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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: September 27, 2019 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, September 27, 2019

Weekly E-Newsbrief

September 27, 2019

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

Slides from the FOA Briefing Informational Meeting Now Available

Slides presented at the Sept. 12 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Briefing Informational Meeting for the following opportunities: Hazardous Materials Worker Health and Safety Training and the HAZMAT Training at DOE Nuclear Weapons Complex, are now available.

WTP Slides

Silicon Valley Is One of the Most Polluted Places in the Country

Now the area trades mostly in the rarefied and intangible realm of apps and software. But it turns out that this idyllic garden of corporate harmony sits on land that since 1989 has been a Superfund site, a designation the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gives some of the most contaminated or polluted land in the country. And while thousands of tons of contaminants have since been removed, it is still being cleaned up. For a few weeks at the end of 2012 and into 2013, toxic vapors got into two campus buildings, possibly exposing the office workers there to levels of chemicals above the legal limit set by the EPA.

The Atlantic [Author: Tatiana Schlossberg]

National Worker Safety Advisory Panel Revived After Hiatus

An employee safety advisory committee is getting back to work after a three-year hiatus, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced Sept. 23. The National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health is a 12-member panel overseeing several industries, including manufacturing, retail, health care, warehousing, services, and agriculture. The panel, established in 1970 by Congress, often serves as a sounding board for OSHA initiatives and a forum for safety advocates to press OSHA to take on projects the agency had not made a priority, such as improving protections for emergency workers.

Bloomberg Law [Author: Bruce Rolfsen]

$200K Award Will Help Minnesota Employers Expand Mental Health Programs

Minnesota employers are using a $200,000 award to expand a coalition that is pushing for better access to mental health care in the state. The money goes to the Minnesota Health Action Group, a Bloomington-based employer group that launched a coalition earlier this year to promote better mental health benefits and shift workplace attitudes after noting the sizable effect of depression on worker productivity, medication use and well-being. The award comes from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, a nonprofit group authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund research that helps patients and health care providers make health care decisions based on solid evidence.

Minnesota Star Tribune [Author: Christopher Snowbeck]

As Police and Firefighter Numbers Fall, Officials Urge Prep

With natural disasters increasing in frequency and intensity, first responders are finding it more difficult to reach and rescue the thousands of victims of floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires. Throughout the country, many emergency units have fewer people to navigate disaster response, meaning they have to do more with less. In 2015, the Federal Emergency Management Agency published “Operational Lessons Learned in Disaster Response,” which highlighted lessons learned over the past decade for first responders tackling disaster-related events.

AP News [Authors: Jake Goodrick, Brigette Waltermire, Natalie Anderson, and Christian Gravius]

Central America’s Dengue Epidemic Deadly in Honduras

At least 135 people have died from dengue this year in Honduras, nearly two-thirds of them children. Many other suspected deaths await lab confirmation. Honduras already has by far the highest death rate from dengue in Latin America this year, and the country’s most prevalent strain also happens to be the most aggressive and the deadliest. As a region, Central America and Mexico have already recorded nearly double the number of dengue cases as the entire previous year. Guatemala, Mexico and Nicaragua have seen double-digit death tolls.

Associated Press [Author: Christopher Sherman]

Internal Reports Contradict Regulators’ Public Findings Over Spent Fuel at San Onofre

Federal inspectors found many of the waste-filled canisters had been scraped and scratched as they were lowered into the interim storage facility. Even so, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission allowed the waste transfer program to resume in July. Documents recently obtained by the San Diego Union-Tribune show that an agency field inspector reviewing the August 2018 incident issued internal reports noting that the canisters were designed — and certified — to be lowered into the storage vault without any scratches.

Los Angeles Times [Author: Jeff McDonald]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

After the Storm: Equitable Recovery and Resilient Adaptation

The webinar is part of the Urban Waters Learning Network series on climate and community resilience. This session will focus on two organizations that work to build resilience as part of recovery and adaptation, while also facing displacement pressures and inequities. The speakers include Yvette Chen of the Fair Share Housing Center and Arthur Johnson of the Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development. The webinar will be held on Oct. 9 at 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

Call for Papers: A Special Feature in Health Security: Approaches to Assessing and Managing Health Security Risks

A special feature in Health Security will be devoted to analysis of methods, programs, policies, and systems, as well as ongoing and future research and policy efforts, that focus on risk assessment and systematic management of health security risks of all types. The journal seeks scholarly papers that address the wide range of policy, practice, and research issues relevant to this topic. Additionally, narrative or conceptual reviews of specific risk assessment and management approaches are welcome. Papers must be submitted by Oct. 15.

