September 22, 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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Health Workers Warn Loosening Mask Advice in Hospitals Would Harm Patients and Providers
Nurses, researchers, and workplace safety officers worry new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) might reduce protection against the coronavirus and other airborne pathogens in hospitals. A CDC advisory committee has been updating standards for infection control in hospitals, and a draft of its proposals released in June concluded that N95 face masks are equivalent to looser, surgical face masks in certain settings — and that doctors and nurses need to wear only surgical masks when treating patients infected by “common, endemic” viruses, like those that cause the seasonal flu. The concerned clinicians hope the committee will reconsider its report in light of additional studies and perspectives.
Kaiser Health News [Author: Amy Maxmen]
Stopping the Silent Epidemic of Suicide
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the suicide rate for construction workers is the second highest of all industries. The report showed that 53.3 construction workers out of every 100,000 falls to suicide, compared to the overall suicide rate of 12.93 people per 100,000 in the United States. After decades of silence about mental health, unions, industry associations and private companies are coming together to educate contractors, employees and real estate companies about the mental health crisis — and how to extend a helping hand.
Mann Report [Author: Debra Hazel]
The Kids on the Night Shift
A 14-year-old boy named Marcos, a migrant from Guatemala, was maimed in February 2022 while working the overnight cleaning shift at a Perdue slaughterhouse in rural Virginia. All minors are barred under Federal law from the most dangerous occupations, including digging trenches, repairing roofs and cleaning slaughterhouses, but migrant teenagers often purchase fake identity documents to get jobs and send money to their families back home.
New York Times (subscription required) [Author: Hannah Dreier]
The Father of Environmental Justice Reflects on the Movement He Helped to Start
Four decades into his activism, Robert Bullard looks back on his legacy and the work ahead. “Dumping in Dixie” was the first book on environmental justice, and Robert got letters, nasty letters from publishers, saying, “Well, the environment is neutral, is objective. There's no such thing as environmental justice. Everybody is treated the same.” Even today there's a lot of that going on. We are at an emergency, and climate change is knocking on the front door, and somehow we're just sitting on the couch, twiddling our thumbs or watching TV.
Scientific American [Authors: Carin Leong & Kelso Harper]
National Recovery Month Offers Opportunity to Educate, Inspire
Each September for the past 34 years, we have paused to acknowledge and support National Recovery Month. This is a special time to celebrate all those who are recovering from a substance use or mental health condition. The permanent theme of National Recovery Month is “Recovery is for Everyone. Every Person. Every Family. Every Community.” We are delighted to note the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recently created a new Office of Recovery. This office can formalize and promote the many recovery activities already underway within the agency.
HMP Global Learning Network [Author: Ron Manderscheid]
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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. The hotel block for Hyatt Place Durham Southpoint Hotel closes at 5:00 p.m. ET on September 25, 2023.
Public Health Research and Surveillance Priorities from the East Palestine, Ohio Train Derailment: A Workshop
To advance understanding and facilitate the recovery and wellbeing of those impacted, a planning committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will organize and convene a two-day virtual public workshop to explore potential health research and surveillance priorities arising from the train derailment and material hazards spill that occurred in East Palestine, Ohio on February 3, 2023. The workshop will be held virtually on November 6, 2023, from 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. ET and November 7, 2023, from 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. ET.
NIEHS WTP Webinar: Commit to C.A.R.E. (Community, Awareness, Responsibility, Equity)
Commit to C.A.R.E. (C2C) is an online public health awareness campaign to promote awareness and control of infectious diseases in the built environment. In this webinar, panelists will share details about C2C and how organizations, including small to medium size businesses, can use available tools and resources to enhance workers’ awareness to reduce infectious disease risk in the workplace. The webinar will be held on October 4, 2023, at 2 p.m. ET.
|On The Web This Week
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Indiana Clean Energy Employment Continues to Grow, According to New Report
The number of clean energy jobs in Indiana grew about 3.7% from 85,298 in 2021 to more than 88,400 in 2022, according to a new Clean Jobs America 2023 report. Fossil fuel-related work, meanwhile, accounted for just 14,837 jobs. Major new clean energy projects announced by companies in the first year since the Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law in August 2022 totaled 210 across 38 states.
Indiana Public Media [Author: Casey Smith]
90% of U.S. Counties Had a Weather Disaster Between 2011 and 2021
According to a recent report, 90% of U.S. counties had a federally declared weather disaster between 2011 and 2021. “Some counties have had as many as 12 disasters during that time,” says Amy Chester of Rebuild by Design. Her group recently released the Atlas of Disaster, an online map of these events. Climate change is expected to bring more extreme weather to many areas.
September is Suicide Prevention Month. Here's a List of Native Focused Mental Health Resources.
National Suicide Prevention Month is recognized annually during the month of September to raise awareness about suicide prevention and treatment, as well as the warning signs and how to get help when it is needed most. The suicide rate in the United States has been rising for decades, and native communities experience higher rates of suicide compared to all other racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. It is encouraged to learn the warning signs of suicide and to be aware of resources for American Indian and Alaska Natives suicide prevention.
