Hot weather means more “gators” showing up on Arizona’s highways

First published by ADOT

Since June 27-July 3 is “National Tire Safety Awareness Week(link is external),” an annual event sponsored by the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), we thought ADOT could offer up some safety advice related to keeping an eye out for what many of us see out along our Arizona highways: pieces of tire debris.

Those shreds of treads have gained the nickname “gators” over the decades because many of them look like an alligator’s back floating on the water’s surface. While alligators are primarily limited to zoos in the Grand Canyon State, there are plenty of “gators” waiting for unsuspecting, or for that matter even suspecting, drivers along the state’s network of highways.

ADOT gets plenty of help from the Arizona Department of Public Safety and its troopers in responding to tire treads and also reminding drivers to stay alert to tire pieces and other debris that can wind up on highways. And without a doubt, there are things all of us as motorists can do to help reduce the risk of tire blowouts and the creation of Arizona gators.

Obviously, hotter summer weather can lead to more tire failures and debris, but it’s a year-round challenge. AZDPS troopers are kept busy tossing tire gators to a highway’s shoulder, possibly as they’re conducting traffic breaks (temporary stops of traffic) in order to clear debris.

ADOT’s team of Incident Response Unit, sponsored by State Farm, members and maintenance crews also respond to calls about debris. However, it’s impossible to catch everything immediately along more than 6,500 miles of state highways.

“We’re obviously very familiar with gators,” said Raul Amavisca, ADOT’s Central District engineering administrator. “We need all drivers to pay attention, keep their eyes on the road and be prepared for debris at any time. If you do that, you’ll increase your chances of being able to maneuver and avoid a tire tread and the damage it can cause.”

tire safety graphic

ADOT crews do spot pickups of roadside shoulder debris along busy Phoenix-area freeways throughout the year. The agency’s freeway shoulder sweeping contractors also maintain weekly schedules for collecting larger debris items along those shoulders in advance of their overnight street sweeping work.

As for things you can do about your own vehicle’s tires, here is some information from a USTMA news release about this year’s National Tire Safety Week: “U.S. tire manufacturers recommend drivers check tire pressure at least monthly, regularly check tire tread depth and ensure vehicle tires are rotated and properly aligned. Proper maintenance and periodic inspections by a tire professional are essential for optimum performance and service life of tires and can help ensure lower overall inspection impacts.

USTMA also offers the following safety advice: “To help motorists remember these important tire maintenance actions, USTMA encourages drivers to remember the acronym “P.A.R.T.” – Pressure, Alignment, Rotation and Tread. Tire safety essentials are especially important this year as significant numbers of motorists are back in their cars embarking on summer road trips.”

ADOT echoes the summer road trip safety recommendation, especially as we look ahead to the Fourth of July and Labor Day holiday weekends. Plan ahead, pack an emergency prep kit, check your vehicle for things such as tire pressure and condition. Don’t forget extra drinking water and other items that can help if an unscheduled stop in traffic occurs. Expect the unexpected, even if that includes a “gator.”

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

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

‘A ticking time bomb’: Survey finds many men don’t get annual physicals

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Photo by Jenny Gold

Undetected or ignored health problems can become life-threatening, researchers are warning after 1 out of 3 men in a recent survey said they don’t need annual checkups.

The Harris Poll survey of nearly 900 men, commissioned by Orlando Health and conducted in May, also found that 2 out of 3 believe they’re generally healthier than most other men.

“It is statistically impossible for the majority of men to be healthier than the majority of men,” Thomas Kelley, family medicine specialist at Orlando Health Physician Associates, said in a hospital press release. “Even if you think you’re healthy and you’re not experiencing any symptoms, there can be developing issues that often go unnoticed and can also be life-threatening if left unchecked. Some of those include rising blood pressure that can be a ticking time bomb for a heart attack or stroke, as well as colon cancer, which is one of the most deadly, yet preventable, cancers that exist.”

Kelley urges men to establish a relationship with a primary care physician. This can help ease the “fear of the unknown” – an underlying reason why many men avoid the doctor’s office, he said.

“Most men find the process to be easier than they thought,” Kelley said. “It takes about half an hour, and by the end of the appointment, you have the big picture about where you stand, what you’re at risk for and what you need to do for your health in the future.”

He emphasizes that more men need to make annual health screenings a priority. Case in point, 38% of the respondents indicated they put their pet’s health ahead of their own.

“Men tend to put their health last after their family, and apparently even after their dog or their cat,” Kelley said. “But in order to take care of others in your life, you first have to take care of yourself, and that includes making that yearly appointment with your primary care doctor.”

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.

