Luke AFB Flyover this Friday

Luke Air Force Base, Arizona will be doing a fly over to  honor Arizona’s front line COVID-19 responders this Friday May 1, 2020.  The flyover will include aircraft from the 56th Fighter Wing and the 944th Fighter Wing, along with the Arizona Air National Guard 161st Air Refueling Wing.

A formation of 15 aircraft, including seven F-35A Lightning IIs and seven F-16 Fighting Falcons flying out of Luke Air Force Base and one KC-135 from the 161st ARW will begin the flyover at approximately 3:10 p.m. MST and will last 50 minutes. DETAILS HERE

Thanks to all of the service men and women of the 56th, 944th and 161st!

‘No two roofs are basically alike’: CPWR hosts webinar on fall protection

Photo: nycshooter/iStockphoto

Silver Spring, MD — Roofers face an increased risk of fatal falls to a lower level compared with other construction subgroups, making fall protection strategies a vital component of roof work planning and training.

That was the message of an April 16 webinar hosted by CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training in conjunction with the National Roofing Contractors Association.

Multiple NRCA officials spotlighted basics of fall prevention and protection. “Of course, the challenge with roofing is that no two roofs are basically alike,” said Thomas Shanahan, the association’s vice president of enterprise risk management and executive education. “It’s a very dynamic versus static workplace, so it’s always changing, and so we have to be ever mindful of what are our options – what are the things we can be doing to protect workers so we plan for that.”

According to CPWR research released in 2019, although roofers experienced fewer fatal falls in 2017, the rate of fatal falls within the subgroup stood at 35.9 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers – more than 10 times greater than the rate of all construction occupations combined.

The speakers highlighted the National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction – a joint effort of NIOSH, OSHA and CPWR – which offers three core steps to preventing falls:

  • Plan ahead to get the job done safely
  • Provide the right equipment
  • Train everyone to use the equipment safely

In the event of a fall, Rich Trewyn, director of enterprise risk management at NRCA, said the two basic elements of rescue are delaying orthostatic shock while suspended, also known as suspension trauma, and bringing the fallen worker to a support surface such as the ground or roof. Carefully handle the fallen worker to ensure he or she is in a comfortable position, and call 911.

“All of this rescue portion is all about preplanning, and planning for an event that really isn’t going to be easy to plan for,” Trewyn said. “But it’s something that we can do, it’s something that we can practice for and make sure that we’re training our employees in the proper way.”

In the introduction to the webinar, Scott Ketcham, director of OSHA’s Directorate of Construction, discussed the agency’s efforts to mitigate “Construction Focus Four” hazards: caught-in or caught-between incidents, electrocution, falls, and struck-by incidents.

Citing data from the OSHA Information System database, Ketcham also displayed the agency’s “Top 10” list of most cited standards for construction for fiscal year 2019, noting that six involved an element of fall protection. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501) topped the list with 6,881 violations, while Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503) ranked fourth with 2,015.

With OSHA recently deciding to postpone the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Ketcham gave updates on other planned outreach events in which the agency is involved. The Heat Illness Prevention campaign is on for the spring and summer; the Trench Safety Stand-Down remains “tentatively” scheduled for June 15-19; and Safe + Sound Week, slated for Aug. 10-16, is set to proceed as scheduled.

‘Birds of Prey’: New safety video for tower workers


Photo: Carol Hamilton/iStockphoto

Watertown, SD — A new video from NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association highlights the importance of hazard and environmental awareness among tower technicians who might encounter birds of prey nesting on communications towers.

Birds such as eagles, ospreys, ravens and crows roost in more than 7,500 towers across the United States. Raptor ecology expert Marco Restani, who offers insight throughout the four-minute video, calls the “best-case scenario” one in which the tower owner or carrier already has informed workers that a nest exists, allowing them to plan accordingly.

If that isn’t the case, video host Ryan Van Duzer, a travel video journalist, advises workers to consult an avian biologist to help identify the species and develop a site-specific plan before beginning work.

Restani recommends workers be aware of the basics of two pieces of federal legislation likely to influence their procedure. The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940 prohibits workers from ascending towers with eagles’ nests without a permit. Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, workers can operate on towers with nests “as long as they don’t disrupt on purpose the eggs, the young or the adults.”

Further, workers should be mindful that state laws may be more stringent than federal laws. Among species commonly encountered on towers, great horned owls are “by far the most dangerous birds to climbers,” says Restani, who recommends not working where these birds are nesting. Red-tailed hawks are the next most dangerous, and Restani says he “generally wouldn’t worry too much about” attacks from ospreys or eagles.

