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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: March 19, 2021 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, March 19, 2021

Weekly E-Newsbrief

March 19, 2021

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 2021 NIEHS WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop Registration Now Open

Registration is now open for the virtual NIEHS WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop. The Awardee Meeting will be held the afternoon of Tuesday, April 20, and the Workshop will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, April 21-22. The workshop is tentatively scheduled at 1:00-5:15 p.m. ET both days. Additional information will be published in the coming days, including a meeting agenda.


Lawmaker Wants Probe of North Country Firefighter's Death

State Assemblyman Josh Jensen is requesting that the State Attorney General Letitia James investigate the death of Watertown firefighter Peyton Morse. Morse was rushed to the hospital two weeks ago after suffering a medical emergency during a training exercise at the New York State Academy of Fire Science. He died after more than a week in the intensive care unit.

Spectrum News [Author: Morgan McKay]

EnergySec Granholm Envisions More Diverse Nuke Cleanup Community

During a brief appearance at an online conference on March 16, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm simultaneously praised and challenged the DOE’s nuclear cleanup community. At the same time, DOE’s Office of Environmental Management and its contractors need to be more inclusive, both in making its workforce “look like America” and ensuring decision-making is inclusive of tribes and other stakeholders, Granholm said.

Exchange Monitor

Federal Government Urged to Take Action, New Coalition Forms to Generate Momentum

Southern California Edison, the operator of the now-shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant, has released plans to try to find a way to move the 3.6 million pounds of nuclear waste from the plant. The upshot of the three-volume report: There are no easy answers and meaningful progress will require pushing the federal government to act, which will take time.

San Diego Union Tribune [Author: Rob Nikolewski]

OSHA’s New NEP Focuses on COVID-19 Enforcement

On March 12, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a National Emphasis Program (NEP), focusing enforcement on companies at which large numbers of workers face serious risk of COVID-19 infections. The NEP also prioritizes whistleblower protection enforcement for workers who face retaliation for reporting unsafe or unhealthy workplace conditions.

EHS Daily Advisor [Author: Guy Burdick]

In the Shadow of Texas Outages, Disaster Preparation at Home Is on the Radars of Two in Five Adults

According to new polling from Morning Consult, the disaster has prompted planning for roughly 2 in 5 adults: 17 percent of U.S. adults say they have already taken steps to prepare their homes for disaster since the outages in Texas, and 26 percent say they intend to make changes, which could include purchasing weatherization materials, making a disaster resilience plan or preparing an emergency “go-bag.” Meanwhile, 44 percent say they do not plan to make any changes.

Morning Consult [Author: Lisa Martine Jenkins]

Inside FEMA, A Reckoning on Race and Flooded Mansions

Through internal emails, public advisories and virtual seminars, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says it wants to do better on equity, and it acknowledges that disasters and disaster recovery programs unfairly burden low-income and minority populations. As FEMA helps distribute coronavirus vaccines nationwide, it is prioritizing underserved populations and last month established a civil rights advisory group to "identify and eliminate inequities" in who gets inoculated.

E&E News [Author: Thomas Frank]

Release of OSHA Virus Safety Rule Stalled as Details Ironed Out

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has drafted its first rule to protect workers against contracting Covid-19 on the job, but whether and when it would be released was unclear on March 15. U.S. Labor Department officials informed multiple business groups that OSHA had decided to issue a rule, which would set new infection prevention requirements for employers, said three sources familiar with the process.

Bloomberg Law [Authors: Ben Penn and Bruce Rolfsen]

Understaffed Chemical Safety Board Ripe for Revamp as Probes Lag

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is running on fumes. With 80% of its board seats vacant and more than a dozen open investigations, CSB staffers are being asked to take on management responsibilities while the agency is run by Trump administration holdover Katherine Lemos, a self-proclaimed quorum of one.

Bloomberg Law [Authors: Fatima Hussein and Genevieve Douglas]

‘Why Do I Put My Life on the Line?’ Pandemic Trauma Haunts Health Workers.

