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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: June 25, 2021 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, June 25, 2021

Weekly E-Newsbrief

June 25, 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

WTP Spring Workshop “Using Best Practices to Sustain Training Programs During COVID-19 and Other Disasters” Recordings Available

The WTP Spring Workshop, held virtually on April 20-22, 2021, brought awardees together to provide program updates, exchange information regarding training, and discover new areas of interest to awardees. The workshop reviewed the best practices of WTP, awardees, and partnering organizations to sustain training programs during COVID-19 and other disaster preparedness and response efforts. All webinar recordings are now available.

WTP

Jacobs Group Idaho Environmental Coalition Wins Idaho Cleanup Project Bid

The Idaho Cleanup Project contract, worth approximately $6.4 billion over a 10-year period, was awarded to Idaho Environmental Coalition (IEC), a joint venture between Jacobs Technology Inc. and North Wind Portage. IEC won the contract on May 27, beating out Fluor, which has held the contract since 2016.

Post Register [Author: John Roark]

New Contract Sought to Move Nuclear Waste to Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Near Carlsbad

A new company could be sought to ship nuclear waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad for disposal from generator sites across the county. The U.S. Department of Energy announced on June 10 it issued a request for proposal (RFP) for the transportation contract for WIPP, seeking interested firms and proposals for the work and its potential costs.

Carlsbad Current-Argus [Author: Adrian Hedden]

Scorching Hot in Phoenix: What It’s Like to Work in 115 Degrees

As the sun rose on another day of record-breaking heat, Juan Gutierrez and his construction crew were already sweating through their long-sleeve shirts. It was 91 degrees, and workers in a subdivision called Desert Oasis were racing to nail together the wooden skeletons of $380,000 homes that had sold before they were even built.

New York Times [Author: Jack Healy]

Substantial Crisis of Mental Health Burden Among Current and Former U.S. Coal Miners

Study data published in JAMA Network Open underline the substantial burden of mental illness among former and active coal miners in the U.S. In a cohort study of coal miners in Virginia, anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation were present in exceptionally high rates compared with the general population from the same region.

Psychiatry Advisor [Author: Emily Pond]

One Reason It's Hotter in Poorer Neighborhoods: Fewer Trees

Poor neighborhoods in the United States have fewer trees and are hotter than richer neighborhoods, new research shows. In the study, the researchers assessed tree cover in the 100 largest urban areas of the country. In nine out of 10 communities, there was less tree cover in low-income areas than in high-income areas. On average, low-income neighborhoods had about 15% less tree cover and were 1.5 degrees Celsius hotter (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

U.S. News and World Report

COVID-19 Stopped Progress on the Drug Epidemic in Its Tracks

Last March, when the coronavirus pandemic was still in its infancy in the United States, the opioid epidemic was already mature and ravaging the country. Even prior to the pandemic, addiction treatment and harm reduction services were difficult to access for many people attempting to stave off overdose or blood-borne infections like HIV.

The Nation [Author: Joshua Barocas]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

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

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

OSHA Considerations for Employers in Year Two of the COVID-19 Pandemic

All employers should be mindful of the health and safety of their workforce and worksites, including reviewing and evaluating updated COVID-19 guidance issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for all industries, and its Emergency Temporary Standard “ETS” applicable only to healthcare employers.

Occupational Health and Safety Online [Author: Christopher Nickels]

Researchers Identify More Worker Deaths Linked to Paint-Stripping Chemical

Worker deaths caused by exposure to methylene chloride are on the rise, according to researchers from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the University of California, San Francisco, who identified 32 deaths on top of those the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had recently reported over a period spanning nearly four decades.

Safety and Health Magazine

Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board Votes to Adopt Revised COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards

The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board adopted revisions to the COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards that account for recent guidance from the California Department of Public Health based on increases in the number of people vaccinated. California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order enabling the revisions to take effect – providing clarity and consistency for employers and employees as California fully reopens its economy.

California Department of Industrial Relations

NC Department of Labor Continues to Resist Workplace Safety Rules for COVID-19

The U.S. Department of Labor is adopting new emergency standards to protect healthcare workers from COVID-19, while its North Carolina counterpart has gone to court to defend its position that the potentially fatal disease is not a workplace hazard.

NC Policy Watch [Author: Yanqi Xu]

MIOSHA Issues New Workplace Safety Guidelines as Restrictions Loosen

Even though most of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, many businesses are now facing a new set of rules. This time coming from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration or MIOSHA. The States' COVID-19 workplace safety director Sean Egan says MIOSHA emergency rules are now in line with the Federal OSHA’s emergency temporary standard.

ABC12 [Author: Rachel Sweet]

New York Governor Signs Infectious Disease Worker Safety Bill

To prevent airborne infectious diseases, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that requires the state to create model standards of occupational exposure to an airborne infectious disease.

Occupational Health and Safety Online [Author: Shereen Hashem]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

Update on Chemtool Activities

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) deployed two of its senior leadership members to Chemtool Inc. in Rockton, Illinois, where they met with Chemtool regional and site leadership, the onsite Federal and local emergency responders, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Occupational Safety and Health Agency.

CSB

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Availability of More Than $21M in Grants for Training on Workplace Hazards, Infectious Diseases

The U.S. Department of Labor announced funding opportunities for more than $21 million in Occupational Safety and Health Administration training grants for non-profit organizations. The first availability will provide $10 million under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for Workplace Safety and Health Training on Infectious Diseases, including the Coronavirus grants. Applications are due July 19.

Department of Labor

Readout of President Biden’s Meeting with FEMA and Emergency Preparedness Team on Extreme Weather Preparation and Response Efforts

On June 22, President Biden met with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell, Homeland Security Advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall, FEMA Acting Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery David Bibo, and other members of his emergency preparedness team to discuss FEMA’s ongoing efforts to prevent, prepare for and respond to extreme weather events.

White House

EPA to Improve Access, Transparency and Timeliness of Air Toxics Data and Risk Information

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a move to provide more frequent updates to national air toxics data and risk estimates as part of the agency’s commitment to making high-quality information available on a timely basis to the public. The agency’s new approach will provide an annual, more systematic update for all air toxics information, including emissions, ambient concentrations, national screening risk estimates and monitoring data.

EPA

Projects Aim to Bring R&D Funding and Innovation to All Parts of America

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $22 million in funding for nine projects covering a range of energy research topics from grid integration, solar energy, wind energy, and advanced manufacturing. These projects are located in communities traditionally underserved by federal research and development (R&D) funding so that all parts of the country are central to efforts to solve the climate crisis and meet President Biden’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

DOE

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Addressing Disaster Vulnerability Among Homeless Populations During COVID-19

As the nation prepares for the 2021 hurricane and wildfire seasons, new guidance from the Societal Experts Action Network helps decision makers and communities support homeless populations before, during, and after a disaster in the context of COVID-19.

National Academy of Sciences

WTP Oregon State Profile

The Worker Training Program continues to make significant impacts in the Pacific Northwest. In Oregon, grantees' training efforts on wildfire preparedness, hazardous materials awareness, and emergency response with tribal members and disadvantaged communities have made a significant to workers’ safety and health.

WTP

Job OpeningsBack to Top

AFT Seeks Assistant Director in Health Issues

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is seeking an assistant director in health issues. Under the direction of the department director, the assistant director assists with: advocacy and issue campaigns; researching and writing materials; summarizing current issues confronting our members; and contributing to and advancing the division’s occupational safety and health programming.

Job Posting

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