“Like always, there are differences between individuals, and so you should always keep an eye out when you’re climbing a tower,” Restani says.

Climbers should remember to remain tied off at all times, being mindful that birds typically approach from behind and target a climber’s head or shoulders. The strike of some larger birds can knock the victim unconscious.

Additional guidance:

  • Work in teams of two, with one worker acting as the spotter while the other ascends the tower.
  • If attacked, take shelter where available. Put your head in a covered place or move behind an antenna mount.
  • Birds may still attack once you have reached the top of the tower. Climb with a long object such as an umbrella or large stick to protect yourself and deflect birds away as they approach.

The video is the latest in NATE’s Climber Connection series, which promotes safe work practices for communication tower workers. The association asks climbers and other industry stakeholders to use the hashtag #ClimberConnection when posting the video on social media platforms.

ADOT extends raised truck weight limits for delivery of essentials

Eased limits for loads with critical supplies continuing through May

Truck at port of entry

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Transportation has extended higher weight limits for commercial trucks hauling critical supplies and goods that Arizona communities are relying on during the current public health situation.

Coordinating with Governor Ducey, ADOT in early April raised the gross weight limit for commercial vehicles to 90,000 pounds without the need for an overweight permit, up from the normal 80,000 pounds. That temporary measure, set to expire on April 30, has now been extended to the end of May.

“These temporary rules are helping ensure Arizona’s groceries, pharmacies and medical providers remain adequately supplied,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said.

The temporary weight limits apply to commercial vehicles that are providing direct assistance to COVID-19 relief efforts as outlined in a federal emergency declaration issued in March. This includes, among other essential items, medical supplies related to the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19, supplies necessary for community safety and preventing the spread of COVID-19, and food and household items for emergency restocking of stores.

ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division officers have implemented the new weight protocol at commercial ports of entry. Commercial vehicles will continue to be required to comply with state and federal regulations, and officers will continue to conduct safety inspections and issue permits as needed.

Ports of entry at state lines and international borders remain open and staffed by ADOT officers and other staff to screen commercial vehicles to ensure the safe flow of commodities and supplies while supporting federal guidelines to keep America’s commerce moving.

For information on other steps ADOT has taken to support Arizonans during the current public health situation, please visit

For the latest updates on COVID-19 in Arizona, please visit For resources and information about Arizona’s response to COVID-19, please visit

Workers’ Memorial Day: ‘This year, our hearts are especially heavy’


Photo: inga/iStockphoto

Washington — This year’s Workers’ Memorial Day, marked on April 28 each year to honor those who have lost their lives on the job, served as a poignant reminder of the ultimate sacrifice made by the many workers providing essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Centers for Disease Control (and Prevention) reports that more than 22,000 health care workers have been infected with COVID-19 and more than 70 have died,” Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, said in a press release. “Meanwhile, thousands of workers in meat processing plants, grocery stores, prisons, nursing homes, postal facilities and other workplaces (are) falling ill and even dying.”

The Department of Labor issued a joint statement from Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia and acting OSHA administrator Loren Sweatt: “As we memorialize workers who have lost their lives, we are mindful of the U.S. Department of Labor’s important role in working with employers and workers to create a national culture of safety. We are dedicated to working diligently every day to keep American workers safe and healthy on the job.”

In lieu of traditional events to mark the day, the AFL-CIO called for a virtual candlelight vigil and recommended the use of online resources and social media to push for “stronger safety and health protections.” The labor federation’s president, Richard Trumka, also sent a letter to Scalia, calling for emergency temporary standards “to protect health care workers, first responders, essential workers and other workers returning to work from COVID-19 exposure and infection.” The letter includes a list of members who, the federation claims, died of COVID-19.

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries canceled its in-person events at its headquarters and around the state, and encouraged all workplaces to participant in a moment of silence.

“We had no choice but to cancel this year’s ceremony,” Washington L&I Director Joel Sacks said a press release, “but it doesn’t diminish the importance of remembering fallen workers and continuing our efforts to reduce to zero the number of people who die in connection with their job.”

National Safety Council President and CEO Lorraine M. Martin urged business leaders to “commit to do more to protect the workers of tomorrow.” This includes ensuring protections for workers already on the job and those returning as the pandemic wanes. To help in this effort, NSC has launched SAFER: Safe Actions for Employee Returns, a nationwide task force that brings together Fortune 500 companies, safety organizations and public health experts.

