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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: May 3, 2019 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, May 3, 2019

Weekly E-Newsbrief

May 3, 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.

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

Here's What One Volunteer Fire Department Is Doing to Prevent Another West Explosion

Three years after the West fertilizer plant explosion, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board sent out a list of safety recommendations. They included an unfulfilled requirement for all Texas volunteer firefighters to be trained on fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate, the same chemical compound that exploded in a deadly fire in 2013 that killed 12 first responders, mostly volunteer firefighters. Only a small number of the 30,000 volunteers statewide have taken the voluntary FGAN course created after the West catastrophe.

KXAN [Author: Erin Cargile]

PFAS Contamination is Michigan’s Biggest Environmental Crisis in 40 Years

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) health advisory level in drinking water for two of the most common PFAS compounds, known as PFOS and PFOA, is 70 parts per trillion. The levels in some Michigan residents’ drinking water have tested as high as 76,000 parts per trillion. Michigan may have more than 11,000 sites contaminated with these once-common chemicals, now linked to cancer and a host of other ailments. Regulators have identified 46 sites statewide with levels above the EPA's health limit in groundwater.

Detroit Free Press [Author: Keith Matheny]

As Nuclear Waste Piles Up, Private Companies Pitch New Ways to Store It

Congress is debating how to dispose of the country's growing inventory of nuclear waste. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., is proposing legislation that would jump-start licensing hearings for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage site in Nevada. The Trump administration also is asking Congress for money to resume work on that decades old project.

NPR [Author: Jeff Brady]

Opioid vs. Opiate: DOT Final Rule Makes Technical Corrections to Drug Testing Regulations

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a final rule, effective immediately, that makes minor technical corrections to regulations governing drug tests for workers in safety-sensitive jobs. The final rule, published in the April 23 Federal Register, is intended to ensure consistency with recent amendments made to DOT’s “Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs” regulation. The changes added requirements to test for oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone and hydromorphone.

Safety and Health

Construction Industry to Workers Battling Addiction: ‘We Want to Help’

As soaring numbers of construction workers battle addiction, building trades leaders in Boston are launching a conference intended to do just that: show contractors and union members how they can help those who are hooked on drugs and alcohol. The goal of the weeklong conference is to help break down the stigma surrounding substance abuse disorder that discourages people in the industry from seeking help. Organizers are also calling for Narcan to be available at all job sites to help prevent overdose deaths.

The Boston Globe [Author: John Hilliard]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Spring WTP Awardee Meeting & Workshop – Agendas Available

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).

WTP Spring Awardee Meeting and USW SCEO/WTP Workshop

6th Annual National Fall Prevention Safety Stand-Down

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is joining with occupational safety organizations for the 6th annual National Fall Prevention Safety Stand-Down, May 6-10, 2019. The week-long event will focus attention on preventing falls in construction, the leading cause of fatalities in the industry. To help guide their efforts, the agency’s fall prevention webpage provides information on how to conduct a successful event, and educational resources in English and Spanish.

OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign

Campaign News Release

Securing a Nontoxic Work Environment Webinar

The Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) and esteemed guest speakers will host a webinar on “Securing a Nontoxic Work Environment.” CPR Policy Analyst Katie Tracy will begin the webinar with an overview of the resources and strategies explored in CPR’s latest publication, “Chemical Detox for the Workplace: A Guide to Securing a Nontoxic Work Environment.” The webinar will be held on May 8, at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Securing a Nontoxic Work Environment Webinar Registration

Webinar: Stigma, Opioid Addiction, and MAT: Evidence and Implications from a National Survey

Stigma is used to describe the negative way we think about, feel, and act toward someone who is different from us. The world of stigma needs to be brought to attention to effectively address our nation’s opioid crisis. This webinar will present the findings from RTI’s survey of U.S. adults on their knowledge and opinions about opioid addiction, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and stigma toward people addicted to prescription opioids and the providers who care for them. The webinar will be held on Thursday, May 9th at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

International Oil Spill Conference (IOSC) Abstract Submission Now Open

Abstracts for the International Oil Spill Conference (IOSC), scheduled for May 11 – 14, 2020 in New Orleans, LA are now open. IOSC 2020 brings together the broadest range of global oil spill response professionals to discuss the latest research, technology, and resources impacting our community today. Paper and poster presentations are the backbone of the IOSC’s technical program, contributing to the vast canon of oil pollution knowledge shared between government, industry, and academia.

