Expansion and Extension of the Modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 Under 49 CFR § 390.25

Expansion And Extension Of The Modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 Under 49 CFR § 390.25
First published by Arizona Trucking Association.

Yesterday, FMCSA announced that they have expanded and extended the Emergency Declaration that was set to expire on December 31st. This extension includes the same regulatory relief for motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to COVID-19, as included in the September 11th modified and extended declaration. The primary change with this current declaration is the inclusion of vaccine transportation.

The expanded declaration published today is limited to the transportation of:

  1. Livestock and livestock feed;
  2. Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19;
  3. Vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19;
  4. Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants, and;
  5. Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores. 

Please note, this expanded declaration became effective at 12:00 A.M. December 1st, and expires on February 28th, 2021.

As with previous declarations, emergency regulatory relief is provided from parts 390 through 399 of the FMCSRs, including the hours-of-service regulations. Emergency relief does not include certain FMCSR’s related to the safe operation of CMVs, such as controlled substance and alcohol testing, financial responsibility requirements, CDL requirements, operation of a CMV while ill or fatigued, size and weight requirements, and additional FMCSR’s which are outlined in the declaration.

We encourage everyone to review the applicability, restrictions, and limitations which are included in the exemption posted to the FMCSA’s website and below.

Expansion and Extension of the Modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 Under 49 CFR § 390.25


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

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First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

COVID-19 has changed the way we all work. Some of us never stopped physically going to work, while others have been working remotely since mid-March. No matter where we are, working during a pandemic has added stress to our daily lives. How you deal with this stress can positively or negatively affect your well-being.

Some of the symptoms of COVID-19-related stress, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include concern about being exposed to the disease at work, taking care of your loved ones while you’re working, managing a change in workload, and uncertainty about the future of your workplace or employment.

Manage job stress by following these tips from CDC:

  • Communicate with your co-workers about job stress while maintaining physical distancing.
  • Identify factors that cause you stress, and work together with your colleagues to develop solutions.
  • Increase your sense of control by creating a consistent daily routine when you can. If you work from home, set a regular time to stop working each day.
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep a night for adults.
  • Take breaks from work to stretch, exercise or check in with your co-workers, family and friends.
  • Get active: Spend time outdoors, either exercising or relaxing.
  • Ask your supervisor or human resources department about the mental health resources your organization offers.
  • During non-work hours, spend time doing activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns, how you’re feeling or how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting you.
  • Take breaks from watching or reading news stories. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting and mentally exhausting.

For more information, go to sh-m.ag/3k6mGeR.


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

Annual DOL OIG report outlines challenges for OSHA, MSHA

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Photo: Department of Labor Office of Inspector General
First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Washington — The COVID-19 pandemic has “exacerbated” the challenges for OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration to use their resources to protect the safety and health of workers, according to the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.

In 2020 DOL Top Management and Performance Challenges, an annual report released Nov. 16, DOL OIG notes that the number of whistleblower complaints has increased during the pandemic while full-time staffing in the OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program has decreased.

MSHA, meanwhile, suspended five of its enforcement activities, including its “accident reduction program,” as of May. The agency also reduced its work in 13 areas, including mine emergency operations, but continued 15 activities at full capacity, including regular safety and health inspections and fatal incident investigations.

“MSHA needs to do more to address the potential backlog of suspended and reduced enforcement activities resulting from the pandemic and develop a plan to manage the backlog once full operations resume,” the report states. “Further, MSHA needs to monitor COVID-19 outbreaks at mines and use that information to determine whether to issue an emergency temporary standard related to the pandemic.”

The report also highlights OSHA’s difficulties in verifying that employers have abated hazards at general industry and construction worksites.

“OSHA needs to complete its initiatives to improve employer reporting of severe injuries and illnesses and enhance staff training on abatement verification, especially of smaller and transient construction employers,” DOL OIG states.