“Every year on April 28 we observe Workers’ Memorial Day to remember and honor those who lost their lives on the job,” Martin said. “This year, our hearts are especially heavy as the safety of so many loved ones working on the front lines is impacted by this pandemic. I am calling on my fellow business leaders across the country to ask what more we can do to make sure our workers get home safely at the end of the day.

“We need to keep our workers safe today so we can have a healthy workforce when it comes time to return to our usual work environments and routines.”

Fatal workplace injuries totaled 5,250 in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the highest total since 2007, when 5,657 workplace deaths were recorded.

The next wave? NSC webinar explores worker mental health during and after COVID-19 pandemic


Photo: jamesjames2541/iStockphoto

Itasca, IL — The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed how work gets done. Take for example Loveland, CO-based Nutrien, which transitioned one-fourth of its 24,000-person workforce to remote work in early March.

For the affected employees of the agricultural crop inputs and services provider, and the millions of others in organizations like it, adjusting to the “new normal” has not always been easy. This is why, in part, helping employees with mental health concerns related to the pandemic should be an important aspect of every employer’s response, John Horne, vice president of safety and health at Nutrien, said during an April 14 webinar hosted by the National Safety Council. Read More»

Are You Registered for the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse?

Those subject to the Clearinghouse final rule must now access the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse to fulfill the requirements listed in 382.701.

Learn more about how employers, including owner-operators, are required to use the Clearinghouse:

If you have not yet done so, register for the Clearinghouse so you can meet your querying and reporting requirements. (If you have an FMCSA Portal account, ensure you have the correct Portal user role in place. If you are experiencing issues creating or accessing your Portal account, contact 1-800-832-5660.)

ADOT offering virtual training to truck drivers in Mexico

Webinars help officers continue promoting commerce during pandemic

BLU Webinar Presentation

PHOENIX – An Arizona Department of Transportation program that helps truck drivers in Mexico better understand and prepare for safety inspections at the border is using technology to provide virtual training during the current public health situation.

The goal of this training offered by ADOT’s Border Liaison Unit is reducing commercial vehicle wait times at the international border by cutting down on safety problems and other issues that truck drivers must address before leaving commercial ports of entry. That helps make Arizona’s ports more appealing places for trucks to enter the U.S.

Part of ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division, which operates commercial ports of entry, the Border Liaison Unit offered its first training by webinar recently for 30 trucking companies from the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California. More sessions are planned.

“The webinar was a huge success,” said Officer Frank Cordova of the Border Liaison Unit. “We’re looking to make webinar-based workshops a staple of the training we provide, as it allows us to reach even further into Mexico and the U.S. to continue educating the commercial industry.”

The Border Liaison Unit saw an increase in inquiries from Mexican truckers regarding current emergency restrictions and exemptions for commercial vehicles due to COVID-19. Future sessions will cover safety training previously conducted in person such as electronic log books and critical items officers look for in inspections.

That assistance complements International Border Inspection Qualification training that ADOT has offered in person since 2016. Drivers certified through that program are able to share questions and pictures of their vehicles via WhatsApp and communicate with ADOT officers about potential safety issues before driving to the border.

Meeting this demand with a webinar helps ADOT officers and commercial truck drivers observe social distancing. Longer-term, offering virtual instruction reduces travel expenses.

“I’m very proud of this unit for finding ways to continue to work with our local and international partners in the trucking industry,” Cordova said. “Even a pandemic won’t keep us from doing the job we’re passionate about.”

Driver License Renewal Extensions Implemented

By Executive Order of Governor Doug Ducey the following extensions are in place:

  • Driver License renewal requirements are extended six months from the expiration date for all Arizona driver licenses and driving permits that expire between March 1, 2020 and September 1, 2020.

    For example, if a driver license expires on March 20, 2020, the new expiration date will be September 20, 2020.

  • Requirements to submit a medical clearance card for a commercial driver license are extended until September 1, 2020.

These deferred dates will be reflected on motor vehicle records for impacted people.

Customers do not need to obtain a duplicate credential. Your current driver license or ID card will be accepted by law enforcement and other government agencies under this Executive Order. If desired, customers may obtain a duplicate driver license or ID on that will show the new expiration date. Duplicate credentials may not be ordered in an MVD office; however Authorized Third Party services may be available.

The extensions are designed for customer convenience and to limit in-person visits to motor vehicle offices.