Survey shows 40% of adults aren’t willing to perform CPR

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication


Photo: American Heart Association

If a family member or co-worker went into cardiac arrest, would you be ready to react and deliver CPR?

Results of a recent survey show that although 9 out of 10 people are aware that performing CPR improves a person’s chance of surviving cardiac arrest, 2 out of 5 aren’t comfortable performing the potentially lifesaving technique.

The online survey, commissioned by the American Heart Association, sampled more than 1,000 U.S. adults. A quarter of participants said they would “always” perform CPR to assist someone in need.

As for the 40% of participants who said they wouldn’t perform CPR, lack of training or knowledge was the No. 1 reason why, cited by 60% of the group. That was followed by the fear of hurting someone or facing legal consequences and fear of contracting COVID-19.

Other findings:

  • 25% of the respondents said they weren’t aware of Good Samaritan Laws, which offer legal protection to anyone who gives reasonable assistance to someone who is in peril or injured.
  • 78% agree that CPR training should be offered at jobsites.

The AHA says more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of a hospital each year in the United States, and CPR – especially if immediately performed – can double or triple a person’s chance of survival. Additionally, fewer than half of people who experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital receive CPR.

That’s why, in part, the AHA in 2009 launched a Hands-Only CPR campaign, to teach people two simple steps if a teen or adult suddenly collapses: call 911 and then press hard and fast in the center of the chest.

“The data in this survey shows that most adults understand that CPR saves lives but identifies a real gap in the willingness to actually be the one to deliver the lifesaving assistance, ” Anezi Uzendu, a cardiologist and an AHA volunteer expert, said in a press release.

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.

Annual ‘Death on the Job’ report part of Workers’ Memorial Week

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
Photo: AFL-CIO

Washington — “The nation must renew its commitment to protecting workers from job injury, disease and death, and make this a high priority,” the AFL-CIO says in its annual report on the state of safety and health protections for U.S. workers.

Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect is published annually during the week of Workers’ Memorial Day – observed on April 28 to honor people who have lost their lives on the job. It highlights state and federal data on work-related deaths, injuries and illnesses, as well on worker protections.

In 2020, the number of workplace deaths decreased to 4,764 from 5,333 in the previous year, while the national fatality rate dropped to 3.4 per 100,000 workers from 3.5, the report states. However, AFL-CIO points out that the total excludes the “many thousands who died from being exposed to COVID-19 at work,” in part because “employer reporting of COVID-19 cases still is mandatory only in a few states with specific standards or orders.”

Also from the report:

  • Workplace violence accounted for 705 deaths, including 392 homicides, and was the fourth leading cause of workplace deaths behind transportation incidents (1,778 deaths); slips, trips and falls (805); and contact with objects or equipment (716).
  • Black and Latino workers were at greater risk of dying on the job. The fatality rate for Blacks (3.5 per 100,000 workers) and Latinos (4.5) remains higher than the national average, with the rate for Latino workers climbing 15% over the past decade.
  • A third of the deaths involved workers 55 and older, while those 65 and older had a fatality rate of 8.6 per 100,000 workers.
  • The agriculture, forestry, and fishing and hunting industry had the highest fatality rate, at 21.5 per 100,000 workers. Transportation and warehousing (13.4) and mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (10.5) followed.

“Employers must meet their responsibilities to protect workers and be held accountable if they put workers in danger. Only then can the promise of safe jobs for all of America’s workers be fulfilled,” the AFL-CIO said. “There is much more work to be done to ensure the fundamental right to a safe job is a reality for all.”

In a press release recognizing Workers’ Memorial Day, Labor Secretary Mary Walsh said that although each workplace death is tragic, lives “taken in incidents that might have been prevented – had their employers followed required safety and health standards – are especially painful.”

He continued: “While we have made much progress toward safer workplaces, we must do more to ensure that employers understand and take responsibility for addressing workplace hazards and keep them from causing workplace fatalities. As our economy continues its recovery, we are determined to empower workers as well so they can recognize the hazards around them, and demand their rights to a safe workplace without fear of retaliation.”

Other prominent voices from the occupational safety and health community offered their views on Workers’ Memorial Day.

“As we commemorate Worker’s Memorial Day, we remember that behind every fatality number is a worker,” NIOSH Director John Howard writes in an agency blog post. “Someone who has family, friends, community and a life. NIOSH remains committed to protecting workers across occupations and industries, addressing threats to workers’ safety, health and well-being, and collaborating with partners to address emerging and long-standing risks.”

Chris Cain, executive director of CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training, said in a press release that the observance “offers people and organizations two important opportunities: to remember those who have died and to strengthen their commitment to make sure every worker comes home safely every day.”

