March 25, 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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WTP Spring Workshop Registration Is Now Open
The Spring 2022 NIEHS WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop registration is now open. This workshop’s theme is “Preparing for the Impacts of Climate Change through Training.” The awardee meeting will be held on Tuesday afternoon, May 17. The technical workshop will be held on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, May 18-19. The workshop will focus on sharing strategies regarding mitigating occupational hazards related to climate change.
EPA Puts Paden City on Superfund List
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is adding the Paden City groundwater site in northern West Virginia to its Superfund National Priorities List. The list includes hazardous waste sites eligible for remedial cleanup action. According to the EPA, state officials sought a reference to understand the extent and impact of groundwater contamination.
Nuclear Facility Near Carlsbad Hopes COVID-19 Will Subside, Allow More Waste Disposal
COVID-19 for the past two years disrupted the main purpose of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant: to dispose of nuclear waste from facilities across the country. But Reinhard Knerr, manager of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Carlsbad Field Office said he plans for shipments to increase to 14 a week by the end of this year.
Carlsbad Current-Argus [Author: Adrian Hedden]
Landfill Cleanup Slowed After More Nuclear Waste Found
Nuclear waste buried in a Missouri landfill that sits near an underground smolder is more extensive than first believed, and is part of the reason the $205 million Superfund project that began nearly four years ago has been delayed, according to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency spokesman.
U.S. News and World Report [Author: Jim Salter, Associated Press]
Uranium Mill Adjacent to Bears Ears Has Become A 'Radioactive Waste Dump': Report
The White Mesa uranium mill, located just a mile from Bears Ears National Monument, now houses more than 700 million pounds of toxic waste — making the Utah desert site “America’s cheapest radioactive waste dump,” a new report has found. Among the contents of the dump are remnants of the World War II-era Manhattan Project, as well as radioactive waste from around the country.
The Hill [Author: Sharon Udasin]
Texas Firefighters Have Battled 175 Fires in The Past Week That Have Burned Nearly 95,000 Acres, Officials Say
Firefighters in Texas are working to protect people and homes as 175 wildfires have burned nearly 95,000 acres across the state in the past week, the state's forest service said. As of March 20, there were 23 active wildfires, Texas A&M Forest Service spokeswoman Erin O'Connor said, the largest of those being the Eastland Complex Fire ripping through central Texas.
CNN [Authors: Amir Vera and Joe Sutton]
After Deadly Tornadoes Tear Through Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott Declares Disaster For 16 Counties
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 16 counties after destructive tornadoes ripped through large swaths of Texas the day before and killed a 73-year-old woman. The National Weather Service received reports of 20 tornadoes throughout Texas and Oklahoma. Abbott signed the disaster declaration after speaking at a press conference at Faith Community Hospital in Jacksboro.
Texas Tribune [Author: Reese Oxner]
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APHA Build Your Story Webinar: Using CDC Data Tools to Shine a Light on Environmental Justice Issues in Your Community
The American Public Health Association (APHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry are hosting a webinar focused on data tools used to tell a community’s story, including the health impacts of poor air quality, climate change and hazardous waste contamination. The webinar will be held on March 28 at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Upcoming IWG Webinar on Community Revitalization
The Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization is hosting its next webinar, Repurposing Fossil Energy Assets, on Wednesday, March 30 from 12-5 p.m. ET, in collaboration with the United States Energy Association. This half-day virtual session will feature expertise on site remediation and reclamation, worker training and upskilling of dislocated workers, and the wide range of options for energy communities to capitalize on existing fossil energy assets.
U.S. Department of Labor Announces $3.2M in Susan Harwood Grants for Workplace Safety, Health Training on Infectious Diseases, Including COVID-19
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced the availability of $3.2 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for Susan Harwood Workplace Safety and Health Training on Infectious Diseases, Including COVID-19 grants. The deadline to apply is May 6.
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ILO Governing Body Agrees on Key Occupational Safety and Health Discussion at International Labour Conference 2022
The Governing Body of the International Labour Organization (ILO) has taken an important step towards the possible inclusion of occupational safety and health as a fundamental principle and right at work. It agreed that the matter will be further discussed at the 110th International Labour Conference, in June 2022.
New Worker Study Finds Increased Concern About Workplace Safety
A new study from emergency communications provider AlertMedia finds that U.S. workers are more concerned than ever about their safety in the workplace. The Austin-based company’s inaugural State of Employee Safety Report polled more than 2,000 full-time employed American workers 18 or older about their perceptions of workplace safety.
EHS Daily Advisor [Author: Jay Kumar]
Enbridge Crews Punctured Three Aquifers During Line 3 Oil Pipeline Construction, DNR Says
Damage to Minnesota's public groundwater resources from construction of the Line 3 oil pipeline is more severe than previously known, state environmental regulators disclosed. Enbridge Energy crews ruptured three groundwater aquifers while building the 340-mile Line 3 replacement pipeline across northern Minnesota last year and the Canadian oil company faces expanded sanctions, the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.
