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Safety News > MSHA Proposes Changes to Final Rule on Workplace Examinations in Metal and Nonmetal Mines

MSHA Proposes Changes to Final Rule on Workplace Examinations in Metal and Nonmetal Mines

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MSHA published today two proposed rules in the Federal Register that would change the Agency’s final rule on Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines that was published on Jan. 23, 2017.

The first proposed rule would make limited changes to the final rule. The proposed changes would require that an examination of the working place be conducted before work begins or as miners begin work in that place, and that the examination record include descriptions of adverse conditions that are not corrected promptly and the dates of corrective action for these conditions. It would provide mine operators additional flexibility in managing their safety and health programs and reduce regulatory burdens without reducing the protections afforded miners. The proposed rule would continue to permit mine operators with consecutive shifts or those that operate on a 24-hour, 365-day basis to conduct an examination on the previous shift.

The second proposed rule would further delay the effective date of the final rule. The proposed extension would offer additional time for MSHA to provide stakeholders training and compliance assistance.
MSHA will hold four public hearings on the proposed rule. Each hearing will begin at 9:00 a.m. local time.

For full information see the MSHA website



Safety News > Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines Proposed Rules

Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines Proposed Rules

Delay of Effective Date; and Limited Reopening of the Rulemaking Record; Notice of Public Hearings; Close of Comment Period

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On September 12, 2017, MSHA will publish two proposed rules in the Federal Register to amend the Agency’s Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines final rule (82 FR 7680). Both proposed rules will be available for viewing on September 11, 2017, at 8:45 a.m. at the Office of the Federal Register, Public Inspection Desk.

The first proposed rule would make limited changes to the Agency’s final rule. These proposed changes seek to provide mine operators additional flexibility in managing their safety and health programs and reduce regulatory burdens without reducing protections afforded miners.

The second proposed rule would further delay the effective date of the final rule to ensure that the mining community can be provided the training and compliance assistance needed before the final rule becomes effective.

Comments on the proposed extension must be received by midnight Daylight Saving Time on September 26, 2017.

Safety News > MSHA Leadership Position Announcements from the PCA

MSHA Leadership Position Announcements from the PCA

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On August 21st, Secretary Alexander Acosta appointed his former chief of staff, Capitol Hill veteran Wayne Palmer, as acting Assistant Secretary of Mine Safety and Health. Palmer’s replacement at the Department of Labor, Nicholas Geale (who is also the Department’s acting Solicitor), stated that Palmer is from Pennsylvania and has “mining in his family’s background.” Palmer’s political experience includes working for Senators Rick Santorum (R-PA) and George Voinovich (R-OH), as well as lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry.

Department of Labor spokesman Eric Holland said Acosta "is confident that Mr. Palmer's abilities and government experience will complement the eventual nominee's deep industry expertise. In the meantime, Mr. Palmer will collaborate with senior career staff, who bring decades of experience to the table, on immediate priorities to improve the safety and health conditions for all American miners."

Then on Saturday (September 2nd), the White House announced that President Trump would be nominating David Zatezalo to run the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Mr. Zatezalo was previously the CEO of Rhino Resources, a Kentucky-based coal company. The administration noted his looming nomination along with more than three dozen others in a Labor Day weekend press release. According to a biography released by the White House, Zatezalo started out as a miner in 1974, then worked as a mine foreman before becoming an executive. He received a degree in Mining Engineering from West Virginia University and an MBA from Ohio University.

Over his career, Mr. Zatezalo worked for Consolidation Coal Company, Southern Ohio Coal Company, and Windsor Coal Company. Most recently, between 2007 and 2014, Zatezalo served in a number of roles at Rhino Resources, including as its COO, president and CEO. He is the past chairman of the Ohio Coal Association and a member of Mine Rescue Veterans of Pittsburgh.Several insiders have noted that the confirmation process for Mr. Zatezalo could take months to complete.



