January 9, 2009
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.
Call for abstracts for Spring 2009 Conference
The Worker Education and Training Program's (WETP) spring workshop will share knowledge, materials, and resources for chemical and all-hazards preparedness. The Planning Committee invites abstracts for podium and poster presentations during this meeting. Abstracts will be accepted through February 13, 2009.
Abstract information (http://tools.niehs.nih.gov/wetp/events.cfm?id =2476)
Abstract submittal form (http://tools.niehs.nih.gov/wetp/abstracts/abs tract.cfm)
How the Obama Stimulus Plan May Help Environmental Projects
President-elect Barack Obama has been talking up green jobs, green energy, and green infrastructure for a while, but as pressure has mounted for a new economic stimulus package, his push for green spending has acquired a sense of immediacy.
US News & World Report (http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/obama/200 8/12/24/how-the-obama-stimulus-plan-may-help- environmental-projects.html) [Author Kent Garber]
Coal Ash Spill Revives Issue of its Hazards
What may be the nation's largest spill of coal ash lay thick and largely untouched over hundreds of acres of land and waterways after a dam broke, as officials and environmentalists argued over its potential toxicity.
New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/25/us/25sludge .html) [Author Shaila Dewan]
Tennessee: Early Warnings on Ash Pond Leaks
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) knew for the past decade of leaks at the fly ash retention pond that ruptured in Roane County two weeks ago, TVA and state inspection reports show.
Chattanooga Times Free Press (http://timesfreepress.com/news/2009/jan/05/te nnessee-early-warnings-ash-pond-leaks/?local) [Authors Dave Flessner and Pam Sohn]
TVA and state inspection report (http://www.tva.gov/emergency/pdf/Dike%20Insp% 20Report%202008.pdf)
Evidence of Change: Six Months, No Fatalities
Twelve workers died in accidents at Strip construction sites during the first 18 months of Las Vegas's current building boom -an average of one death every six weeks. In the past six months, not one worker has died.
Las Vegas Sun (http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2008/dec/28/e vidence-change-six-months-no-fatalities/) [Author Alexandra Berzon]
A Review of Border Haz-Mat Awareness
U.S. and Mexican officials are well aware of the potential for catastrophic accidents and/or massive environmental contamination along their common border. What are they doing about it?
El Paso Newspaper Tree (http://www.newspapertree.com/news/3234-a-revi ew-of-border-haz-mat-awareness) [Author Kent Paterson]
Air Toxins Elevated in Poor Jefferson Neighborhoods
Pollution monitors in Jefferson County AL show elevated levels of toxic chemicals such as arsenic, benzene and formaldehyde, according to a new report. The highest levels were adjacent to neighborhoods that are predominately black and have high rates of poverty.
Birmingham News (http://www.al.com/news/birminghamnews/metro.s sf?/base/news/122997511491720.xml&coll=2) [Author Thomas Spencer]
Safety Improvements Made at Hanford Vitrification Plant
Bechtel National is making improvements to its safety program for hazardous energy controls after eight problems in eight months at the vitrification plant that's under construction. It filed a report in November citing a recurring problem, according to a recently released weekly report by staff of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB).
Hanford News (http://www.hanfordnews.com/news/2008/story/12 644.html?mi_email=Tri-City%20Herald_Hanford+S tories) [Author Annette Cary]
Nanotechnology: The Science of Tiny Raises Big Hopes and Also Big Fears
It's the speck of dirt on the foot of a flea, and within it may be locked the Utopian dreams of a great beginning or the repressed fears of apocalyptic end times. Nanotechnology-the super science of the modern age-is rocketing under the radar to transform how we live, work and play. It manipulates matter so small the naked eye can't see it and the mind's eye can't comprehend.
The Canadian Press (http://www.whistlerquestion.com/article/20090 105/WHISTLER08/301059941/1030/whistler&cp=1) [Author Dean Bennett]
The Big Deal 2009
The Big Deal 2009 will take place March 23-24, 2009 at the Phoenix Convention Center. Hosted by the National Brownfield Associations (NBA) and the City of Phoenix, this conference will bring together green build, real estate and brownfield industry professionals from across North America to discuss sustainable development, and connect green building to brownfield sites. At more than 30 content rich breakout sessions, you will gain state of the practice knowhow to finance, insure, and engineer your next project.
The Big Deal 2009 Conference (http://www.nbabigdeal.org)
Joint EFCOG/DOE Chemical Management 2009 Workshop
The Chemical Safety Topical Committee (CSTC) held its tenth annual Joint Energy Facility Contractors Group (EFCOG)/Department of Energy (DOE) Chemical Management Workshop at the DOE Forrestal Headquarters Auditorium in Washington, D.C. March 10-12, 2009. This year's Workshop theme, "Chemical Safety and Lifecycle Management -Lean and Green" focuses on the greening of chemical management as a key means of worker protection.
