June 9, 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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WTP Launches Disaster Tools App
The National Clearinghouse for Worker Safety and Health Training (WTP) in partnership with CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training have launched a new Disaster Tools app that provides centralized, on-the-go access for all WTP disaster training tools. These training tools provide health and safety guidance to those involved in disaster response and cleanup activities. The app is available for download on Apple iOS and Android devices.
Resources for Protecting Workers During Wildfire Smoke Events
The potential toxic compounds of wildfire smoke may expose workers to varying types amounts of chemical compounds throughout their work shift or during different fire events. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed and compiled resources to limit exposure to wildfire smoke for outdoor workers. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) compiled resources to maintain safe indoor air quality during wildfire events.
Trapped at Work: Immigrant Health Care Workers Can Face Harsh Working Conditions and $100,000 Lawsuits for Quitting
Hospitals and nursing homes have filled thousands of vacant positions with nurses and other health care workers recruited from abroad, who say they are bound in some instances by contracts that impose tens of thousands of dollars in penalties for leaving and threats of lawsuits for not paying. In interviews, more than a dozen immigrant health care workers from across the country described being placed in jobs where there was so little staff that they weren’t able to meet patients’ basic needs and feared for their physical safety.
NBC News [Author: Shannon Pettypiece]
EPA Memo Clarifies Handling and Permitting Requirements for End-Of-Life Lithium-Ion Batteries
A new memo from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clarifies that upon disposal, most end-of-life lithium-ion batteries “are likely hazardous waste” and can be managed as such until they reach the proper recycling or discard destination. The memo also reiterates safe storage practices for end-of-life lithium-ion batteries, such as providing employee safety training for how to remove or disassemble the batteries and storing batteries properly.
Waste Dive [Author: Megan Quinn]
Dogs Attacked More Than 5,300 Mail Carriers Last Year, The Postal Service Says
The Postal Service released the data as part of its annual National Dog Bite Awareness Week, a public service campaign meant to raise awareness of attacks on mail carriers. For thousands of postal workers in 2022, man's best friend turned out to be a major hazard of the job. Officials are asking pet owners to take a few steps that could help protect postal workers from a potentially dangerous encounter, such as keeping dogs inside, behind a fence or on a leash when the mail carrier arrives.
NPR [Author: Joe Hernandez]
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Shortchanged: The Impact of Chronic Underinvestment in Public Health
Trust for America’s Health and the Coalition for Health Funding are gathering experts in public health policy and funding to discuss the critical need for increased, sustainable, and flexible funding that specifically targets public health and prevention efforts. The aim is to address the longstanding gaps in public health resulting from chronic underfunding. The webinar will be held on June 20, 2023, 3:00 p.m. EDT.
World Trade Center Health Program Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the following meeting for the World Trade Center Health Program Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee (WTCHP–STAC). Members of the public who wish to address the WTCHP–STAC during the oral public comment session must sign up to speak by June 14, 2023, by providing their name to Ms. Mia Wallace, Committee Management Specialist, via email at MWallace@cdc.gov. The meeting will be held on June 21, 2023, and June 22, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. EDT.
|On The Web This Week
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Global Brands Lied About Toxic "Forever Chemicals," New Study Claims
The new study in the Annals of Global Health concluded that 3M and DuPont, the largest makers of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, actively suppressed evidence that the chemicals were hazardous since the 1960s, long before public health research caught up.
CBS News [Author: Irina Ivanova]
Hundreds of Sleep-Deprived LIRR Employees Worked 24 Hour Shifts, Risked Fatigue-Related Tragedies: Watchdog
Hundreds of Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) employees in sensitive jobs have worked excessive hours, sometimes more than 24 hours at a time, causing tragic accidents driven by fatigue and risking many more, according to a new audit by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Inspector General’s (IG) office. Over an eighteen-month study, the IG’s office found that 267 workers in the LIRR’s Track division — which builds and maintains the railroad’s tracks, rolling stock, and other physical infrastructure — worked shifts longer than 24 hours on 4,375 separate occasions.
