March 4, 2022
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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Worker Safety, Environmental Justice Top Priorities of NIEHS Program
Recently, NIEHS Director Rick Woychik spoke with WTP Director Sharon Beard to learn more about her efforts at WTP and what motivated her to pursue a career in industrial hygiene, specifically in the field of environmental worker health and safety. One thing that stood out from the conversation is that she is passionate about translating research regarding environmental and occupational hazards into easy-to-understand, actionable advice for workers facing potentially harmful exposures.
Recording and Presentation Materials from Evaluation Community of Practice Feb. 10 Webinar Now Available
The webinar recording and presentation materials are now available from the Evaluating the Benefits of the NIEHS Environmental Career Worker Training Program (ECWTP) webinar hosted by WTP on Feb. 10. The webinar engaged ECWTP grantees and stakeholders in discussing how they evaluate the benefits and impacts of ECWTP. Webinar participants learned best practices and gained new ideas for future ECWTP evaluation.
Climate Change Can Worsen Health in Underserved Communities
Climate change and related weather disasters are ongoing threats to health equity in underprivileged communities, according to Robert Bullard, Ph.D., from Texas Southern University. He was the featured speaker in the fourth installment of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Climate Change and Health Seminar Series, held Feb. 9. The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) hosted the event.
Environmental Factor [Author: Jennifer Harker]
GuLF Study Finds Increased Risk of Hypertension in Oil Cleanup Workers
NIEHS Gulf Long-term Follow-up (GuLF) Study researchers have determined that in the three years after the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill in 2010, workers who participated in the cleanup effort experienced increased risk of developing hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. The findings were recently published online in the journal JAMA Network Open.
Environmental Factor [Author: Robin Arnette]
How the Principles of Environmental Justice Can Improve Health Equity
In this article, Health Affairs correspondent Sarah Kolk outlines how the Principles of Environmental Justice can inform policy and support community empowerment work by focusing specifically on two frameworks present in the Principles of Environmental Justice: participatory and distributive justice.
Health Affairs [Author: Sarah Kolk]
Gaslit Article Series
U.S. oil and gas companies have burned off at least 3.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas over much of the last decade, while unknown amounts of the methane-rich gas have flowed directly into the atmosphere. Gaslit: A four-part series by the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at Arizona State’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication details stories about the flaring and venting of natural gas by oil and gas companies in more than a dozen states across the country.
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Identifying and Addressing Top Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses in the Construction Industry
This presentation will focus on trends related to some of the most dangerous job site hazards such as falls, electrocutions, struck-by, caught-in/between, and even COVID-19. Amber Trueblood, assistant director of CPWR’s Data Center, will review recent research while also sharing interactive data dashboards that allow users to access and manipulate construction industry safety and health data to aid in priority setting, decision making, and education efforts. The webinar will be held on Thursday, March 10 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
The Mental Health Crisis in the Construction Industry: How Can We Respond
Recent research shows that nearly one in every six construction workers report feelings of anxiety and/or depression. CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training, which focuses on reducing injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among construction workers, has developed resources to help the industry respond. In this webinar, CPWR will discuss mental health and opioid conditions in construction, highlighting current research and sharing evidence-based solutions. It will be held on Friday, March 11, 2022, 11:00 a.m. ET.
Coal Ash: How Safe Is It and How Should We Manage It?
The Duke University Superfund Research Program is hosting an in-person and online coal ash symposium on March 25. The symposium will feature a panel of speakers that will address the following topics: environmental chemistry and risks of coal ash, health risks of coal ash, remediation and management of coal ash, and policy, law, and community impacts.
Sign Up for CEQ’s Environmental Justice Listserv
The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Environmental Justice Team is building an email listserv to share news alerts, funding notices, engagement opportunities, webinars, and other informative announcements from the White House and across the Federal government. If you are interested in being a part of our Environmental Justice listserv, please complete this short online survey form by Friday, April 1.
Eighth Annual HBCU Climate Change Conference
The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice in collaboration with Texas Southern University will host the in-person Eight Annual HBCU Climate Change Conference April 13-16 in New Orleans. The purpose of the conference is to bring together HBCU faculty and students, researchers, climate professionals and environmental justice and coastal community residents impacted by toxic facilities and severe weather events related to climate change.
U.S. Department of Labor Announces Proposed Rule to Update Powered Industrial Trucks Standard for General Industry, Construction
The U.S. Department of Labor announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to improve worker safety and health by ensuring the agency’s general industry and construction industry rules reflect current industry practice and state-of-the-art technology. The comment period ends May 17.
|On The Web This Week
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Environmental Justice (EJ) Research Highlight: Helping Environmental Justice Take Root
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) researchers are working to increase the understanding of how such factors, in combination with environmental exposures to pollutants and other contaminants, and aspects of the local environment—both human built and natural ecosystems—contribute to the disproportionate health risks and other impacts that low-income and other vulnerable communities face.
New York City to Lift Vaccination Mandate for Businesses, Events
New York City, the first U.S. metropolis to require vaccinations indoors, will lift its mandate for indoor businesses, dining, and events in the coming days. Mayor Eric Adams said that his administration would end its vaccination mandate requirements on March 7 as long as COVID-19 case numbers continue to trend downward.
