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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: November 25, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, November 25, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

November 25, 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

NOSI: Promoting Health, Safety, and Recovery Training for COVID-19 Essential Workers and their Communities

NIEHS published a Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) for the purpose to provide support for successful applicants to develop partnerships with local worker centers and community organizations specifically targeting under served and disadvantaged communities with higher than average COVID-19 transmission rates. The deadline to apply is Dec. 30.


Wildfire Smoke Collection

Two of the largest wildfires in Colorado history are burning. They have caused evacuations, property damage, and terrible air quality for two months. This is a common experience this year in the U.S., with large and high-impact fires also burning along the West Coast and in Wyoming, among other states. Internationally, the year started with massive brushfires in Australia, and throughout the year large fires have also occurred in Ukraine, Kenya, Tanzania, Argentina, and Brazil.

Environmental Health Perspectives

Anger in North Dakota After Governor Asks COVID-Positive Health Workers to Keep Working

According to data from the Covid Tracking Project, more than 9,400 North Dakotans tested positive for Covid-19 last week alone. About one in 12 North Dakota residents have been infected with the virus; nearly one in 1,000 have died. In early November, the North Dakota department of health reported that there were only 12 open ICU beds in the entire state.

The Guardian [Author: Danielle Renwick]

Failure to Train Workers on COVID-19 Could Lead to Fines, Lawsuits

As the pandemic rages on, more states are creating their own standards requiring employers to provide workers with proper COVID-19 training to prevent transmission of the virus, and failure to comply with these measures in some jurisdictions can lead to substantial fines, experts say.

Business Insurance [Author: Angela Childers]

Washington State Developing Standard on Wildfire Smoke and Outdoor Workers

Washington state has taken the first step in the rulemaking process to address worker exposure to wildfire smoke. The state’s Department of Labor & Industry announced in an Oct. 21 press release that it has filed an official notification, known as CR-101, to initiate the process. Washington is the second state to seek wildfire smoke rules; California adopted its standard in 2019.

Safety and Health Magazine

California Standard

Michigan Hospitals Ask Staff Exposed to COVID-19 to Still Come to Work

Fearing staffing shortages as COVID-19 hospitalizations soar toward new records, several major Michigan health systems are telling employees to report to work, even if they’ve recently had a close or household contact with someone who has COVID-19.

Michigan Radio [Author: Kate Wells]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

A Nation Unprepared: Incomplete Implementation of the National Blueprint for Biodefense

The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense will be hosting a virtual meeting on Nov. 30 from 10:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. ET. In its October 2015 bipartisan report the Commission stated that the Nation remains highly vulnerable to biological threats and made 33 recommendations to optimize U.S. efforts to prevent, deter, prepare for, detect, respond to, attribute, recover from, and mitigate intentionally introduced, accidentally released, and naturally occurring biological events.

Meeting Registration

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

Essential Workers in the Time of COVID-19 with Photojournalist Earl Dotter

Johns Hopkins Education and Research Center (ERC) for Occupational Safety and Health is sponsoring a webinar titled, “Essential Workers in the Time of COVID-19.” This will feature photojournalist Earl Dotter, who will also show a history of the use of personal protective equipment. The webinar will be held on Dec. 7 at 12:10-1:20 p.m. ET.

Meeting Registration

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

Interventions and Communication Strategies to Reduce Health Risks of Wildland Fire Smoke Exposures

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking applications proposing research that will address behavioral, technical, and practical aspects of interventions and communication strategies to reduce exposures and/or health risks of wildland fire smoke. This funding opportunity will seek to understand what actions might be effective for reducing adverse health outcomes and how best to communicate this to various groups. Applications are due by Dec. 15.


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

Save the Date: Brownfields 2021 Dates Are Moving

The goal of the National Brownfields Training Conference is to provide a networking and learning environment for the brownfields community. Due to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and having these considerations in mind, Brownfields 2021 will be rescheduled from its current April dates. Brownfields 2021 will now be held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, from Sept. 27-30, 2021.

More Information

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

After Seven Days of Exceedances, Mon Valley's Air Pollution Still a Big Problem

It’s been a malodorous air quality month in Allegheny County, and Mon Valley residents and environmental organizations held an online rally to demand that U.S. Steel and county regulators act to reduce excessive and unhealthy air pollution.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [Author: Don Hopey]

California Department of Industrial Relations’ (DIR) Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board Unanimously Adopts Emergency Temporary Standards to Protect Workers from COVID-19

The Department of Industrial Relations’ (DIR) Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board unanimously adopted emergency temporary standards to protect workers from hazards related to COVID-19. The emergency standards will be in effect immediately if approved by the Office of Administrative Law in the next 10 calendar days.


Canada to Modernize and Integrate Nuclear Waste Management Policy

The Canadian government has launched an engagement process to "modernise" the country's radioactive waste policy. At the same time, it has asked the Nuclear Waste Management Organisation (NWMO) to lead a dialogue to develop an integrated strategy for Canada's radioactive waste.

World Nuclear News

Community Environmental Health Kits

University of Rochester’s Environmental Health Science Center partnered with Science Take-Out, a science education company, to develop eight interactive community environmental health (CEH) kits. The CEH kits are designed to engage diverse community audiences in learning about environmental health issues. These short, user-friendly activities add a hands-on element to community trainings, informal education, and other diverse settings. The kits also encourage discussions about ways to reduce exposures to environmental health hazards.

Community Environmental Health Kits

OSHA Highlights Importance of Worker Safety During the Holidays

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and its Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued a reminder on Nov. 20 to employers to emphasize their responsibility to protect worker safety during the holiday season. OSHA advises employers to train workers to recognize potential job hazards and implement safety practices to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Occupational Health and Safety [Author: Nikki Johnson-Bolden]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

Annual DOL OIG report outlines challenges for OSHA, MSHA

The COVID-19 pandemic has “exacerbated” the challenges for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration to use their resources to protect the safety and health of workers, according to the Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Inspector General (OIG) 2020 DOL Top Management and Performance Challenges, an annual report.

Annual Report

Safety and Health Magazine

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

CPWR Small Study Grant Funding Available

The Center for Construction Research and Training’s (CPWR) Small Study Program, which supports promising new research initiatives on improving construction safety and health, has a particular interest in studies that plan to work with and/or target small employers, those with 19 employees or fewer. CPWR are also interested in innovative approaches to reducing the spread of COVID-19 through ventilation, distancing, and respirators.


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 you may encounter.

Guidance Document

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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