From The E-Newsbrief of the National Clearinghouse, a free weekly newsletter focusing on new developments in the world of worker health and safety. April 4, 2014
Untrained Volunteers May Do Harm as Well as Good during Disasters, Johns Hopkins Study Finds
The results of a study by a Johns Hopkins expert suggest these unsolicited or “spontaneous” volunteers may be putting themselves and others at risk for injury and, in rare cases, death as a result of their lack of training in safe and proper disaster response. Johns Hopkins MedicineStudy Abstract
Washington Residents Fear Toxic Waste after Mudslide
Recovery teams already laboring through thick mud and heavy downpours at the site of last week’s landslide in Washington State are facing yet another challenge – an unseen and potentially more dangerous stew of toxic contaminants. First to Know [Author: Steve Cohen]
· Evaluate and monitor hazards· Enforce environmental and occupational health standards.
· Train and protect all cleanup and recovery workers (public and private sector, paid and unpaid). They should receive the appropriate personal protective gear and equipment, and training in Respiratory Protection, Hazard Communication, and Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response.
· Provide appropriate decontamination: Train workers and the public how to decontaminate protective gear, tools, equipment, and vehicles.· Train workers and volunteers in meticulous personal hygiene in the presence of toxics and provide appropriate decontamination and sanitary facilities. · All public and private sector rescue, response, and cleanup workers, including volunteers, should be entered into a centralized database to facilitate medical surveillance.
· Adopt occupancy and re-occupancy standards that protect vulnerable populations for homes, schools and communities.
The world endures solely by virtue of the breath of school children. (Talmud)