Workshop website and online registration (http://www.hss.energy.gov/HealthSafety/WSHP/c hem_safety/ws2009/)
Healthy Aging for Workers: Anticipating the Occupational Safety and Health Needs of an Increasingly Aging Workforce
The Healthy Aging for Workers: Anticipating the Occupational Safety and Health Needs of an Increasingly Aging Workforce will be held February 17-18, 2009 at the National Labor College. The conference aims to refine the research agenda proposed in the 2004 National Academy of Science (NAS) Report on the Health and Safety Needs of Older Workers and to develop near-term intervention strategies for preventing work-related injury and illness associated with a growing workforce of aging workers. Since older workers may be increasingly vulnerable to age-related job discrimination, efforts to uncover new work-related injury and illness among an aging population must be done with care. The meeting agenda is now available online. The discounted early registration fee of $225 ends January 15 after which the registration fee increases to $250.
Meeting website (http://www.soeh.org/meeting/meeting.html)
Meeting agenda (http://www.soeh.org/meeting/HealthyAgingWorke rs_Agenda_v4.pdf)
Study Looks at Health Problems of Immigrant Workers at WTC
Immigrant workers involved in rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center (WTC) had health concerns similar to those of U.S.-born workers, but experienced many barriers to obtaining adequate health care, reports a study in the December Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).
Medical News Today (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/1329 22.php)
Study abstract (http://www.joem.org/pt/re/joem/abstract.00043 764-200812000-00002.htm;jsessionid=JvGpRvNJ4F KdRSszQg9WvC6jdyLRHDg5FT1gKWkK6HV04jrt8DKG!-4 82373940!181195629!8091!-1)
NIOSH Releases Fire Fighter Fatality Reports
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has released the following Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation Reports:
Volunteer fire fighter and trapped resident die and a volunteer lieutenant is injured following a duplex fire - Pennsylvania (http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200 806.html)
Volunteer assistant chief killed when struck by tractor-trailer while operating at a motor vehicle crash - North Carolina (http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200 817.html)
Volunteer fire chief dies from injuries received when privately owned vehicle crashes into bay door pinning him against fire tanker - Wisconsin (http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200 827.html)
Study Shows Dramatic Drop in Needlestick Risks for Healthcare Workers
When working with needles, healthcare workers always have to be concerned about contracting a life-altering or even life-threatening infection from HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C. But after 20 years of intense regulatory and legislative activity and innovative changes to the design and handling of needles, U.S. healthcare workers are now significantly safer from needlestick injuries, according to a new study from the University of Virginia International Healthcare Worker Safety Center (IHWSC).
EmaxHealth.com (http://www.emaxhealth.com/2/38/27864/study-sh ows-dramatic-drop-needlestick-risks-healthcar e-workers.html)
Study abstract (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=Arti cleURL&_udi=B984P-4V11MCX-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1& _fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C0000 50221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5 =2b93019d91e29e56a3d8ff9cfb7b8bce)
Disaster Response Focus of New OSHA QuickCard
"Protecting Worker Safety and Health under the National Response Framework" is the title of a new QuickCard posted to Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Web site. Following a disaster, OSHA often serves as the coordinating agency when federal, state, tribal, and local assets are overwhelmed and assistance is needed to protect employees during an emergency.
OH&S (http://ohsonline.com/articles/2009/01/06/6-di saster-response-focus-of-new-osha-quickcard.a spx)
Protecting Worker Safety and Health under the National Response Framework QuickCard (http://www.osha.gov/Publications/3356.html)
CSB Chairman John Bresland Calls for Industry to Remain Focused on Process Safety, Accident Prevention during Recession
In his first video safety message, Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) Chairman John Bresland said that chemical companies and refineries need to continue to invest in process safety and preventive maintenance, even as the economic downturn cuts into sales and profits.
CSB Chairman John Bresland Video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zR7j5fb-cm4&fe ature=channel_page)
CSB Chairman Bresland Emphasizes Effective Winterization Programs to Prevent Process Accidents
In a new video safety message released on YouTube, U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) Chairman John Bresland urged companies to ensure they have effective winterization programs to prevent major chemical and refinery process accidents that could result in deaths or substantial property damage.
CSB (http://www.csb.gov/index.cfm?folder=news_rele ases&page=news&NEWS_ID=453)
CSB Chairman Bresland Video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKTwH9QVJSA&fe ature=channel_page)
Personal Protective Equipment and Risk for Avian Influenza (H7N3)
An outbreak of avian influenza (H7N3) among poultry resulted in laboratory-confirmed disease in 1 of 103 exposed persons. Incomplete use of personal protective equipment (PPE) was associated with conjunctivitis and influenza-like symptoms. Rigorous use of PPE by persons managing avian influenza outbreaks may reduce exposure to potentially hazardous infected poultry materials.
