March 29, 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
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|Top Stories||Back to Top|
NIEHS Report Available: Opioid-Related Hazards in the Workplace
The number of drug-related overdose deaths in the U.S. continues to increase and the number of deaths attributable to opioids has reached epidemic proportions. Although most opioid misuse initiatives have been broad-reaching, very few have addressed the opioid-related risks that exist for workers. To address this gap, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Worker Training Program (WTP) is working to raise awareness to prevent and respond to opioid exposure, misuse, and addiction in the workplace. The report highlights findings and discussions from the Fall 2018 workshop focused on ‘Developing a Training Framework to Address Exposure, Use and Prevention for Opioid-Related Hazards in the Workplace’.
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).
First-of-Its-Kind U.S. Nuclear Waste Dump Marks 20 Years
In a remote stretch of New Mexico desert, the U.S. government put in motion an experiment aimed at proving to the world that radioactive waste could be safely disposed of deep underground, lessening the threat to the environment. Twenty years and more than 12,380 shipments later, tons of Cold War-era waste from decades of bomb-making and nuclear research across the U.S. have been stashed in the salt caverns that make the underground facility.
The Washington Post [Author: Susan Montoya Bryan]
Last of Tanks Containing Pygas Secured; Houston Ship Channel Reopens with Restrictions
Harris County's Pollution Control, Emergency Management and Fire Marshall personnel responded to two tanks burning at Houston’s Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) on March 17. Five days later, a containment dike breached allowing the discharge into Tucker Bayou, before the tank reignited. Over the course of the fires benzene leaks from fire-damaged tanks and firefighting foam caused two local shelter-in-place advisories. On Wednesday, officials gave updates on the clean-up efforts, with the U.S. Coast Guard saying that the Houston Ship Channel is back open during daylight hours for vessel traffic. Multiple local parks remain closed and containment efforts remain ongoing.
KHOU 11 [Authors: Michelle Homer, Michelle Choi]
‘A State of Emergency’: Native Americans Stranded for Days by Flooding
On the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, extreme weather and bad roads have left some residents stranded for nearly two weeks with limited food and water. Officials with the Oglala Sioux Tribe, which administers the reservation, say they lack the training, manpower and equipment needed to deal with such a large-scale crisis. Huge portions of the Midwest have experienced damaging weather, presenting consequences for farms, roads and small riverfront towns.
The New York Times [Author: Mitch Smith]
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Department of Energy Webinar: Open Forum to Discuss Silica Exposure Control Requirements
Presented by the Office of Worker Safety and Health Policy, the webinar open forum will discuss silica exposure controls, exposure monitoring and objective data. Attendees should come prepared to discuss how specific sites are addressing exposure controls for construction activities. The open forum will be held on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET.
HUD Webinar: Lead Paint Safety Field Guide
Join the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes in the upcoming lead paint safety webinar. This webinar will discuss important updates to HUD's Lead Paint Safety field guide. This guide was recently updated to include important safety and lead handling practices for painting, repairs, and home maintenance. The webinar will be held on April 1, 2019, from 2:00-3:00 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.
EPA Launches State EJ Training Webinar Series
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced training to build the capacity of states to integrate environmental justice into their decision-making process. EPA will conduct a national webinar series in collaboration with state partners. The first webinar “Identifying and Prioritizing Environmentally Impacted and Vulnerable Communities” will provide state management and staff with a basic overview of the factors, data sources, and tools to identify environmentally impacted and vulnerable communities. The webinar will be held on April 16, 2019, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET.
Safety Fest TN 2019 Offers More Than 100 Free Safety Classes April 29-May 3
Safety Fest TN announces that registration is now open for Safety Fest TN 2019. The annual community event offers over 100 free safety classes, sessions and demonstrations to residents and companies. The classes will provide valuable insight and safety training relevant to the region. In addition to safety classes, the Safety Expo will return with safety equipment and training exhibitors. Safety Fest TN will take place from April 29 to May 3, 2019.
