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NIEHS WTP: November 17, 2023 Newsbrief

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Weekly E-Newsbrief, November 17, 2023

Weekly E-Newsbrief

November 17, 2023

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

November Is National Diabetes Month

Diabetes affects a staggering number of adults and children across the U.S. — 37.3 million, or 1 in 10 — and rates are even higher in Native communities. American Indians and Alaska Natives are almost three times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes and two times more likely to die from diabetes. Diabetes is a life-long disease that affects the way your body handles glucose, a kind of sugar, in your blood. The chances of having diabetes complications can be reduced or delayed significantly by keeping blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the target range.

Native News Online [Author: Kaili Berg]

The Fifth National Climate Assessment Has Been Released

The Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5) analyzes the impacts of climate and global change in the United States. The development of NCA5 was overseen by a Federal Steering Committee appointed by the Subcommittee on Global Change Research. NCA5 assesses current and future risks posed by climate change to each of NCA5’s 10 regions.

Fifth National Climate Assessment

U.S. Faces Almost Daily Hazardous Chemical Accidents, Research Suggests

Hazardous chemical accidents are occurring almost daily, on average, in the United States, exposing people to dangerous toxins through fires, explosions, leaks, spills and other releases, according to a new analysis. The report, prepared by Coming Clean, documents what it calls an “alarming frequency” of accidents, and comes a month before U.S. regulators are expected to release final rules aimed at preventing such incidents. The new report shows 829 hazardous chemical incidents from January 1, 2021, through October 15, 2023, or roughly one every 1.2 days. The research is based on capturing incidents of chemical spills via monitoring news sources; researchers say the figures should be regarded as conservative because not all of them are reported in the news media.

The Guardian [Author: Carey Gillam]

How Pharmacy Deserts Are Putting the Health of Black and Latino Americans at Risk

As pharmacies shutter stores across the U.S., people in low-income and predominantly Black, Latino, and Indigenous neighborhoods are increasingly left in pharmacy deserts, without easy access to medications and other essentials. In November 2021, CVS announced that it would be closing 300 stores a year across the country in the next three years, and Rite Aid, which filed for bankruptcy in October 2023, plans to close at least 150 stores in the next several months. Rural and suburban areas qualify as pharmacy deserts if the nearest drugstore is more than five or two miles away, respectively. However, the radius drops to just half a mile in low-income neighborhoods with low vehicle ownership, as it can be hard for residents to walk or take public transportation to the nearest pharmacy.

STAT News [Author: Anika Nayak]

BLS: Nonfatal Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Rose in 2022

The recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows the number of reported workplace injuries and illnesses in the U.S. private sector increased in 2022. Workers in private industry experienced an estimated 2.8 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses last year, including more than 2.3 million injuries and nearly 461,000 illnesses. Nonfatal workplace injuries increased by more than 100,000 for the second year in a row. This report is the first of two annual BLS reports, with the second report set to be released in December with data on fatal injuries.

Safety and Health Magazine

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Technical Assistance for Tribes and Indigenous Peoples to Advance Environmental Justice and Climate/Energy Justice Webinar

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights (OEJECR) will host a webinar to present information on the new technical assistance programs, such as the Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers (TCTAC’s), that are available to Tribes and Indigenous Peoples. The webinar will also share information about other programs that can help Tribes plan, design, and seek funding for climate resilience and environmental justice projects. The webinar series is intended to build the capacity of Tribal governments, Indigenous Peoples and other environmental justice practitioners by discussing priority environmental justice issues of interest to Tribes and Indigenous Peoples. The webinar will take place on December 14, 2023, from 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. ET.

Event Registration

Confronting Workforce Shortages and Health Worker Well-Being Webinar

This meeting will frame the health workforce shortage crisis and discuss its implications for health worker well-being and access to safe, high-quality care delivery; explore a case study of workforce shortages in rural health settings and highlight strategies for overcoming workforce challenges and barriers to health worker well-being; and explore successful strategies and solutions to promote health worker well-being, enhance team-based care, and contribute to equitable health outcomes. Clinicians and leaders from health systems, public and private entities, as well as regional stakeholders will hear direct experiences and have opportunities to discuss how to apply innovative strategies to achieve the quadruple aim in light of the current state of the health workforce. The webinar will take place on December 4, 2023, from 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. ET.

Event Registration

Labor Unions’ Role in Protecting the Workforce During a Pandemic

Join New York University (NYU)’s School of Global Public Health for a discussion between union leaders and researchers on the role of labor unions in protecting the workforce during a pandemic. Speakers will present their experiences during the COVID-19 Pandemic and will share their insights on preparing for the next population health emergency in the workplace. The event will be held in person on the NYU campus and on zoom November 29, 2023, from 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. ET.

Event Registration

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Food Insecurity Increased Faster in Rural Areas than Urban Ones Last Year

Food insecurity rates increased much faster in rural areas than urban ones last year, something food policy experts attribute to rising costs of living and roll backs of pandemic-era federal programs. The percentage of rural households experiencing food insecurity grew by 4 points in 2022 to 15%. Metropolitan households experiencing food insecurity grew by 2 points to 12%. The increasing gap between rural and urban food insecurity suggests that rural communities are struggling to bounce back from pandemic challenges more than their urban peers. Experts also suggest that increases in cost of living and associated supply chain issues disproportionately hurt rural communities because they deal with both longer distances to grocery stores and higher fuel prices.