Cain added: “Remember that workers alone cannot create safe jobsites – it also takes the dedication of owners, contractors, managers, government officials and many others.”

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.

OSHA initiates enforcement program to identify employers failing to submit injury, illness data

First published by OSHA

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is initiating an enforcement program that identifies employers who failed to submit Form 300A data through the agency’s Injury Tracking Application (ITA). Annual electronic submissions are required by establishments with 250 or more employees currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records, and establishments with 20-249 employees classified in specific industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses.

The program matches newly opened inspections against a list of potential non-responders to OSHA’s collection of Form 300A data through the ITA and reports all matches to the appropriate OSHA area office. If the area office determines that the establishment on the list is the same establishment where the inspection was opened, OSHA will issue citations for failure to submit OSHA Form 300A Summary data.

In addition to identifying non-responders at the establishment level, the agency is also reviewing the 2021 submitted data to identify non-responders at a corporate-wide level. This corporate level review is being conducted for the nation’s largest employers.

OSHA developed the program in response to recommendations from the Government Accountability Office to improve reporting of summary injury and illness data.  The initiative will begin in early April.

“OSHA believes that it is vital for the public to have access to illness and injury information that employers provide in their annual submissions,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “We are committed to enforcing this important requirement and will continue to look for strategies to reach full compliance.”

The agency is also posting ITA data as part of its electronic recordkeeping requirements for certain employers. By mid-March, 289,849 establishments had submitted their OSHA Form 300A information.

Public access to injury and illness data for industries, companies and establishments allows employers, workers, potential employees, and others to better understand workplace safety and health outcomes at an employer or industry, allowing them to make valuable insights and informed decisions. Employers of all sizes can use this data to benchmark with others in their industry or compare results across their operations. This accessibility will help identify and mitigate workplace hazards, and ultimately result in the reduction of occupational injuries and illnesses.

Learn more about OSHA’s injury and illness recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

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.

Positive Drug Tests for U.S. Workers at Highest Level in 20 Years

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
Photo: Sundry Photography/iStockphoto

Secaucus, NJ — Paced by a continuing increase in marijuana positivity rates, the positive drug test rate for U.S. workers reached its highest level in two decades in 2021, according to an annual analysis conducted by lab services provider Quest Diagnostics.

Researchers examined the results of more than 11 million samples taken last year for Quest Diagnotics’ Drug Testing Index from the combined U.S. workforce – both the general workforce and employees in safety-sensitive jobs who undergo federally mandated drug testing (e.g., pilots, truck drivers, train conductors and nuclear power workers). Overall, 4.6% of the samples tested positive – up from 4.4% in 2020 and the highest percentage observed since 2001, when it was also 4.6. That figure is more than 30% higher than the 30-year low of 3.5% recorded in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

For all workers, urine samples had a marijuana positivity rate of 3.9% last year – the highest ever recorded. That percentage is up 8.3% from 3.6 in 2020 and up 50% from 2.6 in 2016. Among the federally mandated, safety-sensitive workforce, urine samples had a marijuana positivity rate of 0.86% last year, up from 0.79% in 2020 – an 8.9% increase.

The industries with the highest overall positivity rate increases were transportation and warehousing (to 5.5% from 4.4%), other services (to 6.6% from 5.7%) and retail trade (to 7% from 6.2%). Mining (to 3.7% from 3.1%), construction (to 4.6% from 4.1%) and manufacturing (to 4.5% from 4.1%) all saw increases of at least 0.5 percentage points. Finance and insurance was the only industry not to show an annual increase, remaining at 3.3%.

Other key findings:

  • The overall positivity rate among the federally mandated, safety-sensitive workforce remained steady at 2.2% – but that’s up 4.8% since 2017.
  • For federally mandated, safety-sensitive workers, the positivity rates for amphetamines and cocaine increased 7.8% and 5%, respectively.
  • In the general workforce, positive urine tests for opiates fell 19%, and have fallen 56.4% over the past five years.
  • Post-incident positivity among the general workforce has increased 26% over the past five years. Post-incident urine tests for marijuana and cocaine were up 63.4% and 266.7%, respectively, compared with pre-employment testing.

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.

USDOL announces proposed rule to amend federal occupational injury, illness recordkeeping regulation

First published by OSHA

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing amendments to its occupational injury and illness recordkeeping regulation, 29 CFR 1904.41. The current regulation requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness information – that they are required to keep – to OSHA. The agency uses these reports to identify and respond to emerging hazards and makes aspects of the information publicly available.

In addition to reporting their Annual Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, the proposed rule would require certain establishments in certain high-hazards industries to electronically submit additional information from their Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, as well as their Injury and Illness Incident Report.

