New Requirements for Truck Drivers

December 12, 2016

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently announced a Final Rule establishing comprehensive national minimum training standards for entry-level commercial truck and bus operators seeking to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or certain endorsements. The standards established in the recent rule address the knowledge and skills necessary for the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles and also establish minimum qualifications for entities and individuals who provide entry-level driver training. The entry-level driver training Final Rule retains many of the consensus recommendations of a negotiated rulemaking committee comprised of 25 stakeholders and FMCSA representatives.

“Ensuring that drivers are properly trained is a critical element in improving road safety for everyone,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The entry-level training standards for large truck and bus operators put forth today exemplify a commitment to safety from a broad coalition of commercial motor vehicle stakeholders.”

The comprehensive CDL training requirements, which emphasize safety and promote driving efficiency, will result in lives saved, reductions in fuel consumption and emissions, vehicle maintenance cost reductions, and industry-wide performance improvements. The rulemaking was mandated by Congress in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).

“This new rule represents the culmination of a sustained and coordinated effort to identify appropriate pre-licensing CDL standards that will enhance safety on our Nation’s roads,” said FMCSA Administrator T.F. Scott Darling, III. “Without the collective efforts of our stakeholders working closely with us, we could not have completed this important lifesaving rule. We especially appreciate the Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee for its tireless efforts and expertise to enhance roadway safety through the negotiated rulemaking process.”

Under the Final Rule announced, applicants seeking a CDL would be required to demonstrate proficiency in knowledge training and behind-the-wheel training on a driving range and on a public road, with training obtained from an instructional program that meets FMCSA standards. There is no required minimum number of hours for the knowledge or behind-the-wheel portions of any of the individual training curricula, but training providers must determine that each CDL applicant demonstrates proficiency in all required elements of the training in order to successfully complete the program.

Mandatory, comprehensive training in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories would apply to the following individuals under the Final Rule:

  • First-time CDL applicants, including:
    • Class A CDLs
    • Class B CDLs
  • Current CDL holders seeking a license upgrade (e.g., a Class B CDL holder seeking a Class A CDL) or an additional endorsement necessary to transport hazardous materials, or to operate a motorcoach or school bus.

All of these individuals are subject to the entry-level driver training requirements and must complete a course of instruction provided by an entity that meets the qualification standards set forth in the Final Rule. FMCSA anticipates that many entities currently providing entry-level driver training, including motor carriers, school districts, independent training schools, and individuals will be eligible to provide training that complies with the new requirements.

Drivers who are not subject to or are excepted or exempted from federal CDL requirements are not subject to this Final Rule. For example, military drivers, farmers, and firefighters who are excepted from federal CDL requirements are not subject to this Final Rule.

The entry-level driver training Final Rule goes into effect on February 6, 2017, with a compliance date of February 2020.

Cleveland RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Cleveland, OH, on January 3–5 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Raleigh Area RCRA, DOT, IATA, and SARA Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Cary, NC, on January 9–11 and save $100. If you ship dangerous goods by air, get your required training at Transportation of Dangerous Goods: Compliance with IATA Regulations on January 12. Ensure your facility is in compliance with EPCRA requirements at the SARA Title III Workshop on January 13. To take advantage of these offers, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Anaheim RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management in California and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Anaheim, CA, on January 10–12 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

New Online Safety and Health Resources for Ebola/Infectious Disease Response Workers

The Worker Training Program (WTP) has been tracking information on Ebola virus disease (EVD) and other infectious diseases to protect workers involved in emergency response and cleanup activities performed in the United States. Eight WTP awardees are providing safety training for a range of high-risk occupations. Health and safety resources for workers exposed to infectious diseases are now available. The package of resources includes the following: Pathogen Safety Data Guide and Training Module Agenda, Pathogen Safety Data Guide and Training Module Fact Sheet, Pathogen Safety Data Guide Training Module, and Pathogen Safety Data Guide Worksheet.

Alliance Laundry Systems Fined $124,709 After Second Worker Suffers Amputation

For the second time in less than two months, federal safety and health inspectors found an employee at one of world's leading commercial laundry equipment manufacturers suffered an amputation injury because a machine lacked adequate safety guarding.

On December 6, 2016, OSHA proposed penalties of $124,709 to Alliance Laundry Systems after its investigation of a July 20, 2016, injury identified one willful safety violation. Inspectors found the Ripon-based company returned a hydraulic press to operation without adding safety guarding after a 65-year-old employee's right middle finger tip was amputated as he lowered a press used to square parts for washing machines and dryers.

