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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: November 15, 2019 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, November 15, 2019

Weekly E-Newsbrief

November 15, 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

Updated FAQs Available for NIEHS Worker Training Program Funding Opportunities

As of Nov. 15, NIEHS finalized the Frequently Asked Questions and Answers (FAQs) documents to the two available funding opportunities: Hazardous Materials Worker Health and Safety Training, and HAZMAT Training at DOE Nuclear Weapons Complex.


Rising BLS Injury, Illness Rate for Collection Workers Troubles Industry

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 2.8 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses were reported by employers in 2018, the same as 2017. This notably marked the first year since 2012 where the incidence rate for total recordable cases in private industry didn't decline. The incidence rate for the overall "waste management and remediation services" category, which includes hazardous waste and other areas, also stayed level at 4.2.

Waste Dive [Author: Cole Rosengren]

Idaho, Energy Department Sign Deal on Spent Nuclear Fuel

Idaho granted a conditional waiver Nov. 7 to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that could allow research quantities of spent nuclear fuel into the state after years of blocking such shipments. The agreement announced by Gov. Brad Little and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, means the Idaho National Laboratory could receive about 100 pounds of spent fuel for experiments as part of a U.S. strategy to expand nuclear power and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Associated Press [Author: Keith Ridler]

Measuring the Global Safety Risk for Workers

About 2.78 million workers die each year from occupational accidents and work-related diseases, according to "Mapping Risk," a new report on dangers in the workplace by Gallup and the Lloyd's Register Foundation in the United Kingdom. The report bases its estimates on data from 2017. By comparison, just under 69,000 people died in 2017 who were tied to state-based armed conflicts, according to the U.N.

U.S. News & World Report [Author: Sintia Radu]

US Lasting Nuclear Legacy on the Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands, Runit Dome holds more than 3.1 million cubic feet — or 35 Olympic-sized swimming pools — of U.S.-produced radioactive soil and debris, including lethal amounts of plutonium. Nowhere else has the United States saddled another country with so much of its nuclear waste, a product of its Cold War atomic testing program.

The Los Angeles Times [Author: Susanne Rust]

Tesla’s Safety Problems at Its Nevada Gigafactory Detailed in New Report

Tesla Gigafactory workers have been struggling with workplace safety issues, a local housing shortage, and even a lack of bathrooms at work, according to a new report by USA Today. After the state of Nevada gave Tesla tax breaks and other incentives to set up a massive battery plant there in 2014, Elon Musk’s electric car company has created jobs outside of Reno and drawn new residents to the area. But the company’s growing presence has also stressed local systems so much that some are asking if the deal was worth it, according to the report.

CNBC [Author: Lora Kolodny]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

ATSDR Webinar: Preliminary Findings From a Systematic Review of Chronic Environmental Contamination, Psychosocial Stress, and Community Resilience

This Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) sponsored webinar will be held Nov. 19, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET. Daniel Sullivan, Ph.D., University of Arizona, will present preliminary findings from a systematic literature review: “Chronic Environmental Contamination: Psychosocial Health Consequences, Risk Factors, and Pathways to Community Resilience.” The literature review is part of ATSDR’s Community Stress Resilience project. This community-engaged project is developing new tools, resources, and strategies to build stress resilience in communities affected by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other contaminants.

Webinar Registration

2019 EPA International Decontamination Research and Development Conference

This conference is designed to facilitate presentation, discussion, further collaboration on research and development, and application of tools and research focused on an all-hazards approach to cleaning up contaminated buildings (both interior and exterior), infrastructure, and other areas/materials. The conference continues to focus strongly on matters involving chemical, biological, or radiological (CBR) threat agents, but also includes all hazard elements. The conference brings together researchers, first responders, community leaders and planners, and industry. It will be held Nov. 19-21 in Norfolk, Virginia.

Conference Details

National Conference on Worker Safety and Health

The National Conference on Worker Safety and Health (#COSHCON19) brings together a diverse, inclusive and bilingual group of participants of workers, occupational health and safety experts, unions, activists and academics united around common goals. The conference aims to empower workers, make workplaces safer and reduce the toll of on-the-job injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The conference will take place Dec. 3-5 in Baltimore.

Conference Registration

The Perilous State of Federal Scientific Research: Retired NIEHS Director Discusses how Sidelining Science Threatens Health

The Alaska Community Action on Toxics is hosting recently retired NIEHS Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D. to present The Perilous State of Federal Scientific Research: How Sidelining Science Threatens Public Health on the next CHE-Alaska call, which will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 9:00 a.m. Alaska Standard Time/1:00 p.m. ET. In this call, Birnbaum will share her perspective on the current state of federal scientific research, the public health consequences of sidelining science, and what organizations can do to restore the role of science in policy.

Webinar Registration

Spring 2020 NIEHS WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop Hotel Information Available

Emory University Woodruff Health Sciences Center, in conjunction with the NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP), is sponsoring a workshop on Bio-Preparedness. The workshop will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, March 17-18, 2020. The workshop is tentatively scheduled from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday and 9:00 a.m. until noon on Wednesday. A limited number of rooms have been reserved at an area hotel for this meeting. Participants are encouraged to book their room early, as the block will fill up quickly.


On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Rising Demand for Industrial Safety Gloves and Workplace Safety Regulations

Around 70 percent of hand injuries involve workers who do not wear safety gloves. The remaining people injured use gloves that are either improper or damaged. This data alone proves the importance of industrial or workplace safety as well as the use of personal protective equipment like gloves and other safety gear. The industrial environment has become highly sophisticated, but it still poses a high risk of workplace accidents.

