October 13, 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.
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- On The Web This Week
- Federal Agency Update
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Fall 2023 WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop Agendas Will be Available Online This Afternoon!
The agendas for the WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop will be available on the NIEHS website this afternoon. The Awardee Meeting will take place on October 17, 2023, from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. ET on the NIEHS campus in Research Triangle Park, NC, and online. The WTP Workshop will be held October 18-19, 2023. The workshop is scheduled from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET on October 18 and 9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET on October 19. The workshop will be in-person only and will also take place on the NIEHS campus in Research Triangle Park, NC.
Tribes Have Until October 15 to Apply for a Decade of Free Naloxone Under Tribal Opioid Settlement
Federally recognized tribes are eligible to receive Naloxone, a life-saving overdose reversal drug, at no cost each year for the next ten years under an opioid litigation settlement with Teva Pharmaceuticals. The company has agreed to provide up to 20,000 doses of Naloxone to Tribes over the next decade. Naloxone has proven crucial to saving lives during the ongoing opioid and overdose crisis. It works by blocking the effects of opioids on the brain and restoring breathing. It is highly effective, reversing up to 93% of overdoses. To receive the free Naloxone, Tribes must fill out a Naloxone Interest Form by October 15, 2023. Boxes must be shipped to a Tribal pharmacy, Indian Health Service, or a recipient designated by the Tribe.
Native News Online [Author: Elyse Wild]
Kaiser Workers Are Out on the Largest Healthcare Strike in U.S. History
Tens of thousands of healthcare workers across the United States are on strike against Kaiser Permanente to protest the nonprofit hospital giant’s alleged unfair labor practices, bad-faith bargaining, inadequate wages, and chronic staff shortages that employees say are harming them and patients. The walkout is expected to be the largest healthcare worker strike in U.S. history. Union negotiators have called on Kaiser to hire at least 10,000 new workers by the end of the year to help alleviate staff shortages. Negotiators have also demanded a $25 minimum wage for all Kaiser employees and a 24.5% wage increase over the course of a new four-year contract.
In These Times [Author: Jake Johnson]
The Dangerous Consequences of Wildland Fire Dispatcher Burnout
Wildland fire dispatchers who respond to reports of emerging wildfires are a critical link in the fast-moving series of decisions needed to begin battling a blaze. When a fire sparks, they’re the ones responsible for figuring out who’s nearby to fight it, and sending resources where they need to be as quickly as possible. The Forest Service conducted a survey of dispatchers in Oregon and Washington in the fall of 2022, finding that “dispatch is experiencing problems that compromise their own health and safety” as well as “the health and safety of other firefighters.” Most survey respondents also noted the mental health challenges prevalent among dispatchers, including burnout, substance abuse and suicide.
High Country News [Author: Kylie Mohr]
Autoworkers Escalate Strike as 8,700 Workers Walk Out at a Ford Kentucky Plant
The United Auto Workers (UAW) union significantly escalated its strikes against Detroit Three automakers Wednesday when 8,700 workers walked off their jobs at Ford's Kentucky truck plant. The strike came nearly four weeks after the union began its walkouts against General Motors, Ford and Jeep maker Stellantis on Sept. 15, with one assembly plant from each company. Thus far, the union has decided to target a small number of plants from each company rather than have all 146,000 UAW members at the automakers go on strike at the same time. Since the start of the strike, the three Detroit automakers have laid off roughly 4,800 workers at factories that are not among the plants that have been hit by the UAW strikes. The companies say the strikes have forced them to impose those layoffs.
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Visualizing a World of Work Without Gender-Based Violence and Harassment
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. We invite you to join us for an important conversation on domestic violence (DV) awareness and how it relates to the principles of gender-based violence and harassment (GBVH). Learn innovative ways employers can approach their response to DV and GBVH in the workplace in this first webinar in a series of GBVH discussions hosted by the Women’s Bureau’s Western Region. The webinar will take place on October 17, 2023, from 5 p.m.-6 p.m. ET.
The Keystone Science Lecture: Economic Impacts of Workforce Development: Environmental Career Worker Training Program as a Case Study
The lecture will be hosted by Sharon Beard, the director of the Worker Training Program. It will take place on October 20, 2023, from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET on zoom and in the Rall Lake View Conference Room at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, NC.
EFCOG Training Working Group Annual Meeting
The Energy Facility Contractors Group (EFCOG) Training Working Group (TWG) is chartered to leverage the expertise and experience of contractors to the Department of Energy (DOE). The purpose of the TWG is to ensure complex wide collaboration and integration to attain and maintain the highest levels of training, reduce redundant training, and assist in improving performance in the operation of DOE facilities and projects. The annual meeting will take place March 19-21, 2024, at the HAMMER Training Facility and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA. The EFCOG TWG is seeking individuals to help with planning this event and would appreciate your assistance by filling out the planning survey.
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.
|On The Web This Week
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Why Prescription Medication to Treat Alcoholism is ‘Vastly Underutilized’
Nearly 30 million Americans struggle with alcohol addiction. Medication used to treat alcohol-use disorders has been on the market for decades but is rarely prescribed. Many people are not aware that medication for alcohol-use disorders is available. Fewer than 8% of people who suffer from alcohol-use disorders each year seek treatment, and of those that do seek treatment, less than 2% utilize medication to do so. There are three medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of alcohol-use disorders, and they work by reducing both the urge to consume alcohol and the pleasurable feedback from drinking.