Star Tribune [Author: Jennifer Bjorhus]
Remote Work Amid COVID-19 Pandemic Led to Spikes in Mental, Physical Issues: Survey
A recent survey of people who worked from home during the COVID-19 pandemic shows that nearly three-quarters experienced new mental health issues, while 65% developed new physical issues. Via an online questionnaire, researchers from the University of Southern California Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy from April 24 to June 11 surveyed nearly 1,000 adults who were working from home.
Most Vermont Barracks Now Have a Mental Health Crisis Worker
Nearly all of the state police barracks in Vermont now have an embedded mental health crisis worker. The Burlington Free Press reports that the Vermont Department of Public Safety has hired mental health workers for nine of its 10 barracks, who ride in cruisers with troopers and interact with the public alone while the trooper stays in the car when it’s safe to do so.
‘They Don’t Offer Anything’: Disaster Survivors Left Behind When FEMA, States Don’t Help
As the magnitude of the losses became clear, Holcomb and local emergency management officials pleaded for help from the federal government — up to the White House. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimated that the cost to support those without insurance in finding temporary shelter and beginning to rebuild their homes would top $1.8 million.
NBC News [Author: Bracey Harris and Joshua Eaton]
As Climate Change Brings More Natural Disasters, Debris Piles Up—Increasing Health Risks
When Hurricane Katrina bore down on New Orleans in the summer of 2005, many residents in Versailles, a Vietnamese American community in the east of the city, faced disaster for the second time. As the skies cleared from Katrina, many homes in Versailles still stood, and residents were among the first to return to New Orleans. But that's when a new threat to the community emerged.
Phys.org [Author: Kyle Bagenstose]
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U.S. Department of Labor Reopens Rulemaking Record, Schedules Public Hearing on Proposed Final Rule to Protect Healthcare Workers from COVID-19 Exposure
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has reopened the rulemaking record partially and scheduled an informal public hearing to seek comments on specific topics that relate to the development of a final standard to protect healthcare and healthcare support service workers from workplace exposure to the COVID-19 virus. The deadline to submit comments is April 22.
EPA and Justice Department Propose Settlement to Resolve Federal Hazardous Waste and Oil Spill Prevention Violations on the North Slope of Alaska
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice announced a proposed settlement with the North Slope Borough of Alaska to resolve federal hazardous waste and oil spill violations. The settlement requires the Borough to take comprehensive actions and make infrastructure investments to comply with solid and hazardous waste management rules and oil spill prevention rules.
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Firefighters’ Risk of Irregular Heartbeat Linked to Number of On-The-Job Fire Exposures
The more fires they respond to, the higher the risk of atrial fibrillation or AFib – a common irregular heart rhythm – among firefighters, according to a survey of more than 10,000 active U.S. firefighters. After adjusting for atrial fibrillation risk factors, such as high blood pressure and smoking, researchers found a 14% increased risk of atrial fibrillation for every additional five fires fought annually.
Evaluation of NIEHS Worker Training Program COVID-19 Activities
The Evaluation of WTP COVID-19 Activities Summary Report summarizes the evaluation of WTP’s grant-funded COVID-19 activities, including data from training courses, progress reports, survey findings, and focus groups. The activities discussed were funded by WTP primary grants under all training program areas and supplemental grants funded under the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020.
Evaluation of WTP COVID-19 Activities Summary Report
COVID-19 Brief on Respiratory Hazard Assessment
A new WTP COVID-19 Brief, Workplace Respiratory Hazard Assessment: Preventing Inhalation of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus, is now available. The brief covers various precautions to protect workers from inhalation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and includes a framework to assess occupational risk categories and select respiratory protective equipment.
WTP State Profiles
WTP has supported a national network of institutions that deliver high-quality, peer-reviewed safety and health curricula to hazardous waste workers and emergency responders. New state profiles are now available. The stories describe some of the accomplishments and impacts of the program in particular states.
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FEMA Seeks Emergency Management Specialist
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) seeks an emergency management specialist. This position will perform emergency management work including managing, and coordinating with other entities, in the mitigation from intentional and/or unintentional crises, disasters, and other humanitarian emergencies, hazards, or natural and manmade/technological incidents. The deadline to apply is April 7.
NUHW Seeks Researcher
The National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) is searching for a talented, hard-working individual committed to building a powerful and democratic union. The successful candidate for this position will be a creative thinker who is resourceful and hard-working. They will work as part of a team of researchers, organizers, and other staff on ongoing campaigns. The position works out of our Emeryville or Glendale office in California.
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