Most of the nation will return to daylight saving time at 2 a.m. Sunday, April 1, when clocks will be set ahead one hour. The change will provide an additional hour of daylight in the evening.
Under law, daylight saving time is observed from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October. This fall, the nation will return to standard time starting Sunday, Oct. 28.
The federal law does not require any area to observe daylight saving time. But if a state chooses to observe daylight time, it must follow the starting and ending dates set by the law.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta reminds Americans to change the batteries in their smoke detectors when they change the time on their clocks.
In those parts of the country that do not observe daylight time, no resetting of clocks is required. Those states and territories include Arizona, Hawaii, the part of Indiana located in the Eastern time zone, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa.
Daylight saving time is a change in the standard time of each time zone. Time zones were first used in the United States in 1883 by the railroads to standardize their schedules. In 1918, Congress made the railroad zones official under federal law and assigned the responsibility for any changes that might be needed to the Interstate Commerce Commission, then the only federal regulatory agency. In the Uniform Time Act of 1966, Congress established uniform dates for daylight saving time and transferred responsibility for the time laws to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
DOT RELEASES PRELIMINARY ESTIMATES OF 2000 HIGHWAY FATALITIES
The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that, according to preliminary estimates, traffic fatality rates increased in 2000 after hitting a record low the previous year. The percentage of alcohol-related deaths in 2000 remained steady at 38 percent, an all-time low.
The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles (VMT) was 1.6, up from the record low of 1.5 in 1999. The total number of people killed in highway crashes was up from 41,611 in 1999 to 41,800 in 2000. Though the percentage remained constant, the number of people who died in alcohol-related crashes increased from 15,786 in 1999 to 16,068 in 2000.
While overall fatalities were up, deaths of child passengers aged four and under dropped 2.3 percent from 555 in 1999 to 542 in 2000. Pedestrian deaths also declined from 4,906 in 1999 to 4,727 in 2000, a reduction of 3.6 percent.
According to NHTSA's early assessment of 2000 crash data, the number of people injured remained about the same at 3.2 million.
The 2000 statistics also reflect the risks vehicle occupants take when they do not wear seat belts: 61 percent of those killed in crashes last year were not belted.
NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) also shows that:
- Motorcycle crashes killed 2,680 riders in 2000 compared to 2,472 in 1999, an increase of over eight percent.
- Fatalities involving large truck crashes dropped from 5,362 in 1999 to 5,307 in 2000. The number of young drivers (16-20) who died was up from 3,481 in 1999 to 3,570 in 2000.
- Passenger vehicle deaths in rollover crashes declined from 10,133 to 10,108 in 2000. However, for occupants of sport utility vehicles (SUVs), rollover deaths increased 2.8 percent from 1,898 in 1999 to 1,951 in 2000.
NHTSA annually collects crash statistics from 50 states and the District of Columbia to produce the annual report on traffic fatality trends. The final 2000 report, pending completion of data collection and quality control verification, will be available in July.
UNITED STATES MOVES CLOSER TO ACCIDENT REDUCTION GOAL
Three years into a 10-year plan to reduce aviation accidents, government and industry safety experts report that their data-driven Safer Skies approach is on a steady course toward preventing both commercial and general aviation accidents. The plan has already produced 13 actions that are being used in day-to-day commercial operations to prevent some of the leading causes of accidents.
As part of Safer Skies, the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) is well on its way toward implementing safety interventions for two leading causes of commercial accidents: controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) and uncontained engine failures. CAST has developed intervention strategies for approach and landing accidents and is beginning the implementation phase. Government and industry CAST participants continue to develop intervention strategies for runway incursions, loss of control, and weather. These are the leading causes of commercial aviation accidents based on an in-depth CAST analysis process.
