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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: October 16, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, October 16, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

October 16, 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

Hurricanes Pose Growing Risk to Coast Industrial Sites with Toxic Chemicals

Studies have shown that climate change is likely to make hurricanes in the Gulf are stronger, slower, wetter, and more prone to rapid intensification. This season, Sally and Delta, intensifying were perfect illustrations of those trends. When a storm hits an industrial plant or superfund site, home to contaminated land and toxic chemicals, the fallout can be especially dangerous, for people and the environment alike.

Sun Herald [Author: Isabelle Taft]

Louisiana Lawmakers Propose Natural Disaster Review Board to Learn Lessons, Save Lives

Louisiana lawmakers in Congress are pushing a measure they hope leads to more-effective government response to natural disasters like hurricanes. The bipartisan legislation would create a permanent and independent board to study the underlying causes of disaster-related deaths and property damage nationwide.

Shreveport Times [Author: Keith Magill]

Airborne Radioactivity Increases Downwind of Fracking, Study Finds

The radioactivity of airborne particles increases significantly downwind of fracking sites in the U.S., a study has found. The Harvard scientists said this could damage the health of people living in nearby communities and that further research was needed to understand how to stop the release of the radioactive elements from under the ground.

The Guardian [Author: Damian Carrington]

U.S. Attorney: The Epidemic Lurking in the Shadow of the Pandemic

Twenty-seven hundred dead through July. Not coronavirus. Opioids. In the first seven months of 2020, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported over 2,700 newly suspected opioid overdose deaths in Arizona. What makes this figure more startling is that there were just over 3,800 suspected opioid deaths in the preceding 30 months. The problem is escalating, and rapidly.

Tucson.com [Author: Michael Bailey]

MIOSHA Issues Emergency COVID-19 Rules for Michigan Employers

Emergency rules for Michigan employers to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus were issued on Oct. 14 by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA). The rules require businesses resuming in-person work to have a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, and to train employees.

Detroit News [Author: Breana Noble]

MIOSHA Emergency Rules

Health and Safety Move to the Fore of Workplace Issues

The “S” in ESG investing has grabbed the spotlight this year as two major social issues, the coronavirus pandemic and unrest over racial justice, have taken hold in the U.S. and abroad. Employee health and safety, as well as diversity and inclusion, have been catapulted to the fore of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in recent months.

Wall Street Journal [Author: Catherine Lindsay]

Minnesota Health Care Workers Say It's Getting Harder to Get Paid Time Off for COVID Testing, Exposure

Megan Murphy’s predicament is one many health care workers face as COVID-19 continues to spread. While policies vary depending on the hospital, some workers say it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get paid for time off if they feel potential symptoms or have risky exposures. At Allina Health facilities, workers get can get 14 days of paid leave for COVID-19 if the exposure happened at work.

Star Tribune [Author: Joe Carlson]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

2020 National Academy of Medicine Annual Meeting (Virtual)

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) will host a scientific symposium titled "Confronting Urgent Threats to Human Health and Society: COVID-19 and Climate Change," as part of its 50th Annual Meeting. For the first time ever, the event is free to attend and will be held entirely online. It will take place on Oct. 17-19.

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

Webinar: Home Office Safety for Remote Workers

Compliance leaders are now faced with a critical challenge: how do you adapt your safety compliance program to support a remote workforce? In this EHS Today session, Donna McEntee, Director of EHS Compliance Products for Skillsoft, will discuss the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s perspective of remote work, the principal safety concerns and key issues to consider when implementing compliance policies for remote workers. The webinar will be held on Oct. 29 at 11:00 a.m. ET.

Meeting Registration

Call for Abstracts: 2021 Preparedness Summit

The National Association of County and City Health Officials is accepting abstract submissions for their 2021 Preparedness Summit. This year’s theme, "When Crisis is Commonplace: Transforming Your Community’s Public Health Preparedness Practices". Summit Planning Committee members will review all abstracts. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 31.

2021 Preparedness Summit Submissions

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

OECD, Experts Discuss Access to Information on Chemical Safety

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) hosted a webinar on its eChemPortal, which aims to increase access to information on chemicals, enable companies and countries to share the burden of work, avoid duplication of efforts, ensure resource efficiency, and reduce animal testing.