"Despite earlier machine related injuries, Alliance Laundry Systems allowed workers to operate a machine without installing safety guards. We find these failures troubling," said Robert Bonack, OSHA's area director in Appleton. "Ignoring guarding methods required by OSHA creates a culture where employees' well-being is deemed unimportant, and workers are left to suffer the consequences."

In a previous investigation, OSHA learned that a grommet cutting machine severed a 26-year-old employee's right index finger on June 3, 2016. In that case, the agency issued four serious violations to Alliance in July 2016. The incidents in the summer of 2016 continue a recent history of preventable worker injuries at the company. On August 12, 2015, a 51-year-old employee's right hand was crushed when he came in contact with operating parts of a folding machine. The injury resulted in the amputation of his right middle finger.

Two Kerry Inc. Workers Severely Injured

Just six weeks after a machine amputated a maintenance worker's left hand as he cleared jammed material stuck in a machine at its Melrose Park bread products facility, the company reported a second worker's right forearm suffered multiple fractures as he cleaned another machine. Federal safety inspectors investigating the injuries found, in both instances, the company allowed employees to service machinery without isolating operating parts, a process known as lockout/tagout.

On December 5, 2016, OSHA proposed penalties of $86,942 for one repeated and two serious violations to Kerry, Inc., a leading global food products company.

"The tragic loss of one employee's hand failed to serve as a catalyst for Kerry to re-evaluate its machine safety procedures. Subsequently, the lack of such procedures caused a second worker to suffer severe injuries," said Angeline Loftus, OSHA's area director for its Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines. "The injuries suffered by these employees could have been prevented if their employer had followed required safety procedures to isolate energy to machines before allowing workers to service them. Kerry needs to make immediate changes to its safety procedures to protect its workers on the job."

Investigators determined the 52-year-old worker was clearing material in the bread crumb conveyor when his injury occurred on August 17, 2016. The machine's cyclone pulled his left hand into the machine, causing the amputation. On September 27, 2016, a 57-year-old man's forearm—who was cleaning a dough machine—was injured a mixing blade rotated unexpectedly.

OSHA also found the company failed to:

  • Conduct periodic inspections of machine lockout/tag out procedures
  • Document and utilize written energy control procedures when servicing machines

The agency cited Kerry for similar hazards in 2011 at the company's Flemington, New Jersey, facility.

OSHA Requests Comments on Standard to Prevent Workplace Violence in Healthcare, Social Assistance

OSHA recently issued a Request for Information on whether to propose a standard to prevent workplace violence in healthcare and social assistance settings. The agency has also scheduled a public meeting on January 10, 2017, in Washington, D.C., to discuss strategies for reducing incidents of violence in these workplaces.

A recent Government Accountability Office report found that the rate of workplace violence against employees providing healthcare and social assistance services is substantially higher than private industry as a whole. In the report, GAO also recommended that OSHA assess the need for rulemaking to address this hazard. This RFI seeks public comments on the extent and nature of workplace violence in the industry and the effectiveness and feasibility of methods used to prevent such violence.

Comments and materials may be submitted electronically to http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal, or via mail, facsimile or hand delivery. See the Federal Register notice for submission details. The submission deadline is April 6, 2017.

"The public meeting is intended to supplement written comments by allowing workers, employers and other stakeholders to describe their experiences with workplace violence, as well as allowing for discussion among stakeholders.

The meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, January 10 at the U.S. Department of Labor, Great Hall, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20210. To register for the meeting, go to https://projects.erg.com/conferences/osha/register-osha-workplace-violence-meeting.html.

Central Transport to Pay $165,400 and Correct Company-Wide Forklift Hazards

For several years, inspections by OSHA identified a disturbing number of forklift hazards. Use of forklifts exposed employees to hazards that could cause crushing or struck-by injuries at multiple locations, including Central Transport's Billerica, Massachusetts, terminal.

The department filed a complaint with the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in 2015, seeking an order to require Central Transport to remove damaged, defective and unsafe forklifts and other powered industrial trucks from service at all the company's locations. Now, the department has secured a settlement agreement which commits the company to improving forklift safety at over 100 terminals in 26 states.

"These widespread, recurring hazards required a comprehensive solution," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "This settlement includes detailed steps and a timetable for Central Transport to systematically review, assess and improve safety for its employees at all its locations that come under OSHA's jurisdiction. Other employers with hazards at multiple worksites should take heed of this settlement and recognize the value of implementing comprehensive and effective corrective action to protect the workers, life and limb."

"We stated when we filed the complaint that safety cannot be addressed in a piecemeal fashion when employees are exposed to hazards at multiple company worksites. With this settlement, Central Transport has committed to taking proactive, ongoing and effective action to identify and eliminate these hazards and improve safety for its workers across the country," said Michael Felsen, the department's regional solicitor of labor in Boston.

