Creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other

Creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other

Respirable Mine Dust Partnership Meeting

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) invite mining, public health and medical stakeholders to an inaugural meeting of the Respirable Mine Dust Partnership on February 5, 2020.

The Partnership will address exposures to a broad range of respirable hazards, including respirable crystalline silica (quartz).

Some of the goals for this partnership include:

  • Reviewing existing literature and scientific studies regarding quartz exposure among miners;
  • Providing recommendations addressing shortcomings in the data; and
  • Identifying easily achievable recommendations that will have near-term benefits to reduce miners’ exposure to quartz and other respirable hazards.

This meeting will be held at the MSHA Headquarters : 201 12th St S Arlington, VA 22202-5452 –  7th Floor West Conference Rooms

via WebEx or phone. Find details in the events section on MSHA’s website.

With the OSHA Silica Standard passed in 2018 and the new wave of black lung disease its no surprise MSHA is taking up this issue in 2020. Respirable dust poses a real risk to miners, dirt movers, concrete cutters among other workers. If MSHA were to follow OSHA’s lead, new requirements could include specific safety programs, required training, mandatory sampling and medical evaluations.

The risks are real but the solutions exist. With the proper work methods, training, and protective equipment we can keep our people safe.

We have already started to see the effect of the increased attention on this issue. Mine operators are looking more closely at themselves and their contractors to be sure we are all aware of risk and implementing the appropriate control strategies.

McCraren Compliance offers training on Silica. We can write the appropriate safety programs. When respirators are called for, we can support you with the right programs and training. We even provide respirator fit testing (qualitative).

Get ahead of the regulators and more importantly be sure you are keeping your people safe from this serious illness.  Contact us to find out more.

Miracles of Mining – Please Share

The Southern Arizona Business Coalition (SABC) is producing a series of short videos to help education the general public on the importance of mining to just about everyone, everywhere. There is an old saying that if it isn’t grown, its mined. For those of us in the industry we understand the scope of this statement. But for those outside of the industry these words often lack the same power. SABC is working to change this reality by raising awareness on just how dependent on mining we all are. Just about every areas of our modern lives depend on the vast variety of mineral resources provided by the earth.

McCraren Compliance is a proud member of the mining community. Many of us have a family history going back decades with opportunities provided by the mining industry as the path bringing our families to Arizona. As people with a passion for the well being of others, we have closely watched the evolution of the mining industry and its standards for safety. Mining has surpassed many industries holding some of the highest standards for safety. Many of the leading operators continue to raise those standards well above what the law requires.

Mining creates strong communities and often exists in parts of the country where without the mine there would be no community. Mining offers good paying jobs and provides opportunities for skill development. It provides challenging careers in engineering, always searching for new ways to improve processes while lowering risks to its people, the public and the environment. Mining employs geologist, hydrologist and environmental scientist to ensure we mine responsibly and with minimal impact.

Before an operation can even begin they already have a government approved plan for how they will return the land back to nature once their operations are complete.

Please considering sharing this video to spread the Miracles of Mining.

Department of Labor Increases Fines for Workplace Health and Safety Violations

The Department of Labor has increased civil penalty amounts for violations to adjust for inflation, effective Jan. 15.

The increase is 1.01764% for DOL agencies, including OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration, according to a final rule published in the Jan. 15 Federal Register.

For OSHA, the maximum penalty for “willful” or “repeat” violations is $134,937 – up from $132,598. The minimum fine for a willful violation is $9,639. The maximum fines for serious, other-than-serious, failure-to-correct and posting-requirement violations increase to $13,494 from $13,260.

MSHA’s maximum penalty for a “flagrant” violation increases to $270,972 from $266,275.

Under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, DOL is required to adjust civil penalty levels for inflation by Jan. 15 each year. DOL determines yearly adjustment rates via the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers.

On November 2, 2015, the President signed into law the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.  This law requires the Department to annually adjust its civil monetary penalty levels for inflation no later than January 15 of each year.

While avoiding fines and penalties are important for profitable operations and a good reputation, the true goal is always the overall well being of the workers themselves. The best way to protect your company from being impacted by rising penalties is implementing and maintaining solid health and safety programs. McCraren Compliance offers comprehensive support from manuals and programs to audits and inspections and the training which ensures your company receives the full value offered by these tools.

We can help you ensure safety standards are met out in the field as well. Add one of our safety experts to your project team. We can staff projects of all sizes and duration; filling in for safety during a vacation or illness, supplementing an established team, or providing all safety resources from start to finish. Contact us today to find out more.

FMCSA Announces Final Rulemaking for 2020 UCR Fees 2020 Registration Period to Open Soon

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced on its website fees for the 2020 Unified Carrier Registration Plan (UCR):

PLEASE NOTE:  UCR fees for the 2020 registration period will only become effective upon publication in the Federal Register.  We expect this to occur within the next few days.  Of course, UCR will make a new announcement when the 2020 fees are officially published in the Federal Register.

UCR Registration at

The UCR National Registration System ( will be ready to handle registrations when the final rulemaking is published.  For support or questions, call 1-833-UCR-PLAN or send an email to

Recommended Enforcement Timing

State enforcement of the UCR registration requirements commonly begins January 1.  But since the opening of the 2020 registration period was delayed several months, UCR is requesting states delay enforcement until May 1, 2020.

