New method of detecting combustible dust uses real-time imaging

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Purdue innovators have created technology to help prevent dust explosions. Photo: Kingsly Ambrose, Purdue University

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

West Lafayette, IN — Using newly developed algorithms, researchers from Purdue University have designed an image- and video-based application to detect combustible dust concentrations suspended in the air.

The application, which the researchers say can be used in agricultural, powder-handling or manufacturing settings, involves capturing images of a suspended dust cloud and then analyzing the light extinction coefficient. In testing, the algorithm was able to recognize 95% of sawdust and 93% of cornstarch particulates in the air, a university press release states, adding that the application was able to distinguish suspended dust from “normal background noise.”

Current technology for detecting dust levels can be expensive and difficult to install in workspaces, and separates dust matter into multiple filters that must be weighed and undergo additional analysis, according to the researchers. In contrast, the new application doesn’t require extended training, is location independent and doesn’t need to be permanently installed.

According to data from the Chemical Safety Board, between 2006 and 2017, 111 combustible dust incidents resulted in 66 worker deaths and 337 injuries in the United States.

“Determining suspended dust concentration allows employers to take appropriate safety measures before any location within the industry forms into an explosive atmosphere,” Kingsly Ambrose, an associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering, said in the release.

The research team, which has worked with the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization to patent the technology, said the application can be used effectively in open and confined spaces.

The study was published online July 21 in the Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

CVSA reacts to FMCSA rejection of personal conveyance petition

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Washington — The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is evaluating its next course of action after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Sept. 18 denied a CVSA petition requesting that the agency update its definition of personal conveyance and clarify a mileage limit.

A letter written by FMCSA acting administrator Wiley Deck and addressed to CVSA Executive Director Collin Mooney claims that the CVSA proposal lacks a “sufficient safety basis” to proceed with rulemaking that “would essentially propose arbitrary limits without any evidence of safety critical events avoided.”

CVSA filed the petition in May, after FMCSA announced a controversial final rule the agency claims adds flexibility to hours-of-service regulations. The rule went into effect Sept. 29.

“We understand the agency’s position on personal conveyance,” Mooney told Safety+Health, “but we still believe that it’s not addressed adequately.”

In June 2018, FMCSA issued guidance intended to clarify both the agricultural commodities exemption and the personal conveyance provision in HOS regulations.

According to the agency, personal conveyance – a driver’s movement of a commercial motor vehicle for personal use – is considered off-duty status and therefore does not affect HOS limitations.

However, CVSA contends in the petition that the guidance is “incomplete” without establishing a maximum distance and/or time a CMV operator can travel under the personal conveyance provision, stating that “a driver could, in theory, drive hundreds of miles over the course of several hours” under this designation, increasing the risk of driver fatigue and impacting roadway safety.

“Even though the agency says that setting a distance or time limit would be arbitrary, on the flip side of things, having things wide open for personal conveyance now is open-ended in itself, which is the whole point in the petition – why it’s creating issues,” Mooney said. “Because it gives the motor carrier industry and drivers an opportunity to hide hours under the premise of personal conveyance, which in fact is a falsification of the hours of service of the records of duty status. So, by providing that loophole, that gateway to camouflage or hide hours, we feel, is very problematic and jeopardizes highway safety.”

Deck writes that the guidance remains “an appropriate response to the issue, given the lack of research and data to support the adoption of specific restrictions.”

According to the guidance – which is effective until June 7, 2023 – other examples of personal conveyance include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Time spent traveling to restaurants and entertainment facilities from en route lodging, such as a motel or truck stop.
  • Commuting between the driver’s terminal and his or her residence, between trailer-drop lots and the driver’s residence, and between worksites and the driver’s residence.
  • Time spent traveling in a motorcoach without passengers to en route lodging, or to restaurants or entertainment facilities and back to the lodging.
  • Time spent transporting personal property while off duty.
  • Authorized CMV use to travel home after working at an offsite location.

McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

MSHA – Mine Fatality #18

MINE FATALITY – On October 9, 2020, a contractor was changing the nozzle on a hydroseeder and accidentally engaged the hydroseeder’s clutch while the nozzle was pointing towards him.  The material sprayed from the nozzle struck him, causing him to fall backward and strike his neck on the hydroseeder handrail.

accident scene where the material sprayed from the nozzle struck him, causing him to fall backward and strike his neck on the hydroseeder handrail.
Best Practices:
  • De-energize equipment while changing accessories until the equipment is ready to use and the operator is properly positioned.
  • Position yourself to avoid hazards resulting from a sudden release of energy.
  • Identify and apply methods to protect personnel from hazards associated with the work being performed. This includes all applicable personal protective equipment for identified hazards.
  • Establish and discuss safe work procedures before beginning work and ensure those procedures are followed.
Additional Information:

This is the 18th fatality reported in 2020 and the fifth classified as “Machinery.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

FAST Act Extended One Year — But ATM Members Tell Radio Newsmakers There Are Policy Miles to Go

First published by Americans for Transportation Mobility.

Due to a one-year continuation of the federal funding law for surface transportation, Americans can take a breather and know one crisis has been averted in one of the most difficult years in modern history.

Member organizations of the Americans for Transportation Mobility (ATM) Coalition took part in a recent national Radio Media Tour (RMT). They advocated a Congressional furtherance of the FAST (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation) Act, which was set to expire Sept. 30, but also a requisite for a longer-term federal investment plan to rebuild aging highways, bridges and public transit.

Interviews were held in the radio markets of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia, Washington and national affiliates.

ATM had joined with the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to request the extension. Passed by the House and Senate and signed by President Trump, the Continuing Resolution (CR) includes program funding and an additional $13.6 billion added to the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), among some other measures.

FAST Act Can’t Be the Last Act 

The extension is just one step in a steep policy climb, however. Transforming a decaying transportation system into a 21st-century model of technology and mobility will require boosted investment and a bipartisan understanding that waiting — which is costing the country and motorists billions of dollars annually — is more costly than the fix.

“We’ve just kind of taken a generation off as a nation from investing the way that we should and, as a result, there’s projects mounting,” Emily Feenstra, Managing Director of Government Relations & Infrastructure Initiatives for the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), told Ken Johannessen of the national “Conversation Collage Podcast” produced in Wenatchee, Wash.

“We don’t have the money to do the maintenance that we need and the repairs and the modernization that we need to be a world-class economy,” she added.

In the last World Economic Forum (WEF) ranking, America’s infrastructure dropped from ninth to 13th. And ASCE has identified a $2 trillion funding deficit by 2025 and graded the United States’ infrastructure a D+ in its 2017 Report Card.

“Right now we’re just not seeing that kind of longterm infrastructure investment that we need in this country,” said Michael Johnson, President & CEO of the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA), in an interview with the Mid-America Ag Network in Kansas.

Along with discussing the economic fallout of the pandemic and worsening bridges and county roads, Johnson discussed what federal investment means for the Midwest. He emphasized that connectivity, including ports and port roads, is essential for the agricultural industry in this part of the nation.

Revenue for the HTF, which provides federal dollars for surface transportation, comes from motor fuels and trucking user fees, yet the federal gas tax has not been adjusted in 27 years. Based on Congressional Budget Office (CBO) numbers released in September regarding the 10-year cash flow forecast for the HTF, the projected end-of-2030 extra funding needed is still $193 billion, according to Senior Fellow Jeff Davis of the Eno Center for Transportation.

Additionally, AASHTO reported that state departments of transportation (DOTs) need $37 billion through fiscal year 2024 to cover state transportation revenue losses linked to stay-at-home orders, and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) estimated that public transit agencies require an additional $32 billion of federal funding to address pandemic-related costs and revenue losses.

Speaking to the People 

The ATM is building grassroots awareness of how communities are affected by underfunded infrastructure. It is also zeroing in on infrastructure investment generating economic growth, creating jobs, and propelling interstate and global commerce.

