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NIEHS WTP: October 6, 2023 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, October 6, 2023

Weekly E-Newsbrief

October 6, 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

Health Care Has a Massive Carbon Footprint. These Doctors Are Trying to Change That

Hospitals are some of the biggest carbon polluters almost no one thinks about. The American health care system accounts for an estimated 8.5% of the country's carbon footprint. This sector emits climate warming pollution through a variety of sources including energy used to run facilities, transportation, products and what gets disposed of. Operating rooms are central to what hospitals do, but they're also at the root of a problem medical professionals are trying to solve: how to reduce carbon pollution.

NPR [Author: Reid Frazier]

An El Niño Winter is Coming. Here’s What That Could Mean for The U.S.

Fall has only just begun, but it’s not too soon to look ahead to winter, especially since this one may look drastically different than recent years because of El Niño. This year’s El Niño that began in June, is expected to be strong this winter and last at least into early next spring, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Climate Prediction Center. El Niño typically leads to a milder winter in the North, from the Pacific Northwest to the Rockies, Plains and Midwest. The combination of cooler weather and more frequent precipitation may also increase the chances for wintry precipitation like freezing rain, sleet and snow to fall in the South.

CNN [Author: Mary Gilbert]

More Schools Stock Overdose Reversal Meds, but Others Worry About Stigma

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recommends that schools, including elementary schools, keep naloxone on hand as fatal opioid overdoses rise, particularly from the potent drug fentanyl. And 33 states have laws that expressly allow schools or school employees to carry, store, or administer naloxone. The medicine still isn’t as publicly widespread as automated external defibrillators or fire extinguishers. A representative from the National Association of School Nurses said reluctance to stock it in schools can stem from officials being afraid to provide a medical service or the ongoing cost of resupplying the naloxone and training people to use it. But the main hang-up is that schools are afraid they’ll be stigmatized as a “bad school” that has a drug problem or as a school that condones bad choices.

Kaiser Health News [Authors: Rae Ellen Bichell & Virginia Garcia Pivik]

Injury and Illness Rates in Warehouses Are Too High, OIG Tells OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) hasn’t “effectively addressed” elevated injury and illness rates in the warehousing industry, the Department of Labor Office of the Inspector General (OIG) contends. A recent audit revealed that OSHA conducted nearly 3,800 inspections in the industry, covering 4.1% of establishments self-classified as warehouses. OIG also found that 82% of those inspections were unprogrammed, primarily stemming from referrals or complaints. OIG made seven recommendations to OSHA, including developing specific and measurable inspection goals and developing a more effective enforcement strategy to improve employer Form 300A compliance, among other recommendations.

Safety and Health Magazine

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Preventing Aerosol-Transmissible Diseases in Healthcare Settings: The Need for Protective Guidelines and Standards

This webinar will include a scientific review of significant gaps in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Healthcare Infection Control and Prevention Advisory Committee (HICPAC)’s proposed revisions to the guidelines. Speakers will review the science that HICPAC and CDC should be considering for preventing transmission of aerosol transmissible diseases. A list of recommended revisions will be produced that will be submitted to the CDC. The webinar will take place on October 13, 2023, from 12 p.m.-3 p.m. ET.

Event Registration and Information

2023 WTP Fall Awardee Meeting and Workshop Registration is Now Open!

Registration is now open for the 2023 NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) Fall Awardee Meeting and Workshop. The awardee meeting will be held on October 17, 2023, and will be a hybrid event to allow for remote participation. The workshop will follow on October 18-19, and will be in-person only at the NIEHS campus in Research Triangle Park, NC. Registration for the awardee meeting and workshop will close on October 11, 2023, at 5 p.m. ET.

Event Registration and Information

EPA ORD Emergency Response Webinar - Waste Estimation Case Studies to Support Planning for Natural and Manmade Disasters

Materials and waste management presents considerable challenges during any large-scale disaster; additional challenges will exist during a wide-area chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear incident. The All-Hazards Waste Management Planning Tool can help these entities develop pre- and post-incident plans. This webinar presents a set of scalable case studies of various types of scenarios that could be utilized by communities to develop an initial estimate of materials and waste quantities and types that would be suitable for use in pre-incident planning documents. It will take place on October 10, 2023, at 2 p.m. ET.

Event Registration

Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health; Notice of Meeting

The Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (FACOSH) is holding a meeting to discuss updates from FACOSH's Subcommittee on identification of best practices and lessons learned, better utilizing/sharing federal agency reports/Annual report to the President, Occupational Safety and Health Administration's regulatory updates, and share a presentation on new construction safety helmets. The meeting is open to the public and will be held online on October 19, 2023, from 1 p.m.- 4 p.m. ET.

Event Registration and Information

Recovery Ready Workplace New York Symposium

Between 2009 to 2015, an estimated 225,000 New York workers were lost from the labor market due to opioids. Recovery Ready Workplace initiatives have emerged around the U.S. as important interventions in addressing substance use disorder (SUD) and the opioid overdose crisis. This symposium, hosted by the New York State Coalition to Prevent Addiction and Support Recovery in Employment, will share information on the importance of Recovery Ready Workplaces and why they are necessary in New York. The symposium will take place on December 4 and 5, 2023 in Albany, New York.

Event Registration

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Seeing Therapy as Stigma Stops Construction Workers from Seeking Help They Need

Construction and extraction jobs — including mining, quarrying and extracting oil and gas — have the highest suicide rates in the country, with nearly 50 suicide deaths per 100,000 male workers. That’s three times the national average and exceeds other notoriously stressful occupations like law enforcement and health care. The stigma associated with mental health issues in the industry, along with long hours and the potential for physical injuries, all contribute to an increased risk of suicide, experts say. On top of that, the workforce’s demographics seem to align mostly with the populations highest at risk for suicidal ideation.

NJ Spotlight News [Author: Bobby Brier]

Garbage In, Toxics Out

Braven Environmental operates a plastic recycling facility in Zebulon, North Carolina that can recycle nearly 90% of plastic waste through a form of chemical recycling called pyrolysis. Traditional recycling can process only about 8.7% of America’s plastic waste; pyrolysis uses high temperatures and low-oxygen conditions to break down the remaining plastics, like films and Styrofoam, ideally turning them into feedstock oil for new plastic production. The American Chemistry Council claims that chemical recycling will create a “circular economy” for the bulk of the world’s plastic, diverting it from oceans and landfills. Researchers have found, however, that this “advanced recycling” process uses more energy and has a worse overall environmental impact than virgin plastic production. Numerous companies have tried and failed to prove that chemical recycling is commercially viable.

The Intercept [Author: Schuyler Mitchell]

Health, Environmental Impacts of Maui Wildfires Focus of Briefing

Health risks in the aftermath of the August 8 Maui wildfires were outlined by University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa public health experts in a briefing for Hawaiʻi healthcare professionals. The experts provided an overview of basic environmental health topics, including how people are exposed to contaminants resulting from wildfires, populations who may be sensitive to health effects, and health concerns resulting from smoke, ash and water. These include, for example, human exposures to high levels of particulate matter, and to natural and manmade compounds such as heavy metals and volatile organic compounds.

University of Hawai’i News

Environmental Health Concerns of the Maui Wildfires Presentation

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

Request for Information (RFI): Environmental Justice Research Gaps, Opportunities and Capacity Building

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Environmental Justice Working Group invites feedback on the approaches NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices can take to support research and capacity building efforts to advance environmental justice in the U.S. and globally. Additionally, Request for Information (RFI) responses will enable the NIH Environmental Justice Working Group to be responsive to Executive Order 14096 on Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All, and to synergize NIH efforts with other Federal Agencies in a whole-of-government approach to advance environmental justice. This RFI seeks to identify gaps and opportunities pertaining to environmental justice research and training as well as capacity building needs in areas listed and highly encourages responses on related topics that are not listed.

Request for Information

DOD Announces New Actions to Prevent Suicide in the Military

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin released a memo directing urgent actions to address suicide in the military community, building upon two years of significant work towards suicide prevention across the Department of Defense (DOD). Following the Secretary's establishment of the Suicide Prevention and Response Independent Review Committee (SPRIRC) in 2022, the SPRIRC conducted internal reviews of 11 military installations consisting of 457 focus groups and interviews with 2,106 Service members and 670 civilian staff. Guided by this review and existing research, the SPRIRC made 127 near- and long-term recommendations to address this critical problem within the ranks.

DOD News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Awards More Than $10.5M in Grants to Support Mine Safety, Health Training Across The Nation

The Department of Labor announced that its Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has awarded more than $10.5 million in grants to reduce mining accidents, injuries and illnesses by supporting programs such as safety and health courses. The agency is awarding the grants to support the delivery of federally mandated training and re-training for miners at surface and underground coal and metal and nonmetal mines, as well as miners engaged in shell dredging or employed at surface stone, sand and gravel mining operations. MSHA is awarding grants in 43 states and the Navajo Nation, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

DOL News Release

HHS Launches Climate and Health Outlook Portal to Identify Counties at Risk of Climate-Related Hazards

The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE) and Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response’s Geospatial Team launched the Climate and Health Outlook Portal, an interactive tool that provides actionable, county-level data that can be used to prepare for climate-related hazard events. Policymakers, health care providers, and the public can use the tool to better understand the health impacts of climate-related hazard forecasts in their communities and plan accordingly. The Portal, hosted on the HHS Geospatial Portal, builds on an OCCHE publication known as the Climate and Health Outlook, which links seasonal weather and hazard forecasts to health impacts.

HHS News Release

Climate and Health Outlook Portal

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Nanomaterials Safety Resources

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) has released new educational resources on nanomaterials. Nanomaterials are extremely small particles that are being added to a wide range of building materials to improve their properties. Because some nanomaterials may pose health risks, CPWR tracks how they are used in construction and conducts research to better understand nanomaterial exposure risks and controls. The new data dashboard contains four sets of charts that summarize 887 products in the Nano Inventory and will be updated as new data become available.

Nanomaterials in Construction Data Dashboard

OSHA Releases New Heat-Related Fact Sheets

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released new fact sheets that address how to recognize and respond to heat illness symptoms, the risk factors for heat illness, and methods to mitigate heat hazards in both indoor and outdoor workplaces. Also included in the new resources are information about personal risk factors, proper hydration, and how to prevent heat illness among pregnant workers. Most fact sheets are available in both English and Spanish, and some are available in Portuguese, Korean, Chinese, and other translations.

Heat Illness Prevention Campaign

Fact Sheets

Job OpeningsBack to Top

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is Seeking an Emergency Management Specialist

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a major operating component of the Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation's leading science-based, data-driven, service organization that protects the public's health. CDC is hiring an Emergency Management Specialist who will perform supervisory duties associated with management, coordination, and supervision of resources in the delivery and orchestration of program activities and develop and implement protocols to meet operational needs and comply with emergency management standards.

Job Posting

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