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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: March 13, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, March 13, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

March 13, 2020

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

Spring 2020 NIEHS WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop Will be Held Virtually

After broadly considering the risks and impacts of a face to face meeting during the pandemic response, Emory University Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and NIEHS WTP have decided to turn the Workshop on Protecting Infectious Disease Responders During the COVID-19 Outbreak and the WTP Awardee Meeting into an all virtual webinar. Those of you who were already registered for the meeting should have received notification. However, if you were not registered for the meeting and would like to participate in the workshop webinar on March 17, please contact Kerri Voelker at for the webinar link.


Cleaning Up Hanford’s ‘Greatest Risk’ and Other Radioactive Waste Could Be Shelved for 10 Years

The U.S. Department of Energy appears to be backpedaling on moving highly radioactive capsules to safer storage at Hanford anytime soon. It released a report March 9 detailing its highest priorities on environmental cleanup across its nationwide complex in the coming decade. At Hanford the focus will be on starting to treat waste at the $17 billion vitrification plant, under construction since 2002.

Tri-City Herald [Author: Annette Cary]

‘Working Sick’—Kentucky Miners Fight Black Lung Regulations

Ever since a 2018 workers compensation bill—House Bill 2—limited the type of medical professionals qualified to diagnose black lung from chest X-rays, it’s become more difficult for former miners like Shirley Smith to be diagnosed. Prior to 2018, radiologists with “B” reader certifications were qualified to diagnose black lung. But now only pulmonologists, or lung specialists, with “B” reader certifications are legally permitted to diagnose a disease with epidemic proportions.

Scalawag [Author: Austyn Gaffney]

Activists Petition for Environmental Review of New Mexico, South Carolina Labs

New Mexico’s congressional delegates received a petition March 10 signed by more than 700 people who want the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct a comprehensive environmental review of the two sites it selected to produce 80 nuclear weapons cores by 2030.

Santa Fe New Mexican [Author: Scott Wyland]

Report: Utilities Are Less Likely to Replace Lead Pipes in Low-Income Communities of Color

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, water utility companies should invest more than $300 billion over the next two decades to renew and improve their networks of service lines and underground pipes, many of which contain lead. In part this is because the health effects of lead exposure are so severe: Even low levels can cause irreversible neurological damage.

Grist [Author: Rachel Ramirez]

Nashville Tornado Relief Effort Puts Growing Business City to the Test

Businesses small and large are working together toward recovery after tornadoes ripped through central Tennessee March 3, killing at least 25 people and obliterating over 140 buildings. It was the area’s largest natural disaster since 2010, when massive flooding devastated thousands of homes and businesses. More than 400 commercial structures were damaged or destroyed by the tornadoes, according to the city.

CNBC [Author: Sully Barrett]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy Call for Papers

New Solutions seeks high quality manuscripts for a special issue, Opioids and the Workplace - Risk Factors and Solutions, dedicated to work and the opioid crisis. The workplace has been the forgotten element in the national response to the opioid crisis, even though workers and their families have been particularly impacted nationwide. Manuscripts will be accepted until June 30. Accepted papers will be published March 2021.

Call for Papers

Resilience: Helping Communities and Countries Move from Crisis to Stability Webinar

This webinar looks at resilience, what it really means, how it is relevant to diverse stakeholders, and how to strengthen resilience at local, regional, and national scales. Speakers will describe how communities and nations experience and recover from impacts to their environment and climate, energy systems, health, and cultures, and how to develop effective resilience-building strategies. The webinar will be held March 24 at 12:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

EPA Announces Grant Opportunity Supporting Innovative Solutions for Reducing Pollution

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking grant applications through the Source Reduction Assistance Grant Program from states, federally recognized tribes, universities, local governments, and other groups to support innovative solutions for source reduction or pollution prevention (P2) through research, education, training, or certain other methods. Proposals are due by April 30.


Safety Fest TN 2020 Registration Open

Safety Fest TN is the combined efforts of federal, state and local agencies; large and small businesses; and non-profit organizations. Safety Fest TN provides a week of free safety and health training annually in Oak Ridge, and Knoxville, Tennessee, The safety and health classes, demonstrations, and workshops are free to the public to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn safety skills. Safety Fest TN will be held April 27-May 1.

Meeting Registration

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Failure to Prioritize Worker Safety Leads to Illness, Injury and Death: Inside Appalachia

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website, on average, about 14 people a day in the U.S. are killed while working. OSHA is the government agency responsible for regulating workplace laws in the U.S. OSHA does not have a big budget or staff. In fact, just a little more than 2,000 OSHA workers are charged with making sure employers across the country comply with regulations.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting [Author: Jessica Lilly, Roxy Todd, and Eric Douglas]

New Gas and Chemical Facilities Crowd Louisiana's 'Cancer Alley'

An industrial corridor in Louisiana is expanding again, fueled by the boom in natural gas. Residents worried about air pollution have launched new efforts to stop the factories. Cancer Alley is an area along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, in the River Parishes of Louisiana.

NPR [Author: Tegan Wendland]

Managing Flood Risk Under Climate Change, With Carolyn Kousky

Resources Radio Host Kristin Hayes talked with Carolyn Kousky, executive director at the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Kousky, an expert in disaster insurance markets discusses some challenges for contemporary flood insurance programs, from ensuring that low-income communities can afford insurance to incorporating the long-term risks of climate change into decisionmaking.

Resources Radio

Tesla Left Hundreds of Injuries Out of Its Workplace Reports, California Regulator Says

For years, Tesla Inc. has rebutted concerns about worker safety at its main assembly plant by describing reviews from a California regulator as vindication. But new documents and statements from the agency contradict those claims. Tesla omitted hundreds of injuries that the electric-car maker listed in logs at its factory from annual summary data that the company sends to the government, according to a memorandum the state’s workplace-safety agency sent in December.

The Los Angeles Times [Author: Josh Eidelson and Dana Hull]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

CDC Coronavirus Online Resources

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China. Different parts of the country are seeing different levels of COVID-19 activity. The U.S. nationally is currently in the initiation phases, but states where community spread is occurring are in the acceleration phase. The duration and severity of each phase can vary depending on the characteristics of the virus and the public health response. There is an ongoing investigation to determine more about this outbreak. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.


EM Issues

The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management (EM) issued an outline of planned accomplishments over the next decade to capitalize on progress it has made cleaning up former government weapons and research sites over its first 30 years. The strategic vision projects further achievements this year and in the years ahead at the remaining locations in 11 states.


Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Opioid Use in Construction: CPWR Issues Report, Launches Awareness Training

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) has unveiled an opioid awareness training program in response to its recently issued report showing that unintentional overdose deaths among construction workers have increased dramatically over the past decade. According to the Jan. 21 report, 65 unintentional overdose fatalities occurred in the construction industry in 2018. The figure also represents a 35.4% climb from the 48 overdose deaths recorded in 2017.


Opioid Resources

Job OpeningsBack to Top

NSC Publicizes VP, Roadway Safety and VP, Workplace Safety Job Opportunities

The National Safety Council (NSC) is a nonprofit organization with the mission of saving lives and preventing injuries from the workplace to anyplace, through leadership, research, education and advocacy. To further the vision for the organization, NSC is hiring two practice leads to evaluate and grow their respective business lines. The Vice Presidents will be responsible for establishing and overseeing the Roadway Safety and Workplace Safety practice areas.

Vice President, Workplace Safety Job Posting

Vice President, Roadway Safety Job Posting

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