May 24, 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 Stories
- Calendar Features
- On The Web This Week
- Federal Agency Update
- Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
- Job Openings
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Disaster Preparedness Mobile App Now Available
The NIEHS/CPWR Disaster Preparedness mobile app allows workers exposed to hazards on disaster sites to access a full suite of awareness-level training resources with a simple tap of the screen. From within the app, users can select and download training materials on a variety of disaster types. Once downloaded, the materials can be accessed anytime, anywhere—no Internet connection required. Some training materials are available in more than one language. The app is available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.
A Surprising Solution To Surviving Natural Disasters: Mobile Apps
With natural disasters the “new normal” around the world, mobile technologies have become an important lifeline before, during and after catastrophic events. A new breed of mobile disaster apps are being developed and deployed, complementing and improving the way federal and local agencies prepare for and deal with emergencies. Although having mixed user reviews, these applications demonstrate the potential of mobile technology in minimizing casualties, and improving recovery efforts during disasters.
Forbes [Author: Neil Yeoh]
Chemical Plant That Sent Chlorine Gas Billowing Across North Jersey Has History of Fires
The chemical plant where a fire spewed enough chlorine into the air to shut nearby highways and force residents indoors over the past weekend has a history of fires and leaks that have raised concerns about its safety record and potential health threat. Authorities don't know what caused the fire May 17, night at the Alden Leeds plant in South Kearny, which reignited again on May 19, afternoon before being brought under control hours later, officials said May 20. The plant, on a heavily industrialized peninsula between the Hackensack and Passaic rivers, has been the site of a major chlorine leak and at least two other fires since 1988.
NorthJersey.com [Author: Scott Fallon]
Chemicals in Consumer Goods Are Seen Escaping Safety Checks
European consumers could be at risk of exposure to hazardous chemicals in products like clothes and cosmetics because safety rules aren’t being properly enforced, according to a German environmental lobby. Potentially harmful chemicals including dibutyl phthalate found in toys and methyl acetate used in footwear are widely sold to manufacturers of household goods without having been properly vetted, BUND said in a study published May 21.
Bloomberg [Author: Andrew Marc Noel]
The U.S. Put Nuclear Waste Under a Dome on a Pacific Island. Now It’s Cracking Open.
According to a 2017 report by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, among the fallout material was plutonium-239, an isotope that is one of the world’s most toxic substances, and one with a radioactive half-life of 24,100 years. The staying power of that material is the problem. It’s still there, only 18 inches of concrete away from waters that are rising. Cracks have reportedly started to appear in the dome. Part of the threat is that the crater was never properly lined, meaning rising seawater could breach the structural integrity.
Washington Post [Author: Kyle Swenson]
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Introduction to the Planning for Natural Disaster Debris Guidance
Natural disasters challenge communities every year and are expected to increase in frequency and intensity. To assist communities (including cities, counties, states, tribes) in planning for debris management before a natural disaster occurs, EPA's Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery updated its Planning for Natural Disaster Debris Guidance. Pre-incident planning can significantly aid decision-making during a response and enhance a community's resiliency. This webinar will provide an overview of the guidance and highlight lessons learned and best practices. After the presentation, we look forward to answering stakeholder questions. The webinar will be held on June 20, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET.
The Building Bridges to Enhance the Well-Being of American Indian and Alaska Native Workers Workshop
Please join us July 30 – 31 in Aurora, Colorado for the Building Bridges to Enhance the Well-Being of American Indian and Alaska Native Workers Workshop. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in partnership with the Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) are excited to bring together American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities, organizations, and other stakeholders to identify safety and health priorities for American Indian and Alaska Native workers.
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Preparing Low-Income Communities for Hurricanes Begins With Outreach
Governments seeking to help their most vulnerable residents prepare for hurricanes and other disasters should create community-based information campaigns ahead of time, according to a Rutgers study of economically disadvantaged New Jerseyans in the areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy.
Company Safety Data Sheets on New Chemicals Frequently Lack the Worker Protections EPA Claims They Include
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of many dozens of new chemicals based on its mere “expectation” that workers across supply chains will always employ personal protective equipment (PPE) just because it is recommended in the manufacturer’s non-binding safety data sheet (SDS) is a concern. The typical course has been for EPA to identify risks to workers from a new chemical it is reviewing under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), but then – instead of issuing an order imposing binding conditions on the chemical’s entry onto the market, as TSCA requires – to find that the chemical is “not likely to present an unreasonable risk” and impose no conditions whatsoever on its manufacturer.