Occupational Health and Safety [Author: Hrishikesh Kadam]

Preparing for and Responding to Chemical Incidents

The U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Exchange Newsletter provides several articles that highlight lessons learned (from the responder and practitioner perspectives), recent experiences abroad, and updates to federal initiatives that align with the four focus areas listed under Objective 2 of ASPR’s National Health Security Strategy Implementation Plan to protect the nation from the health effects of emerging and pandemic infectious diseases, and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats. This issue focuses on chemical incidents.


Public Libraries Partner to Respond to the Opioid Crisis

This webinar presented examples from new case studies of libraries that are serving as active partners in addressing the opioid crisis in their communities. Presenters shared insights gained from the case studies and emerging practices, opportunities, and challenges, and shared resources to help library staff guide their libraries’ response to the opioid crisis. This was the first in a series of webinars on this topic, highlighting the findings of the Public Libraries Partner to Respond to the Opioid Crisis project.

Webinar Recording

Improving Oil Spill Preparedness and Response in Santa Barbara, California

This report documents the outcomes of a West Coast workshop held in April 2019, which focused on Santa Barbara, CA, to identify research needs to improve oil spill preparedness and response with respect to public health, social disruption, and economic impacts. The workshop goals were to share lessons learned from the 2015 Refugio oil spill; examine opportunities for community involvement in oil spill response; review best practices; and improve future preparation. The workshop was sponsored by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Gulf Research Program, and the Sea Grant Program.

Workshop Report

Preparing for Demolition, Workers Removing Asbestos, Hazardous Waste From Biology Complex

Workers are making significant progress removing asbestos and other hazardous waste from the Biology Complex at the Y-12 National Security Complex in a deactivation project that’s more than 60 percent complete, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said. The Biology Complex was originally built to recover uranium from process streams. It was later used for DOE’s research on the genetic effects of radiation from the late 1940s.

Oak Ridge Today [Author: John Huotari]

NSC Winter Safety Tips

The National Safety Council (NSC) issued seasonal safety tips for this upcoming winter season. The tips cover a series of potential cold-related accidents and injuries including: Drive in the Snow; Avoid Shoveling, Snowblowing Injuries; Treat Frostbit Immediately; Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning; Avoid Injuries While Enjoying the Winter Weather; and Know the Numbers.

National Safety Council

Virtual Reality Could Improve Worker Safety Training, Emergency Preparedness: Study

The use of immersive virtual reality systems could help enhance workplace safety and health training and preparedness for fire evacuation and other emergencies, results of a recent study out of the United Kingdom suggest. During the two-part study, researchers from the University of Nottingham had participants wear virtual reality headsets while navigating one of two virtual scenarios: escaping an office building that is on fire or engaging in an engine disassembly task that causes a fire.

Safety and Health Magazine

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

The Value of Worker Well-Being

The U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams is urging employers to make worker well-being a higher priority, in an article published online Oct. 10 in Public Health Reports – the official journal of the Office of the Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service. To help achieve his goal, Adams writes, public health leaders need to continue to make a strong case to employers that worker well-being programs (including onsite health centers, weight-management programs and financial counseling) benefit their human capital needs and bottom lines.

Public Health Reports [Author: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams]

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Wildfire Smoke and Your Patients’ Health

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop this new course on wildfire smoke, which includes sections on health effects; life stages and populations at greater risk of experiencing health effects; air quality and smoke; actions to take before and during a wildfire to reduce smoke exposure; and available resources such as facts sheets. It is intended for physicians, registered nurses, asthma educators, and others involved in clinical or health education.


NIEHS Wildfire Resources and Disaster Preparedness App

The NIEHS WTP and its awardees have provided resources and training in support of wildfire response operations in the United States. These resources are aimed at protecting the health and safety of those responding to wildfires. The NIEHS/CPWR Disaster Preparedness mobile app, which includes information on wildfires, allows workers exposed to hazards on disaster sites to access a full suite of awareness-level training resources.

NIEHS Wildfire Response Training Tool and Resources

NIEHS/CPWR Disaster Preparedness App

Job OpeningsBack to Top

Casa Latina Seeks Development & Communications Director

Casa Latina is a social justice organization that advances the power and well-being of Latino immigrants through employment, education, and community organizing. The Development & Communications Director (DCD) is responsible for raising and growing revenue to fund Casa Latina’s mission and programs, including a model, day labor worker center. The DCD leads fundraising and communications strategy, managing and executing on diverse revenue streams and powerfully telling the story of Casa Latina’s impact to a broad audience.

Job Announcement

BGA Seeks Policy Advisor

The BlueGreen Alliance (BGA) seeks qualified candidates for the position of Policy Advisor in their Washington, D.C. office. The Policy Advisor will be responsible for designing, coordinating, and implementing legislative and policy efforts around core organizational issues. The Policy Advisor will work in close coordination with BGA national staff and BGA partner organizations to develop and implement BGA’s policy and legislative agenda on a variety of issues, including clean vehicles and technology, manufacturing, trade, and other BGA priorities.

Job Posting

MassCOSH Seeks Full-Time Health and Safety Trainer and Worker Center Organizer

The Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) is hiring a health and safety trainer and a worker center organizer. The Health and Safety Trainer helps to lead MassCOSH in meeting its goals for providing worker-oriented training, building the regional health and safety movement and developing working relationships with labor, environmental organizations, government and business. The Worker Center Organizer will provide training and support organizing and advocacy efforts of immigrant workers seeking to address unsafe and unhealthy workplace conditions, discrimination, wage and hour violations, etc.

Health and Safety Trainer Position

Worker Center Organizer Position

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