Journal Details

Migrant Clinicians Network Webinar: Witnessing: Understanding the Effects of Overexposure to Stories of Trauma and What to Do About It

This webinar provides an overview of empathic stress, moral injury, and microaggressions, and describes coping strategies for both providers and clients. Kaethe Weingarten, Ph.D., discusses the role of clinicians, therapists, social workers, and other “witnesses” and “helpers” and the impact that witnessing has on the behavioral health of the witness. In the second half of the webinar we look at sources of resilience and what Dr. Weingarten calls “reasonable hope.” There is time for Q&A throughout the webinar. It will be held Oct. 25 at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Details

2019 EPA International Decontamination Research and Development Conference

This conference is designed to facilitate presentation, discussion, further collaboration on research and development, and application of tools and research focused on an all-hazards approach to cleaning up contaminated buildings (both interior and exterior), infrastructure, and other areas/materials. The conference continues to focus strongly on matters involving chemical, biological, or radiological (CBR) threat agents, but also includes all hazard elements. The conference brings together researchers, first responders, community leaders and planners, and industry. It will be held Nov. 19-21 in Norfolk, VA.

Conference Details

National Conference on Worker Safety and Health

The National Conference on Worker Safety and Health (#COSHCON19) brings together a diverse, inclusive and bilingual group of participants of workers, occupational health and safety experts, unions, activists and academics united around common goals. The conference aims to empower workers, make workplaces safer and reduce the toll of on-the-job injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The conference will take place Dec. 3-5 in Baltimore.

Conference Registration

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Virtual Resource Center for Public Health Emergency Preparedness

The National Governors Association published an online toolkit. This virtual resource center was developed as a repository for state-focused resources pertaining to public health emergency preparedness policy. The resources are targeted at state leaders in the fields of public health, emergency management, and administration, although due to the cross-disciplinary nature of public health emergency preparedness, a broader audience may find these tools useful. Resources are grouped into four major sections: Lessons Learned, Promising Practices, State Examples, and External Links.

NGA Toolkit

World at Risk: Annual Report on Global Preparedness for Health Emergencies

The World Health Organization (WHO) published its first Global Preparedness Monitoring Board Annual Report. The report explores and identifies the most urgent needs and seven specific actions required to accelerate preparedness for health emergencies, focusing in particular on biological risks manifesting as epidemics and pandemics. The 48-page document details how the world is at acute risk for devastating regional or global disease epidemics or pandemics that not only cause loss of life but also upend economies and create social chaos.

WHO Annual Report

‘Accident Waiting to Happen’: After Death, Airport Workers Want Safety Improvements

Employees at Charlotte Douglas International Airport have asked the city for safety improvements in the same concourse where a worker was killed last month. Donielle Prophete, vice president for CWA Local 3645, which represents 1,700 Piedmont Airlines agents, asked City Council on Monday for airport lighting and other safety upgrades after the nighttime death of 24-year-old employee Kendrick Hudson last month.

The Charlotte Observer [Author: Lauren Lindstrom and Hannah Smoot]

When Natural Disaster Strikes, Men and Women Respond Differently

Women are quicker to take cover or prepare to evacuate during an emergency, but often have trouble convincing the men in their life to do so, suggests a new University of Colorado Boulder study of how gender influences natural disaster response. The research also found that traditional gender roles tend to resurface in the aftermath of disasters, with women relegated to the important but isolating role of homemaker while men focus on finances and lead community efforts. [Author: Lisa Marshall]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

Recovering from Disasters Is a Marathon

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a new web page. This web page provides information about how the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Recovery Division, within HHS coordinates the federal Health and Social Services Recovery Support Function (HSS RSF). The HSS RSF represents a coalition of 17 federal agencies with programmatic equities, expertise, and capabilities to enable a locally led disaster recovery to the health and social services needs of survivors that is more effective, more efficient, and more sustainable over the marathon of the community’s recovery.

HHS Web Page

U.S. Department of Labor Approves New Respirator Fit Testing Protocols to Protect Workers from Airborne Contaminants

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule that provides employers with two new fit testing protocols for ensuring that employees’ respirators fit properly. The new protocols are the modified ambient aerosol condensation nuclei counter (CNC) quantitative fit testing protocol for full-facepiece and half-mask elastomeric respirators, and the modified ambient aerosol CNC quantitative fit testing protocol for filtering facepiece respirators.


FEMA Seeks Stakeholder Feedback on Trio of Guidance Documents

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released for national engagement three documents: one to help private sector organizations in emergency response activities, and a pair that enhance operations within Emergency Operations Centers. The documents on which FEMA is seeking feedback are the “NIMS Implementation Fact Sheet for Private Sector Organizations,” the “Operational Period Shift Briefing Template” and “SAMHSA’s Stress Management.” This national engagement period will conclude on Oct. 24 at 5 p.m. ET. National engagement provides an opportunity for interested parties to comment on the draft documents, to ensure they are relevant for all stakeholders involved in emergency management activities.

