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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: November 13, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, November 13, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

November 13, 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

WTP COVID-19 Training Needs Assessment Now Available

NIEHS WTP commissioned the National Clearinghouse for Worker Health and Safety Training (National Clearinghouse) to conduct a needs assessment to understand how grantees were managing the transition from in-person to online training and then later the transition back into the classroom under physical distancing and infection control requirements. The report shares grantee concerns, challenges, and needs as well as the lessons learned and best practices.

WTP COVID-19 Toolbox

Guidance to Protect Volunteers From COVID-19 During Natural Disaster Response and Recovery

NIEHS and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) jointly produced a guidance document designed to provide natural disaster response volunteers with information about how to protect themselves from the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the disease COVID-19. Additionally, information about how volunteer organizations operate during a response has been included to help them understand the managerial and organizational systems they may encounter.

Guidance Document

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Adapts to Conflicting Needs During Pandemic

Perhaps driven by an urge to redecorate or clean out garages during the pandemic, household hazardous waste (HHW) generation has boomed and collection sites are feeling the surge. Other companies and HHW collection groups have noticed similar trends, but the large piles of electronics and antifreeze sometimes stand at odds with processing capacity. Efforts to reduce person-to-person contact, or operate within smaller budgets, means local governments have scaled back collection events.

Waste Dive [Author: Leslie Nemo]

Oregon OSHA Adopts Its Own Workplace Virus Protection Rule

Oregon became the third state in the nation to adopt a coronavirus-specific workplace safety standard in the absence of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enacting an emergency rule that would apply to employers nationwide. The rule takes effect Nov. 16. Many provisions that require employers to take actions they may not have already been performing, such as creating a risk assessment, will be phased in through January.

Bloomberg Law [Author: Bruce Rolfsen]

Four More Workers Test Positive for COVID-19 at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

Cases of COVID-19 at the Waste Isolation Pilot (WIPP) could be subsiding as the facility reported four workers tested positive between Oct. 27 and Nov. 3 after weeks of double-digit increases in WIPP’s weekly reports. The recent infections brought WIPP’s caseload to 84 positive tests for the virus with 41 patients recovered, per a WIPP news release.

Carlsbad Current Argus [Author: Adrien Hedden]

‘They Think Workers Are Like Dogs.’ How Pork Plant Execs Sacrificed Safety for Profits.

USA TODAY and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting spent five months piecing together the pivotal moments in the Triumph Foods outbreak, interviewing more than a dozen current and former workers and examining thousands of pages of government records. The reporting found Triumph failed to respond with effective safeguards during a crucial period from mid-March to mid-April that could have contained the spread of COVID-19.

USA TODAY [Authors: Rachel Axon, Kyle Bagenstose, and Kevin Crowe, USA TODAY; Sky Chadde, Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Emerging Technologies: The Future of Ergonomics Webinar

The field of ergonomics is rapidly changing. Emerging technologies such as exoskeletons, wearable sensors, computer-vision, artificial intelligence, and virtual and augmented reality are being integrated into how companies & ergonomists provide services. This presentation, hosted by North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center, will provide a “high-level” overview of this topic. The webinar will be held Nov. 18 at 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

OSHA, PHMSA Request Public Input in Advance of International Meetings

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) will hold virtual public meetings on Nov. 19. The purpose of the meetings is to consider public comments and gather information in advance of the 39th session of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (UNSCEGHS).

Meeting Information

National Conference on Worker Safety and Health Registration Is Open

The National Conference on Worker Safety and Health (#COSHCON2020) is the only national gathering of its kind. It brings together a diverse, inclusive, and bilingual group of workers, occupational health and safety experts, unions, activists, and academics united around common goals. With a global pandemic, all of this matters more than ever, so COSHCON2020 is still on virtually on Dec. 1-3 and Dec 8-10.

Meeting Information

Data, Professional Judgment, and Modeling in Occupational Exposure Assessment Webinar

Exposure underestimates are a professional and ethical issue for Industrial Hygienists. This presentation, hosted by Johns Hopkins Education and Research Center for Occupational Safety and Health, will discuss the lack of adequate monitoring data for decision-making in industrial hygiene (IH), the over-reliance on professional judgment, and the limitations of professional judgments. The webinar will be held Dec. 8 at 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

Fatigue in the Workplace: Effects on Health and Performance and Measurement Considerations Webinar

A leading cause of non-fatal work injuries is overexertion and bodily reaction. What is less understood is the role fatigue plays as a contributing factor. Fatigue in the workplace is a multidimensional process that results in diminished worker performance and is often underappreciated and unrecognized. This webinar will present an overview of worker fatigue and how it may be defined, examine ramifications on worker health and performance, and identify measurement considerations. The webinar will be held Dec. 16 at 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Contractor Sues Over Work at U.S. Nuclear Waste Repository

A contracting company is suing Nuclear Waste Partnership over allegations that the manager of the U.S. government’s nuclear waste dump breached the contract it awarded for rebuilding the repository’s air system. The company argues in the lawsuit that the project was troubled from the start, suffering from delays and frequent design changes resulting from Nuclear Waste Partnership’s inexperience in major construction projects.