Radio listeners learned about the crises of inadequate investment in states. The conversations turned to: growing cracks in the closed West Seattle Bridge; one in three roads or bridges in Ohio being in poor or mediocre condition; the need for federal dollars to help address traffic congestion on I-81 in Virginia; and Missouri officials dipping into general funds to fix an I-70 bridge that, if not accessible, could bottleneck the entire nation.

“There is a little bit of good news out there. … But we shouldn’t celebrate too much because it just essentially maintains the status quo for another year, and that status quo, in places like Missouri, isn’t great, right? You got more than half of your roads in the state of Missouri [that] are in poor or mediocre condition,” Brian Turmail, Vice President of Public Affairs & Strategic Initiatives of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), told Diane Jones of KLPW in St. Louis.

Spokespeople participating in the RMT included: Emily Feenstra, Managing Director of Government Relations & Infrastructure Initiatives, ASCE; Dr. K.N. Gunalan, “Guna,” President, ASCE; Steve Hall, Senior Vice President for Advocacy & External Affairs, American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC); Michael Ireland, President & CEO, Portland Cement Association (PCA); Ashley Jackson, Senior Director for Government Affairs, National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA); Michael Johnson, President & CEO, NSSGA; Ed Mortimer, Executive Director, ATM; Paul Skoutelas, President & CEO, American Public Transportation Association (APTA); Jeff Soth, Legislative & Political Director, International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE); and Brian Turmail, Vice President of Public Affairs & Strategic Initiatives, AGC.

You can listen to a soundbite from each of the participants below:

Feenstra on “Conversation Collage Podcast”

Gunalan on WAMV-AM

Hall on WERE-AM/”America’s Work Force Radio Podcast”

Ireland on WCCI-FM

Jackson on “Conversation Collage Podcast”

Johnson on Mid-America Ag Network

Mortimer on WSVA-FM

Skoutelas on WERE-AM/”America’s Work Force Radio Podcast”

Soth on WERE-AM/”America’s Work Force Radio Podcast”

Turmail on KLPW-AM/FM

Sign our petition at http://bit.ly/2rk7EZl and share this story with your friends on social media.

Confined Space – Safety Alert

Between 2017 and 2020, three miners were fatally injured after entering confined spaces to clear material and obstructions. These confined spaces included a sand and gravel bin, a sand-filled hopper, and a cone crusher. All three miners were engulfed by falling material.

These confined spaces included a sand and gravel bin, a sand-filled hopper, and a cone crusher. All three miners were engulfed by falling material.
Best Practices:
  • Operators should identify and eliminate or control all hazards before miners begin work and when clearing blocked material. Miners should be trained in these practices.
  • Lock-out, tag-out. Never enter a confined space until the supply and discharge equipment is locked out.
  • Never lock-out using the start and stop controls. These do not disconnect power conductors.
  • Assign a safety harness and lanyard to each miner who may work at material supply and discharge areas or any areas where an engulfment hazard exists. Do not use lanyards that depend on free-fall speed to lock.
  • Place warning signs:
    • “Fall Protection Required Here”
    • “Confined Space – Engulfment Hazard” warning signs at all access points to hoppers, bins, and chutes.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Are remote workers ready to return to the workplace? Survey explores

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

New York — Fewer than 3 out of 10 employees who are working remotely amid the COVID-19 pandemic say they expect to return to their physical workplace by the end of the year, and some groups feel more pressure than others to do so, results of a recent survey suggest.

From Sept. 16 to 25, nonprofit think tank The Conference Board conducted an online survey of more than 1,100 U.S. workers across numerous industries to gain an understanding of employee readiness to return to the workplace during the pandemic. More than a quarter (28%) of the respondents indicated they expect to return to their workplace by Jan. 1, while 38% expect to do so in the new year or beyond. Only 7% expect to return after a vaccine is made widely available.

Most of the workers feel “moderately comfortable” (39%) or “very comfortable” (17%) about returning to the workplace, while 31% aren’t comfortable with the prospect of returning.

When it comes to feeling pressure to return to the workplace, more women (17%) responded affirmatively than men (10%). Women were also more likely to express concern over contracting COVID-19 (67% vs. 61%). Meanwhile, 20% of “individual contributors” and 21% of frontline managers feel pressure to return – much higher percentages than C-suite executives (4%).

