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would see funding increases with a focus on confronting the effects of climate change and building community resilience under President Biden’s budget proposal. It comes after President Biden has declared disaster readiness to be an urgent priority, declaring while visiting the FEMA National Response Coordination Center in Washington on May 24.

Homeland Security Today [Author: Bridget Johnson]

OSHA Faults Veterans Affairs, Contractor After Steam Release Fatalities

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued nine notices of unsafe and unhealthful working conditions to the Veterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare system for one willful, three repeat, and five serious “violations” after two workers were fatally injured by a hot steam release. OSHA does not cite and penalize other federal agencies, but if the Department of Veterans Affairs were a private sector employer, it would face penalties totaling $621,218, according to OSHA.

EHS Daily Advisor [Author: Guy Burdick]

OSHA Notice

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Occupational Exposures to Epoxy Resins Among Construction Painters: Methods to Monitor Exposures and Urinary Biomarkers

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) is hosting a webinar on June 15 at 2:00 p.m. ET. The webinar will present researchers’ findings on occupational exposures to epoxy resins among construction painters working in anti-corrosion metal structure coating – a multibillion dollar market. Epoxy resins used on steel structure coatings derive almost exclusively from Bisphenol A Diglycidyl Ether (BADGE).

Webinar Information

Heat-related Illness and Death in Construction

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) is hosting a webinar on June 29 at 2:00 p.m. ET on heat-related illness and death in construction. Construction workers, who often work outdoors in direct sunlight or in hot, enclosed spaces, are at risk for heat-related illnesses and, in severe cases, death. In fact, construction workers make up about 6% of the total U.S. workforce, but from 1992 to 2016, they accounted for 36% of all occupational heat-related deaths.

Webinar Information

Job OpeningsBack to Top

NIST Seeks Safety and Occupational Health Specialist

This position will serve as a Safety and Occupational Health Specialist in the Gaithersburg Safety, Health, and Environment Division (GSHED). GSHED provides safety, health, and environmental compliance services in support of National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) mission as a measurement standards and materials research laboratory. The deadline to apply is June 14.

Job Posting

OSHA Seeks Physical Scientist

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) seeks a physical scientist for the Directorate of Standards and Guidance (DSG) Division. The position will assist in the development of criteria for assuring compliance with safety standards and for assuring uniform application of safety and general industry standards. The deadline to apply is June 18.

Job Posting

OSHA Seeks Program Analyst

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) seeks a program analyst for the Office of Training and Education (OTE), in the Division of Training Programs and Administration (DTPA). The position will establish objectives, priorities, scope, and operational plans for evaluating the OTE adult training and education programs and integrates work efforts with other specialists toward achieving objectives, including in-person classroom learning and both synchronous and asynchronous remote learning. The deadline to apply is June 15.

Job Posting

UT Dallas Seeks Assistant Director, Fire Prevention and Life Safety

The University of Texas (UT) at Dallas seeks an Assistant Director for the UT Dallas Fire Prevention and Life Safety Program. This position is responsible for proactively leading the Fire and Life Safety team and working collaboratively with campus partners to ensure campus compliance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code, NFPA Fire Code, International Building Code, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, and applicable state, local, and federal regulations.

Job Posting

Howard University Seeks Environmental Health and Safety Specialist

Howard University seeks an environmental health and safety specialist to investigate, recognize, and evaluate air-related hazards and recommend controls, including air contaminants, and chemical, biological, physical, and ergonomic hazards. Howard University is a comprehensive, research-oriented, historically Black private university based in Washington, DC.

Job Posting

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