Brittany Bankhead-­Kendall, 34, was a newly minted surgeon when the COVID-19 pandemic began. At first, like thousands of other health care professionals, she worked tirelessly in crisis mode. But by last fall, she was experiencing random and repeated physiological symptoms, including a racing heart and dimmed vision. She diagnosed herself as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

PEW [Author: Christine Vestal]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

EPA Nominations for NEJAC Membership is Now Open

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites nominations from a diverse range of qualified candidates to be considered for appointment to its National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC). The Agency is seeking nominations to fill approximately eight (8) new vacancies for terms through September 2022. Any interested person or organization may nominate qualified persons to be considered for appointment to this advisory council. The deadline to apply is March 24.

More Information

Estimating Indoor Transmission Risks of SARS-CoV-2

The Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH) is hosting a presentation that will explore two case studies where the Wells-Riley model was used to calculate SARS-CoV-2 transmission risk estimates. Based on previously collected data, risk estimates were calculated for nail salons and public schools located in New York City under different exposure scenarios. The webinar will be held on April 13 at 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

2021 HHS Small Business Program Conference Diverse Perspectives SEEDing Impactful Innovations

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is one of the largest sources of early-stage capital for life sciences in the U.S. There is more than $1.2 billion of seed funding for small businesses who are developing innovative products and services that could potentially save lives. This conference, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will explore the theme Diverse Perspectives SEEDing Impactful Innovations. The conference will be held April 26-30.

More Information

AIHce EXP 2021

The American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition (AIHce EXP) is an experience for Occupational Environmental Health Solutions professionals of all levels, specialties, and expertise. Discover the tools and strategies you need to protect worker health while taking advantage of several networking opportunities to grow your professional network. The event will take place in-person and virtual on May 24-26.

Event Registration

Notice of Intent to Publish a FOA for Understanding and Addressing the Impact of Structural Racism and Discrimination on Minority Health and Health Disparities

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) intends to promote a new initiative by publishing a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to solicit applications on observational research to understand the role of structural racism and discrimination (SRD) in causing and sustaining health disparities, and intervention research that addresses SRD in order to improve minority health or reduce health disparities. The estimated application due date is Aug. 20.


On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Chemical Safety Board Chair Discusses ‘Proactive’ Plan to Address Management Concerns

Faced with boardroom staffing gaps and other management hurdles, Chemical Safety Board (CSB) Chair and CEO Katherine Lemos says CSB is “addressing our challenges head-on and taking a proactive approach to move our agency forward to meet our mission.” During a March 5 CSB business meeting, Lemos said some agency staff soon will assume management responsibilities.

Safety and Health Magazine

Firefighters Called to Plant Where Earlier Gas Leak Killed Six

A refrigeration company and firefighters were called to a northeast Georgia chicken processing plant where a liquid nitrogen leak killed six workers in January. The continuing concern at the Foundation Food Group plant in Gainesville came as the Hall County Sheriff's Office announced autopsy results for the dead workers.

Star Tribune [Author: Jeff Amy, Associated Press]

Carcinogens in the Workplace: Considerations for EHS

Right now, the biggest safety and health concern is the COVID-19 pandemic and workplace exposures to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, you still need to be aware of the occupational health hazards of workplace carcinogens. Along with everyday exposures to air pollution and sunlight, a number of substances have been tied to human cancers.

EHS Daily Advisor [Author: Guy Burdick]

Sixty Six Percent of Employees Are Worried About "Health and Safety" Risks When Returning to Work

More than one year after the first U.S. COVID-19 cases, many professionals continue to work remotely, however, some companies are bringing employees back to the traditional office as hundreds of thousands are vaccinated per diem. Envoy released findings related to its Return to the Workplace Report detailing employee sentiments about returning to work amid the coronavirus pandemic, employers mandating inoculation, hybrid work preferences and more.