Emerging Infectious Diseases (http://www.cdc.gov/eid/content/15/1/59.htm) [Authors Oliver Morgan, Mirjam Kuhne, Pat Nair, Neville Q. Verlander, Richard Preece, Marianne McDougal, Maria Zambon, and Mark Reacher]
NIEHS and NIOSH Request for Applications (RFA)
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have released a new Request for Applications (RFA) to solicit applications designed to collect information on community exposures to environmental or occupational agents or exposure-related diseases and use this new information to support environmental public health action. Applications are due April 1, 2009. Prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent (LOI) due March 1, 2009.
RFA (RFA-ES-09-001) (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/ RFA-ES-09-001.html)
EPA Veils Hazardous Substances
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) routinely allows companies to keep new information about their chemicals secret, including compounds that have been shown to cause cancer and respiratory problems, the Journal Sentinel has found.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/watchdogrepo rts/36514449.html) [Authors Susanne Rust and Meg Kissinger]
Taxpayer-Funded Training on Superfund Site Alarms State Officials
A $1.7 million taxpayer-funded program that trains disabled adults for jobs is located on property in Inman, SC that includes a Superfund hazardous cleanup site.
Greenville News (http://www.greenvilleonline.com/article/20081 220/NEWS01/81220006/-1/YOURUPSTATE) [Author Ben Szobody]
Veterans are Kept in the Dark
The Defense Department owns 133 EPA Superfund sites, the most of any entity. However, it does not notify veterans of military Superfund sites of contaminants and the health effects of exposure to them.
Salem News (http://www.salem-news.com/articles/december29 2008/el_toro_ro_12-29-08.php) [Author Robert J. O'Dowd]
Formaldehyde Found in Houses for Mississippi Katrina Victims
The Sierra Club has unearthed documents showing that the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (EMA) knew for months that cottages it provided to Hurricane Katrina victims contained potentially dangerous levels of formaldehyde but never told residents.
ProPublica (http://www.propublica.org/article/formaldehyd e-found-in-houses-provided-for-katrina-victim s-in-mississippi-12) [Author Joaquin Sapien]
Climate Justice Organizer Spotlight: Dr. Beverly Wright
Dr. Wright is the founder and director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ) in New Orleans, Louisiana. She founded DSCEJ in 1992 in collaboration with community environmental groups and universities within the region to address issues of environmental justice. The DSCEJ Community/University Partnership ("Communiversity"), under the auspices of Dillard University in New Orleans, provides opportunities for communities, scientific researchers, and decision makers to collaborate on programs and projects that promote the rights of all people to be free from environmental harm as it impacts health, jobs, housing, education, and general quality of life.
Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative (http://ejcc.org/media/newsletters/december_20 08/climate_justice_organizer_spotlight_dr_bev erly_wright/) [Interviewed by Alex Loijos]
Essentials of Hazardous Materials Management
The purpose of this 3-day review course is to promote knowledge of professional hazardous materials management principles and assist students to prepare for certification as a Hazardous Materials Manager. The Certified Hazardous Material Manager (CHMM) credential is nationally recognized and promotes career advancement and recognition in the field of hazardous materials management and engineering. Content areas are defined by the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management.
Course information (http://www.ph.ucla.edu/erc/chmm-review-1-09.h tm)
On-line registration (http://www.ph.ucla.edu/erc/register.php)
Chemical Incident Investigators
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is continuing to recruit new chemical incident investigators to work in Denver, Colorado, in an effort to establish the agency's first regional office outside of Washington, DC. The agency has announced multiple vacancies for investigators in Denver, ranging from the GS-11 to GS-14 grade levels. The investigators are expected to form the core of a new investigative team based in Denver that will deploy to accident sites primarily in the Western and Midwestern U.S. The team will be headed by CSB Supervisory Investigator Don Holmstrom, who led the Board's investigation of the BP Texas City refinery explosion from 2005-2007, as well as numerous other significant investigations. Applications for the vacant positions must be received by Friday, January 16, 2009, to be considered.
U.S. Chemical Safety Career Opportunities information (http://www.csb.gov/index.cfm?folder=career_op portunities&page=index)
Chief Information Resources and Dissemination Branch
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in Cincinnati, Ohio has an opening for the Chief of the Information Resources and Dissemination Branch in the Education and Information Division (EID). The Information Resources and Dissemination Branch is responsible for the coordination of the NIOSH Web site, exhibit program, bibliographic database, publication distribution, various health communication campaigns, and other channels of disseminating information to NIOSH stakeholders and the general public. The employee will serve as a senior expert responsible for leading the planning, implementation, and evaluation of occupational safety and health information dissemination programs. The position is rated as a GS-14. For further information, please contact Andrea Okun, Deputy Director, Education and Information Division, NIOSH at AOkun@cdc.gov or (513) 533-8377.
To view our job openings (http://tools.niehs.nih.gov/wetp/index.cfm?fus eaction=jobopenings)
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