Abstract Submission

Fall Protection: When Your Job Takes You to the Edge

In work sites of every variety, edges are much more common than people realize, and they may pose a greater risk than you'd expect. Whether you're laying roofing, traversing a beam, or simply working near the unprotected sides of an upper floor, falls over an edge are more hazardous than other falls. Join this webinar to discuss the issues, applications, and solutions workers need to eliminate these dangerous hazards. The webinar will be held on May 23, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

South Portland is Ready to Clear the Air Around Petroleum Facilities

A recent lawsuit by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency singled out one petroleum company, Global Partners LP, for allegedly violating the federal Clean Air Act at its terminal and tank farm on the Fore River. But the controversy has shed light on several other petroleum facilities on the city’s waterfront that are allowed to emit significantly more volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, and other hazardous air pollutants. Exposure to VOCs has been linked to ailments ranging from headaches and breathing disorders to organ damage and cancer.

Press Herald [Author: Kelley Bouchard]

Louisville Hazardous Waste Site Still Leaking Pollution Into Ohio River

One of the oldest federally-recognized hazardous waste sites is in Louisville. More than 20 years after the government declared it was no longer a top priority, the site is still contaminating groundwater flowing into the Ohio River, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Lees Lane Landfill began its long, sordid life as a sand and gravel quarry in southwest Louisville. Today, the garbage pile is leaching arsenic and lead into the Ohio River, according to the EPA’s latest review.


Kids in Southwestern Pennsylvania Are Exposed to Carcinogenic Coke Oven Emissions

Southwestern Pennsylvania is, in fact, a hotspot for cancer. Allegheny County, which encompasses Pittsburgh, is in the top 3% of all U.S. counties for risk of cancer caused by air pollution, and children, with their still-developing bodies, are particularly vulnerable to cancer risk from exposures to airborne carcinogens. Children in Allegheny County are exposed to higher levels of a number of cancer-causing chemicals than kids in most of the U.S. as a direct result of industrial polluters in the region.

Environmental Health News [Author: Kristina Marusic]

Health Effects From Unintentional Occupational Exposure to Opioids Among Law Enforcement Officers: Two Case Investigations

Recent increases in the rate of drug overdose‐related deaths, the emergence of potent opioids such as carfentanil, and media reports of incidents have raised concerns about the potential for work‐related exposure to a variety of illicit drugs among law enforcement officers (LEOs), other emergency responders, and other workers in the United States. To characterize the risk associated with unintentional occupational exposure to drugs, we retrospectively investigated two incidents that occurred in 2017 and 2018 where LEOs were exposed to opioid and stimulant drugs and experienced health effects.

American Journal of Industrial Medicine

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2020 Labor-HHS-Education Funding Bill

The House Appropriations Committee released the draft fiscal year 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) funding bill, which will be considered in subcommittee. The legislation includes funding for programs within the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and other related agencies, including the Social Security Administration. The draft bill includes $189.8 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $11.7 billion over the 2019 enacted level.

House Committee on Appropriations

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Navajo Area Railroad Workers Learn Protective Skills

Railroad workers in communities near the Navajo Nation territory received important safety training April 10-14 in Winslow, Arizona, thanks to NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) grantee, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). The grantees planned this third 40-hour Chemical Emergency Response (CER) training program after receiving positive feedback from 2017 and 2018 trainees. The 2019 course served railroad workers from the Navajo Nation, New Mexico, Nevada, and California.

NIEHS Environmental Factor [Author: Gabrielle Minton]

Job OpeningsBack to Top

University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Labor Occupational Safety & Health (LOSH) Has Two Short-Term Positions Open

They are seeking a Project Manager and a Health & Safety Educator/Coordinator – both positions are open through the end of June. The Project Manager will be responsible for coordinating the work of LOSH staff and partners to implement the So Cal Injury Prevention Project. The UCLA-LOSH Health and Safety Educator/Coordinator will assist with implementation, coordination and/or facilitation of worker health and safety educational activities.

Job Description

Safety and Occupational Health Specialist Job Opportunity

The National Park Service within the Department of the Interior is seeking a Safety and Occupational Health Specialist in Lowell, Massachusetts. A successful candidate for this position will have demonstrated specialized experience and/or education in safety and occupational health fields including industrial hygiene, occupational health, occupational medicine, toxicology, or public health.

Job Description

NRDC Seeks a Climate Change and Worker Health Science Fellow

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is seeking a Climate Change and Worker Health Science Fellow who can provide subject matter expertise and conduct multi-disciplinary research and analysis on the occupational health effects of climate change. As part of the Federal Policy team of NRDC’s Climate and Clean Energy Program, the Fellow also will develop broadly accessible communication materials about occupational health and climate change.

Job Description

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