June 16, 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.
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
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2023 NOFO - SBIR E-Learning for HAZMAT and Emergency Response (R43/R44 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
This Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) encourages Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant applications from small business concerns that propose to further the development of technology-enhanced training products for the health and safety training of hazardous materials (HAZMAT) workers. Technology-enhanced training products as defined by the Worker Training Program include, but are not limited to, supporting training through various venues such as online training, mobile device training, virtual reality, and serious gaming. Applications are due July 14, 2023.
Hazardous Air Quality Leaves Some Workers Gasping for Help
When wildfire smoke smothers U.S. cities and communities, suddenly creating a hazardous air quality event, workers say they’re left gasping for help to keep doing their jobs. Workers complained of burning and watering eyes, throat tightness and lightheadedness during the hazardous air quality events on the east coast June 6-9, 2023.
UPS Workers Facing Extreme Heat Win a Deal to Get Air Conditioning in New Trucks
Air conditioning systems will be included in all of the company's small package delivery vehicles purchased after Jan. 1, 2024. It will be the first time UPS will be required to equip the company's recognizable "package car" vehicles — which make up about 95% of its delivery fleet — with air conditioning. Also, check out Charles Austin’s presentation, Preventing Heat Stress for Truck Drivers, from the WTP 2022 Fall Workshop.
NPR [Author: Joe Hernandez]
National Forklift Safety Day Brings Calls for Continued Training, Engagement
Now in its 10th year, the event is organized by Industrial Truck Association (ITA) and features safety experts and representatives from industry and government. ITA president Feehan said during the event, “building safer work environments, will require continually engaging in dialogue, sharing knowledge and acting collectively to ensure worker safety.”
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Request for Information: Automated Worker Surveillance and Management
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) seeks comments from the public to better understand automated surveillance and management of workers. Comments sought include information on surveillance prevalence, purposes, deployment, and impacts, as well as opportunities for federal agencies to work with employers, workers, and other stakeholders to ensure that these systems do not undermine workers' rights, opportunities, access, health, or safety. Comments submission deadline has been extended until June 29, 2023, by 5:00 p.m. EDT.
Request for Information: National Priorities for Artificial Intelligence
The Biden-Harris Administration is developing a National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy that will chart a path for the U.S. to harness the benefits and mitigate the risks of AI. This strategy will build on the actions that the Federal Government has already taken to responsibly advance the development and use of AI. To inform this strategy, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) requests public comments to help update U.S. national priorities and future actions on AI. Comments must be submitted by July 7, 2023, by 5:00 pm EDT.
FY24 Brownfields Job Training Grants
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of approximately $12 million from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda for environmental job training grants under the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Brownfields Job Training Program. EPA is seeking applications for the program and anticipates awarding approximately 24 grants nationwide of to $500,000 per award. Applications are due by August 2, 2023.
2023 SCIP Annual Meeting and Safety Culture Workshop
The Idaho Environmental Coalition and Department of Energy (DOE) Idaho Cleanup Project are hosting the 2023 DOE Safety Culture Improvement Panel (SCIP) Annual Meeting and Safety Culture Workshop. Meeting participants will focus on all aspects of safety culture with a special emphasis on psychological safety. The meeting and workshop will be held August 15 to 17, 2023, in Idaho Falls, ID.
|On The Web This Week
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Ancient Lung Disease Strikes Countertop Cutters in Southern California
Engineered-stone countertops that have become popular with consumers, are considered cheaper and more durable than natural stone and are composed of crushed quartz bound by a plastic resin. The cutting of the slabs releases crystalline silica particles that are a hundred times smaller than a grain of sand. The particles can travel deep into the lungs, causing scarring that continues even after exposure stops resulting in silicosis.
Public Health Watch [Authors: Jim Morris and Leslie Berestein Rojas]
CSB Releases New Safety Video
The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) released a new safety video on its investigation into the April 2018 explosion and fire at the Husky Superior Refinery in Superior, Wisconsin. The CSB's new safety video includes an animation of the series of events leading to the incident, and interviews with both the CSB’s Chairperson Steve Owens and Lead Investigator, Melike Yersiz.
Los Alamos Labs Contractor Settles State Violation; Has Federal Notice for More Issues
As contractors at Los Alamos National Lab resolved allegations of mislabeling hazardous waste in 2020 after a New Mexico Environment Department inspection, federal overseers recently reported additional significant safety violations from 2021. Environment department inspectors found unlabeled containers of hazardous waste, universal waste batteries and free liquids. There was also a failure to provide secondary containers for free liquid hazardous waste.
Source New Mexico [Author: Danielle Prokop]
|Federal Agency Update
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Biden-Harris Administration Launched the Environmental Justice Scorecard
President Biden has prioritized environmental justice by launching a whole-of-government effort to confront longstanding environmental injustices and inequities. The Environmental Justice Scorecard is a signature component of this commitment. It is the first-ever government-wide assessment of what the federal government is doing to advance environmental justice.
U.S. Department of Labor Urges Landscaping Industry Employers to Stay Focused on Protecting Employees from Hazards as Demands Increase
While workers struck by vehicles is typically the industry’s leading cause of fatal injuries, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (DOL) warns of other hazards that can potentially lead landscaping and groundskeeping workers to suffer serious or fatal injuries.
|Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
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LISTEN: Dr. Beverly Wright on How to Keep Environmental Justice Momentum
Beverly Wright, Ph.D. joins the Agents of Change in Environmental Justice podcast to discuss her journey as an environmental justice pioneer and how to maintain momentum in the movement as administrations change. Wright also talks about environmental justice collaborations at the international level and lessons learned after being in this fight for so many years.
New Resource to Help Host Employers Keep Temporary Workers Safe at Work
A new document from National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the National Occupational Research Agenda Services Sector Council entitled Protecting Temporary Workers: Best Practices for Host Employers, can help keep temporary workers safe and healthy in their unique work environment. Host employers and staffing companies must work together to ensure a safe and healthy working environment. Host employers can do their part to ensure a safer and healthier workforce by following these best practices and going beyond compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration laws and regulations.
NIOSH Total Worker Health in Action! [Author: L. Casey Chosewood]
Fact Sheet: Protecting Workers from Wildfire Smoke Exposure
A new resource from the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health provides information and additional resources on wildfire smoke protection for workers. The fact sheet is available in English and Spanish.
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AFL-CIO Seeks a Legislative and Policy Specialist – Clean Energy Jobs
The Legislative and Policy Specialist – Clean Energy Jobs works as part of the Clean Energy Jobs and Advocacy teams to help formulate and deliver comprehensive legislative strategies for this priority area. This includes delivery of strategy towards federal committees of jurisdiction, legislative offices, and government agencies. The Legislative and Policy Specialist may also support development of model state and municipal policy in this issue area by collaborating with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations’ (AFL-CIO) state and local government advocacy unit.
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