In 1997, a group of industry associations, aerospace companies, and pilot unions came together in an effort to reduce the U.S. commercial aviation fatal accident rate by 80 percent by 2007. NASA, which does substantial aviation safety research, also joined the group. Recognizing that cooperation is essential to enhancing safety, the group agreed in June 1998 to merge their efforts with the commercial aviation portion of the broader Safer Skies plan developed by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). That effort operates under CAST. Safer Skies' general aviation component uses a team similar in structure to CAST that aims to eliminate an entire year's worth of general aviation accidents. A third team has already addressed cabin safety-related issues.
Both the commercial and general aviation teams use working groups for in-depth analysis of the top accident categories. They then develop "intervention strategies" to reduce such accidents. Additional working groups then prioritize and coordinate the plans for implementing those strategies.
The General Aviation Joint Steering Committee has completed analyses for CFIT and weather-related accidents. Intervention strategies differ from those being implemented for commercial aviation due to the unique general aviation operating environment. The general aviation team is currently working on improving low-altitude procedures and awareness training to prevent CFIT accidents. Improved weather information and training, as well as better low-altitude procedures and synthetic vision technology are being developed to prevent weather-related accidents. Other areas under analysis include pilot decision-making, loss of control, survivability and runway incursions.
One of the benefits of the Safer Skies plan is that industry is voluntarily implementing agreed-upon recommendations. For example, airlines are using improved inspection methods to prevent uncontained engine failures and are incorporating improved training, new standard operating procedures and technology to prevent CFIT accidents.
Key players in aviation safety participate on the CAST and general aviation teams. Government members include the FAA, NASA and the Department of Defense. Industry members include the Aerospace Industries Association, Airbus Industries, Air Transport Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Boeing, Experimental Aircraft Association, Flight Safety Foundation, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, National Air Carrier Association, National Air Transport Association, National Business Aviation Association, Pratt & Whitney (also representing General Electric and Rolls-Royce) and the Regional Airline Association. Employee groups include the Allied Pilots Association, Air Line Pilots Association, International Federation of Air Line Pilots, and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.
CAST recognizes that improving commercial aviation safety requires a global effort. International participation in CAST efforts includes the Air Transport Association Canada, Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, International Civil Aviation Organization, International Air Transport Association, European Joint Aviation Authorities, Safety Authority Australia, and Transport Canada.
OSHA FINES BRISTOLPIPE NEARLY $293,000 FOLLOWING ELECTROCUTION AT GREENSBORO, GA., PLANT
OSHA has cited Bristolpipe Corporation and proposed penalties totaling $292,600 following an electrocution death at the company's Greensboro, Ga., plant.
Just before the accident, the victim received a non-fatal shock while trying to retrieve a bucket of water from under the extruder, a machine that shapes plastic for sewer and water pipes. A clogged pipe from the extruder drain pan was causing water to continually fill the bucket and overflow onto the floor. The worker was fatally injured on his second attempt to remove the water-filled bucket when he made electrical contact either through the water on the floor or at the extruder machine itself.
Following an inspection of the accident, OSHA cited Bristolpipe with three willful violations, carrying proposed penalties totaling $189,000, for failure to:
- maintain floors of work areas in a dry condition;
- have a "lockout/tagout" procedure in place to ensure that machines were inoperable during maintenance and repair, and
- properly insulate splices, joints and free ends of electrical wiring.
The agency issued willful citations in this case because the company showed "blatant disregard of OSHA regulations and indifference to worker safety," according to William Grimes, OSHA's Atlanta-East acting area director.
OSHA alleged that, in an effort to save time and money, management allowed inadequate repairs of faulty electrical wiring and permitted employees to continue the risky practice of working in standing water around numerous electrical hazards.
Grimes said, "Management was aware that machine disrepair and roof leaks were causing water to drip onto machines and pool on the floor, sometimes accumulating several inches deep. And workers had voiced their concerns to supervisors again and again about electrical shocks they had received. Yet, despite the company's heightened awareness, no effort was made to abate the hazards."
