November 6, 2018
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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- Top Stories
- Calendar Features
- On The Web This Week
- Federal Agency Update
- Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
- Job Openings
- Newsbriefs Past Issues
|Top Stories||Back to Top|
When Pain Causes More Pain: Opioid Hazards in the Workplace
Large and small group dialogues about the state of opioid-related hazards in the workplace characterized the 2018 Worker Training Program (WTP) workshop, held Oct. 24-25 at NIEHS. Discussions about the U.S. opioid epidemic are frequent, but the impact of opioids on workers may be left out of the conversation. Certain occupations, such as emergency medical services, law enforcement, and environmental services, face a high risk of occupational exposure to opioids — including the extremely toxic fentanyl and carfentanil — when responding to overdoses.
Environmental Factor [Author: Sheena Scruggs]
New NIEHS WTP Report: Ebola Biosafety and Infectious Disease Response Worker Training Program
The NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) completed a two-year report on its Ebola Biosafety and Infectious Disease Response Training Program. The report summarizes training activities within multiple occupational sectors, training completed, challenges and unmet needs, sustainability efforts, and media and publication highlights.
New NIEHS WTP Factsheet
A new NIEHS WTP fact sheet profiles its six major training programs, key courses, and notable efforts. The fact sheet also highlights the economic impact findings from the Environmental Career Worker Training Program (ECWTP) and WTP’s disaster response and recovery activities. Multiple copies of the fact sheet can be ordered through the second link available below.
Half-Life, An Investigative Story on the Health and Safety Hazards at Los Alamos National Laboratory
Chad Walde believed in his work at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Then he got a rare brain cancer linked to radiation, and the government denied it had any responsibility. For decades, Los Alamos had been criticized for sacrificing workers’ health and safety in the name of atomic progress. The government, and Los Alamos in particular, has said that those lapses were in the past, and that they have put in place rules and practices to protect safety. Despite these pledges, Chad and his co-workers said safety problems continued. They witnessed accidents and heard the sudden, unexpected blare of radiation alarms. This article tells the story of Chad Walde’s final illness, his death, and his family’s search for answers.
ProPublica [Author: Rebecca Moss]
L.A. Firefighters Sue SoCal Gas Over Alleged Exposure to Toxic Chemicals While Responding to Aliso Canyon
Firefighters who worked in and around the site of a massive natural gas leak sued the Southern California Gas Co., saying the utility knowingly let them be exposed to dangerous levels of toxic chemicals. A blowout in a well at the underground Aliso Canyon storage field about 40 miles north of Los Angeles was discovered on October 2015 and took nearly four months to cap after spewing immense amounts of methane into the air. It was the largest known natural gas leak in United States history. The blowout sickened residents and led to the evacuation of 8,000 homes.
Lumberton Residents Learn How to Remove Fungal Growth in 'Mold-Buster' Workshop
Mold is a major concern in Robeson County after dozens of homes flooded during Hurricane Florence. Recently, a handful of residents learned how to identify, treat, and prevent mold from growing in their homes and businesses. The Mold Clean-up and Treatment Workshop was held inside the sanctuary at McCormick Chapel A.M.E Church. The two-hour “mold-buster” training was led by the Specialized Emergency Response Team (SERT) and certified mold removers.
WBTW News 13 [Author: Erin Brown]
|Calendar Features||Back to Top|
EPA Webinar: Building Resilience in Partnership with Vulnerable Communities
The ability of a community to respond, recover, and bounce back from increased risk to local waters from extreme weather and natural disasters is not equally distributed. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hosting a webinar that will look at the environmental justice factors contributing to vulnerability and examples of how EPA and its partner programs have effectively worked to help build resilience within vulnerable communities. The webinar will be held on November 8, 2018, from 1:00-2:30 p.m. ET.
PROTECT Webinar: Chemical Exposures and Our Health
The PROTECT (Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats) Superfund Research Program (SRP) has scheduled an upcoming webinar, titled Without Consent: Chemical Exposures and Our Health. The webinar will be presented by Tracey Woodruff, Ph.D., a recognized expert on environmental pollution exposures at University of California, San Francisco and held on Monday, November 26, 2018, from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. ET.
Registration Open for COSHCON18, Dec. 4 – 6, 2018, Baltimore, MD
The National Conference on Worker Safety and Health (#COSHCON18) will take place December 4 - 6, 2018, at the Maritime Conference Center (MCC), located in Linthicum Heights, Maryland. #COSHCON18 will be an exciting gathering of grassroots health and safety groups. The MCC is just outside Baltimore and minutes from the BWI airport.
Save the Date: NACCHO Preparedness Summit 2019
The 2019 Preparedness Summit, sponsored by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), will look at how threats to our national health security have evolved significantly. The summit will feature experts from the healthcare and emergency management fields as well as public health preparedness professionals, looking at opportunities to address the gaps between these life-saving industries and work more collaboratively in the face of emerging threats. The summit will be held on March 26-29, 2019, in St. Louis, MO.
|On The Web This Week||Back to Top|
NYC Likely to Miss First Construction-Safety Deadline
New York City is considering a six-month delay to its first major construction safety deadline, suggesting that implementing the policy is far more complicated than the legislators who championed it had hoped. Under a law passed by the City Council, all construction workers in the city will be required to have completed 30 hours of safety training by December 1, 2018. Safety managers and other supervisory positions will have to meet more stringent requirements. The Department of Buildings, however, is currently deciding whether to exercise a clause in the legislation that would push that deadline back to early June.