Other findings:

  • 29% of respondents have “little faith” in their co-workers to follow proper health and safety protocols when returning to work.
  • The top three concerns about returning to the workplace: risk of contracting COVID-19 (51%); risk of exposing family members (49%); and lack of a safe, effective, available vaccine (40%).
  • 37% said they don’t know if their organization has a plan for safely returning employees to the workplace.

“These survey results reinforce the need for employers to hear concerns about the pressure that individual contributors and frontline managers, especially, feel to return to the workplace to keep their jobs,” Rebecca Ray, executive vice president of human capital at The Conference Board, said in an Oct. 8 press release. “These cohorts are less likely to be involved with planning the return. Without a continuous dialogue, and in many cases, the lack of a detailed plan about returning to the workplace, it comes as no surprise that these workers are more apprehensive.”


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Suicide Prevention Legislation is now LAW!

First published by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

On Saturday, October 17, after passing unanimously out of Congress, the President of the United States signed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (S.2661) into law. This historic legislation will support the full implementation of the three-digit “9-8-8” dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline through funding guidance, federal reporting, and specialized services for at-risk communities like LGBTQ-youth and Veterans. A well-resourced, easy-to-remember 988 crisis hotline will increase access to necessary resources and support in times of crisis that will save lives.

This is a major victory for the suicide prevention movement. Of the nearly 20,000 bills introduced in a Congressional session, less than 1,000 are ever passed by Congress and signed into law.

AFSP Field Advocates have supported this effort over the past 3 years by emailing, calling, and meeting with their Members of Congress and writing media outlets across the country. It is through these efforts that we have seen real change to bring our country’s mental health system into the 21st century with the full passage of the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act. We thank all of our advocates that have shared their stories and advocated for this landmark legislation.

THANK YOU and CONGRATULATIONS!

There is still much more work to be done as we continue to advocate for a world without suicide. But through our joint efforts and your ceaseless passion we will save lives and bring hope to people effected by suicide. You can see AFSP’s official press release here.

 

Please note that the 9-8-8 crisis hotline will not be nationally available until July 2022. Callers should continue to access the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline through 1-800-273-8255 until 9-8-8 is fully operational


McCraren Compliance offers training and programs to support companies in suicide awareness and prevention. Contact us for additional information to help you with this very important workplace safety.

U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA Announces $913,133 In Coronavirus Violations

WASHINGTON, DC – Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic through Oct. 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited 62 establishments for violations, resulting in proposed penalties totaling $913,133.

OSHA inspections have resulted in the agency citing employers for violations, including failures to:

OSHA has already announced citations relating to 37 establishments, which can be found at dol.gov/newsroom. In addition to those establishments, the 25 establishments below have received coronavirus-related citations totaling $429,064 from OSHA relating to one or more of the above violations from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1, 2020. OSHA provides more information about individual citations at its Establishment Search website, which it updates periodically.

Establishment Name Inspection
Number
City State Initial
Penalty
Marion Regional Medical Center Inc. 1472689 Hamilton Alabama $9,290
Quest Management Group Inc. 1474518 Tallahassee Florida $24,290
Pensacola Care Inc. 1474819 Tallahassee Florida $11,567
Alliance Health of Braintree Inc. 1473536 Braintree Massachusetts $13,880
Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley 1478339 Littleton Massachusetts $21,115
Alliance Health of Brockton Inc. 1474628 Brockton Massachusetts $12,145
Hackensack Meridian Health Hospitals Corp. 1472186 Hackensack New Jersey $15,422
Essex Residential Care LLC 1472725 West Caldwell New Jersey $13,494
Barnert Subacute Rehabilitation Center LLC 1474902 Paterson New Jersey $13,494
84 Cold Hill Road Operations LLC 1473525 Mendham New Jersey $13,494
Hackensack Meridian Health System 1477909 North Bergen New Jersey $13,494
292 Applegarth Road Operations LLC 1487345 Monroe Township New Jersey $23,133
1515 Lamberts Mill Road Operations LLC 1472780 Westfield New Jersey $26,988
Hackensack Meridian Health Hospitals Corp. 1474520 Hackensack New Jersey $9,639
The Matheny School and Hospital 1476359 Peapack New Jersey $13,494
IJKG Opco LLC 1477379 Bayonne New Jersey $25,061
MPV New Jersey MD Medical Services P.C. 1482167 Nutley New Jersey $23,133
Prime Healthcare Services – St. Michael’s LLC 1472330 Newark New Jersey $25,061
Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health 1475320 Toms River New Jersey $13,494
St. Barnabas Hospital 1472869 Bronx New York $23,133
St. Barnabas Hospital 1473218 Bronx New York $23,133
Northwell Health Orzac Center for Rehabilitation 1476726 Valley Stream New York $23,133
Hudson Pointe Acquisition LLC 1486893 Bronx New York $22,555
VA NY Harbor Healthcare System, St Albans Community Living Center 1474970 Jamaica New York $0
Masonic Village of the Grand Lodge of PA 1475223 Lafayette Hill Pennsylvania $15,422