Native News Online [Author: Kaili Berg]
Experts Say CDC Not Getting Right Advice on Hospital Infection Prevention
Hundreds of industrial hygienists, healthcare worker union reps, epidemiologists, and aerosol scientists plan to send a second letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asking the agency to hold public meetings to discuss the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee's proposal to update the CDC's Isolation Precautions guidance. "The draft recommendations do not adequately provide for the proper control measures—isolation, ventilation, and NIOSH-approved respirators—to protect against transmission of infectious aerosols," the petitioners said in a previous letter.
University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy [Author: Stephanie Soucheray]
UNC Gillings School to Host New CDC Center for Outbreak Forecasting, Response
The University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill (UNC) Gillings School of Global Public Health was named one of 13 funded partners working alongside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to establish the Outbreak Analytics and Disease Modeling Network – an important step towards creating a nationwide outbreak resource to support more effective responses during public health emergencies. Each funded partner will provide support in innovation, integration or implementation for outbreak analytics, disease modeling and forecasting.
|Federal Agency Update
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HHS Launches Environmental Justice Community Innovator Challenge
As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic climate and environmental justice agenda, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the launch of a nation-wide HHS Environmental Justice Community Innovator Challenge to support disadvantaged communities and Tribes facing the brunt of environmental injustices, including health harms due to climate change. This Challenge aims to uplift community-level solutions to address health inequities with prizes totaling $1,000,000 that will be awarded in two phases. Phase 1 will focus on design of concept or development of approach. Entries for Phase 1 will be accepted from September 18, 2023, until January 30, 2024. Phase 2 will focus on small-scale testing or implementation. Entries for Phase 2 will begin in Spring 2024.
U.S. Department of Labor Announces $12.7M in Grants Awarded to Promote Workplace Safety, Health Training, Education
The Department of Labor today announced that its Occupational Safety and Health Administration awarded approximately $12.7 million in grants to 100 non-profit organizations across the nation to support education and training to help workers and employers recognize serious workplace hazards, employ injury prevention and understand workers’ rights and employers’ responsibilities under federal law. Funded through the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, the grants are being awarded in three categories, namely Targeted Topic Training, Training and Educational Materials Development and Capacity Building grants.
Biden-Harris Administration Announces $10 Million to Expand Access to Clean Energy Workforce Training Programs
The Department of Energy (DOE) is now accepting applications for competitive funding to expand energy efficiency workforce training programs. Authorized by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Career Skills Training program will provide up to $10 million in competitive grants for nonprofit partnerships between public or private industry and labor organizations to deliver programs that provide both energy efficiency classroom instruction and on-the-job training.
FEMA Introduces Disaster Preparedness Guide for Older Adults
As part of this year’s National Preparedness Month campaign that focuses on empowering older adults as they prepare for disasters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released the Disaster Preparedness Guide for Older Adults. The guide is intended to support older adults and their caregivers in preparing in three easy steps: assess your needs, create a plan and engage your network. The guide provides easy-to-read, user-friendly worksheets that walk individuals and caregivers through a self-assessment to identify specific needs and checklists that create a personalized plan.
Workers Who Act Before, During and After an Emergency
For many workers, emergency preparedness is more than a month: It’s their career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects strong employment growth from 2022 to 2032 in epidemiologists, fire inspectors and investigators, social and human service assistants, emergency medical technicians, meteorologists, and emergency management directors. If helping people plan for, stay safe during or recover from a crisis sounds like the kind of work you would like to do, explore the jobs above and hundreds of other occupations in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
DOL Blog [Author: Particia Tate]
|Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
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New Resources Available on the Recovery-Ready Workplace Resource Hub
New content has been added to the Getting Started, Toolkit, and Additional Resources pages of the Recovery-Ready Workplace Resource Hub including the new NIEHS Recovery Friendly Workplace Landscape Analysis. Recovery-Ready Workplaces adopt policies and practices that expand employment opportunities for people in or seeking recovery and facilitate help-seeking among employees with substance use disorder, among other actions to benefit employees in recovery.
Six Years after Hurricane María: Disaster Still Marks Communities, Leaves Lessons on Climate Impact
Six years ago, Hurricane María passed through Puerto Rico and part of the US Virgin Islands. The Category Five hurricane caused thousands of deaths and billions of dollars’ worth of damages to infrastructure and agriculture – and the region has still not recovered. Infrastructure continues to be unable to hold up to climate-fueled disasters. There are more than three thousand houses that still need safe roofs; houses with blue tarps across their roofs still dot the landscape.
Migrant Clinicians Network [Author: Marysel Pagán Santana]
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Multiple Positions Open at the National Union of Healthcare Workers
The National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) is helping revitalize the labor movement with its commitment to worker empowerment. NUHW represents more than 17,000 healthcare workers in hospitals, clinics, and county jails throughout California and Hawaii, including service, technical, professional, and home care workers, mental health clinicians, and nurses. All open positions are located in California.
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