March 8, 2019
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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- Top Stories
- Calendar Features
- On The Web This Week
- Federal Agency Update
- Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
- Job Openings
- We Want Your Feedback
- Newsbriefs Past Issues
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WTP Spring Meeting on Addressing Workplace Stress – Registration Now Open!
Registration is now open for the WTP Spring Awardee Meeting and Steelworkers Charitable and Educational Organization (USW SCEO)/WTP Workshop being held May 14-16, 2019, at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The workshop will explore training interventions to address workplace stress, fatigue, and addiction. The awardee meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. The workshop will take place on Wednesday, May 15 (9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) and Thursday, May 16 (9:00 a.m. – noon).
Dozens Hospitalized Following Chemical Spill at Alabama Water Utility Company
More than three dozen people were hospitalized following a chemical spill at a water utility company in Alabama. Fire and police officials believe chlorine escaped into the air at the Birmingham Water Works and two chemicals, sodium hypochlorite and ferric sulfate, spilled inside the building. Exposure to the fumes can lead to nausea, sneezing, headache, nose irritation and a burning sensation in the throat.
NBC News [Author: Minyvonne Burke]
Underground Fire at Arkansas Dump Raises Health Concerns
More than seven months after residents first noticed a fire at an illegal dumping site in northwest Arkansas, it's still smoldering, sending noxious smoke throughout the town and seeping into homes, with costs to extinguish the fire estimated at tens of millions of dollars. In addition to cost and legal concerns, the adverse health effects of such contamination are not to be overlooked. The Arkansas Department of Health issues a health alert, warning residents to “avoid prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors,” including “running, playing, or yardwork.”
ABC News [Author: Hannah Grabenstein]
California Firefighter’s Suicide Highlights Stress Among First Responders
At least 115 firefighters and emergency medical service workers in the U.S. died by suicide in 2017, according to data compiled by the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance. Documented suicides have been rising since around 2005 and exceeded 100 each year from 2014 to 2017, according to the behavioral health alliance. Firefighters and emergency medical services workers, like members of the military, routinely witness horrific, traumatic events—a daily reality not always understood by the public.
EMS World [Author: Nina Agrawal]
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Sunshine Act Meetings: Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board
The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) will convene a public meeting to discuss open investigations, the status of audits from the Office of the Inspector General, financial, and organizational updates. The meeting will be held at the CSB offices on March 12, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. ET.
Apply Now to the 2019 Health Disparities Research Institute
The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) will host the Health Disparities Research Institute (HDRI) from August 12-16, 2019, in Bethesda, MD. The HDRI aims to support the research career development of promising minority health/ health disparities research scientists early in their careers and stimulate research in the disciplines supported by health disparities science. The program is intended for early-stage research investigators and will feature lectures on minority health and health disparities research; mock grant review; seminars; and small group discussions. Applications are due March 22, 2019, 5:00 p.m. ET.
Webinar: Robotics and Workplace Safety and Health
The first in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) webinar series, Expanding Research Partnerships: Emerging Issues in Occupational Safety and Health, this webinar will discuss the work of innovative and impactful intramural and extramural research partnerships. This upcoming webinar is on Robotics and Workplace Safety and Health and will delve into three topics from three experts in the field: human-robot collaborations, ergonomic benefits of robot collaborations, and the future of occupational robotics safety and health. The webinar will be held on April 10, 2019, at 12:00-1:30 p.m. ET.
2019 National Health Security Award Application
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) are pleased to announce the fourth annual National Health Security Award! This award recognizes local health departments that have demonstrated significant accomplishments in implementing health security-related initiatives within their jurisdictions. Applications are being accepted now through April 26, 2019.
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Report: Over 1,000 Virginia Facilities Face Toxic Flood Threat
Over 1,000 industrial facilities likely handling toxic and hazardous substances in Virginia face threats from flooding, storm surge, and sea-level rise, according to a new report. The Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) worked with the James River Association and Chesapeake Commons to look at flooding scenarios in the James River watershed and combined those data with information on social vulnerability. The report found that more than 473,000 people — or about 1 in 6 residents in the James River watershed — live in areas vulnerable to toxic floodwaters. People who work and attend school in these communities are also vulnerable, according to the report.
Making Trauma More Traumatic
Mental health awareness is a hot topic, whether it is in social media discussions, stories about problems in remote communities, or in the employment context. In the latter, there has been movement towards ways employers can take steps to protect the mental health of employees and deal with mental health issues when they come up. This shift requires accommodation for employees who are recovering from mental illness and an understanding that mental injuries are considered on par with physical injuries.
