FMCSA TOUGHENS SAFETY REQUIREMENTS FOR NEW MOTOR CARRIERS

May 16, 2002

DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established new, stricter minimum requirements, in an interim final rule, to improve the safety performance of new U.S. and Canadian entrant motor carriers by ensuring they are knowledgeable about applicable federal motor carrier safety standards. This regulation responds to requirements of the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999.

Applicants will be required to demonstrate knowledge of safety regulations through an application process and will undergo an on-site safety audit within the first 18 months of operations before receiving permanent operating authority. Carriers failing to demonstrate basic safety management controls during the 18-month period will be denied permanent operating authority.

New entrants must certify that they will comply with applicable requirements covering driver qualifications, hours of service, controlled substance and alcohol testing, vehicle condition, accident monitoring, and hazardous materials transportation.

The FMCSA intends to improve the safety performance of new entrants by providing educational and technical assistance to new carriers. The safety audit and 18-month monitoring period provide new carriers an opportunity to understand their safety obligations under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and applicable Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) and to determine operational deficiencies. The safety audit will include a review of a new entrant's safety data, a review of requested motor-carrier documents, and an interview with the motor carrier.

Mexican-domiciled carriers will be subject to similar application and safety monitoring procedures established by the FMCSA on March 19, 2002.

The effective date of this interim final rule is Jan. 1, 2003. This will allow the agency sufficient time to put into place the necessary resources to conduct safety audits prescribed by the rule. The FMCSA expects approximately 40,000 new-entrant applications annually.

Written comments on this interim final rule should be sent by June 30, 2002, to the USDOT Docket Facility, Attn: Docket No. FMCSA-2001-11061, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh St., S.W., Washington, DC 20590-0001 or faxed to (202) 493-2251. The rule also is on the Internet and can be viewed after searching at: http://dms.dot.gov/. Comments may be submitted electronically at http://dmses.dot.gov/submit


HHS ISSUES GUIDELINES FOR SAFEGUARDING BUILDING VENTILATION SYSTEMS FROM TERRORIST ATTACKS

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new guidelines for protecting ventilation systems in commercial and government buildings from chemical, biological and radiological attacks. The guidelines provide recommendations that address the physical security of ventilation systems, airflow and filtration, systems maintenance, program administration and maintenance staff training.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in HHS prepared the guidelines with input and review by the Office of Homeland Security's (OHS) Interagency Workgroup on Building Air Protection and more than 30 other federal agencies, state and local organizations and professional associations.

The guidelines are intended as a first step with the professional community, government agencies, and others toward developing more comprehensive guidance for protecting building ventilation systems. The guidelines recommend that security measures be adopted for air intakes and return-air grilles, and that access to building operations systems and building design information should be restricted. The information also recommends that the emergency capabilities of systems operational controls should be assessed, filter efficiency should be closely evaluated, buildings= emergency plans should be updated, and preventive maintenance procedures should be adopted. The document also cautions against detrimental actions, such as permanently sealing outdoor air intakes.

According to the guidelines, protective measures should be tailored to fit the individual building based on several factors, including the perceived risk associated with the building and its tenants, engineering and architectural feasibility, and cost.

"Guidance for Protecting Building Environments from Airborne Chemical, Biological, or Radiological Attacks," DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2002-139, is available on the NIOSH web site at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/bldvent/2002-139.html. Copies can also be obtained calling the NIOSH toll-free information number, 1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674).


PIPELINE SAFETY ACTIONS REMOVE RSPA FROM NTSB MOST WANTED LIST

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Tuesday removed two issues related to pipeline safety from its "Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements," clearing the list of outstanding safety improvements for the U.S. Department of Transportation's Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA).

NTSB Chairman Marion C. Blakey said, "I would like to commend RSPA for making such progress; they've come a long way," as the board voted to classify safety recommendations related to pipeline excavation damage prevention as Closed ? Acceptable Action.

The NTSB safety recommendations, first made in 1997, focused on the cause of the majority of pipeline accidents, damage from excavation operations. It called on RSPA's Office of Pipeline Safety to evaluate and make recommendations to states on their damage prevention programs.

