We were joined this week by Debbie Berkowitz, former Program Director of Worker Health and Safety of the National Employment Law Project and Marina Jabsky, Industrial Hygienist for NYCOSH. Debbie discussed what the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on vaccine mandates and testing may include. The new ETS, which will cover both private and public sector, may be out as early as next week. Here in NJ, the Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health (PEOSH), has 30 days to adopt it. Questions remain on whether employers will be responsible for paying for COVID-19 testing in the absence of an employee getting vaccinated. Marina walked us through the requirements of the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (NY HERO Act) that was signed into law on May 5, 2021. The law mandates new workplace health and safety protections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic including an Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard. New York is the only state in the country to have such a standard. Under this new law, the New York State Department of Labor, in consultation with the NYS Department of Health developed a Model Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan, and various industry-specific model plans for the prevention of airborne infectious disease. Employers can choose to adopt the applicable [...]
This episode we hosted industrial hygienist Allen Barkkume, MS, who informed us about the importance of good building ventilation to help mitigate COVID-19 transmission. Allen explained the hierarchy of controls and the top priority for proper building ventilation is to bring in fresh outdoor air followed by air exhaust, dilution and finally filtration in order of importance. You can find the slides from the presentation here. For more information on building ventilation, please use the links from the last slide in the presentation. More than 40 people attended this webinar.
This episode we hosted OSHA's Region 2 Steve Kaplan, Deputy Regional Administrator, Laura Kenny, Assistant Regional Administrator for Technical Support, and Warren Simpson, Assistant Regional Administrator for Enforcement Programs who gave us insight into the updated COVID-19 guidelines for all workers and details about the Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare Workers. Assistant Regional Administrator for Technical Support Warren Simpson informed us, "over 50% of all COVID related citations in the U.S came from Region 2 of OSHA". You can find the slides from the presentation here. For more information on OHSA, ETS and their enforcement efforts, please use the following links from their webpage. More than 40 people attended this webinar. ETS (regulatory text) - https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/ets Summary Data for Federal and State Programs – Enforcement - https://www.osha.gov/enforcement/covid-19-data
After a 5-month hiatus, the COVID-19 Weekly Update returned on September 21 in response to the rise of the Delta variant, the emergence of breakthrough cases, and the increasing number of cases in children which have set us back into uncertain waters as we enter the autumn season when people will be spending more time indoors. This week received an update from Dr. Meg Fisher from the NJ Department of Health about the latest science on COVID-19, including transmissibility and vaccine efficacy as well as an update on where things are currently in NJ in terms of cases, vaccines, and possible next steps such as booster shots. Here is Dr. Fisher's presentation. More than 82 people attended this webinar.
Clean-energy investment is a way to tackle climate change and at the same time create jobs upon which futures can be built Investment in renewable energy nationwide, spurred by President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” campaign, represents even more than an opportunity to fight back against the health, safety and economic threats from climate change. Done right, it also has the potential to dramatically make work pay again for millions of Americans who’ve been shoved aside for too many years in an economy where the rich got richer and — well, you know the rest. Read the entire OpEd.
The Work Environment Council of New Jersey, Inc. (WEC) is a coalition of 70 labor, community, and environmental organizations advocating for safe, secure jobs and a healthy, sustainable environment. WEC seeks an experienced Policy and Advocacy Director. The position begins ASAP and is a 12-month full-time position with an option to extend. The deadline to apply is October 21 and resumes will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The Policy and Advocacy Director will be primarily responsible for policy development and senior level oversight to ensure high-quality organizational strategic and operational objectives are achieved in the WEC policy portfolio. A majority of the time will be spent on climate and clean energy work with partners in Jersey Renews, a statewide coalition of labor, environmental and community partners that WEC coordinates working on state-based climate policy, including emissions reductions, increased clean energy production, family-sustaining green jobs, reduced air pollution and a more sustainable transportation system. The Policy and Advocacy Director will supervise campaign organizers and work with coalition partners to develop strategic policy goals to ensure success and coordinate all of the organization’s legislative and regulatory outreach and direct advocacy. The Policy and Advocacy Director will report directly to the Executive [...]
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities on Wednesday awarded a combined 2,658 megawatts of offshore wind capacity to EDF/Shell’s Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind and Ørsted’s Ocean Wind II. The awards bring the state’s total planned capacity to more than 3,700 MW — or approximately half of Gov. Phil Murphy’s goal of 7,500 MW of offshore wind by 2035. Here’s what those numbers really mean: The energy produced by these two awards will supply power to 1.1 million homes in the state — in addition to the 500,000 homes that will be energized by the first award. Read more: https://www.roi-nj.com/2021/06/30/industry/energy-utilities/n-j-solidifies-role-as-hub-of-offshore-wind-energy-with-latest-bpu-awards/
Press Statement: Jersey Renews Thanks Sen. Loretta Weinberg for Supporting Full Transit Funding & An End to Clean Energy Fund Raids
Sen. Loretta Weinberg issued the below statement in support of full funding for New Jersey Transit and an end to Clean Energy Fund raids. (The full statement can also be viewed here.) The full FY22 state budget must be finalized and approved by the end of this month. Senate Majority Leader’s Weinberg’s statement reads: “NJ Transit has been a perennial budget issue thanks to the degradation of service suffered during the Christie Administration. Adequate funding is necessary to maintain service and to make much-needed capital improvements. “I am concerned, though, that the Governor’s proposed budget includes a $273 million reduction in the state’s subsidy to NJ Transit, while leaving in place longstanding transfers from the Clean Energy Fund and NJ Transit’s capital budget. Read the full press release here.
Over 8 million shots have been administered in NJ with approximately 3.5 million people having received the two doses needed to provide maximum protection. Eligibility has recently been expanded to include everyone above the age of 16, and the Pfizer vaccine is now approved to be administered to children aged 12-15. Supply has vastly improved as demand for the vaccine has diminished. The state has further ramped up its outreach efforts in order to reach the goal to vaccinate 4.7 million adults. We were joined by Dr. Eddy Bresnitz, MD, NJDOH Medical Advisor, Professional Advisory Committee Chair, and public health physician with board certification in internal, pulmonary and preventive (occupational/environmental) medicine. Dr. Bresnitz is former NJ State Epidemiologist and Deputy Commissioner of Health. Dr. Bresnitz spoke to the latest CDC recommendations and provided information for the Moderna, Pfizer and Janssen vaccines. Dr. David J. Adinaro, MD, M.Eng., FACEP, joined the New Jersey Department of Health as Deputy Commissioner for Public Health Services in June 2020. He also chairs the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force that is coordinating the planning for this state-wide effort. Dr. Adinaro looked back at NJ’s initial goals in addressing the pandemic and gave updates on where we are [...]
We know that student debt impacts our current members, our future members and our students. We also know that student debt disproportionately affects people of color, adding it to the long list of social justice issues that must be addressed. That’s why the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) is taking action. NJEA, with partners from the Work Environment Council (WEC), New Jersey Communities United (NJCU), New Jersey Citizen Action (NJCA), NJ Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA), and NJ Department of Education (NJDOE) have formed the “New Jersey Student Loan Debt Alliance” which seeks to tackle the issue of student debt and college affordability. Read the whole opinion article here.