International Institute for Sustainable Development

Sacramento County Introduces Worker Health and Safety Act

The Sacramento County Worker Protection, Health and Safety Act of 2020 came into effect on Oct. 1, according to the National Law Review. The ordinance only applies to businesses that are located in unincorporated areas of Sacramento County. It requires employers to introduce protocols such as disinfection, social distancing and face masks. Employers will also need to implement a plan of action in the event that an employee is infected with coronavirus.

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

NFPA Launches Video Campaign to Support Worker Safety

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) partnered with the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors to produce a series of videos that highlight survivors of electrical incidents. The first two videos in the Faces of Fire/Electrical were released on Sept. 28, and a new video is expected to premiere in the coming weeks.

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

Roadmap Points Europe Toward Safer, Sustainable Chemicals

Europe's chief policy-making body on Oct. 14 called for a safer, more sustainable chemicals market, plotting a zero-tolerance approach that nearly eliminates hormone mimicking compounds. The strategy, approved by the European Commission, draws a stark contrast with the U.S., where endocrine-disrupting compounds – such as bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalates, certain flame retardants and pesticides – remain largely unregulated and ubiquitous in products and packaging.

Environmental Health News

Survey: Worker Safety A Board Priority During COVID-19 Crisis

The 2020 BDO Board Pulse Survey reports that as corporate boards have had to react to multiple crises this year, the safety of stakeholders (including employees, customers and vendors) emerged as the top short-term governance oversight challenge and priority for 71 percent of respondents.

Chief Executive [Author: Matthew Scott]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

OSHA Issues Temporary Guidance on PAPR Enforcement

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued temporary guidance on enforcement of initial and annual fit-testing requirements in the Respiratory Protection standard for Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs). Enforcement discretion is limited to healthcare personnel or other workers engaged in high- or very high-exposure-risk activities.

EHS Daily Advisor [Author: Guy Burdick]

U.S. EPA to Evaluate Cyclic Siloxane

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has agreed to evaluate the risks of octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4), a cyclic organosilicon chemical used in numerous commercial and consumer products. Earlier this year, six chemical manufacturers represented by the American Chemistry Council’s Silicones Environmental, Health and Safety Center (SEHSC) asked the EPA to conduct the assessment under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Chemical and Engineering News [Author: Britt Erickson]

EPA Awards 4.1 million in New Environmental Justice Grants, Including COVID-19 Relief

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected 28 organizations to receive new Environmental Justice grants, totally 4.1 million dollars. 10 of these organizations will receive as much as $200,000 to support the nationwide effort against the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) pandemic. The remaining 18 will get up to $120,000 to support community-based efforts to develop and implement solutions addressing environmental and/or public health issues for underserved communities.

State Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreement and COVID-19 2020 Project Summaries

Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement Program 2020 Project Abstracts

USDA Announces Deadline to Submit Wildfire, Hurricane Disaster Assistance Applications

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Friday, Oct. 30, 2020, as the deadline to submit applications for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program – Plus (WHIP+) for 2018 and 2019 losses. USDA did not originally specify a deadline when the program was announced.

Southeast Ag Net

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

CPWR COVID-19 Exposure Planning Tool

The Center for Construction Research and Training’s (CPWR) new free COVID-19 Exposure Control Planning Tool takes you step-by-step through developing a plan to protect employees and prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the job site. Steps include what to consider when conducting a job hazard analysis for COVID-19, selecting appropriate controls, screening workers and visitors, training employees, and implementing the plan.

CPWR Planning Tool

Job OpeningsBack to Top

MassCOSH Seeks Youth Programs Director

The Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) is a nonprofit organization that builds the power of workers – both youth and adults – to lead efforts that achieve safe, healthy working conditions. MassCOSH is seeking a Youth Programs Director for its youth-led Teens Lead @ Work (TL@W) youth leadership and organizing program. The deadline to apply is Oct. 24.

Job Posting

Academic Administrator/Director of UCLA Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program

The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Center for Occupational and Environmental Health seeks to fill an Academic Administrator position for the Director of the UCLA Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program (LOSH). The LOSH Director is responsible for all administrative and programmatic leadership for LOSH. A significant portion of the LOSH budget derives from extramural funds, and the Director is responsible for identifying new opportunities to expand program initiatives and for oversight of all current contract and grant-funded programs in Southern California and throughout EPA Regions IX and X. The deadline to apply is Nov. 16.

Job Posting

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