A requirement of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century led RSPA to convene state and local governments, utilities and industries involved in underground excavation in a study of best excavation damage-prevention practices. The resulting 1999 report, "Common Ground," was an important milestone in bringing together a variety of competing interests. RSPA built on this new collaboration, providing resources to establish the Common Ground Alliance, a non-profit, private sector organization involving the same stakeholders. RSPA is finalizing an agreement with the Common Ground Alliance to provide state and local officials with information and tools to help their residents live safely with pipelines.

RSPA is dedicating new field staff to evaluate how well state excavation programs follow best practices. RSPA continues to support the national "Dig Safely" campaign, which has already produced a measurable reduction in excavation accidents. RSPA and the Common Ground Alliance are working together on these initiatives.

A second NTSB recommendation involved development and promotion of widespread use of standards for common pipeline mapping. RSPA established standards for the National Pipeline Mapping system and operators are required to maintain company maps that are clear, accurate, current, and depict pipeline system features for emergency response and damage prevention. RSPA and its state agency partners will be stepping up enforcement efforts to ensure that operators comply.

RSPA has public responsibilities for: safe and secure movement of hazardous materials to industry and consumers, by all transportation modes, including the nation's pipelines; rapid response to emergencies by government agencies; and applying science and technology to meet national transportation needs.


NEW PUBLICATION, UPDATED FACT SHEETS AVAILABLE

OSHA recently issued a new publication to help employers prevent amputations in the workplace. "Safeguarding Equipment and Protecting Workers from Amputations" addresses a broad range of related issues on the topic, focusing on prevention, identification of hazards, and OSHA standards covering machine safeguarding. The publication is available for download at http://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3170.pdf OSHA also released updated fact sheets on selected topics. "Hazardous Chemicals in Labs" covers potential threats to laboratory workers and addresses respirator requirements, and "Job Safety and Health" identifies employees covered by the OSH Act and outlines rights and responsibilities of both employers and workers. Download "Hazardous Chemicals in Labs" at http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/hazardouschemicalsinlabs-factsheet.pdf and "Job Safety and Health" at http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/jobsafetyandhealth-factsheet.pdf


ROOFING CONTRACTOR'S FAILURE TO PROTECT WORKERS AGAINST FALLS RESULTS IN TWO FATALITIES

The failure of a North Platte, Neb. roofing contractor to provide workers with adequate fall protection contributed to two fatal accidents last December and has resulted in multiple citations and proposed penalties totaling $301,000 from OSHA.

The citations and penalties assessed Weathercraft Roofing Co. are the result of investigations of fatal falls at two separate work sites. In both instances, Weathercraft Roofing was the controlling contractor at the site.

OSHA initiated the first inspection following a fatal accident Dec. 7, 2001 in North Platte in which the employee of a Weathercraft Roofing sub-contractor at a residential construction site fell headfirst from a roof. The agency issued citations for alleged willful, serious, and other-than-serious violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, with a proposed penalty of $154,000.

"The two alleged willful citations involved failure to ensure that subcontractors utilized and were trained to use appropriate fall protection systems," said OSHA Regional Administrator Charles E. Adkins, CIH, who explained that a willful violation is one committed with intentional disregard or plain indifference to requirements of the OSHA law and regulations.

Two alleged serious citations involved failure to assess the jobsite's rural location and abilities of local EMT rescue units, and failure to ensure an employee on-site was trained in first-aid and CPR. Employee training deficiencies related to exposure to chemical hazards were noted on an other-than-serious citation.

A second inspection was conducted in response to a fatal accident Dec. 31, in which a Weathercraft Roofing employee also fell from a roof, this time at a commercial building site in North Platte. OSHA issued citations for three alleged willful and one alleged serious violation, and a proposed penalty of $147,000. The willful citations involved inadequate fall protection, failure to train employees on the nature of fall hazards in the work area, and failure to train employees to use fall protection systems. The serious citation was for failure to provide and install an adequate fall protection system.

A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazardous condition, and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Weathercraft Roofing Co. of North Platte has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply with them, hold an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


UPCOMING DEADLINE

OSHA

  • May 26, 2002 - Employers subject to process safety management standards must update and revalidate the hazard analysis of their process conducted pursuant to 29 CFR 1910.119(e)(1)