Martinsville Bulletin

Study Examines the Impact of Natural Disasters on Suicide Rates

Disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes are occurring with increasing frequency and severity across the globe. In addition to impacting local communities, infrastructure and the economy, these disasters also can lead to severe emotional distress and anxiety for those living in their paths. A team of researchers including the University of Delaware's Jennifer Horney, founding director of the epidemiology program in the College of Health Sciences, examined the impact of 281 natural disasters on suicide rates during a 12-year span.

News Medical [Author: Emily Henderson]

Network Rail Safety Failings Contributed to Track Worker Deaths – Report

Network Rail’s long-term failure to improve safety was an underlying factor in the deaths of two track workers in South Wales, an investigation has found. The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said that, over “many years”, the Government-owned company “had not adequately addressed the protection of track workers from moving trains”.

Yahoo Finance United Kingdom [Author: Neil Lancefield]

Can Simulations Help Residents Uncover Social Needs Affecting Health?

The COVID-19 pandemic has shed new light on the relationship between patients’ unmet social needs and physician burnout. An intervention designed by one of Illinois’ busiest emergency departments seeks to answer questions about the changes health care organizations ought to seek when training physicians in social determinants of health inequity.

American Medical Association [Author: Timothy Smith]

Quarantined Minnesota Health Care Workers Feel Pressure to Return to Work Early

As COVID-19 cases in Minnesota continue to surge, some Minnesota hospitals and health care providers are asking employees with “higher-risk” exposure to the disease to return to work before their quarantines end. The requests are forcing health care workers to choose between following the state guidance of quarantining for 14 days after virus exposure or going back to the job sooner than that.

Minneapolis Star Tribune [Author: Joe Carlson]

New ASTM International Standard Will Help Improve the Fit of Respirators

ASTM International has announced the publication of ASTM F3407-20 Standard Test Method for Respirator Fit Capability (RFC) for Negative-Pressure Half-Facepiece Particulate Respirators. This standard may enable respirator manufacturers to design and develop better fitting air-purifying particulate only respirators, including filtering facepiece respirators. Better designed models that demonstrate fitting the worker population can result in lower costs to occupational respiratory protection programs. Conformity assessment program scheme owners, such as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), may be able to adopt and use the RFC standard.

ASTM International

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

EPA Wraps Up Hazardous Waste Clean-Up from Oregon’s Almeda Fire

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has completed nearly 90 percent of the clean-up of the hazardous household waste from Oregon’s Almeda Fire. However, two-thirds of property owners have not completed the necessary Right of Entry forms for the clean-up to occur on their property.

Waste 360

‘A Broader Vision’: NIOSH Experts Call for Expanding Occupational Safety and Health Field

Two National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) researchers say the field must adapt to technology and globalization challenges. This can be by “integrating traditional risk factors, personal and socioeconomic factors, well-being outcomes,” Paul Schulte, director of NIOSH’s Division of Science Integration, and Sarah A. Felknor, associate director of research integration at NIOSH, wrote in an Aug. 19 post on the NIOSH Science Blog.

Safety and Health Magazine

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

IAFF Disaster Relief Team Responds to Hurricane Zeta

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Disaster Relief crews are being organized and are beginning to assist the 20 members with the hurricane damage to their homes. The crews hope to complete all projects by the end of the day Nov. 1. Additionally, as the unusual number of hurricanes in the Gulf Coast region is causing storm fatigue among the membership, the IAFF is arranging peer support resources for those who need it.


Job OpeningsBack to Top

MCN Seeks Program Manager for Occupational and Environmental Health

Migrant Clinicians Network (MCN) is hiring a full time Program Manager for our Occupational and Environmental Health Division. This position is responsible for supporting and advancing MCN's mission with an emphasis on projects addressing Environmental Health, Worker Health and Safety, Children’s Health, COVID-19, and Community Mobilization.

Job Posting

OAI Seeks Director for Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Training Programs

Chicago-based Opportunity, Advancement, Innovation in Workforce Development (OAI) is looking for an exceptional Occupational Safety, Industrial Hygiene, or Public Health professional to lead OAI’s nationwide worker health and safety training programs. These programs address the needs of first responders, underrepresented workers and job seekers who are most vulnerable to workplace-related injuries and illnesses.

Job Posting

ICWUC Seeks Center Director Position

The International Chemical Workers Union Council (ICWUC) seeks applications for the position of Center Director (CD) at its Center for Worker Health and Safety Education, located in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Center is operated by the ICWUC in cooperation with eleven other major unions and organizations.

Job Posting

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