National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2018

In case you missed the December 2019 News Release, The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there were 5,250 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2018. This represents a 2% increase from the 2017 count of 5,147. Although the total number of fatalities increased the rate per 100,000 Full Time Equivalent Workers remained static at 3.5.

Summary data from the report reflects many of the recurring topics we hear in the news and across social media including unintentional overdoses, workplace violence and suicide in addition to some of the recurring challenges we face year after year like transportation related and fatal falls, slips, and trips.

  • Transportation incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal event at 2,080, accounting for 40
    percent of all work-related fatalities. (See chart 3 and table 2.)
  • Incidents involving contact with objects and equipment increased 13 percent (from 695 to 786), driven
    by a 39 percent increase in workers caught in running equipment or machinery and a 17 percent increase
    in workers struck by falling objects or equipment.
  • Unintentional overdoses due to non-medical use of drugs or alcohol while at work increased 12 percent
    from 272 to 305. This is the sixth consecutive annual increase.
  • Violence and other injuries by persons or animals increased 3 percent in 2018, due to an 11 percent
    increase in work-related suicides from 275 to 304.
  • Fatal falls, slips, and trips decreased 11 percent to 791, after reaching a series high of 887 in 2017. This
    decline was due to a 14 percent drop in falls to a lower level (713 to 615), the lowest total since 2013.

The Construction Industry reported the highest number of fatalities across all industries at 1,008 and the third highest rate (9.5) following Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting (rate 23.4 count 574) and Transportation and Warehousing (rate 14.0 count 874) compared to rate across all industries of 3.5 per 100,000 Full Time Equivalent Workers.


You can access the full report on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

Within the mining industries, which has already reported its fatality data for 2019, the number of fatals dropped to 23 in 2019 from 28 in 2018. The total number of fatalities in 2017 were also 28.  Current information on fatalities and serious injuries can be found at



Corrections to Standards

OSHA issued corrects to General Industry Standards 1910 – Subpart D Walking-Working Surfaces, Personal Protective Equipment, and Special Industries standards, Including:

Ladders 1910.23(d)(4) requires employers to ensure that the side rails of through or side-step ladders extend at least 42 inches above the top of the access level or landing platform served by the ladder. Prior to the correction 42 inches was listed as an exact measurement

Stairways 1910.25(a) clarifying that all articulated stairs used in general industry, not just those serving floating roof tanks, remain excluded from coverage by § 1910.25. Prior to the correction, only floating roof tank stairways were excluded from this standard

Personal Fall Arrest Systems 1910.140(c)(8) requires snaphooks, carabiners, and D-rings (and other hardware) to be proof tested to 3,600 pounds (ANSI/ASSE Z359.12-2009, section and requires the gate of snaphooks and carabiners to be capable of withstanding a minimum load of 3,600 pounds without the gate separating from the nose of the snaphook or carabiner body by more than 0.125 inches (ANSI/ASSE Z359.12-2009, section  Prior to the correction, the latter part of the requirement was out of alignment with the ANSI standard.

Visit the Federal Register for more details on the changes.

OSHA determined that this rulemaking is not subject to the procedures for public notice and comment specified in Section 4 of the Administrative Procedures Act (5 U.S.C. 553), Section 6(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 655(b)), and 29 CFR 1911.5. This rulemaking only corrects typographical, formatting, and clerical errors, and provides more information about the requirements of some provisions. As it does not affect or change any existing rights or obligations, no stakeholder is likely to object to these corrections. Therefore, the agency finds good cause that public notice and comment are unnecessary within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B), 29 U.S.C. 655(b), and 29 CFR 1911.5.

To ensure your team is up to date on OSHA standards and industry best practices, sign up for training at McCraren Compliance today. Remember if you need a class you don’t see listed, just ask us.



New Study Makes the Case for Training on Common Mental Health Disroders

According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, managers who are trained in common mental disorders, such as stress, anxiety and depression are up to 84% more likely to take managerial preventative actions in order assist an employee in the workplace.

Of the study participants who received training such as stress counseling or lectures on Mental Health topics, 50% reported taking preventative action and 57% reporting having talks with employees as a means of prevention.

Other factors influencing managerial preventative actions were gender, if the employer offered stress counseling, being responsible for the work environment, and more than 10 years of managerial experience.

This study seems to show the importance of reducing stigma associated with metal health common in the workplace. Simple things like awareness training, promotion of Employee Assistance Programs, identifying tasks and activities prone to stress help to normalize mental illness and therefore open up the workplace to preventative actions. These actions would in turn reduce the unwanted effects both in the workplace and beyond.

To see the findings as summarized by the National Safety Council, click Here or Here to access the full study.

McCraren Compliance offers Suicide Prevention in the Workplace Training utilizing curriculum though Working Minds and University of Colorado. Call or contact us to find out more.

FMCSA Increases Random Drug Test Rate to 50% for 2020

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is increasing the minimum annual percentage rate for random controlled substances testing for truck drivers.

According to a document published in the Federal Register on Dec. 27, the agency is increasing the minimum annual percentage rate for random drug testing from 25% of the average number of driver positions to 50% of the average number of driver positions. This change will take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

For reference, FMCSA estimates there are 3.2 million commercial driver license holders participating in interstate commerce and 1 million CDL holders participating in intrastate commerce. Under the annual random testing rate of 25% of all driving positions, this meant at least 1.05 million random controlled substances tests were to be conducted. With a new annual random testing rate of 50%, approximately 2.1 million random tests will need to be conducted in 2020.