Safety News > National Mine Rescue Contest to Test Mine Emergency Response Skills

National Mine Rescue Contest to Test Mine Emergency Response Skills

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BECKLEY, WV – More than 60 teams representing coal mines around the country will participate in the 2017 National Mine Rescue, First Aid, Bench, and Preshift Competition

WHO: Mine Safety and Health Administration
Holmes Mine Rescue Association

WHAT: 2017 National Mine Rescue, First Aid, Bench, and Preshift Competition
WHEN: Monday, Sept. 11: Bench and first aid competitions
Tuesday, Sept. 12: Mine rescue team field competition
Wednesday, Sept. 13: Mine rescue team field competition
Thursday, Sept. 14: Preshift competition

Each day’s event starts at 8:00 a.m. EDT.

WHERE: National Mine Health and Safety Academy
1301 Airport Rd.
Beckley, WV 25813-9426
Safety News > OSHA Proposes Extension to Compliance Deadline for Crane Operator Certification Requirements

OSHA Proposes Extension to Compliance Deadline for Crane Operator Certification Requirements

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OSHA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to extend the employer’s responsibility to ensure crane operator competency and enforcement for crane operator certification to Nov. 10, 2018. OSHA proposed a delay of the enforcement date to address stakeholder concerns over the operator certification requirements in the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard. Comments may be submitted by Sept. 29 either electronically, at www.regulations.gov, or by facsimile or mail. See the Federal Register notice for submission details and more information.

Safety News > Transportation Newsletter - September 2017

Transportation Newsletter - September 2017

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Transportation Newsletter - September 2017

Safety News > ADOT alerts trucking companies to possible scam by individual impersonating police officer

ADOT alerts trucking companies to possible scam by individual impersonating police officer

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Call ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division if you observe suspicious behavior PHOENIX – Trucking companies should be on alert for an individual impersonating an Arizona Department of Transportation Enforcement and Compliance Division officer. Earlier this month, a man identifying himself as an officer with ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division contacted a Mesa-based trucking company saying one of its trucks was damaged in a crash and that the company needed to send payment for a mechanic called out to make repairs. Inconsistencies in the suspect’s story led the company’s operations manager to suspect a scam. Trucking companies should be aware of the following if contacted by someone identifying himself or herself as an ADOT Enforcement and Compliance Division officer:

  • While ADOT officers assist state troopers and local police agencies with commercial vehicle safety inspections, they don’t investigate crashes or typical traffic incidents.
  • ADOT officers will assist drivers who have been involved in crashes or have mechanical problems but will never unilaterally call mechanics and hold trucks until payment is made.
  • ADOT officers may call for heavy-duty tow trucks, but this would be discussed beforehand with the trucking company.
  • An ADOT officer will give a trucking company his or her name, badge number, location and contact information. The officer will also provide the truck number and driver’s name. Typically, the officer will have the driver speak with his or her company.
If a trucking company has suspicions, the owner or manager can call the ADOT Enforcement and Compliance Division dispatch center at 602.712.8396.
Safety News > CVSA Prepares for December 2017 ELD Implementation; Announces April 1, 2018, Effective Date for Out-of-Service Criteria Related to ELD Rule

CVSA Prepares for December 2017 ELD Implementation; Announces April 1, 2018, Effective Date for Out-of-Service Criteria Related to ELD Rule

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Commercial Vehicle Safety
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will begin enforcing the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate requirements on Dec. 18, 2017. The out-of-service criteria (OOSC) associated with the ELD mandate will go into effect on April 1, 2018.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) congressionally mandated ELD compliance deadline is still set for Dec. 18, 2017. On that date, inspectors and roadside enforcement personnel will begin documenting violations on roadside inspection reports and, at the jurisdiction’s discretion, will issue citations to commercial motor vehicle drivers operating vehicles without a compliant ELD. Beginning April 1, 2018, inspectors will start placing commercial motor vehicle drivers out of service if their vehicle is not equipped with the required device. Please note, a motor carrier may continue to use a grandfathered automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD) no later than Dec. 16, 2019. The AOBRD must meet the requirements of 49 C.F.R. 395.15.