Tech Radar [Author: R. Dallon Adams]

Scientists Gain Insight into Recycling Processes for Nuclear and Electronic Waste

The Hawaii and Alaska of chemistry, lanthanides and actinides are the elements that are always shown separately from the main block on the periodic table. Although they are split up from the more mainstream elements, they are important metals for applications such as nuclear power and magnets used in wind turbines and electric cars. [Author: Savannah Mitchem]

Stanford Experts Discuss the Lessons and Legacy of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

On a Friday afternoon in the spring of 2011, the largest earthquake in Japan’s recorded history triggered a tsunami that crashed through seawalls, flattened coastal communities and pummeled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. A decade later, large swaths of land remain contaminated and emptied of most of their former residents.

Stanford University News [Author: Jody Berger and Josie Garthwaite]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Investments to Support Ex-Offenders’ Successful Reentry into Workforce

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the availability of up to $25 million in available funding for organizations that help young adults enter the workforce following involvement with the justice system. The funding is available under the Young Adult Reentry Partnership 2020 grant program and will serve young adults ages 18-24 years old who are currently or have previously been involved with the juvenile or adult criminal justice system, are low-income, or are high school dropouts at the time of enrollment.


U.S. DOE Job Office to Help Fossil Fuel Workers Find Clean Energy Jobs

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has established a job office to support oil and natural gas workers find new jobs in emerging industries, such as geothermal power, said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. The Fossil energy office of the DOE is working closely with the job’s office on strategies. In her statement she mentions the complimentary skills and experience of oil and gas engineers.

Think Geoenergy

DOE Newsroom

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

COVID-19 Vaccine Mobile Online Course for Workers from Cell Podium

COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, was the leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2020. Several approaches are needed to defeat this virus. Vaccines are an important part of effective control against spread in your workplace and community. Quarantine or isolation, physical distancing, handwashing, mask wearing, and use of other safety measures at your worksite must continue, even after you have been vaccinated. These measures are important to protect yourself and others.

Cell Podium

Affiliates Make Progress on Post-Traumatic Stress Bills

State affiliates are making strong gains toward enacting legislation providing presumptive protections and other benefits for fire fighters and paramedics confronting occupational post-traumatic stress and other behavioral health issues. The Professional Fire Fighters Association of Alabama (PFFA) has been working hard to educate state lawmakers on the devastating toll post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI) can have on fire fighters/EMS personnel and fire departments.

International Association of Fire Fighters

USW Members Play Crucial Roles in COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

As COVID-19 infection rates soared to ever-higher levels early this year, hundreds of Steelworkers put their lives on the line to distribute the vaccines essential to ending the pandemic. Because of the unique challenges involved in producing and disseminating the vaccines manufacturers relied on the precision-made materials and pharmaceutical packaging expertise that United Steelworkers (USW) members provide.


Job OpeningsBack to Top

UFCW Seeks Occupational Safety and Health Specialist and Assistant Director

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) is seeking to hire an occupational safety and health specialist and assistant director. The occupational safety and health specialist will respond to requests from UFCW local unions in UFCW core industries, meatpacking, poultry, food processing and retail on occupational safety and health issues. The assistant director will provide support to the Director to carry out the safety and health operations of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) office.

Job Posting – Occupational Safety and Health Specialist

Job Posting – Assistant Director

WEC Seeks Occupational Health and Safety Trainer

The New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC) is a coalition of 70 labor, community, and environmental organizations advocating for safe, secure jobs and a healthy, sustainable environment. WEC seeks a full-time bi-lingual occupational health and safety (level 1) trainer to conduct health and safety trainings, with an emphasis on COVID prevention and awareness for workers.

Job Posting

OAI Seeks Director of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Training Programs

Chicago-based OAI is looking for an exceptional Occupational Safety, Industrial Hygiene, or Public Health professional who wants to make a positive impact on people’s lives by leading OAI’s nationwide worker health and safety training programs. These programs address the needs of first responders, underrepresented workers and job seekers who are most vulnerable to workplace-related injuries and illnesses.

Job Posting

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