The agreement requires Central Transport to hire an independent third party monitor to evaluate, update and improve the company's existing procedures for preventive maintenance repairs, operator inspections and safe operation of powered industrial trucks.

Central Transport must also:

  • Assign a corporate internal monitor to facilitate effective implementation of the settlement agreement, conduct random, unannounced visits of at least 20 terminals and work with the third party monitor to prepare and submit reports for each terminal assessed, seek employee feedback and monitor progress
  • Work with the third party monitor to assess and monitor compliance with the agreement and seek feedback from employees. This will include unannounced monitoring visits of at least 10 terminals by the third party monitor, including two terminals assessed by the internal monitor.
  • Submit written compliance reports to OSHA and allow OSHA to conduct monitoring inspections to measure compliance
  • Remove any damaged, defective, and unsafe powered industrial trucks from service
  • Pay a total of $165,400 in penalties

The settlement covers Central Transport terminals in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. OSHA will notify those states that have assumed authority for enforcing OSHA standards in which Central Transport has terminals and encourage them to honor or agree to the terms of this settlement.

Subfloor Systems Inc. Fined $87,297 for Exposing Workers to Falls

Investigators with OSHA observed a Subfloor Systems' foreman and other employees working without fall protection at the construction site of a commercial building. After its September 19, 2016, investigation, the agency cited the company with one willful violation for exposing workers to potential falls. In January 2016, OSHA cited the company with a willful violation after its investigation of an employee's serious injury after falling 22 feet.

Proposed penalties total $87,297.

"Subfloor Systems is repeatedly demonstrating a negligence to protect workers from fall hazards and OSHA will not tolerate this willful disregard of safety," said Jack Rector, OSHA's area director in Fort Worth. "The company must provide fall protection and take the necessary steps to ensure no other employees are injured."

Inspection Revealed 22 Violations at CPE Feeds Inc.

OSHA inspected CPE Feeds in June 2016 as part of the Regional Emphasis Program for Grain Handling Facilities. The agency cited the company, which manufactures feed and sells used agricultural machinery for processing feed, for failing to provide a safe working environment for its employees. OSHA inspectors identified 22 violations including:

  • Lack of guarding on machines
  • Exposed energized wires
  • Lack of guarding on runways and platforms
  • Lack of handrails on stairwells
  • Welding cylinders not properly stored
  • Fire extinguishers not kept in designated locations
  • Using flexible cords as fixed wiring
  • Not providing hearing protection

Proposed penalties total $83,059.

"As an employer, CPE Feeds must protect its employees from amputation, electrocution and grain- handling hazards. It must also train its workers in how to work safely," said Elizabeth Linda Routh, OSHA's area director in Lubbock. "Our emphasis program will continue to target the industry and CPE Feeds until safety becomes part of a critical part of this company's culture."

JW Construction & Plastering Inc. Fails to Protect Employees from Fall, Silica Hazards

A Burbank contractor failed to provide employees remodeling a home in Evanston, Illinois, with adequate protection from falls and the personal protective equipment and training needed to work safely with silica and portland cement.

OSHA found JW Construction & Plastering, Inc., exposed workers to fall hazards of up to 25 feet, and allowed them to apply stucco without adequate personal protective equipment. OSHA issued two willful, two repeated, and three serious safety violations after inspectors observed workers at the site on August 25, 2016. The company faces $80,741 in proposed penalties.

"Preventable falls account for nearly 40 percent of all deaths in the construction industry, and silica presents a health hazard that can cause irreversible lung damage that can lead to long-term health concerns," said Angeline Loftus, OSHA's area director at its Chicago North office in Des Plaines. "OSHA is committed to protecting construction workers from unnecessary illness, injuries or worse."

Inspectors found the company failed to ensure scaffold platforms were fully planked, that safe access to the scaffold platforms existed and that the scaffold was secured to prevent tipping.

The company was cited for similar violations in 2014.

Federal safety and health officials are determined to reduce preventable, fall-related deaths—the leading cause among construction industry workers. OSHA offers a Stop Falls online resource with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page provides fact sheets, posters and videos that illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures. OSHA standards require that an effective form of fall protection be in use when workers perform construction activities 6 feet or more above the next lower level and 10 feet or more on scaffolding.

The ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign was developed in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program. Begun in 2012, the campaign provides employers with lifesaving information and educational materials on how to prevent falls, provide the right equipment for workers and train employees to use gear properly.

NN Metal Stampings Inc. Exposed Workers to Machine, Electrical Hazards

OSHA cited NN Metal Stampings, Inc., for nine serious and two other-than-serious safety violations. OSHA initiated an investigation after receiving a complaint of unsafe working conditions at the Pioneer company that stamps metal parts for the automotive and appliance industry.

The agency's August 2016 inspection found the company:

  • Exposed workers to operating parts of machinery because parts were not locked out during service and maintenance and employees were not properly trained on machine safety procedures
  • Failed to provide adequate personal protective equipment for workers performing electrical work
  • Violated electrical safe work practices
  • Did not develop safety procedures for die setting, mechanical power presses, and other machinery
  • Failed to inspect fork trucks prior to each use and re-evaluate operators at least every three years

"Each year hundreds of workers are injured because employers fail to implement machine safety procedures and train workers to safely perform their jobs," said Joe Margetiak, acting area director of OSHA's Toledo office. "NN Metal Stampings needs to immediately review their safety and health management system and training procedures to protect workers on the job."

Proposed penalties total $77,322.

Joiner Sheet Metal & Roofing Put Workers at Risk of Serious Falls

Federal investigators saw eight workers at risk of falls of more than 14 feet while re-roofing a commercial structure in O'Fallon, Illinois, in October 2016 because their employer failed to provide adequate fall protection.

On November 29, 2016, OSHA issued Joiner Sheet Metal & Roofing, Inc., of Greenville, one repeat and two serious safety violations.

"An adequate fall protection system must be used whenever employees are working at heights greater than 6 feet," said Aaron Priddy, OSHA's area director in Fairview Heights. "Preventable falls account for nearly 40 percent of all deaths in the construction industry. OSHA is committed to protecting construction workers from unnecessary injuries or worse."

Inspectors also found:

  • Warning lines were not properly rigged
  • A competent person did not inspect the work sites frequently

Joiner Sheet Metal & Roofing faces $61,721 in proposed federal fines.

Indiana Department of Labor Forms Safety Partnership on the Community Hospital East Campus Redevelopment Project

The Indiana Department of Labor (IDOL) signed a strategic, site-specific occupational safety and health partnership with Pepper Construction Company of Indiana. The partnership covers the Community Hospital East Campus redevelopment project, which consolidates the existing hospital campus from 727,000 square feet into a more efficient 537,000 square feet.

The Community Hospital East Campus redevelopment project is valued at $175 million. It is estimated that nearly 800 Hoosier construction workers will work on the project throughout its duration.

“The Indiana Department of Labor is excited to partner again with Pepper Construction,” said Indiana Department of Labor Commissioner, Rick J. Ruble. “By proactively focusing on workplace safety and health leading indicators, together we can protect the state’s most valuable resource—our Hoosier workers.”

The IDOL’s strategic workplace safety and health partnership program embraces collaboration among employers, workers, labor representatives, and government. The partnership agreement focuses on leading metrics which proactively identify and ensure potential workplace safety and health hazards are corrected before a worker injury or illness occurs. As the construction manager, Pepper will serve as a mentor to all construction sub-contractors who engage in work at the project site.

“At Pepper, we believe that safety on the jobsite is the most important piece of having a successful project," said Pepper Indiana President, Mike McCann. "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with the Indiana Department of Labor to continue being accountable in our safety measures."

This site-specific workplace safety and health partnership will be in place through the completion of the Community Hospital East Campus redevelopment project, which is expected to be completed in late summer 2019. This is the second site-specific partnership the IDOL has signed with Pepper Construction. In 2009, the two organizations signed an agreement for the Parkview Regional Medical Center project, located in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Safety News Links

Tips on Reducing Pollutants and Safety Threats from Burning Wood During Colder Months

Q&A on New Reporting Requirements for Using Point of Sale Safe Harbor Warning for BPA Exposures from Canned and Bottled Foods

Baby Teethers Soothe, But Many Contain Low Levels of BPA

Michigan Worker Injured in Preventable Accident

Worker Injured in Explosion at Houston County Energy Plant

2nd Person Dies After Alabama Pipeline Explosion

Orange Warehouse Worker Killed in Forklift Accident

1 Worker Dead, 2 Injured in Plant Accident

Contractor Killed, Worker Seriously Hurt After Fall in Westport

OSHA Moving Forward with Construction Crane Rule Changes

Court Allows OSHA's Reporting Rule to Proceed as Scheduled

Union Sues Over MTA’s Refusal to Run Ad of Injured Workers

Construction Worker Killed in I-55 Work Zone

OSHA Whistleblower Update: Curious Case of Expanding Agency

OSHA Contemplates Workplace Violence Standard for Healthcare, Social Assistance Workers