This announcement does not impact enforcement of the OOSC for other hours-of-service violations.

CVSA supports moving forward with the compliance date as specified in the rule. However, setting an April 1, 2018, effective date for applying the ELD OOSC will provide the motor carrier industry, shippers and the roadside enforcement community with time to adjust to the new requirement before vehicles are placed out of service for ELD violations.

CVSA member jurisdictions have used this phased-in approach in the past when implementing a significant change in regulatory requirements. The CVSA Board of Directors, in consultation with FMCSA and the motor carrier industry, agreed that the phased-in approach to implementation of the ELD requirements outlined in the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria will help promote a smoother transition to the new ELD requirement.

A letter was sent to FMCSA notifying the agency of CVSA’s commitment to implementing the new requirement, as scheduled, on Dec. 18, 2017, and noting the April 1, 2018, effective date for applying the ELD OOSC.

For more information about the ELD rule, visit FMCSA's ELD implementation website.

Safety News > It's Official: ASSE to Become American Society of Safety Professionals

It's Official: ASSE to Become American Society of Safety Professionals

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Following the outcome of a historic membership vote, ASSE will become the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) next year when it launches a redesigned website in conjunction with Safety 2018. ASSE's logo will undergo small adjustments to reflect the new ASSP acronym as well.

Over a 45-day period that ended Aug. 13, ASSE members cast votes on the proposed name, which was approved by the House of Delegates during its annual meeting in June. The final tally found 74% of members (3,651) in favor of the change. Fourteen percent of eligible members cast ballots, surpassing the minimum voting requirement of 1%.

“Our members have clearly voiced that the American Society of Safety Professionals better reflects our diverse membership,” says ASSE President Jim Smith, M.S., CSP. “Engineers made up our entire membership when we were formed, but today the occupational safety and health profession encompasses many disciplines."

Research conducted in 2016 with ASSE members, customers and stakeholders across the globe indicated that an updated brand with a clearer vision would better reflect the organization’s current membership and position it for growth. The study also found that a new name would help eliminate confusion about who could join the Society.

“Our members have always decided who we are and what we’re all about,” Smith said. “This latest vote was part of an objective process that has made us a strong organization for more than 100 years.”

ASSE’s logo will undergo small adjustments that correspond with its name change. The green shield will continue to display the organization’s acronym in gold letters within the four angles of a gold cross, but the “E” will be changed to “P.”

The organization will continue to be called ASSE until early June 2018 when it debuts a new website and makes the conversion to its new name in alignment with Safety 2018, slated for June 3-6 in San Antonio, TX.

“Workplace safety is constantly evolving, so our society must adjust as well to remain strong and relevant while growing our profession,” Smith says. “Our profession includes more occupations and industries than ever before. Our members are knowledgeable about everything from risk assessment and hazard control to workers’ compensation and organizational management, not to mention the more traditional aspects of safety management and engineering.”

Safety News > "Anti-Restart" Switches Required on Some Machinery

"Anti-Restart" Switches Required on Some Machinery

Do your machinery start buttons meets OSHA requirements?

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It’s not uncommon to hear people cheer when the lights and air conditioning automatically come back on when power gets restored after an extended power outage. But there is also a real hazard created if certain equipment, such as saws (e.g.: band saws, table saws, radial saws . . .), sanders (belt and disc), drill presses, and mechanical power presses were to automatically restart after a power failure. This is because someone working or passing through the area might not be aware the equipment has restarted, creating the potential for unintended contact with a turning saw blade, drill bit, or sanding belt, or the unintentional activation of a press cycle. In addition, material that was being worked on when power went out might still be in place when it restarts, possibly causing it to be flung through the air, or jamming at the point of operation on the equipment.