Other challenges noted in the report:

  • A 25-year high in black lung cases and the need to develop strategies to address it. MSHA is studying its August 2014 coal dust rule, but this analysis likely will take a decade or more to be completed, DOL OIG states.
  • Powered-haulage incidents, which accounted for nearly half of mining fatalities in 2017 and 2018. MSHA launched an initiative on the topic in 2018 that includes a website, videos, safety materials and mine-site visits.
  • Both agencies are challenged on how to regulate respirable crystalline silica. As noted in another report released the same day, OSHA and MSHA have different permissible exposure limits.

OSHA revised its National Emphasis Program on respirable silica in February and issued a revised directive for inspection procedures. DOL OIG notes that the agency conducted a webinar for inspectors on how to inspect for silica violations and enforce “various provisions of the new standards.”

“OIG is currently performing an audit to determine the extent OSHA has protected workers from exposure to respirable crystalline silica,” the report states.


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

U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA Announces $2,856,533 In Coronavirus Violations

First published by OSHA.

WASHINGTON, DC – Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic through Nov. 5, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued 204 citations arising from inspections for violations relating to coronavirus, resulting in proposed penalties totaling $2,856,533.

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

OSHA has withdrawn a citation issued on Oct. 23, 2020, to Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, New York, (Inspection #1473958 with proposed penalty of $9,639) after the employer provided evidence of a good faith attempt at complying with the standard in question.

OSHA has already announced citations relating to the coronavirus arising out of 178 inspections, which can be found at dol.gov/newsroom. In addition to those inspections, the 26 inspections below have resulted in coronavirus-related citations totaling $369,404 from OSHA relating to one or more of the above violations from Oct. 30 to Nov. 5, 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
The Cleaning Company Inc. 1483403 East Haven Connecticut $6,940
Lawrence + Memorial Hospital Inc. 1476231 New London Connecticut $15,422
Butterfield Health Care VIII LLC 1474191 Bolingbrook Illinois $12,145
Geneva Nursing and Rehabilitation Center LLC 1474458 Geneva Illinois $13,494
The Edgar P. Benjamin Healthcare Center Inc. 1488985 Boston Massachusetts $16,193
South Shore Medical Investors LLC 1478069 Scituate Massachusetts $13,494
Grand Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center 1474377 Saint Louis Missouri $12,145
Hamilton Operator LLC 1488528 Hamilton Square New Jersey $13,494
Hazlet Garden Group 1486252 Hazlet New Jersey $13,359
Mystic Meadows Rehabilitation & Nursing Center 1486441 Little Egg Harbor Twp. New Jersey $32,965
Elmwood Evesham Associates LLC 1487353 Marlton New Jersey $12,145
Montclair Hospital LLC 1473011 Montclair New Jersey $13,494
Prime Healthcare Services-St. Michael’s LLC 1479171 Newark New Jersey $25,061
Optimize Manpower Solutions Inc. 1470599 South Plainfield New Jersey $5,000
Family of Caring LLC 1473777 Woodcliff Lake New Jersey $12,145
Boro Park Operating Co. LLC 1488796 Brooklyn New York $26,989
Boro Park Operating Co. LLC 1488814 Brooklyn New York $11,567
Buffalo General Medical Center 1474063 Buffalo New York $1,928
Rego Park NHLTD 1488595 Flushing New York $13,494
Forest Manor Inc. 1487472 Glen Cove New York $13,494
Amsterdam Nursing Home Corp. 1475704 New York New York $13,494
Bayada Home Health Care Inc. 1480129 New York New York $8,675
Schnur Operations Associates LLC 1488554 White Plains New York $12,145
Cold Spring Hill Acquisition LLC 1487532 Woodbury New York $25,061
Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital 1474193 Warren Ohio $13,494
Athena Health Care Systems 1487891 Woonsocket Rhode Island 11567

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.


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.

Former OSHA head expects an emergency temporary standard ‘very early’ in Biden administration

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First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Aurora, CO — Protecting the health and safety of workers during the COVID-19 pandemic will be a high priority for President-elect Joe Biden as he prepares to take office in January, according to former OSHA chief David Michaels.

