September 8, 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.
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- On The Web This Week
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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 5:00 p.m. EDT.
2022 Fall Workshop Report Available
The NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) released a report highlighting key takeaways from the fall 2022 workshop: Examining the Changing Landscape of Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) Training. The report highlights workshop discussions about the history of WTP and HAZWOPER training, current and emerging challenges, and successes. The report describes the importance of embracing lessons learned from the past to prepare for emerging HAZWOPER concerns. It also emphasizes the importance of forming partnerships and supporting training that benefits the most vulnerable workers.
Narcan is Now for Sale Without a Prescription. Here’s What to Know.
Narcan, the nasal spray that reverses opioid overdoses, is hitting store shelves for the first time as an over-the-counter medication. Major retailers such as CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Walmart say the kits will be available on shelves and online in the coming days and are expected to be priced at $44.99 for a pack. Each Narcan pack contains two, four-milligram spray containers. One full vial should be administered as quickly as possible during a suspected overdose and is safe to use even in someone who has fallen unconscious but who turns out not to be overdosing on an opioid.
The Washington Post (subscription may be required) [Author: David Ovalle]
‘Hot, Hard’ Work: EPA Crews Begin Months-Long Effort to Remove Toxic Materials from Lahaina
Hazardous waste removed from fire-ravaged Lahaina is being transported to the Ukumehame Firing Range, where it will be staged before being shipped to specialized sites in the U.S. for disposal. There are about 80 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) workers on the project currently. They must wear full protective gear including Tyvek suits, respirators, and gloves to search the ground for hazards by hand.
‘Fearless Advocate.’ Founding Leader of Tri-Cities Area Federal Training Center Dies
The founding leader of the Volpentest HAMMER Federal Training Center near Richland, WA, has died. Karen McGinnis was the project manager as the center was being planned and then led the center for 25 years, retiring in 2018. She helped grow it from an idea to a world-class training center, training workers, supporting emergency response, and promoting a strong safety culture for workers doing environmental cleanup of the Hanford nuclear reservation.
Tri-City Herald [Author Annette Cary]
Congress Must Make New York's 9/11 Notice Act Federal Law. Lives Are at Stake.
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, countless families were shattered, and lives forever altered by the loss of loved ones who perished that fateful day. Twenty-two years later, the 9/11 community continues to bear the scars of their tragic losses and the human toll shows no end in sight. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the custodian of the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program, the overall toll is staggering. By June 30, 2023, the number of lives claimed by 9/11-related illnesses had soared to 6,314 — more than double the lives lost in the initial collapse of the towers. The 9/11 Notice Act comes as a beacon of hope, ensuring that forgotten victims receive the acknowledgement they deserve. The 9/11 Notice Act, expected to be signed into law soon by New York Governor Kathy Hochul, simply mandates that ex-employers notify their former employees of their eligibility for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and the WTC Health Program.
Iohud. [Author: Michael Barasch]
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National Suicide Prevention Week: September 10-16, 2023
Generally taking place the week after Labor Day, National Suicide Prevention Week begins with World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) recognizes the entire month of September as National Suicide Prevention Month: a moment in time in which we rally the public to create awareness of this leading cause of death and inspire more save lives.
National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council
The National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council (NAEHSC) is a Congressionally mandated body that advises the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the director of the National Institutes of Health, and the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) on matters relating to the direction of research, research support, training, and career development supported by NIEHS. An important function of the council is secondary review of research grant applications with a focus on NIEHS scientific program priorities and program balance. The next NAEHSC meeting will be held on September 12-13, 2023.
SAICM Beyond 2020: The Need for a Multisectoral Approach to Protect Health and Human Rights from Toxic Chemicals and Waste
In 2022 and 2023, a series of important commitments were made by the governing bodies of the World Health Organization, International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations that directly relates to Strategic Approach to International Chemical Management (SAICM) and that must be mirrored in the new SAICM Beyond 2020 instrument. An upcoming webinar will highlight the importance of the recent ILO, United Nations General Assembly, and World Health Assembly resolutions, and how an effective multi-sectoral approach of the SAICM Beyond 2020 framework will create synergies between implementing the resolutions and achieving the framework objectives. The webinar will be held on September 13, 2023, at 8:00 a.m. ET.
Using a Health in All Policies Approach to Enhance Public Health Preparedness
This webinar introduces a comprehensive guide on how to integrate the Health in All Policies (HiAP) framework into preparedness practices in public health and emergency management. Speakers Sandra Whitehead and Christine Ortiz Gumina will explore the four phases of the disaster management cycle and illustrate the application of HiAP tools and resources to promote effective collaboration in building more resilient communities. The webinar will be held on September 13, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. ET.