Crain’s New York Business [Author: Joe Anuta]
Researchers Respond Quickly After Hurricane Florence
After Hurricane Florence devastated parts of North and South Carolina in September, current and former NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) grantees hit the ground running to test for pollution. As soon as they could reach areas affected by severe flooding, SRP researchers teamed up to take air, soil, and water samples in an effort to characterize contaminants that might be present, including concentrations and likely sources.
Environmental Factor [Author: Sara Amolegbe]
A Rural Community Decided to Treat Its Opioid Problem Like A Natural Disaster
Heroin addiction and abuse are not just a big city problem. While the bulk of fatal overdoses still happen in urban areas, the rural overdose rate has increased to slightly surpass that of cities. Snohomish County in Western Washington is taking a unique approach to tackle the problem. Leaders declared the opioid epidemic a life-threatening emergency. The county is now responding to the drug crisis as if it were a natural disaster, the same way it would mobilize to respond to a landslide or flu pandemic.
NPR [Author: Anna Boiko-Weyrauch]
Health Data for Action: Leveraging Health Data for Actionable Insights
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) released a call for proposals for the Health Data for Action: Leveraging Health Data for Actionable Insights (Data Access Award) (HD4A) program. Applicants should write a proposal for a research study using data from one of the following four data providers: The Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI), OptumLabs, CareJourney, or athenahealth. The proposed studies should enable relevant, innovative, and actionable research that uses the available data to answer important, policy-relevant questions. An informational webinar will be held on November 9, 2018, from 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. ET. The deadline for submitting a proposal is December 14, 2018, at 3:00 p.m. ET.
|Federal Agency Update||Back to Top|
CSB Releases “Call to Action” on Combustible Dust Hazards
As part of its investigation into the May 2017 Didion Mill explosion, the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) issued “Call to Action: Combustible Dust” to gather comments on the management and control of combustible dust from companies, regulators, inspectors, safety training providers, researchers, unions, and the workers affected by dust-related hazards. This initiative asks for information from all individuals and entities involved in the safe conduct of work within inherently dust-producing environments at risk for dust explosions. Comments can be emailed to email@example.com until November 26, 2018.
CSB Adopts Updated Policy on Worker Participation
The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board adopted an updated policy, Worker Participation in Investigations – Board Order Addendum 40a. The success of the Chemical Safety Board’s (CSB) investigative mission depends in part on the robust participation of diverse parties, including the involvement of employees and their workplace representatives. Workers are often critical sources of information relevant to the investigation, and individual employees often serve as witnesses. This Board Order Addendum establishes CSB policy for worker participation in CSB investigations. If you have questions or would like to request a presentation about this new policy or CSB’s work to prevent chemical incidents, please go to https://www.csb.gov/media-room/request-speaker-form/ and fill out the form.
Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Capabilities: National Standards for State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Public Health
In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established 15 capabilities that serve as national standards for public health preparedness planning. Since then, these capability standards have served as a vital framework for state, local, tribal, and territorial preparedness programs as they plan, operationalize, and evaluate their ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from public health emergencies. The document describes the components necessary to advance jurisdictional public health preparedness and response capacity.
CDC Drafts Guideline on Infection Control in Healthcare Personnel
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a draft guideline intended to facilitate the provision of occupational infection prevention and control services to healthcare workers, and prevent transmission of infections between healthcare personnel and others. The draft guideline is available to download as a PDF from Regulations.gov. Comments must be received on or before December 14, 2018.
Call for Papers: American Journal for Public Health Supplement on Community Preparedness for Public Health Emergencies
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with American Journal for Public Health (AJPH) on a supplement on community preparedness for public health emergencies. Manuscripts are due to AJPH by January 14, 2019. Questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joint Public Meeting Notice: Preparations for the 36th Session of the UN Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals
On November 13, 2018, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will conduct a public meeting to discuss proposals in preparation for the 36th session of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (UNSCEGHS). Also, on November 13, 2018, the Department of Transportation (DOT), Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) will conduct a public meeting to discuss proposals in preparation for the 54th session of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UNSCETDG). Both meetings will be held at the DOT Headquarters Conference Center, West Building, Oklahoma City Conference Room, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC, 20590.
|Awardee Highlights/Online Learning||Back to Top|
NC Public Radio: The Link Between Coal Ash and Human Health
A new review of existing research shows a link between living close to a coal power plant or coal ash pond and higher risks of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, as well as higher risks of premature mortality, lung cancer, infant mortality, and poor child health. In this segment, host Frank Stasio speaks with experts about the link between coal ash and human health.
North Carolina Medical Journal [Author: Kravchenko and Lyerly]
|Job Openings||Back to Top|
Switzer Foundation Seeks New Executive Director
The Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation is seeking an Executive Director to oversee and grow its environmental fellows and leadership programs. With one foot rooted in vision and the other in implementation, the Executive Director will direct a small and talented staff in managing programs that entail awarding academic fellowships and project grants, sponsoring professional and leadership development activities, and fostering a growing national network of Switzer Fellows, environmental practitioners, and organizations.