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Fatigue, drinking among driver behaviors that contribute to ‘perennial crisis’: report

Photo: benkrut/iStockphoto

Austin, TX — More than 7 out of 10 people admit to driving drowsy, and nearly 1 in 4 say they’ve driven drunk, according to a recent report from online driving school DriversEd.com.

Researchers conducted an online survey of 957 licensed drivers. Results, published in the 2019 Behind-the-Wheel Confessions Report, show that 71% of the respondents reported they’ve driven while feeling drowsy, 24% admitted to driving drunk and 40% said they’ve experienced road rage.

“When it comes to driving safety, the country and its roadways are in a state of perennial crisis – and the situation is getting worse, largely thanks to phones, texting and social media,” Laura Adams, safety and education analyst for DriversEd.com, said in a May 31 press release.

Other findings:

  • 89% of the respondents said they’ve exceeded the speed limit.
  • 58% said they’ve rolled past a stop sign without making a complete stop.
  • 47% said they’ve run a red light.
  • 31% said they check their cell phone more often than they should.

“For each and every one of these hazardous behind-the-wheel behaviors, there are solutions – from checking your eyesight and hearing to assigning a designated driver to setting calendar reminders to inspect your tires to meditating before driving to simply exercising self-discipline,” Adams said.

Drivers operating on four to five hours of sleep are four times more likely to be involved in a traffic incident, according to the National Safety Council, which recommends getting at least seven hours of sleep before driving, and stopping to rest every two hours during long commutes.

New hazard alert from Washington L&I: tower cranes

Tumwater, WA —A new hazard alert from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries outlines the roles, responsibilities and procedures of erecting and dismantling tower cranes.

Published in June, the alert is intended for tower crane owners, as well as contractors and their employees who use, erect and dismantle tower cranes. The two-page publication goes over planning and communication, as well as who can serve as an assembly/disassembly director – defined in the alert as “one who is competent and a qualified person, or a competent person assisted by one or more qualified people.”

According to OSHA standard 1926.32(m), a “qualified” person is “one who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience, has successfully demonstrated his ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project.”

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

WASHINGTON, DC – 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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OSHA Requests Information on Possible Updates to the Lockout/Tagout Standard

OSHA is requesting information on a possible update of Control of Hazardous Energy (LOTO) Standard. Comments must be submitted on or before August 18, 2019. Comments and materials may be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal, or by facsimile or mail. See the Federal Register notice for submission details.

New OSHA Resources Offer Solutions to Common Safety Hazards

A new series of OSHA Alerts addresses safety hazards associated with specific activities, equipment, or events. Each alert identifies the hazards involved and offers clear solutions to keep workers safe. Alerts currently available focus on flood recovery and cleanup, trenching and excavation, and forklift operation.

OSHA’s new flyer on five things you should know to stay safe in a trench addresses the most common trench-related hazards. The agency has additional resources for employers and workers on trenching safety, including a short video.

MSHA Fatality #10

MSHA MINE FATALITY – On June 10, 2019, a 22-year-old contractor with 3 years of experience, was fatally injured when he was pinned between a front-end loader and a concrete block. The victim was working in a conduit trench, preparing to install a junction box. The plant manager was using a front-end loader above to back fill the trench. The front-end loader over travelled the edge and toppled into the trench.

Best Practices:
  • Establish and discuss safe work procedures.  Identify and eliminate or control all hazards associated with the task being performed.
  • Train and monitor persons on safe work positioning.
  • Keep mobile equipment a safe distance from the edge of unstable ground, open excavations, and steep embankments.
  • Operating speeds should be consistent with conditions of roadways, grades, and the type of equipment used.
  • Assure equipment operators are familiar with their working environment. Front-end loader operators must ensure personnel are not near the machine when in operation.
Additional Information:

This is the 10th MSHA fatality reported in calendar year 2019. As of this date in 2018, there were 9 MSHA fatalities reported. This is the 4th Powered Haulage accident classification fatality in 2019. There were five fatalities classified as a Powered Haulage accident during the same period in 2018.

Study explores which generation of workers is most likely to consider suicide

Dallas — Millennial workers are more likely to contemplate suicide than any other age group – including up to five times more so than baby boomers – results of a recent analysis indicate.

Researchers at Catapult Health, a national preventive health care provider, looked at more than 157,000 patient records, including data from checkups conducted by the company at workplaces across 44 states.

They found that, of the patients younger than 30, 2.3 per 1,000 reported not only considering suicide, but also having a plan to carry it out. For workers 60 and older, that rate was 0.4 per 1,000 and, across all age groups, the average was 0.86.

“The numbers may seem small,” Catapult CEO David Michel said in a May 1 press release, “but if your company has 5,000 employees, that means that at any given moment four of them are probably seriously considering suicide, and the number is higher if you employ more younger workers.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death among millennials and the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

In addition, workers younger than 30 are significantly more likely to experience depression than older employees, Catapult states.

“It is imperative that employers help their employees recognize depression and provide the resources to overcome it,” Michel said in the release.

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.