The Daily Yonder [Author: Sarah Melotte]

Unhoused People Are Especially Vulnerable to Wildfire Smoke

When dangerous wildfire smoke fills the air, public health agencies issue warnings to keep people safe. Common precautions include staying indoors and closing windows, but for unhoused people, that is not possible. They’re also more likely to suffer from health conditions — such as asthma and COPD — that increase the danger of breathing smoky air, and without easy access to the internet and TV, they often lack up-to-date information about air quality conditions. When wildfire smoke poses a risk, the Alameda County Health Care for the Homeless in California’s Bay Area sends out teams to inform unhoused people about the health risks, distribute N95 masks, and provide information about indoor locations where they can take refuge.

Yale Climate Connections

Prioritizing and Addressing Winter Hazards Podcast

The winter months are now upon us, bringing in a range of seasonal safety hazards and risks that businesses and industries have to deal with in order to keep workers safe. Brendan Moriarty, Vice President, Casualty Executive Field Specialist, North America Risk Engineering at Chubb, joins the podcast to discuss several winter hazards impacting many businesses across a variety of industries and how those businesses can address those hazards and keep workers safe. From frostbite and hypothermia to slips and falls to vehicle risks, Moriarty offers a wealth of winter safety solutions.

Occupational Health & Safety Online [Author: David Kopf]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

Biden-⁠Harris Administration Announces New Actions to Support Recovery-Ready Workplaces and Strengthen Our Economy

The Biden-Harris Administration is unveiling resources that will equip businesses and state leaders with tools to expand employment opportunities for the tens of millions of Americans struggling with substance use disorder or in recovery. The Administration is releasing the Recovery-Ready Workplace Toolkit: Guidance and Resources for Private and Public Sector Employers to help businesses and employers prevent and respond more effectively to substance use disorder among employees, build their workforces through hiring people in recovery, and develop a recovery-supportive workplace culture. The toolkit is also intended to serve as a resource not only to businesses, but to states, local and Tribal governments, labor organizations, business groups, and non-profits considering launching multi-employer recovery-ready workplace initiatives at the state or local levels.

The White House News Release

Recovery-Ready Workplace Toolkit

Regional Tribes Receive Over $4M in EPA Climate Pollution Reduction Grants

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded a total of $4,027,500 to eleven Tribes in EPA’s Mountains and Plains (Region 8) states – Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming – to help fund climate pollution reduction action plans. Phase 1 of EPA’s Climate Pollution Reduction Grants supports Tribes regardless of where they are in their climate planning and implementation process. Planning grant recipients will use the funding to design action plans to reduce emissions in economic sectors such as electricity generation, industry, transportation, buildings, waste management and agriculture/natural and working lands.

EPA News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Announces $98M in Available Funding to Support Delivery of Academic, Skills Training, Employment Services for Young People

The Department of Labor (DOL) announced the availability of $98 million in funding to support the delivery of pre-apprenticeships in high-demand industries including construction, healthcare, information technology and hospitality. The grants will help provide educational guidance, occupational skills training and employment services to disadvantaged young people, ages 16 to 24, in communities where barriers to academic and career skills development persist. The YouthBuild Program will fund individual grants for about 75 projects ranging from $700,000 to $1.5 million.

DOL News Release

Breaking Language Barriers: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Plan to Address Language Barriers and Strengthen Language Access

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) took the next step in working to ensure greater access to the life-saving services that it provides for people with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and people with disabilities. In releasing the HHS Language Access Plan, HHS joins agencies across the federal government in prioritizing communication in services to the public. HHS’s plan goes beyond solely addressing language access to individuals with limited English proficiency, by recognizing the effective communication and accessibility requirements of Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to increase inclusivity of communication for persons with disabilities.

HHS News Release

Updated Language Access Plan

U.S. Department of Labor’s Top Management and Performance Challenges

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) has identified the most serious management and performance challenges facing the Department of Labor (DOL). This report summarizes the challenges, significant DOL progress to date, and what remains to be done. Challenges were identified as protecting the safety and health of workers, helping adults and youth succeed in the labor market, protecting benefit plans for workers and retirees, and reducing improper unemployment insurance payments, among others.

DOL Top Management and Performance Challenges Report

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

National Centers for Environmental Information Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters

The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) is the Nation's Scorekeeper in terms of addressing severe weather and climate events. As part of its responsibility of monitoring and assessing the climate, NCEI tracks and evaluates climate events in the U.S. and globally that have great economic and societal impacts. In 2023 so far, there have been 25 confirmed weather/climate disaster events with losses affecting the U.S. exceeding $1 billion each. Overall, these events resulted in the deaths of 464 people and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted.

NCEI Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters

Job OpeningsBack to Top

The Architect of the Capitol Seeking Safety and Occupational Health Manager

The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is the builder and steward of the landmark buildings and grounds of Capitol Hill. Our staff preserves and maintains the historic buildings, monuments, art and inspirational gardens on the Capitol campus. Responsibilities include directing and serving as a senior technical expert on safety and occupational health programs; planning, coordinating and conducting occupational health and safety inspections, audits, surveys, tests and evaluations of AOC facilities and operations including construction and renovation sites; and conducting safety and occupational health tests for hazardous substances, among other duties.

Job Posting

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