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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Opioids in the Workplace: What Employers Need to Know
Opioid overdoses have been at an epidemic level in the United States for years. When used correctly, prescription medication is an essential part of an employee health care benefits package. However, National Safety Council (NSC) notes, opioid medications are powerful, highly addictive, and increase the risk of workplace incidents and injuries – even when used as prescribed.
New Publication: Exploring Medical and Public Health Preparedness for a Nuclear Incident: Proceedings of a Workshop
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Disasters and Emergencies hosted a workshop called Exploring Medical and Public Health Preparedness for a Nuclear Incident. Through the workshop, participants from government, NGO and private sector organizations explored current assumptions behind and the status of medical and public health preparedness for a nuclear incident, examined potential changes in assumptions and approach, and discussed challenges and opportunities for capacity building in the current threat environment.
New Report Identifies Ways Communities Can More Effectively Measure Progress Toward Resilience
A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends steps U.S. communities can take to better measure their progress in building resilience to disasters, including measuring resilience around multiple dimensions of a community, and incentivizing the measurement of resilience. The report also recommends that the National Academies’ Gulf Research Program develop a major, coordinated initiative around building or enhancing community resilience across the Gulf of Mexico region.
Chemical That EPA Allows to Help Clean Up Oil Spills Sickens People and Fish, Lawsuit Claims
A chemical mixture called Corexit has been used by emergency responders to disperse oil into droplets that allow for further breakdown. While this method is helpful for remediation, it has been proven to cause health issues in those exposed. About 20% of nearly 5,000 Coast Guard personnel who responded to the BP spill and were exposed to the toxin reported persistent coughing. Others experienced wheezing and trouble breathing, according to a 2018 study commissioned by the National Institutes of Health.
The Washington Post [Author: Darryl Fears]
Occupational Zika Risks for Lab and Biomedical Researchers
Effects of Zika virus are still being felt despite a slow in the spread of the virus. From birth defects in children exposed to the virus to the challenges of mosquito control, Zika continues to test worldwide public health and health care response. Since the large outbreak began in 2015, the virus has spread to more than 80 countries/territories and 42,000 cases were identified in the United States alone. Investigators from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently wrote about the ongoing health hazards for laboratory and biomedical researcher workers.
Contagion Live [Author: Saskia v. Popescu]
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SRP Researchers Develop Tools and Methods to Characterize the Exposome
The combined effects of contaminants from air, water, and food, as well as chemicals produced by the body, complicate efforts to find links between chemical exposures and disease. Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center scientists and engineers are developing new tools and methods to better understand the exposome. These elements include exposure tools to describe the complex nature of the environment, methods to assess biological response from multiple stressors, and ways to integrate different types of data to characterize the effects of multiple exposures on health.
Inside NIOSH: Safety Data Sheets Omit Some Chemicals in Flavorings
NIOSH investigations have shown that sufficient levels of work-related exposure to certain chemical vapors in flavorings can cause severe, irreversible lung disease. These chemicals, diacetyl and its closely related substitute 2,3-pentanedione, can be added to flavorings like the butter in microwave popcorn. The disease, technically called obliterative bronchiolitis, is sometimes called “popcorn lung” because scientists originally described it in workers who manufactured microwave popcorn.
EPA Awards Grants to 21 Student Teams for Innovative Technology Projects
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced more than $300,000 in funding for 21 teams of undergraduate and graduate students across the country through its People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) grants program. The teams are receiving funding to develop sustainable technologies to help solve environmental and public health challenges.
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UAW, Automakers Could Lead Opioid Fight
NIEHS awardee, International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) could lead the fight against opioid addiction. The crisis afflicts the entire nation, but the auto industry is acutely exposed, with workers whose jobs leave them prone to chronic pain and injuries, and a factory footprint that overlaps the most deeply affected regions. UAW is calling for coordinated action to promote employee health and workplace safety.
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CSB Seeks Chemical Incident Investigator
The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) is seeking a Chemical Incident Investigator. The position is located in the Office of Investigations. The incumbent serves as an expert in industrial chemical safety and nationwide incident investigation and analysis of major incidents involving the accidental release of hazardous materials and, developing and presenting reports with safety recommendations for adopting by the Board.
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 join labor-management safety and health committees; and the production of reports of work-related safety and health issues.
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