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NIEHS WTP: November 30, 2018 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, November 30, 2018

Weekly E-Newsbrief

November 30, 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.

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

During California Wildfires, Farmworkers Say They Felt Pressure to Keep Working or Lose Their Jobs

A sharp increase in wildfires, heat waves, and other climate-fueled disasters has added urgency to California’s efforts at employee protection, especially for the most vulnerable — low-income and undocumented workers on the state’s sprawling farms. The California Labor Federation is pressing for tougher legislation aimed at protecting those most at risk, such as farmworkers. State law requires employers to provide protective gear to outdoor workers during wildfires. But according to worker protection groups, only some field managers followed those rules to their fullest extent, exposing many farmworkers to the dangerous air.

The Washington Post [Author: Danielle Paquette]

In California, Houses Burned. So Did the Toxic Chemicals They Contained.

The long, laborious process of returning Paradise and neighboring towns to a safe state will soon begin when crews in masks, Tyvek suits, and booties begin combing through every last property in this town that was decimated by wildfire. In the charred footprint of each home in Paradise lurks an invisible and dangerous legacy of the Camp Fire: toxic chemicals released by the blaze. Heavy metals, chemicals, and biological contaminants left behind demand a cleanup of extraordinary scale, before any permanent return to Paradise is safe, according to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.

The New York Times [Author: Sarah Maslin Nir]

A Hog Waste Agreement Lacked Teeth, North Carolinians Say They’re Left to Suffer

Nearly 20 years ago, North Carolina faced a reckoning. Hurricane Floyd inundated the state, flooding the open pits where farmers store hog waste. In September, it was Florence, which dumped record-breaking rains on the state — 8 trillion gallons over four days. Thirty-three lagoons overflowed, the pink slurry again mixing with floodwaters. Today, many farmers continue to store the waste in open pits despite the millions of dollars in private investment spent and years of research and political promises. The practice grows more hazardous with each hurricane that pounds the state.

ProPublica [Author: Talia Buford]

Climate Change Already Reshaping U.S., Says National Climate Assessment

The fourth National Climate Assessment presents a stark warning about the country’s future if climate change progresses unchecked: dwindling water supplies, infectious disease outbreaks, destructive sea-level rise, an increase in certain natural disasters and billions of dollars in economic losses, to name just a few consequences. But just as striking is the federal report’s description of the climate impacts that have already occurred in the United States.

E & E News [Author: Chelsea Harvey]

Fourth National Climate Assessment

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

The Natural Disasters That Have Shaped Our Science and Our Culture

Science and engineering can be used to understand extreme events and to design our cities to be resilient. As climate change increases the intensity of extreme storms and urban population growth increases the complexity of our life-sustaining systems, it’s important to examine the history of natural disasters to understand how we can make society more resilient. Hosted by the Carnegie Institution for Science, this event will feature speaker Lucy Jones, Ph.D., the founder and chief scientist of Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society. The event will be held on December 6, 2018, from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. ET.

Event Registration

The Disaster Debris Recovery Tool: Materials Management for Debris Planning and Emergency Response

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5's Disaster Debris Recovery Tool (DDRT) promotes the proper recovery, recycling, and disposal of disaster debris for emergency planners and responders at the federal, state, tribal, and local levels. This webinar will feature presenters from Region 5 and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojbwe. Region 5 will introduce the history, purpose, and a provide a demonstration of the tool. DDRT users from Millie Lacs Band and Region 5 will explain their experience using the tool in both a disaster debris planning and response perspective. Webinar takes place on Tuesday, December 18, 2018, from 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. EST.

Webinar Information and Registration

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.

Preparedness Summit

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Measuring the Effectiveness of Toolbox Safety Training

Construction work is some of the most hazardous of any industry sector. A challenge contractors face in addressing this issue is effectively communicating to workers the hazards they face on the job site, and the measures they can take to prevent injuries. One widely used training method is the “toolbox talks,” wherein workers participate in 10- to 15-minute instructional sessions to learn the hazards associated with their work and the steps they can take to prevent incidents. A recent study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) examined the impact of toolbox talks.

