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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: October 2, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, October 2, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

October 2, 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

New Washington State Board Looks into Health Needs of 10,000 Hanford Workers

A new Washington state board has started looking at the unmet health care needs of more than 10,000 workers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hanford nuclear reservation. The Washington state Department of Commerce was given $250,000 in state funds to administer the work of the board, as directed in legislation that also made it easier for ill workers to get state worker compensation claims approved.

Tri-City Herald

WIPP Utility Shaft Faces Delay While Legal Challenge Seeks to Halt Construction

Construction of a utility shaft at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) could take longer than expected as the U.S. Department of Energy and WIPP’s primary contractor Nuclear Waste Partnership filed a request with the New Mexico Environment Department to extend its authorization to build the shaft by an additional 180 days.

Carlsbad Current Argus [Author: Adrian Hedden]

Nuclear Waste Could Travel Through Dallas-Fort Worth if West Texas Plan Is Approved

If approved by federal regulators, at least 5,000 tons of high-level nuclear waste from across the U.S. could travel through the Metroplex on its way to a West Texas storage facility that already stores low-level radioactive materials. The commission is considering a similar plan for a high-level waste storage facility in southeastern New Mexico, brought forward by the nuclear company Holtec.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram [Author: Haley Samsel]

Radioactive Wastewater Successfully Taken from SRS, Sent to Texas for Disposal

The U.S. Department of Energy wrapped its effort to remove from the Savannah River Site (SRS) and ship out of state a batch of radioactive waste that had earlier this year been categorized as less hazardous. Eight gallons of Defense Waste Processing Facility recycle wastewater has been trucked to western Texas, to a Waste Control Specialists facility, for commercial treatment and disposal.

Aiken Standard [Author: Colin Demarest]

Hundreds of Health Care Workers in Alaska Have Tested Positive for COVID-19

At least 260 Alaska health care workers have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to a recent report from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Nearly half said they have been exposed while at work, the report said. Those counted included physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, nursing aides, EMTs, first responders, behavioral health professionals, and others.

Anchorage Daily News [Authors: Morgan Krakow and Annie Berman]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Health Equity Considerations and Occupational Health Hazards in People of Color

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health NIOSH Education and Research Center Environmental and Occupational Medicine and Epidemiology Program is hosting a webinar on Oct. 5 at 1:00 p.m. The webinar will explain the effects of occupational health hazards in vulnerable workers and describe the impact of job duties on prevalence of injuries among racial groups.

Meeting Link

The Intersection of the Pandemic and the Opioid Epidemic

The Georgia Health Policy Center is hosting a virtual conversation with Sam Quinones, author of Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic, moderated by Dr. Debra Houry, director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Isolation, job loss, economic insecurity, and anxiety resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic are affecting millions of Americans. These same factors are also at the root of the opioid epidemic. The webinar will be held on Oct. 8 at 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET.

Meeting Registration

Federal Register Notice on Elastomeric Half Mask Respirators for Use in Healthcare

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)—in coordination with the Strategic National Stockpile—posted a Federal Register Notice (FRN). Elastomeric half mask respirators (EHMRs) are reusable respirators that may be worn in a healthcare setting and supplement the supply of disposable respirators available to healthcare workers. Comments must be received by Oct. 14.

Federal Register

Proper Ventilation for COVID-19

The New York Central Labor Council and New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health are sponsoring a forum on proper ventilation presented by Monona Rossol, Safety Officer. The forum will discuss strategies for modifying recirculating ventilation systems to remove virus particles from the air. It will be held on Oct. 15 at 10:00-12:00 p.m. ET.

Meeting Registration

Save the Date: Fall 2020 NIH Virtual Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is offering a virtual seminar that will cover the NIH grant process. If you’re new to working with the NIH grants process as an investigator or administrator, then mark your calendar for Oct. 27-30 for a unique opportunity to learn, share and meet virtually with NIH and HHS experts.

NIH Extramural Nexus

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

COVID-19 Fatalities Among EMS Clinicians

While emergency medical services (EMS) clinicians have been operating at the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic from the start, their infections, lost work time, long-term clinical manifestations and deaths have not been adequately reported or recorded. This article examines currently available EMS COVID-19 mortality data in order to describe the extent of EMS losses and to compare the risks for EMS clinicians to the risks for other related professions.

EMS1

WHO Issues Charter to Encourage Health Care Worker Safety

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a health worker charter on Sept. 17 that calls on governments and health care leaders to address threats to health care professionals during the coronavirus pandemic. The charter was announced on the second annual World Patient Safety Day. The theme for this year was healthcare worker safety, set with the intention of improving the protection of health workers who interact with COVID-19 patients

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

Texas Receives $104 Million Federal Grant to Fight Opioid Epidemic

As part of the effort to fight the opioid crisis, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) recently received a two-year, $104 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The Texan [Author: Kim Roberts]

Homes Are Flooding Outside FEMA's 100-Year Flood Zones, and Racial Inequality Is Showing Through

When hurricanes and other extreme storms unleash downpours like Tropical Storm Beta has been doing in the South, the floodwater doesn’t always stay within the government’s flood risk zones. New research suggests that nearly twice as many properties are at risk from a 100-year flood today than the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) flood maps indicate.

The Hour [Author: Kevin T. Smiley]

Chemical Safety Board Moving Forward With ‘Quorum of One,’ Adds Staff

Katherine Lemos remains the chair of the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) – a reality she said is “not ideal” but allows the agency to maintain its function. Speaking during a Sept. 2 CSB business meeting, Lemos asserted that “there’s no question about the legality of the board acting as a quorum of one” under current regulatory language. “So, until more board members are appointed, we are pressing forward with our investigations and safety products.”

Safety and Health Magazine

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

EPA Publishes Final Risk Evaluation for HBCD

On Sept. 24, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the final risk evaluation for cyclic aliphatic bromide cluster (HBCD). EPA found unreasonable risks to the environment from six out of 12 conditions of use and unreasonable risks to workers and occupational non-users from the processing, use, and disposal of HBCD, largely from building and construction materials.

EPA Final Risk Evaluation

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Impact of COVID-19 on the Industry and New Research Initiatives

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) is hosting a webinar to hear the latest findings from CPWR's Data Center and to learn about a new National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) research project just getting started to evaluate the ability of non-NIOSH-approved respirators such as KN95s to fit a cross-section of the U.S. workforce and provide respiratory protection against infectious aerosols.

Meeting Registration

Training Best Practices in the Time of COVID-19 Webinars Online

The Sept. 3 and Sept. 10, Training Best Practices in the Time of COVID-19 Webinars: Setting-up Online Training – Practices & Platforms, and Tools for Creative Engagement on Virtual Platforms, are now online on the WTP Clearinghouse website.

WTP

Job OpeningsBack to Top

OSHA Seeks Safety and Occupational Health Specialist

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is hiring a safety and occupational health specialist. This position is located in the Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management (DTSEM), Office of Emergency Management and Preparedness (OEMP). The position provides technical analyses, guidance, and findings and trouble shoots a wide range of technical issues pertaining to OSHA’s role and activities in protecting the safety and health of workers. The deadline to apply is Oct. 7.

Job Posting

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