The recent boom in oil and gas production in the west Texas has created hundreds of jobs and many new opportunities for communities in that region. Unfortunately, the influx in traffic has led to an increase in crashes. In response, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) announced on March 1 the launching of “Be Safe. Drive Smart.,” a public education campaign to remind motorists to use extra caution when driving through any energy work zone.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has introduced a new online resources page for its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) initiative. All content that was previously available on the federal Outreach & Media page is now available and easier to find, according to FMCSA. Click here to view the new webpage.
Motor carriers are required to stay up-to-date on the Motor Carrier Registration Form (MCS-150), including recent Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) and Power Unit (PU) data. This information is used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to calculate carriers’ Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) percentiles. Click here to update your MCS-150 information.
The national average price of diesel fuel fell for the third straight week, dropping 4.1 cents to $4.047 per gallon, according to a Department of Energy report on March 18. Prices have declined 11.2 cents in the past three weeks. The decrease over the same week a year ago was 9.5 cents per gallon. The most recent regional average diesel prices were:
- East Coast: $4.082
- Midwest: $4.015
- Gulf Coast: $3.989
- Rocky Mountain: $3.971
- West Coast: $4.162
Friday, March 15, is the cut-off date for regular registration fees for the SC&RA Annual Conference, April 2-6, at the Westin Kierland Hotel, Scottsdale, Ariz. After that date, the registration fee will increase by $75 per person.
SC&RA continues to accept registrations for the “Safety Program Essentials” webinar on March 20, noon-1 p.m. Eastern DST. Daniel Erwin, Corporate Safety Director, TNT Crane and Rigging, will discuss the latest changes in regulatory requirements and technologies a company should include in their safety programs. He will also cover how to report safety/accident data to ensure your organization consistently and accurately reflects your safety performance experience.
The construction industry added 48,000 jobs in February, the ninth consecutive month of job growth for the sector, as more people are working in construction than at any point in the last three and a half years, according to an analysis of new government data released on March 8 by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). AGC officials cautioned, however, that employment gains remain tenuous and could be undermined if Washington officials fail to reach a deal on federal investment levels later this month.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced it had expanded its Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP), “paving the way for more taxpayers to take advantage of this option for achieving certainty under the law by reclassifying their workers as employees for future tax periods.” By modifying several eligibility requirements, the IRS hopes to encourage many more interested employers, especially larger ones, to apply for this program.
Recent issues of Wind Energy SmartBrief included the following items of interest to SC&RA members involved with the hauling, erection and maintenance of wind farms:
Nomura, a financial services conglomerate, predicts Chinese imports will grow
8.3 percent in 2013 and 10 percent in 2014, while the nation’s exports will grow
4.8 percent in 2013 and 6 percent in 2014, according to an article in the March 4 Journal of Commerce. If that projection holds up, China’s trade surplus of more than $200 billion in 2012 would be more than halved in just two years.