Twenty-three serious citations drew additional penalties of $90,000. These included numerous electrical hazards, fall hazards, "lockout/tagout" deficiencies, no eye wash stations, numerous machine guarding violations and failure to protect employees from hazardous compressed air pressures. OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
The remaining $13,600 penalty was issued for two repeat violations -- machine guarding and electrical hazards -- for which the company had been previously cited in August 2000.
Bristolpipe, headquartered in Bristol, Ind., employs 58 of its 218 workers at the Greensboro, Ga., plant where PVC plastic sewer and water pipes are manufactured. The company has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
BRICK MANUFACTURER CITED FOR SAFETY AND HEALTH VIOLATIONS; $180,300 IN PENALTIES PROPOSED
OSHA has cited Freeport Brick, Freeport, Pa., for alleged violations of safety and health standards and proposed $180,300 in penalties. The company manufactures clay and high aluminum brick.
According to Robert Szymanski, area director of the Pittsburgh OSHA office, the company was issued two willful violations for safety, one willful citation for health (grouped violations), seven repeat violations, 12 serious violations, and eight other-than-serious violations.
"The willful safety violations, with a proposed penalty of $84,000, concern the overloading of fork trucks and other fork lift deficiencies which put the employees at considerable risk of injury," said Szymanski. "The willful health violations, with a penalty of $33,000, were for overexposure to silica, lack of a written respirator program, and inadequate engineering controls. The company did not perform medical evaluations, fit testing or respirator training."
The repeat violations, with a proposed penalty of $40,200, stem from an inspection in 1998, and include lack of personal protective equipment, poor housekeeping, failure to conduct hazard assessments and forklift and hazard communication training, and an unguarded portable grinder.
The serious violations, with a proposed penalty of $23,100, concern open-sided platforms, improper installation of liquid propane gas cylinders, lack of machine guarding and protective shield/barriers, exposed electrical apparatus and lack of safety related electrical training.
The other-than-serious violations, which carry no penalty, include unmarked exits, improper storage of compressed gas cylinders, defective ladders and several electrical violations.
Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH act. Repeat violations occur when an employer has been cited previously for a substantially similar condition and the citations have become final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to decide to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the Independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
WIRE-MAKING PLANT CITED BY OSHA FOR ALLEGED SAFETY AND HEALTH VIOLATIONS; $78,000 IN PENALTIES PROPOSED
OSHA has cited Omega Wire, Inc., Williamstown, New York, and proposed penalties of $78,000 against the firm for four alleged repeat violations, 16 alleged serious violations, and three alleged other-than-serious violations of OSHA standards. The company has until April 13 to contest the citations.
According to OSHA area director Diane Brayden, the action results from an investigation conducted from October 30 through February 23 following an accident at the plant, in which an employee was seriously injured when her hair became entangled in a wire buncher.
The alleged serious violations for which the employer was cited included:
- failure to guard a rotating die holder on a wire buncher;
- failure to assess the need for personal protective equipment such as gloves and eye protection;
- failure to provide proper gloves and eye protection when employees were working with caustic chemicals;
- failure to provide a written respirator program, medical exams, and fit tests for employees who were required to wear respirators as part of their job;
- failure to provide handrails on stairs;
- failure to label clearly the controller for a 3 ton hoist;
- failure to provide guards on saws, projecting shaft ends of drive motors, projecting keys on rotating shafts, and other machines;
- failure to adequately guard electrical parts.
The serious violations carry a total proposed penalty of $35,500.
OSHA also cited the employer for failure to provide strain relief on electrical cords, failure to guard openings on electrical circuit breaker panels, failure to provide emergency eyewash facilities, and failure to determine the capacity of lifting devices, four alleged repeat violations carrying a total proposed penalty of $37,700.
A repeat violation is one for which an employer has been previously cited for the same or a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Omega Wire was previously cited for these conditions at a plant in Jordan, New York in October, 1999.
The firm was also cited for failing to adequately maintain the required log of injuries and illnesses, failure to label circuit breakers for what they controlled, and failure to repair damaged insulation on an electrical cord, three alleged other-than-serious violations.
An other-than-serious violation is a hazardous condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.