AMNY [Author: Ben Brachfeld]
Illinois Legislation Would Set EJ Rules Around Construction
The state of Illinois is considering legislation that would create a path for communities to become designated as environmental justice (EJ) communities. The legislation would require the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to annually review underlying data to determine whether a community qualifies as an EJ community. Areas deemed EJ communities would require developers of facilities that would be a major emissions source subject to the Clean Air Act to submit an EJ assessment identifying the potential environmental impacts to the area near the project.
A Landmark Investigation Brings Environmental Justice to Rural Alabama
The investigation found that not only did the Alabama Department of Public Health fail to provide basic sanitation to the residents of Lowndes County, but the Lowndes County Health Department actively enforced sanitation laws. It often levied charges on residents who had no control over the sanitary conditions in their community and who often could not afford upgrades.
The Daily Yonder [Author: Katie Myers]
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NIOSH Celebrates National Safety Month 2023
National Safety Month is celebrated each June to bring attention to staying safe from hazards in the workplace and anyplace. As part of the celebration of safety, the National Safety Council (NSC) selects themes for each week of the month. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and NSC will highlight research and prevention efforts pertaining to this year’s focus areas of emergency preparedness; slips, trips, and falls; heat-related illness; and hazard recognition.
EPA Proposes Ban on All Consumer and Many Commercial Uses of Perchloroethylene to Protect Public Health
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced another action to protect public health under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), proposing a ban on most uses of perchloroethylene (PCE), a chemical known to cause serious health risks such as neurotoxicity and cancer. The proposal would protect people from these risks by banning all consumer uses while allowing for many industrial/commercial uses to continue only where strict workplace controls could be implemented, including uses related to national security, aviation and other critical infrastructure, and the Agency’s efforts to combat the climate crisis.
OCCHE Climate and Health Outlook
The eleventh edition of the Climate and Health Outlook from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE) is now available. The Climate and Health Outlook is an effort to inform health professionals and the public on how our health may be affected in the coming months by climate events and provide resources to take proactive action.
Biden-Harris Administration Announces $80 Million To Strengthen American Manufacturing
As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $80 million in grant funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for small- and medium-sized manufacturing firms to accelerate the adoption of recommendations made by DOE to improve energy efficiency to lower costs and reduce industrial emissions. The grant funding will also support community-centered programs that leverage the expertise of and provide training to community colleges, trade schools, and union training programs across the country.
|Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
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Safer Water for Native American Communities
NIEHS-funded researchers recently installed filtration systems in Native American communities to reduce exposure to and the health effects of arsenic-contaminated drinking water. Led by the Columbia University Northern Plains Superfund Research Program Center and colleagues at Johns Hopkins University, and in partnership with Northern Plain Tribal Nations and the Indian Health Service, the team installed arsenic filters under household kitchen sinks and launched a corresponding educational campaign.
Environmental Factor [Author: Mali Velasco]
Every Day Counts 6: Strategic Workforce Development Toolkit
The Strategic Workforce Development Toolkit (SWD) is new and improved with materials to help users fill the construction jobs that support the country’s highway system. This Toolkit provides helpful workforce development resources in one place. The SWD Toolkit highlights best practices and success stories from those that have benefited from the Highway Construction Workforce Partnership (HCWP). The construction industry, government entities, and other partner organizations may use the provided resources to learn more about establishing an HCWP.
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Renewable Energy Systems Seeks a Safety Supervisor II (EMT Experience Preferred)
The Safety Supervisor II will be responsible for implementing Renewable Energy Systems' Safety Management System (SMS) on large utility-scale solar construction projects throughout the United States. Additionally, the position requires delivery of training on safety initiatives, site induction, work procedures, work instructions, SMS, and regulatory requirements.
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