NBC News [Author: Doha Madani]
Labor Law: Board to Repeal Virginia’s COVID-19 Workplace Rules
Those statewide rules adopted to purportedly prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Virginia’s workplaces is headed for a repeal. The Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board voted recently to end the COVID-19 permanent standards for employers that have been in place for much of the pandemic following an executive order issued by Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
Richmond Times-Dispatch [Author: Karen Michael]
Following New Health Guidance, Governor Newsom Signs Order to Update Workplace Safety Rules
Following the California Department of Public Health’s release of new indoor masking guidance, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that updates the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) in keeping with the current guidance.
Spreading like Wildfire: The Rising Threat of Extraordinary Landscape Fires
A new report, Spreading like Wildfire: The Rising Threat of Extraordinary Landscape Fires, by the United Nations Environment Programme and GRID-Arendal, finds that climate change and land-use change are making wildfires worse and anticipates a global increase of extreme fires even in areas previously unaffected. Uncontrollable and extreme wildfires can be devastating to people, biodiversity and ecosystems.
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New Report Demonstrates Impact of Climate Change on Mental and Physical Health
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and the Assistant Secretary for Health, Admiral Rachel Levine, issued the following statements in response to a new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report showing climate change's current and future impacts on physical and mental health.
FEMA Administrator on COVID-19 and Natural Disaster Response
Most people think of hurricanes and tornadoes when they think of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), but the agency has also been responding to another emergency: COVID-19. FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell discussed all facets of her organization’s mission on Government Matters.
U.S. Department of Labor Cites Contractors for Exposing Workers to Excavation Hazards Following Worker Fatality at Philadelphia Construction Site
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiated an inspection on July 27, 2021, at the site of a new Amazon facility in Philadelphia after an excavation wall collapsed trapping a worker. General contractor Gilbane Building Co. hired Mayfield Site Contractors Inc. to excavate soil and construct a retaining wall near a vertical shear cut excavation measuring approximately 200 feet in length and between 15 to 25 feet high.
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ILO Meeting of Experts Adopts Revised Code of Practice on Safety and Health in Construction
The Building and Woodworkers’ International (BWI) participated in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Experts’ Meeting to revise the 1992 Code of Practice on Safety and Health in Construction. Monica Tepfer of Argentina’s Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT) chaired the Workers’ Experts, Advisers and Observers.
U.S. Senator Booker Joins HPAE and MHANJ to Launch Moving Forward. Getting Stronger.
As Americans enter the third year of the coronavirus pandemic, HPAE, AFT and the Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ) are joining together to provide opportunities for all workers to address the emotional and mental strain they are living with while continuing their work. The training is part of ICWUC’s Recovery Centers work.
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Oregon AFL-CIO Partners with Environmental Coalition to Strengthen Heat and Smoke Rules for Worker Safety
Oregon Occupational Safety and Health (Oregon OSHA) released final draft rules and opened a comment period on rules to protect workers from excessive heat and wildfire smoke. Comments can be submitted now, and there will be public hearings between now and March 18. The Oregon AFL-CIO has teamed up with Pineros Y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste, Oregon Environmental Council, Northwest Workers’ Justice Project and Climate Jobs PDX to make sure the rules protect workers.
New WTP Summary Report On COVID-19 Activities
The new document titled, Evaluation of NIEHS Worker Training Program COVID-19 Activities, summarizes the evaluation of the WTP’s grant-funded COVID-19 activities. This summary report includes data from training courses, progress reports, survey findings, and focus groups. It also includes background information on the evaluation and recommendations for response and preparedness for future disasters or pandemics. This document is a companion to the full evaluation of NIEHS WTP’s COVID-19 activities.
Training Program Connects Workers with Environmental Careers
In Brevard, Florida, Lake Wales-based Sustainable Workplace Alliance, or SWA, has teamed up with Melbourne grassroots community development organization, Neighbor Up, to offer cohorts of classes at Neighbor Up’s Evans Center, which straddles northeast Palm Bay and southeast Melbourne. The Center is part community market, part Brevard Health Alliance clinic and part community room for health and wellness programs.
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UFCW Seeks OSH Positions
The national union of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) is hiring to fill two occupational safety and health (OSH) positions: The positions are an Assistant Director for Occupational Safety and Health and an Occupational Safety and Health Specialist. The deadline to apply is March 15.
UC Berkeley LOSH Seeks Coordinator of Public Programs
The Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) is a public service program of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH) at Berkeley Public Health, University of California. This position will develop and lead various programs and interventions to improve working conditions, meet the needs of a diverse workforce, and build the capacity of worker leaders, unions, and community organizations.
WINTER Seeks Construction Instructor
Women in Non-Traditional Employment Roles (WINTER) is a private, non-profit organization that provides young people and women with opportunities to develop themselves academically, professionally, and personally. This position is responsible for the apprenticeship readiness job training program and ensuring the recruitment and completion of 200 adult women participant’s readiness to enter union construction and placement in registered apprenticeships and related industry.
NNU Seeks Regulatory/Policy Specialist
The National Nurses United (NNU), the nation’s largest nurses’ union and professional association, seeks a committed professional who has successfully helped develop politically progressive policies for the position of Regulatory/Policy Specialist in the Oakland-based Health Policy Department.
Public Citizen Seeks Regulatory Policy Associate
Public Citizen is seeking a Regulatory Policy Associate that will support Congress Watch’s policy and advocacy on the federal regulatory process; educate the public, the media and policy makers on the need for effective public safeguards for our environment, food, pharmaceuticals, workplaces, and consumer products; and play a leading role in Congress Watch’s substantial coalition work on regulatory policy.
OSHA is Hiring
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is hiring multiple positions across the U.S. Open positions include Safety and Occupational Health Specialists, Industrial Hygienist, Safety Engineers, and more.
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