Grand Canyon Tourists Exposed for Years to Radiation in Museum Building, Safety Manager Says
For nearly two decades at the Grand Canyon in Arizona, tourists, employees, and children on tours passed by three paint buckets stored in the national park’s museum collection building, unaware that they were being exposed to radiation. Federal officials learned of the 5-gallon containers brimming with uranium ore in 2018, and then removed the radioactive specimens. However, nothing was done to warn park workers or the public that they might have been exposed to unsafe levels of radiation.
USA Today [Author: Dennis Wagner]
AJPH Special Issue Charts the Future of Minority Health and Health Disparities Research
The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) led a National Institute of Health-wide two-year visioning process to chart a new research course to improve minority health and reduce health disparities. The result of this process is a special issue published in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH): “New Perspectives to Advance Minority Health and Health Disparities Research.” Thirty specific research strategies were identified across three pillars that guided the science visioning: methods and measurement, etiology, and interventions.
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FEMA’s National Integration Center Seeks Feedback
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Integration Center seeks public feedback on two National Incident Management System (NIMS) Job Titles/ Position Qualifications and Resource Typing Definitions regarding HAZMAT response released under the Environmental Response/ Health and Safety core capability. NIMS is a key component of U.S. incident management efforts and enables organizations from across the country to work together during incidents of all kinds and sizes.
Chemotherapy Workers Face Risks, Reduced with Safe Handling
The National Toxicology Program (NTP) concluded in a final report released March 4 that researchers found a moderate level of evidence that workplace exposure to chemotherapy drugs is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage and genetic toxicity. Studies identified through a literature review also suggest that workplace exposures to these drugs have decreased over time, as institutions provide protective equipment and employees follow safe handling guidelines.
Texas Workshop Prepares Trainees for Disaster Research
The Texas A&M University Superfund Research Program (SRP) center scientists hosted a first-of-its-kind Disaster Research Training Workshop aimed at graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Participants learned practical skills for conducting environmental health-related research during complex disaster-related situations such as the aftermath of an extreme weather event. The workshop drew trainees from Texas A&M University (TAMU) and 10 other academic centers around the country to the TAMU Engineering Extension Service’s Emergency Operations Training Center in College Station, Texas.
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CPWR—The Center for Construction Research and Training to Receive 2019 Henry C. Turner Prize
The Turner Construction Company and the National Building Museum are pleased to announce that CPWR – the Center for Construction Research and Training will receive the 2019 Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction. The Prize recognizes CPWR for its efforts to promote and improve safety conditions for workers in the construction industry.
Recording and Slides Available: ASPR Healthcare and Public Health Risk Identification and Site Criticality (RISC) Toolkit Webinar
Slides and the recording of the January 29, 2019, webinar hosted by Human and Health Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) are now available! In this webinar, public and private partners will share how they have used ASPR's Healthcare and Public Health Risk Identification and Site Criticality (RISC) Toolkit, version 1.0. The toolkit contains an objective, data-driven, all-hazards risk assessment tool with the potential to inform emergency preparedness planning, risk management activities, and resource investments.
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District Council 37 Seeking Principal Program Coordinator
District Council 37 is seeking a Principal Program Coordinator to serve in the Safety and Health Department. The Principal Program Coordinator will be responsible for the research, development, and implementation of safety and health training programs and materials for union members; research and analysis of technical safety and health information; worksite inspections; the coordination of activities for the joint labor-management safety and health committees; and the production of reports of work-related safety and health issues.
TURI Seeks Multiple Positions
The Toxic Use Reduction Institute is seeking applicants for the following three positions: Toxic Use Reduction (TUR) Science/ EHS Support Specialist; TUR Learning Support Specialist; and Research Center Director and Associate/Full Professor in Environmental Health. For more information, please see links below.
Peace Corps Seeking an Occupational Safety and Health Educator
A Peace Corps Response Volunteer (PCRV) is needed to serve as an Occupational Safety and Health Educator for Good Shepherd College of Nursing (GSCN) in the Kingdom of Eswatini. Through the Peace Corps Response program and in collaboration with local degree institutions, the volunteer will work alongside local faculty to support new degree programs by co-teaching and mentoring students both in the classroom and through their practical field experiences in occupational safety and health.
MassCOSH Seeks Labor-Community Training Coordinator and Organizer
The Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) is currently seeking a Labor-Community Training Coordinator and Organizer. This person will be responsible for conducting outreach to unions and community-based partners to build relationships and assist workers to identify priority health, safety, and environmental concerns; assisting with the development and dissemination of materials/training curricula to help unions and community-based partners; and conducting health and safety trainings and workshops using a popular education model.
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