While it may be thought that just the sound being generated by the running equipment would make a person nearby aware that the equipment is running again, this is not always the case; some types of equipment are relatively quiet when running under no load, plus the ambient noise created by other activities and equipment in the area could easily drown out the noise produced by the restarted equipment. So Federal OSHA has a couple of regulations that address this particular hazard, most specifically in their standards for woodworking equipment and for mechanical power presses.

The Federal OSHA woodworking equipment standard for general industry found at 29 CFR 1910.213(b)(13) says "On applications where injury to the operator might result if motors were to restart after power failures, provision shall be made to prevent machines from automatically restarting upon restoration of power." This can be achieved by using woodworking equipment that is manufactured or equipped with a magnetic start switch or similar protective starter switch, sometimes referred to as an anti-restart switch, safety restart switch, or a starter switch with “drop out” protection.

How can you determine if a specific piece of equipment is provided with a functioning safety start switch? When I conduct mock-OSHA inspections, I simply unplug a piece of equipment while it is running (under no load), or I turn off power to the equipment at its main electrical cut-off switch or breaker, and then let it come to a complete stop. Then I restore power to the equipment by plugging it back in, or by turning it back on at the main cutoff switch or breaker (I always use a second person to assist me by having them watch to make certain no one inadvertently gets too close to the machine during testing). If the piece of equipment automatically restarts when I restore the power, then it does not have the required anti-start switch (or the anti-start switch is not functioning properly - they do wear out or malfunction sometimes). But if the equipment does not restart when I restore power at the plug, main cutoff switch, or breaker, and will only run after activating the equipment’s primary start button or switch, then it does have the required anti-restart protection.

The OSHA standard applicable to mechanical power presses, which requires the same basic type of protection, is found at 29 CFR 1910.217(b)(8)(iii). In addition, paragraph 29 CFR 1926.304(f) of the OSHA construction standards for woodworking tools mandates that “All woodworking tools and machinery shall meet other applicable requirements of American National Standards Institute, 01.1-1961, Safety Code for Woodworking Machinery”; and that ANSI standard also requires anti-restart switches for the same types of equipment.

But what about equipment not used for woodworking? For example, a band saw being used for cutting steel rods instead of wood? Or a drill press used to drill holes in pieces of angle iron as opposed to a piece of wood? Although the hazard is basically the same, the OSHA standards do not specifically require anti-start switches for equipment used to cut metal and other materials. However, OSHA did publish a letter of interpretation regarding this subject. In that letter, OSHA explains that the agency would refer to any applicable listing requirements for the equipment issued by Nationally Recognized Laboratories (such as Underwriters Laboratories), and where warranted enforce the use of anti-restart switches via 1910.303(b)(2) (listed or labeled equipment shall be installed and used in accordance with any instructions included in the listing or labeling). OSHA could also refer to applicable ANSI standards for specific types of equipment and, if they require a safety switch, the agency might cite the employer under the General Duty clause of The OSH Act of 1970 (employers must protect workers from recognized hazards). OSHA could also issue a citation under the General Duty Clause if it was determined that a safety switch originally installed by an equipment manufacturer was later removed or bypassed by the employer, or was not maintained in a functioning state.

So what options do employers have if they determine their equipment does not have a properly functioning anti-start up switch? Equipment manufacturers and their vendors may have replacement safety startup switches that could be installed by a qualified electrician. There are also after-market devices available in different configurations that can be plugged into, or wired in lieu of, power cords for equipment (again, by a qualified electrician), such as those marketed by JDS Products (www.jdsproducts.com) and other companies.


Amputations are a prevalent problem for operators of woodworking equipment, and not being aware that a piece of equipment has automatically restarted after a power interruption a contributing cause. Therefore, I will close by urging you to take an inventory of woodworking (and similar) equipment to determine if each piece is equipped with a properly-functioning anti-start switch, and installing one / repairing any that do not. And please add safety starter switches to your site or equipment safety inspection checklists if not already on there. Your actions could possibly save an employee, and you, from suffering a lot of grief, pain and misery.


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