PBS News [Authors: Ali Rogin, Andrew Corkery, & Claire Mufson]
Don’t Bring Lead Pipe Hazards Home, NIOSH Cautions Workers
Workers replacing old water service lines may be exposed to lead piping or lead-contaminated soil – and could potentially bring the chemical home, a new National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) guidance document cautions. Take-home exposures occur when workers unknowingly carry toxins home on their skin, clothes, shoes and personal items, exposing members of their household. Long-term exposure to lead at work can affect the nervous system, and high exposure levels can severely damage the brain and kidneys, as well as result in decreased fertility and miscarriage. Recent federal funding for infrastructure projects, the agency notes, likely will mean an increase in old service lines being replaced soon. The document features tips for employers and workers on how to reduce lead exposures, covering subjects such as work practices, training, hygiene and housekeeping, testing, and personal protective equipment.
Treating Rural America: The New Country Doctors
Rural medical training programs provide a much-needed supply of doctors to critically underserved rural communities. The University of Alabama residency program in Selma is one of a small, but growing, number of residencies in the country that places residents entirely in rural medical settings. Doctors are trained to treat all sorts of patients — whether they’re at the clinic, the hospital, or a nursing home — and respond to the unique needs of rural patients. Multiple studies show that physicians who train in a rural area are much more likely to stay and practice in a rural community.
STAT News [Author: Hyacinth Empinado]
|Federal Agency Update
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Biden-Harris Administration Selects 24 Recipients to Receive Nearly $16 Million in Pollution Prevention Grants to Advance Environmental Justice
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of 24 recipients across the country that will collectively receive nearly $16 million in pollution prevention grants through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. The funding, made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will support two grant programs for states and state-sponsored colleges to provide businesses with technical assistance to develop and adopt practices that prevent pollution at the source in local communities. The Environmental Justice in Communities grant program will provide pollution prevention technical assistance to businesses to improve human health and the environment in disadvantaged communities. The Environmental Justice Through Safer and More Sustainable Products grant program will assist businesses to increase the supply, demand, and use of safer and more sustainable products.
HHS Announces $16.7 Million in New Grants to Boost U.S. Economy and Create Sustainable Jobs for Individuals with Low Incomes
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $16.7 million in new grant awards to support 39 Community Economic Development (CED) projects. The grants, aligning with Community Economic Development Month in October, will stimulate the creation of more than 575 new, full-time jobs with sustainable wages for individuals living in low-income communities in 26 states. Seventy-five percent of the jobs created under each CED grant will be reserved for individuals with low incomes. Each grant recipient will also provide support services to address barriers that individuals with low incomes may face in obtaining and maintaining sustainable employment.
Biden-Harris Administration Sending States $61 Billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for America’s Roads and Bridges
The Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced that it has allocated $61 billion in Fiscal Year 2024 apportionments for 12 formula programs to support investment in critical infrastructure, including roads, bridges and tunnels, carbon emission reduction, and safety improvements, as well as workforce development to support these investments. The funds go directly to all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, and help them continue the important work of rebuilding our roads and bridges and making our transportation system more efficient.
Biden-Harris Administration Invests $26 Million to Improve NOAA Forecasts of Droughts and Floods Through Public-Private Partnership
The Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that $26 million in funding will be invested over four years in the National Weather Service National Mesonet Program and the National Integrated Drought Information System to support the development of a transformative federal-state-private partnership to provide improved early warning for drought, flooding, fire, and other natural hazards. While the specific focus of the study is the Upper Missouri River Basin, study findings have the potential to redefine the state-of-the-art monitoring of drought and flood conditions, as well as other climate and weather applications, across the country.
U.S. Department of Energy Awards $1.5 Million to Texas Southern University to Advance Equity in Communities in the Gulf South of the United States
The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Economic Impact and Diversity announced a cooperative agreement totaling approximately $1.5 million to Texas Southern University Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice for the Community Improvements for the Gulf South Project to advance equity in communities located in the Gulf Coast of the United States. The project will increase awareness about available DOE resources and funding opportunities and provide technical assistance training to communities to work with DOE awardees developing Community Benefit Plans and Community Benefit Agreements. These essential equity tools provide a framework for awardees to address community equity and environmental justice considerations.
|Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
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Individual Actions You Can Take to Address Climate Change
Humans are driving climate change. And that means we humans can change our trajectory. While governments and businesses have a key role to play in reducing planet-heating emissions, individual actions matter, too. Many solutions can feel overwhelming, or far beyond what one person can tackle on top of the everyday challenges of life. Changes in the home include using air conditioning efficiently and eating sustainably. Outdoor changes include planting native greenery that will attract pollinators and planting trees to increase shade. More indoor, outdoor, and on-the-go solutions can be found in a guide made by StateImpact Pennsylvania.
Overlooked and Unprotected Nail Salon Workers Face Many Hazards
The U.S. nail salon industry is predominantly owned and staffed by foreign-born individuals who run small businesses with 10 or fewer employees, making them subject to fewer OSHA regulations and recordkeeping requirements. Many nail salon workers feel that this work is the only way to earn their livelihood in the U.S., and many understand that they are regularly exposed to several occupational hazards—though they do not receive adequate training and education to fully understand what those hazards are and how to mitigate them. With projected employment in the nail salon industry to grow “much faster than the average for all occupations” in the next decade and new beauty trends and products with unknown chemical compositions emerging daily, protecting the health and safety of nail salon workers will continue to grow in importance.
The Synergist [Authors: Aurora B. Lê & Trân B. Huỳnh]
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Laborers’ International Union of North America is Seeking an Organizer
The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Mid-Atlantic Region is seeking a dedicated and creative Organizer to help the union organize campaigns throughout the state of Virginia. Job responsibilities include conducting broad and intensive outreach efforts to city residents and to low-wage workers, building one-on-one relationships with city residents and the workers, and identifying and developing leaders to guide and lead campaigns. LIUNA Mid-Atlantic is dedicated to providing family-sustaining wages and benefits to working families.
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