American Society of Safety Professionals

One of the Biggest Challenges of Kicking Addiction is Getting and Keeping a Job

Hypertherm is one of 70 employers in New Hampshire that are casting themselves as “recovery friendly,” a wide-ranging term that signifies a new approach to the millions of people whose lives have been interrupted by drug and alcohol addiction. These workplaces are willing to overlook employment gaps and some brushes with police that accompany drug use. They encourage open discussion of addiction in the workplace to reduce stigma.

Washington Post [Author: Lenny Bernstein]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

EPA Environmental Justice Small Grants Opportunity Now Open

The Environmental Justice Small Grants (EJSG) program awards grants that support community-driven projects designed to engage, educate, and empower communities to better understand local environmental and public health issues, and develop strategies to address them. The EJSG program will award approximately $1.5 million nationwide for this competitive opportunity. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) anticipates awarding approximately 50 grants (5 per EPA region) of up to $30,000 each. These grants are for one-year projects. Given projected increases in extreme weather events and the vulnerability of underserved populations, this opportunity will emphasize projects that address emergency preparedness and increase resiliency. The full proposal deadline is February 15, 2019, at 11:59 PM ET.

EJSG Grant Program

Link Found Between Prescription Drug Use Before and After Injury

Workers taking opioids or benzodiazepines (anxiety medications) prior to a work-related injury were more likely than other workers to continue taking the drugs after the injury, according to a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) funded study at the University of Washington in Seattle. In addition, these workers were also more likely to receive workers’ compensation, reports the study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

NIOSH Research Rounds

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine [Authors: Nkyekyer et al.]

MMWR: Suicide Rates by Major Occupational Group in 17 States, 2012 and 2015

During 2000–2016, the suicide rate among the U.S. working age population (persons aged 16–64 years) increased 34%. To better understand suicide among different occupational groups and inform suicide prevention efforts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed suicide deaths by Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) major groups for decedents aged 16–64 years from the 17 states participating in both the 2012 and 2015 National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS). The report indicated the major occupational group with the highest male suicide rate was Construction and Extraction, whereas the group with the highest female suicide rate was Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report [Authors: Peterson et al.]

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

CPWR Webinar: Update on Nanomaterials in Construction: Epidemiology, Exposures, and Awareness

Engineered nanomaterials are an emerging hazard in multiple industries, including construction. This 30-minute webinar from the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) will cover the latest efforts to address nanomaterial risks in a world being rapidly transformed by technology. After relying heavily on animal studies, recent epidemiologic research is providing new insight into potential health effects among workers. The speakers will also present CPWR's latest research on nanomaterial exposure assessment and control, and a CPWR-funded study that investigated awareness of nanotechnology among the California building trades. Webinar takes place Thursday, December 13, 2018, at 2:00 p.m.

Webinar Registration

Webinar: Exposures to Opioids and Other Controlled Substances Among Workers in the Public Safety Sector

The National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Public Safety Sector and The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are hosting a webinar on Exposures to Opioids and Other Controlled Substances Among Workers in the Public Safety Sector. NIOSH has responded to a number of Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) requests regarding worker exposure to opioids and other controlled substances in which responders experienced work-related health effects. This webinar will summarize evaluations and provide guidance and perspectives that will be helpful to a wide range of Public Safety Sector workers. The webinar will be held on December 18, 2018, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

Job OpeningsBack to Top

Arise Chicago Seeks Development Director

Arise Chicago, a leading workers’ rights organization, seeks a creative, motivated, full-time Development Director to lead and expand fundraising strategies to support and grow the organization to increase their ability to fight for workplace justice across Chicago. Arise Chicago trains, organizes, and develops the leadership of low-wage, primarily immigrant workers and religious allies to improve working conditions and advance working family policies. To apply, send resume and cover letter to Please include “Development Director Application” in the subject line.

Job Description

Health Workers Working Healthy Program Seeks Program Manager

The Program Manager for the Health Workers Working Healthy Program is the staff person responsible for program implementation of the Training Fund’s safety and health initiative, which will entail helping to conduct a safety and health needs assessment, developing training materials and curriculum, recruiting environmental service workers and other frontline healthcare workers, and evaluating the program’s effectiveness. The application deadline is November 30, 2018. To apply for this job, send resume to

Position Description

Featured Safety Jobs with the American Society of Safety Engineers

Featured Jobs

Featured Safety Jobs with the American Industrial Hygiene Association

Featured Jobs

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