Environmental Defense Fund Health Blog [Author: Richard Denison]
Worker At Hanford Contaminated In Lab Scheduled For Demolition
A worker at the Hanford Nuclear Site was recently contaminated with a speck of radioactive material after work in a lab building scheduled for demolition. It’s all happening at what’s called the 324 Building at Hanford, not far from Richland, Washington, in a research lab that worked with radioactive materials. There’s been a large radioactive leak into the soil beneath the lab — mostly cesium and strontium. The lab’s being prepped to get at that contaminated soil, and then demolish the building.
OPB [Author: Anna King]
Colorado’s New Safety-Minded Oil And Gas Agency Gets To Work
The new-look Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will hold its inaugural meeting on Tuesday, May 21, as it begins rewriting state rules to emphasize public safety and the environment instead of energy production. It’s the first time the commissioners have met since Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed a law mandating sweeping changes in regulations. The previous law said encouraging production was regulators’ top priority. In addition to the new focus on protecting the public and the environment, the law gives local governments some authority over the location of wells and changes the commission makeup to dilute industry influence.
East Texas Ag News: Emergency Preparedness Plan for Livestock
In the event of a major emergency or disaster, personal safety should always come first. However, farmers and ranchers in Texas should also have an emergency preparedness and response plan that protects the safety of livestock and other animals on their farm or ranch. Emergency preparedness is important for all animals, but especially for livestock because of their size, feed requirements, and shelter and transportation needs. The most likely emergency scenario in Texas is flooding. In a flood situation, have in place an emergency plan to protect your livestock.
Slides Available from ACS Webinar on Working Safely with Nanomaterials in the Laboratory
The American Chemical Society (ACS) has posted the slides from its May 16, 2019, webinar on working safely with nanomaterials in the laboratory. Chuck Geraci, Associate Director for Emerging Technologies at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), moderated a panel including: Ken Kretchman, Director of Environmental Health Safety, North Carolina State University; Craig Merlic, Professor of Chemistry, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); and Debbie Decker, Safety Manager, Department of Chemistry, University of California (UC), Davis.
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CDC’s Eight Tips for Safe and Healthy Summertime Work and Play
Whether you are planning an overseas vacation, getting ready for a staycation, or will be working outdoors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest health tips, alerts, and social media updates include practical advice for travelers, swimmers, and everyone who wants to beat the summer heat. “Summer is a great time to travel and enjoy the great outdoors, but it’s important to take simple, common-sense precautions,” said CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat, M.D. “From information about travel vaccinations to tips to prevent insect bites, CDC provides resources to help keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe.”
Report: Fiscal Year 2019 U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board Management Challenges
The CSB faces two challenges in FY 2019 that, if not addressed, may impede its ability to efficiently and effectively achieve its mission or meet its goals. Management Challenge (New): Without New Members by August 2020, the CSB Governing Body Cannot Complete Its Mission or Meet Its Goals. Management Challenge (Continuing): The CSB Has Not Developed Guidance on Board Member Responsibilities.
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Advancing Health and Safety Training for a Diverse Workforce
John J. LeConche has dedicated his career to public health and protecting workers by developing and delivering training to diverse industry sectors. He serves as executive director of LIUNA Training and Education Fund (LIUNA Training), the training arm for the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA). LIUNA Training is funded through a cooperative agreement with the NIEHS Worker Training Program. Prior to his role with LIUNA Training, LeConche worked in construction where he witnessed numerous preventable deaths due to asbestosis and many serious chemical injuries and third-degree burns.
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New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) Seeks Workplace Health & Safety And Healthcare Specialist
Bridge expertise and established practices and programs in Health and Safety to unify and empower both Health and Safety Union Activists and NYSUT’s 15,000 Health Care Professionals statewide. Utilize social media and continue developing an online presence for workplace health and safety and health care professional’s issues. Work with outside agencies and organizations to advocate on issues related to health and safety and health care professionals on behalf of NYSUT. In addition, this position also works closely with the NYSUT Statewide Health and Safety Advisory Committee and NYSUT Health Care Professional Council. Qualified applicants should submit résumé and cover letter to NYSUT Human Resources HR@nysutmail.org no later than June 1, 2019.
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Labor Occupational Safety & Health (LOSH) Has Two Positions Open
USCLA-LOSH is seeking a Health and Safety Educator/Technician and a HazMat Trainer/Coordinator. The Educator/Technician is responsible for outreach, education and technical assistance with community-based, worker and environmental justice organizations, employers and other constituencies with a focus on underserved worker populations in the Western Region. The Trainer/Coordinator oversees LOSH’s worker training initiatives related to hazardous materials handling, hazardous waste cleanup, and emergency response.
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