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Mississippi State Troopers Pose as Truckers to Catch Reckless Drivers

Since May, the Mississippi Highway Patrol has been placing troopers in the cabs of 18 wheelers in an effort to catch drivers who maneuver dangerously around the trucks, according to an article posted by Mississippi News Now on August 28. “If you drive reckless around the truck, pull in front of it without a turn signal, get in front of it and slam on brakes, or follow too close, the trooper in the truck is going to radio your description tag number,” said Mississippi State Trooper Scott Carnegie.

IUOE General President to Address SC&RA Labor Committee

James Callahan, General President of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), is scheduled to address the Crane & Rigging Group’s Labor Committee during its meeting at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday, September 18.

“We are delighted that he will be joining us,” said SC&RA Vice President Beth O’Quinn. “This is the first time the IUOE General President has participated at an SC&RA event in over 15 years, and we believe it will further our efforts to work in together on industry issues.”

SC&RA Supports Industry in Idaho District Court Case Involving Permits

SC&RA filed comments as an Amicus Curiae in the U.S. District Court of Idaho on August 27 on behalf of the industry in a case involving permits for a megaload transport. An Amicus Curiae is a party not involved in a particular litigation that is allowed by the court to advise it on a matter of law directly affecting the litigation.

Gains in Construction Jobs Spread to More Metro Areas in Past Year

Construction employment gains spread to more metropolitan areas between July 2012 and July 2013 than in previous months, but full recovery remained elusive as only a few areas have exceeded pre-recession employment records, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released on August 23 by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). “The good news is that 201 metro areas added construction jobs in the past year, the largest number with year-over-year gains since March 2012,” said AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson.

Petition from 21 State Attorneys General Urges Keystone XL Crude Oil Pipeline

A petition recently signed by 21 state Attorneys General urges Secretary of State John Kerry to recommend issuance of a permit for TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline. Because the pipeline would cross the U.S. border, a presidential approval is required, following advice from the State Department. The petition said the project would “bolster the nation’s economy, modernize the country’s energy infrastructure and strengthen our national security.”

OSHA Proposes Rule to Protect Workers Exposed to Crystalline Silica

On August 23, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a proposed rule aimed at curbing lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in America's workers. The proposal seeks to lower worker exposure to crystalline silica, which kills hundreds of workers and sickens thousands more each year. After publication of the proposal, the public will have 90 days to submit written comments, followed by public hearings.

Workplace Fatalities Drop in 2012 Compared with 2011

Preliminary results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’’ National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries released on August 22 show a reduction in the number of fatal work injuries in 2012 compared with 2011. Last year, 4,383 workers died from work-related injuries, down from a final count of 4,693 fatal work injuries in 2011. Based on preliminary counts, the rate of fatal workplace injuries in 2012 was 3.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, down from a rate of 3.5 per 100,000 in 2011.

OSHA Signs Alliance to Protect Safety, Health of Female Construction Workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced on August 22 that it has signed an alliance with the National Association of Women in Construction to develop training resources to protect women in the construction industry. The two-year alliance will focus on issues specific to female construction workers, including musculoskeletal and sanitation hazards and issues related to
poorly-fitting personal protective equipment.

FMCSA to Combine 16 Forms into One “Smart Form”

The Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) announced on August 23 that it has published a final rule that will combine 16 different forms that carriers, freight forwarders and brokers currently use to register and update their information with the agency into a single, electronic “smart form.” FMCSA said the new Unified Registration System will increase efficiency by streamlining the registration process for industry and enabling the agency to maintain more accurate information on the entities it regulates. The streamlined web-based system will begin operating in 2015.

Letter from Representatives Asks DOT about Possible Impact of Heavier Trucks

An August 7 letter from a  bipartisan group of 45 U.S. Representatives asked the Department of Transportation to consider the impact of heavier trucks on local roads and bridges as it studies national size and weight limits. “We are concerned that heavier or longer trucks could divert significant amounts of freight to highways, resulting in an increase in heavy truck traffic and increased costs to states and localities,” noted the letter to DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx.