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OSHA Reminds Inspectors to Check for Adequate Egress at Workplaces

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has instructed its regional administrators and state plan designees compliance officers to stay mindful when conducting inspections of whether employers have provided and maintained adequate means of egress from work areas. This includes checking that an adequate number of exit routes are provided, that the exit routes are free and unobstructed, and that exit doors are not locked. OSHA’s instructions follow the disastrous fire and explosion that killed at least 119 workers on June 4 at a poultry processing plant in China.

OSHA Fact Sheet Helps Employers Find and Fix Workplace Hazards

A new fact sheet from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) describes some common program elements of Injury and Illness Prevention Programs and how to implement them. These systematic programs are designed to allow employers on an ongoing basis to find and fix workplace hazards before workers are hurt or become ill. These proactive processes can substantially reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries and illnesses and can alleviate the associated financial burdens on U.S. workplaces, according to OSHA.

New Research Shows Flaws in 34-Hour Restart Provision of HOS Rules

On June 17, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released the findings of its assessment of the Regulatory Impact Analysis used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to justify changes to the 34-hour restart provision, which are scheduled to take effect July 1. The sweeping changes to the Hours-of-Service rules proposed by FMCSA include two new 34-hour restart provisions which limit use of the restart by truck drivers to one per week (168 hours) and a requirement that the restart include two overnight periods from 1 a.m.

Virginia to Finish I-81 Truck Climbing Lanes this Year

Work on two truck-climbing lanes on Interstate-81 in Virginia is nearly finished. The Virginia Department of Transportation said the lanes will enhance safety by allowing slower moving vehicles to stay in the right two-lanes. Other benefits of the projects include better traffic management with wider shoulders plus the use of the additional travel lane during traffic incidents.

GAO Says a Quarter of U.S. Bridges Remain Deficient

Despite limited improvement in bridge conditions in the past decade, a substantial number of bridges remain in poor condition, according to a report released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on June 13. Of the 607,380 bridges on the nation’s roadways in 2012, one in four was classified as deficient. Some are structurally deficient and have one or more components in poor condition and others are functionally obsolete and may no longer be adequate for the traffic they serve.

AASHTO Invites SC&RA Members to Meeting

Encouraging states to advance AASHTO’s Harmonization Resolution is one of many topics of interest for the specialized transportation industry at the Subcommittee on Highway Transport’s Annual Meeting July 8-10 in Wilmington, North Carolina.   Leo Penne, Program Director for Intermodal Activities, expects states will make considerable progress in completing Phase I of advancing harmonization efforts in the areas of Escort Requirements, Days and Hours of Operation, and Warning Flags, Lights and Signs.  Penne invites industry to put forth their recommendations which SC&RA Vi

FMCSA to Seek CSA Changes to Make Scoring Clearer

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said it would propose changes to the public face of its Compliance, Safety, Accountability program later this year in an attempt to make clearer that the rankings are not necessarily safety scores.  “We recognize the presentation can be made clearer so visitors can better understand what the scores mean — and what they don’t mean,” FMCSA Transportation Specialist Courtney Stevenson told an advisory committee this week.

SC&RA Crane & Rigging Workshop Exhibit Space Going Quickly

Only 18 of 80 booths remain available for the Exhibit Center during the 2013 Crane & Rigging Workshop, September 18-20, at the Hilton at Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, Fla.  Companies wishing to exhibit during the event should act soon because, due to fire-code regulations at the property, no other booths will be added to meet demand. All booth purchases include a six-foot draped table, two chairs, a wastebasket, an ID sign and, upon request, electrical service. All exhibitors also receive one complimentary registration to the Workshop with the purchase of the booth.

Webinar on Drug-Testing Compliance Set for June 20

SC&RA continues to accept registrations for a webinar on June 20 at noon Eastern that will explain how compliance with workplace drug testing creates financial opportunities. Over the past 36-plus years, workplace drug testing has evolved into a patchwork of more than 600 state laws and regulations and more than 10,000 court cases, with judgments sometimes approaching $1 million. However, in nearly half the states financial opportunities exist, provided drug test programs are in compliance with state rules.

Construction Unemployment Drops to Lowest May Mark in Five Years

Construction employment increased by 7,000 in May, helping to push the industry’s unemployment rate down to the lowest May level in five years, according to an analysis of new government data released on June 7 by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). “Although the monthly job gain in May was modest, both residential and nonresidential construction have been adding workers at roughly double the rate of the overall economy in the past year,” said AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson.