The CBNS Worker Health Protection Program for former Department of Energy (DOE) workers issued its 15th annual Health Watch newsletter.

The CBNS Worker Health Protection Program now has a Facebook Page. The Page will have frequent posts relating to the medical screening program, health and safety, and Department of Energy sites. The page can be viewed here: Worker Health Protection Page on Facebook

Health Watch consists of program updates and health and safety news relevant to the former DOE workforce and is distributed to all program participants.

The CBNS Worker Health Protection Program hosted joint public outreach meetings in Parumph and Las Vegas, Nevada on May 6th and 7th, 2014. The meetings were attended by representatives from the Worker Health Protection Program, Department of Energy, Department of Labor, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, and the Ombudsman for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program, all of whom provided information and answered questions regarding medical screening and compensation to former workers from the Nevada National Security Site (formerly known as the Nevada Test Site).

Hearing on the Impacts of Radon from Natural Gas on Indoor Air Quality held by the Assembly Committees on Health, Environmental Conservation, Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions, and Energy and the Legislative Commission on Science and Technology.

Lew Pepper testified at a New York State Assembly hearing on May 9th in support of proposed legislation aimed at mitigating the impacts of radon from Natural Gas which originates in bedrock and shale and is transported in New York State's energy delivery systems.

Queens College and Make the Road New York receive $547,000 CDC grant to address working conditions for immigrant laborers in post-disaster reconstruction

The Center for the Biology of Natural Systems of Queens College and Make the Road New York, a New York City-wide community-based organization, have received a two year $547,000 grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control to conduct research on improving working conditions for immigrant construction laborers in post-disaster settings. This activity is part of the Federal government response to the needs created by the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy. This project will fill important gaps in knowledge about the prevalence of unsafe working conditions in this environment and will develop and test methods of addressing those hazards. Immigrant workers will be trained and will conduct > 200 worksite safety and health hazard assessments. Barriers to and facilitators of safe work will be identified through focus groups and key informant interviews. New training content and methods to address workplace safety and health hazards for immigrant workers will be tested, described and disseminated to community groups, labor organizations, the public health community, and other concerned parties.

Partners in this project, in addition to CBNS and Make the Road New York, include the CUNY School of Public Health, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New Perspectives, Inc., and Maria Brunette, PhD.

CBNS receives funding under CUNY Workforce Development Initiative, 2013-2014

The Center for the Biology of Natural Systems has been funded for the academic year 2013-2014 under the CUNY Workforce Development Initiative ($16,000) to work with Make the Road New York (MRNY), a community-based organization in New York City, to engage in three activities: 1) to enhance the workforce training by embedding occupational safety and health training in all relevant MRNY employment activities, 2) to identify a strategy and plan to make occupational safety and health training sustainable within MRNY, and 3) if new Federal immigration legislation is passed, to develop a plan on how to integrate new occupational safety and health activities in new workforce initiatives that are likely to be undertaken in conjunction with such legislation. Make the Road New York currently sponsors a series of innovative workforce development activities, including job readiness classes, community health worker training, green jobs development, pre-apprentice training for entering union apprenticeships, and worker coop development.

Hurricane Sandy Training – MRNY and CBNS reach goal of training 500 Latino day laborers.

Since December 2012, CBNS has assisted Make the Road New York (MRNY), a community-based organization that serves low income and immigrant communities in the New York metropolitan area, to address the workplace safety needs created by the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. MRNY in collaboration with CBNS, secured a $150,000 grant from the Robin Hood Foundation to conduct targeted training in occupational health and to provide a full set of personal protective equipment to 500 Spanish-speaking day laborers in New York City and Long Island in a 12 month period. We created a two hour training curriculum in Spanish; trained groups of 15 to 30 day laborers in recognizing Sandy-focused occupational safety and health hazards; and distributed full protective equipment to trainees, including proper medical respirator clearance and OSHA-certified fit-testing. Program evaluation is ongoing and will provide an improved understanding of both the obstacles to safe work among immigrant construction workers and opportunities to improve safety conditions for such workers.