Suicide Prevention in the Construction Industry: Know the Signs and Help a Life
Studies show that suicide is killing workers in the construction industry at five times the rate of work-related injuries like falls and struck-by incidents. In this webinar, a representative from NASCAR driver Daniel Dye’s race team and the Race to Stop Suicide will join others for a conversation about real issues affecting us every day and ways to spot signs of depression or feelings of hopelessness in colleagues, employees, and loved ones. Panelists will share their own experiences with mental health, and more about engaging in suicide prevention activities in the workplace and breaking down barriers in an industry that does not always welcome conversations about feelings. The webinar will be held on September 13, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Organizers Exchange: Worker Health and Safety for Base Building
Are you an organizer or worker leader looking to engage and involve workers in your campaign efforts? If so, this organizers’ exchange is for you! Hear success stories and challenges from those who’ve turned their workplaces around and turned apathy and fear into action. This peer-to-peer exchange is a chance for you to share your own experiences while learning directly from organizers who are leveraging health and safety to mobilize some of the biggest, most consistently engaged groups of worker leaders in the country. The event will be held on September 14, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. ET.
|On The Web This Week
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Disaster Technical Assistance Center Supplemental Research Bulletin
Most disaster survivors experience mental health or substance use-related impacts after a disaster. While many do not develop post-disaster mental illnesses or substance use disorders, research has found increased rates of illnesses and disorders in disaster-affected populations, especially those at greater risk of adverse behavioral health outcomes. This Supplemental Research Bulletin highlights research exploring the mental health and substance use effects disasters have on individuals and communities.
Unstable Scheduling Harmful for Worker Health: Fair Workweek Laws Gain Steam
In 2021, 4.2% of working adults who had trouble changing their schedules reported serious psychological distress, compared with 2.2% of working adults with schedules they could change easily, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. Unstable scheduling disproportionately affects women and people of color, who are overrepresented in retail and food service jobs.
The Nation’s Health [Author: Natalie McGill]
On Labor Day and Every Day, Construction Industry’s Worst Hazards Deserve Everyone’s Attention
One-third of the job-related deaths in the nation happen in the construction industry, and at least one-third of them are the result of falls, slips or trips. Suicide is a serious hazard that may not be viewed as part of the traditional occupational safety and health space, but it has very real work-related implications. The construction industry is disproportionately affected by suicides. In fact, the rate of suicides is 3.5 times higher among construction workers than it is among the general population.
Kansas Reflector [Author: Todd Underwood]
Firefighters Are Being Poisoned by Wildfire Smoke. We’re Doing Little to Protect Their Health
Most wildland firefighters use nothing except heat-resistant shrouds or bandanas to cover their noses and mouths. Even amid mounting evidence that breathing the fine particles, chemicals, and gases in smoke can cause long-term harm and even deadly diseases, federal, state, and local agencies have done little to protect their workers, essentially treating smoke as a necessary evil. In the aftermath of blazes that devastated cities like Santa Rosa and Paradise (Butte County), California passed emergency rules in 2019 requiring employers to provide respiratory protection to farmworkers and others with outdoor jobs on very smoky days but wildland firefighters were specifically exempted.
The San Francisco Chronicle [Author: Julie Johnson]
|Federal Agency Update
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EPA Updates Superfund National Priorities List, Adding Sites in Indiana, Louisiana, and Oklahoma
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is adding three sites and proposing to add four additional sites to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). The NPL is a list of known sites throughout the U.S. and its territories where historic releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants pose significant threats to human health and the environment. All the sites being added or proposed to be added to the NPL are located in communities that have been historically overburdened by pollution and raise potential environmental justice concerns based on income, demographic, education, linguistic, and life expectancy data from Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool.
U.S. Department of Labor Urges Workers, Public in Carolinas, Georgia, Florida to be Aware of Hazards in Recovery Efforts After Hurricane Idalia
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) urges response and recovery crews, as well as residents in areas affected by Hurricane Idalia, to be aware of hazards caused by flooding, power loss, structural damage, fallen trees, and storm debris. Storm recovery efforts may involve hazards related to restoring electricity and communications, removing debris, repairing water damage, repairing or replacing roofs, and trimming trees. Only individuals with proper training, equipment, and experience should conduct recovery and cleanup activities.
NOFO: NIOSH Robotics and Intelligent Mining Technology and Workplace Safety Research (U60)
The purpose of this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) is to solicit meritorious applications from universities with graduate degree programs in both mining and explosives engineering to develop and conduct research initiatives in automation, robotics, and intelligent mining systems to improve workplace safety and health in U.S. mining operations and to build on National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's (NIOSH) work to address Congress mandates in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023. This research will contribute to the goal of eliminating mining fatalities within the next two decades.
|Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
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National Weather Service: Fall Social Media Plans
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service has developed social media plans tailored to specific disaster and weather events. Easily share curated posts with your followers to communicate safety measures to prevent injury during weather events. Captions are provided for the posts that can be adapted for most social media platforms.
Call for Worker Training Program (WTP) Grantee News and Resources
The WTP Clearinghouse aims to support grantees by promoting your training materials and your efforts to improve workers’ health and safety. Let us know when your organizations are featured in media or podcasts; have developed new resources, such as factsheets or reports; or have upcoming events featuring your work or staff. Email your resources to be considered for posting on the WTP Clearinghouse or in the Weekly E-Newsbrief!
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THRO Announces New Job Openings for Health Scientist Administrators
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Tribal Health Research Office (THRO) is excited to announce job openings for new positions within the THRO team. THRO is seeking two energetic, highly motivated, detail-oriented professionals with excellent technical report writing skills and analytics to develop, in collaboration with THRO leadership, relevant NIH American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) research and workforce development metrics, analyses, portfolios, and reports; develop publications and reports on critical cross-cutting AI/AN substantive issues and findings; as well as develop and implement significant NIH-wide AI/AN policy guidelines and initiatives.
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