As part of OSHA’s mission to protect workers and mitigate workplace hazards, this rule would improve OSHA’s ability to use its enforcement and compliance assistance resources to identify workplaces where workers are at high risk. The proposed rule would also advance the department’s mission to empower workers by increasing transparency in the workforce.

The proposed rule would:

  • Require establishments with 100 or more employees in certain high-hazard industries to electronically submit information from their OSHA Forms 300, 301 and 300A to OSHA once a year.
  • Update the classification system used to determine the list of industries covered by the electronic submission requirement.
  • Remove the current requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees not in a designated industry to electronically submit information from their Form 300A to OSHA annually.
  • Require establishments to include their company name when making electronic submissions to OSHA.

Establishments with 20 or more employees in certain high-hazard industries would continue to be required to electronically submit information from their OSHA Form 300A annual summary to OSHA annually.

Submit comments online using Docket No. OSHA-2021-0006 on the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Read the Federal Register notice for details. Comments must be submitted 60 days after the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register.

Learn more about OSHA’s Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements.

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.

March is National Ladder Safety Month

Bill would restore increased tax rate on coal to fund black lung disability benefits

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Washington — Proposed legislation would create funding for health care and other benefits for coal miners who have black lung disease by extending, for 10 years, a recently expired excise tax rate increase on coal production.

Black lung is another name for coal workers’ pneumoconiosis – a deadly condition caused by exposure to respirable coal mine dust.

The original increase excise tax rate, which supports the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, expired Dec. 31. H.R. 6462, introduced Jan. 20 by Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Alma Adams (D-NC), would restore it. Although mine operators are generally responsible for paying black lung benefits, the fund helps finance benefits for miners and eligible survivors or dependents when no responsible mine operator is identifiable or the operator is out of business.

Effective Jan. 1, the tax rate fell to 50 cents a ton on underground coal and 25 cents a ton on surface coal – a 55% reduction from the previous rates of $1.10 and 55 cents, respectively. The fund already stands about $5 billion in debt, according to a press release from the House Education and Labor Committee, of which Scott is chair.

The release also cites a May 2018 report from the Government Accountability Office that concluded failure to extend the previous tax rate will swell the fund’s debt to roughly $15 billion by 2050.

“Long-term funding for the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund is a necessity,” Cecil Roberts, president of United Mine Workers of America International, said in the release. “Miners are suffering from [black lung] because they dedicated their lives to providing this nation with electricity and steel. The least Congress could do is ensure that the benefits they depend on to survive will always be there.”

In a November 2020 report, the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General notes that more than three times as many coal miners were identified as having black lung disease from 2010 to 2014 compared with 1995 to 1999.

“With the number of black lung cases rapidly increasing, Congress must take action to secure health care and benefits for disabled miners,” Adams said in the release. “We can’t allow the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund to sink deeper into debt.”

In September, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced similar legislation (S. 2810). The bill hasn’t advanced past the Senate.

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.

District court blocks COVID-19 vaccine requirement for federal employees

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Photo: CDC

Galveston, TX — The Biden administration can’t enforce its a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal employees, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled in a decision issued Jan. 21.

President Joe Biden signed Executive Order 14043 on Sept. 9. The order initially gave federal employees until Nov. 30 to get vaccinated or obtain an exemption. That deadline was pushed back to the new year. During oral arguments made over the telephone Jan. 13, the two sides “agreed that the soonest any plaintiff might face discipline would be Jan. 21.”

In his decision, Judge Jeffrey Vincent Brown writes that although the court believes in COVID-19 vaccinations and “the federal government’s power, exercised properly, to mandate vaccinations for its employees,” a key question remained. That is “whether the president can, with the stroke of a pen and without the input of Congress, require millions of federal employees to undergo a medical procedure as a condition of their employment?”

He concludes, in part, that because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision on OSHA’s emergency temporary standard on COVID-19 vaccination, testing and masking, the executive order was “a bridge too far.”

Brown also writes that the federal government could apply “less restrictive measures,” such as part- or full-time remote work, masking, and physical distancing.

“The government has not shown that an injunction in this case will have any serious detrimental effect on its fight to stop COVID-19,” the judge writes. “Moreover, any harm to the public interest by allowing federal employees to remain unvaccinated must be balanced against the harm sure to come by terminating unvaccinated workers who provide vital services to the nation.”

Brown also notes that a Dec. 9 press release from the White House states that the lowest vaccination rate among federal employees was 88%.

During a Jan. 21 press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that 98% of federal workers are in compliance. “Obviously, we are confident in our legal authority here,” she said.

The Department of Justice has filed an appeal, according to multiple published reports. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans, would have jurisdiction in that appeal.

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.