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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: May 1, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, May 1, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

May 1, 2020

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

Superfund Research Program Occupational Health and Safety Education Programs on Emerging Technologies

The NIH Research Education Program (R25) supports research education activities in the mission areas of the NIH. The overarching goal of this R25 program is to support educational activities that complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs. The deadline to apply is Aug. 3 by 5:00 p.m. local time.

NIEHS Grants

Ford Recalls Skeleton Crew to Begin Factory Prep Monday Amid Worker Anxiety

Ford Motor Co. confirmed that it plans to recall a skeleton crew of workers April 27 to start preparing its factories for reopening, even as United Auto Workers’ members express anxiety about their safety amid a pandemic. Its plants, along with all Detroit Three assembly lines, have been shut down since late-March to protect workers from exposure to COVID-19.

Detroit Free Press [Author: Phoebe Wall Howard]

Coronavirus Redefines Biohazardous Waste

As front line healthcare workers treat new COVID-19 patients, environmental service workers aren't far behind, making sure used medical materials don't further spread the disease. Now in Charleston, Environmental Manager Albert Aquino said, any material associated with a COVID-19 ruled-out or confirmed case is discarded as infectious waste, picked up by contracted company, Stericycle and incinerated in Charlotte.

ABC News [Author: Brooke Schwieters]

Chemical Safety Board Member’s Departure Ends Short-Lived Quorum

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) announced that Kristen Kulinowski will resign from her term as a board member, effective May 1. In a statement, the former interim chair of the board alluded to getting a new job outside of government. Her departure comes with the arrival of the CSB’s new chair, Katherine Lemos, who began her term April 23.

Bloomberg Law [Author: Fatima Hussein]

After COVID-19: Anxious, Wary First Responders Back on Job

Police, firefighters, paramedics and corrections officers are just a 911 call away from contracting COVID-19 and spreading it. With N95 masks hanging off their duty belts and disposable blue gloves stuffed in their back pockets, they respond to radio calls, make arrests and manage prisoners. But their training never covered something quite like this – what has been called an “invisible bullet.”

AP News [Authors: Stefanie Dazio, Michael R. Sisak, and Jake Bleiberg]

Suicide Is Killing Frontline Medical Workers, but Mental-Health Experts Say the Situation Is Far From Hopeless

As the pandemic has left millions of people under lockdown and triggered deep loss and widespread grief, medical workers and emergency responders like John Mondello and Lorna Breen have faced the brunt of the crisis with grueling workloads, unprecedented stress, deep uncertainty, and a steep death count.

Business Insider [Authors: Rhea Mahbubani and Dave Mosher]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

U.S. Department of Labor to Hold Meeting to Solicit Public Input on OSHA Whistleblower Program

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will hold a teleconference meeting May 12, in Washington, D.C., to solicit public comments and suggestions on key issues facing OSHA’s whistleblower protection program. The meeting will be held from 1:00-3:00 p.m. ET.


Health Impacts of Extreme Heat

Arizona State University is hosting a webinar that will address current research and applications on human health and extreme heat at the individual, community, and city levels and provide climate action guidance to city leaders, practitioners, and the public. Panelists, including NIEHS Senior Advisor John Balbus, M.D., M.P.H., will assess additional burdens and risks resulting from COVID-19.

Webinar Registration

New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Workplace – Risk Factors and Solutions

New Solutions seeks manuscripts on the subject of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and its occupational and environmental health policy impacts from the local to international levels. Manuscripts can be submitted immediately and for the foreseeable future. Accepted papers will be published as quickly as possible.

Call for Papers

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Perception of Impact of Frequent Short Training as an Enhancement of Annual Refresher Training

New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy published an article on annual refresher trainings. Using these tools (drills and on-line modules) throughout the year, members of emergency response teams from automobile manufacturing facilities reported an increased ability to maintain their skill sets, build teamwork, and continually refresh and strengthen their ability to protect their fellow workers as well as plant operations and equipment.

New Solutions Journal

Improving Access to Evidence-Based Medical Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder: Strategies to Address Key Barriers Within the Treatment System

The National Academy of Medicine published a recent study on opioids. Even though evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorders (OUD) is effective, almost four in five Americans with OUD do not receive any form of treatment. The gap in access to evidence-based care, including treatment with medications for OUD, stems in part from barriers to change within the health care system.

National Academy of Medicine

IMPACT COVID-19 Pandemic: Protecting Our Members in the Workplace Webinar

The Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT) hosted a recent webinar on COVID-19 and the workplace. The webinar featured National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Director John Howard who presented on specific issues pertaining to the COVID-19 virus.

IMPACT Webinar

IMPACT Webinar Description

COVID-19 Crisis: Millions of U.S. Workers at Risk of Infections on the Job

New research shows that 14.4 million workers face exposure to infection once a week and 26.7 million at least once a month in the workplace, pointing to an important population needing protection as the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, continues to break out across the U.S.

Science Daily

Are Salt Deposits a Solution for Nuclear Waste Disposal?

The U.S. and Germany are disposing of low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste in repositories in salt deposits. Those wastes don't create as much heat. So, more studies were needed to determine the safety and efficacy of salt deposits for the high-level nuclear waste. But salt is not just a physical barrier – it's a chemical one, too. So, how these salt deposits would react to the presence of water, heat and other geologic factors needed to be researched.

Science Daily

The Human Toll of L.A.’s Slow Exide Cleanup

Capital & Main has chronicled the timeline of the ongoing residential cleanup around Exide, California – a story of confusion, shifting goalposts, missed deadlines and bloated budgets. But how has this affected those living on the front line of a cleanup that officials from the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) describe as the largest, most complex such undertaking in its history?

Capital & Main [Author: Dan Ross]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

EPA and Federal Partners Commemorate 10-year Anniversary of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) joined federal partners – including the U.S. Coast Guard, Department of the Interior, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – in commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.


EPA Environmental Justice Grants Opportunity to Address COVID-19 Impacts Faced by Vulnerable Communities is Now Open!

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making $1 million in grant funding available to states, local governments, tribes, and territories for projects to improve the health and welfare of low income, minority, tribal and indigenous communities. EPA will give special consideration to those applications aimed at addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic communities with EJ concerns. The deadline to apply is June 30.


Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Opinion: UAW Members Support Community

When the United Auto Workers (UAW) members pledge to support each other, they do not mean just fellow UAW members. The sense of brotherhood and sisterhood is not only about working conditions, fair wages and benefits for UAW members – it’s about supporting the whole community, ensuring healthy lives and doing our part as a family of people creating rewarding lives in this country and around the world.

The Detroit News [Author: Rory Gamble, President of UAW]

Job OpeningsBack to Top

UCLA-LOSH Seeks Health and Safety Training Coordinator

The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program (LOSH) are hiring a new position. The Health and Safety Training Coordinator is responsible for providing open-enrollment and contract courses related to hazardous materials handling, hazardous waste cleanup, and hazmat emergency response.

Job Posting

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