FEMA Documents

Managing Solid Waste Contaminated with a Category A Infectious Substance

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) published with the Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Labor, Department of Defense, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a new report on contaminated solid waste. The main component of this guidance addresses planning for Category A waste management activities, including considerations for developing, evaluating, and revising organizational (e.g., hospital) or jurisdictional (e.g., state, territorial, or local) plans. Several accompanying appendices provide users with information about pathogens classified as Category A infectious substances, decision-making for waste treatment and disposal activities, and communicating effectively about safe waste management and associated issues.

ASPR Report

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

PrepTalk Released, Stuart Tom’s “Using Codes and Standards to Build Resilient Communities”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its emergency management partners released Stuart Tom’s PrepTalk “Using Codes and Standards to Build Resilient Communities.” In his PrepTalk, Tom provides an overview of why we have building codes, how they work, how codes have a central role in increasing community resilience to disaster and safety in general, and how the public can get involved. Tom is a member of the Board of the International Code Council and formerly the fire marshal of the City of Glendale, Calif. He has also served as a member of the Los Angeles Uniform Code Program Steering Committee, and as co-chair of the State Fire Marshal’s Wildfire Ignition ad-hoc committee.

FEMA PrepTalk

Job OpeningsBack to Top

BlueGreen Alliance Seeks State Policy Director

The BlueGreen Alliance (BGA) seeks qualified candidates for the position of State Policy Director, based in our Minneapolis, Minnesota, or Washington, D.C. office. The State Policy Director is responsible for overseeing BGA’s state policy development aimed at building a clean economy with quality jobs, including working with state-based and program staff to identify legislative and policy opportunities, develop strategic policies to achieve organizational objectives, and to develop advocacy efforts around these policies on the state level.

Job Posting

Worksafe Seeks Executive Director

Worksafe is seeking an Executive Director to support our mission to prevent occupational injury, illness, and death by bringing justice to the workplace. The position is based in Oakland, California. Worksafe’s Executive Director is responsible for providing leadership and vision, directing daily operations, and furthering the long-term goals of the organization. We are seeking someone with experience leading a team, developing programs and campaigns, and fundraising.

Job Posting

CPWR Announces Career Opportunities

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) supports construction safety and health research and drives efforts to put research findings into practice on job sites. CPWR is currently looking to fill various positions in program support, communications, and research. This includes a full-time Program Assistant opportunity within their Opioid-Related Harms initiative. CPWR is undertaking a new set of activities to address the high rate of opioid-related deaths among construction workers.


NNU Seeks Health and Safety Representative

National Nurses United (NNU), the nation’s largest union and professional association for nurses, seeks a Health and Safety Representative for a position based in the San Francisco Bay area. NNU leads the bedside nurses’ movement to transform the market-driven healthcare industry in the United States into a healthcare system driven by patient needs. The representative will serve as a general resource on work-related health and safety issues, appropriate and effective employer prevention measures, and occupational and environmental health advocacy issues for the organization.

Job Posting

NENYCOSH Is Looking to Hire an Outreach and Training Coordinator

Northeast New York Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (NENYCOSH) provides training and technical assistance on a wide range of occupational health and safety topics. NENYCOSH is looking to hire an outreach and training coordinator. The outreach and training coordinator will conduct outreach to local organizations, non-profits, and unions to collaborate in offering workplace health and safety trainings to populations of vulnerable workers, and coordinate various aspects of the trainings, including scheduling training, securing space for the trainings, and communicating with the host organization to schedule trainings.

Job Posting

UCLA-LOSH Seeks HazMat Trainer/Coordinator

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program (LOSH) is seeking an experienced hazmat professional. LOSH leads the NIEHS-funded HazMat Training Consortium. The HazMat Trainer/Coordinator will oversee Southern California training initiatives to protect workers who handle hazardous materials, clean up hazardous waste, and respond to emergencies. S/he coordinates LOSH’s program of quality courses that meet the needs of workers covered by OSHA’s Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard and related state and federal standards.

Job Announcement

OSHA Seeks Research Health Science Specialist

This position is located in the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Directorate of Standards and Guidance (DSG). DSG works to ensure safe and healthful working conditions through the development of workplace standards (i.e., regulations) and guidance products which address significant workplace hazards. This position researches and independently performs research investigation related to information and data to develop content for publications and to extend knowledge and understanding of a variety of occupational safety and health topics. The deadline to apply is Oct. 3.

USA Jobs

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