No sparks: Tow chains, underinflated tires can cause wildfires

377-fire_cropMotorists can do their part to make highways spark-free zones

PHOENIX – Summer is right around the corner, and with it comes an increased risk of wildfires along state highways caused by motorists dragging chains, driving on underinflated tires and tossing cigarettes.

Fires along highways not only put people and property at risk but can cause long backups and even extended closures.

Last June, the 377 Fire in Navajo County started when dragging metal on a trailer sparked several fires along 24 miles of State Route 377 between Heber-Overgaard and Holbrook. Those fires grew into a 5,000-acre wildfire that closed the highway for four days and prompted evacuations.

“Simple tasks like properly inflating your tires and taking a moment to make sure nothing is dragging on your vehicle or trailer can significantly reduce the risk of creating sparks that can cause wildfires,” said Dallas Hammit, the Arizona Department of Transportation’s state engineer and deputy director for transportation. “One act of carelessness, like tossing a lit cigarette out the window, can potentially burn thousands of acres.”

According to the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, dragging chains is one of the main causes of fires along highways.

“Roadside fires continue to be one of the biggest causes of Arizona’s wildfires every year, especially on heavily traveled highways like Interstates 10 and 17. A majority of these roadside fires are preventable, yet they continue to happen,” said Tiffany Davila, public affairs officer for the Department of Forestry and Fire Management. “Please do your part to help keep wildfire activity low this summer. Before traveling, ensure tow chains are secure and your vehicle is properly serviced. We all need to do our part.”

Here’s how you can help cut down on sparks that start wildfires:

  • Check and secure tow chains, and never substitute parts when towing.
  • Make sure nothing is hanging beneath your vehicle and dragging on the pavement.
  • Check tire pressure before you travel. Exposed wheel rims can cause sparks.
  • Don’t park in tall grass, as the heat from parts under your vehicle can start a fire.

For more information on how to prevent fires, please visit wildlandfire.az.gov.

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Upgraded Data System to Assist Mine Operators in Ensuring Compliance with Mine Safety and Health Regulations

NEWS RELEASE

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has completed a major upgrade to its primary data system – the Mine Data Retrieval System (MDRS) – bringing increased functionality and more intuitive navigation to this widely used feature.

The MDRS offers a variety of tools to help operators monitor their compliance with MSHA regulations. The system provides access to comprehensive mine location, status, ownership, employment, production, accident/inspection/violations history, and health sampling data. Additionally, MSHA’s compliance assistance calculators – Pattern of Violations (POV), Significant and Substantial Rate, and Violations per Inspection Day – can be accessed here. The MDRS gateway is the most visited page on the agency’s website, www.msha.gov.

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MSHA Close Call Alert – Surface – Iron Ore

Surface – Iron Ore – On April 29, 2019, a miner suffered minor injuries when his haul truck traveled over the edge of a stock pile dump point causing the truck to roll onto its top. The driver was wearing a seat belt.

Surface- Haul Truck- June 12-2019

Best Practices:
  • Always wear a seat belt when operating self-propelled mobile equipment.
  • Examine dumping locations for stability prior to dumping the first load and as ground conditions change during the work shift. Where ground conditions may fail to support the weight of the truck, dump loads a safe distance back from the edge.
  • Provide training regarding dump-point hazards.
  • Travel in a straight line when backing a truck toward a dump location.
  • Maintain berms or similar impeding devices at dumping locations where there is a hazard of overtravel or overturning.
  • Clearly mark dump locations with reflectors and/or markers.

FMCSA Updates SMS Website

FMCSA has updated the CSA SMS Website with the May 31, 2019 results.

Complete SMS results are available to enforcement users and motor carriers that are logged into the SMS. Logged-in enforcement users can view all carrier safety data, while logged-in motor carriers can only view their own data. If you are a motor carrier and do not have login credentials, please click here for more information on how to obtain your PIN.

 

FMCSA Updates Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Website

Beginning January 6, 2020, all employers subject to FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Program requirements will be required to report and query drug and alcohol violation information in the forthcoming Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse). Recently, FMCSA enhanced the Clearinghouse website with news and resources designed to help motor carriers and other users prepare for their role in the Clearinghouse. Updates include a new User Roles card, which summarizes the actions different types of users will take in the Clearinghouse, an interactive timeline, and additional frequently asked questions. Visit https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov to learn more and to sign up to receive email notifications when more information is available.

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DOT Publishes Drug Testing Rule

Today, April 23, 2019, the Department of Transportation (DOT) published a final rule that makes minor technical corrections to the OST, FAA, FTA, and PHMSA regulations governing drug testing for safety-sensitive employees to ensure consistency with the recent amendments made to the Department of Transportation’s regulation, “Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs,” which added requirements to test for oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone to DOT-regulated drug testing programs.  The changes to the Department’s regulation make it necessary to refer to these substances, as well as the previously covered drugs morphine, 6-acetylmorphine, and codeine, by the more inclusive term “opioids,” rather than “opiates.”  This rule amends the term in the FAA, FTA, and PHMSA regulations to ensure that all DOT drug testing rules are consistent with one another and with the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs.  In addition, this rule makes a conforming amendment to include the term “opioids” in the wording of the Department’s annual information collection requirement and clarifications to section 40.26 and Appendix H regarding the requirement for employers to follow the Department’s instructions for the annual information collection.

To learn more about this final rule, visit their web page athttps://www.transportation.gov/odapc/frpubs.

Taseko’s Florence Copper Project Produces First Copper

Florence Copper is pleased to announce that Florence Copper’s Production Test Facility is fully operational, from the wellfield to the SX/EW plant, and producing copper.

Over the past three months approximately 1.5 million tons of copper ore has been contacted underground with leach solution. Copper concentrations in the solution has recently risen to levels which have allowed the SX/EW plant to begin operation and produce copper. Read more

U.S. Department of Labor to Hold Meeting to Solicit Public Input On OSH Act Whistleblower Protection Provision

OSHA will hold a meeting May 14, 2019, in Washington, D.C., to solicit public comments and suggestions from stakeholders on issues relating to whistleblower protection under Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

This is the third in a series of meetings at which OSHA is seeking public input on how it can improve whistleblower customer service, and enhance public understanding of the whistleblower laws. Continue reading»

The FMCSA Wants Your Input on the Need for the DOT Employment Application

The FMCSA has released an official notice proposing to completely eliminate the requirement that trucking companies obtain a DOT-specific employment application. If implemented as proposed, this will radically affect your hiring practices and make it more difficult for you to hire drivers. We’ve been following the FMCSA’s activities on this proposal since it was first mentioned last year. The FMCSA regulators are now at the point in the rulemaking process where they want to hear how the proposal will affect actual trucking companies. That is, they want to hear from you.

The FMCSA has asked specific questions directed to carriers in the industry on how the proposed changes will affect hiring drivers. Read on for more information and our suggestions of how best to address these questions. This is a valuable opportunity to give your feedback on an issue that will impact you significantly – you can do so at this link.

To see the specific notice by the FMCSA and the additional questions they’ve posed, you can read more at their website