A full list of what standards were cited for each establishment – and the inspection number – are available here. An OSHA standards database can be found here.

Resources are available on the agency’s COVID-19 webpage to help employers comply with these standards.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

CVSA Releases New Video on the Future of Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) released a new stop-motion video envisioning the future of commercial motor vehicle safety technology, inspections and enforcement. This four-minute video takes the viewer to a future – near and far – that’s safer for all road users. The future of commercial motor vehicle safety includes important advancements such as:

  • Vehicle-to-everything applications, including vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure, vehicle-to-pedestrian and vehicle-to-enforcement technologies
  • Alerts to drivers regarding inclement weather, crashes, closed roadways, bridge height restrictions, construction, road conditions, etc.
  • Lane centering, lane keeping, automatic emergency braking and controlled driver steering
  • North American Standard Level VIII Electronic Inspections and universal electronic identification
  • Vehicles equipped with automated driving systems
  • Vehicle, driver and pedestrian monitoring technologies with cameras, sensors and radars inside and outside of the vehicle

Universal deployment of these critical safety technologies would revolutionize commercial motor vehicle roadside enforcement, monitoring and inspections, exponentially growing the North American Standard Inspection Program and drastically improving roadway safety.

The “Welcome to the Future of Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement” video provides a clear and easy-to-understand visual presentation of today’s challenges and the solutions to those challenges, such as the deployment of proven safety technologies that improve transportation safety and prevent crashes. In addition, implementing the safety technologies referenced in the video will enable law enforcement officials to better identify and prioritize unsafe commercial motor vehicles and drivers for intervention, taking unfit vehicles and operators off the roads, while making roadside inspections and enforcement more efficient and reducing impacts on the movement of goods.

This public video is meant to be shared with lawmakers, regulators, safety advocates, motor carriers, drivers, researchers, vehicle safety technology developers and vendors, the law enforcement community and anyone else interested in learning about commercial motor vehicle safety and CVSA’s efforts to improve roadway, driver and vehicle safety.


 

McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

MSHA – Mine Fatality Alert

MINE FATALITY – On May 21, 2020, two miners were working to hoist an electric motor from its base by anchoring a hoist to an overhead, unsecured steel pipe. The steel pipe slid out of place and struck one of the miners in the head and back. The miner died on May 23, 2020, due to complications from his injuries.

Accident scene where the steel pipe slid out of place and struck one of the miners in the head and back. The miner died on May 23, 2020, due to complications from his injuries.
Best Practices:
  • Ensure load anchor locations are stable, substantial and adequate to support the load.
  • Establish and discuss safe work procedures before beginning work and ensure those procedures are followed.
  • Identify and control all hazards associated with the work to be performed and the methods to properly protect persons.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommended safe work procedures for the maintenance task.
  • Examine work areas for hazards that may be created as a result of the work being performed.
  • Position yourself in areas where you will not be exposed to hazards resulting from a sudden release of energy. Be aware of your location in relation to machine parts that can move.
Additional Information:

This is the first fatality in 2020 classified as “Hand Tools.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.