That starts with OSHA issuing an emergency temporary standard on infectious diseases – something worker advocacy groups and some lawmakers have called for in recent months.

“I don’t think there’s any question that Biden will issue an emergency temporary standard very early in his tenure,” Michaels said during a Nov. 11 webinar on the post-election future of worker safety and health, hosted by the University of Colorado Center for Bioethics and Humanities. “I think you have to do that immediately. The importance of that is employers need to know what the rules are.”

During his presidential campaign, Biden released a 4-Point Plan for Our Essential Workers that called on the Trump administration to immediately release and enforce an ETS to give employers and frontline employees “specific, enforceable guidance” on reducing on-the-job exposure to COVID-19.

Michaels – who led OSHA for seven years under the Obama administration – said he expects an ETS from the Biden administration to include language on physical distancing, mask requirements and workplace ventilation.

“And if [employers] don’t do those things, they have to explain why,” he said. “It will have a huge impact, because standards are a wholesale way to deal with issues that inspections just do on a regional basis. Standards are powerful because many employers want to be law-abiding. They will follow a standard.”

Despite being pushed to issue an ETS on infectious diseases by lawmakers from both parties as well as via multiple petitions and lawsuits from labor unions, federal OSHA officials have consistently reiterated the agency’s position to use existing rules – including its General Duty Clause – to protect workers during the pandemic.

The agency also has relied on dozens of industry-specific guidance documents, which serve only as recommendations to employers. MichiganOregon and Virginia recently have issued ETSs in absence of one from federal OSHA.

Webinar co-presenter Matthew Wynia, a professor and bioethicist at CU, said OSHA guidance leaves open the opportunity for some employers to not follow it.

“The reason for standards is to establish a level playing field,” Wynia said. “You’ve laid a floor and said, ‘You cannot go below this.’”


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.

Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 and the Flu

First published by NSC.

With the risks of the flu and COVID-19, as well as potential confusion around symptoms, prevention is key to protecting yourself, your co-workers and your loved ones. To limit risk, you must understand the riskiest situations this flu season. According to the CDC, limiting face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. You can also limit your risks by:

Talk to your supervisor about preventive steps you can take to limit the spread at work. Remember, a lack of symptoms does not mean you or those around you don’t have COVID-19. This virus can spread easily but the above measures can help. The CDC explains that for both COVID-19 and the flu, it’s possible to spread the virus for at least one day before you experience any symptoms. With COVID-19, the CDC says, you can remain contagious for at least 10 days after experiencing symptoms.

This is especially important if you spend time around people in high-risk groups, including older adults and those with underlying health conditions. According to the CDC, people in these groups can be at higher risk for developing a severe illness from COVID-19, and taking the above precautions are even more important to keep them safe.

The Vital Importance of Getting Your Flu Shot

It’s important to get a flu shot each year to reduce your risk of becoming sick and spreading the flu to others. This year, however, a flu shot is more important than ever and the best way to reduce the spread of the seasonal flu. While you might think catching the flu is no big deal – especially in comparison to COVID-19 – it’s not just yourself that you should be worried about. If you catch the flu, you could spread it to others who may be at higher risk for complications. Then there is the issue of overburdening the hospital system. If you become sick or unknowingly infect someone, it might require health care and medical resources that already are strained by the pandemic.

All of us can take simple precautions to limit the spread of these viruses and keep those around us safe. Check out this video for more tips on protecting your co-workers and community this flu season. This Vaccine Finder tool can locate local options for you and your loved ones to get a flu shot.

Additional Resources:

Use the above resources and these posters to keep yourself and those around you safe:


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.

Preparing for Flu Season and COVID-19

First published by NSC.

Flu season is here, along with the additional risks posed by COVID-19. These viruses each pose serious dangers, making it crucial to prepare for both and take preventive steps to keep yourself and those around you safe.

Preliminary estimates from the CDC report that about 34,000 Americans died from the flu last year, with a typical flu season ranging from around October to as late as May. COVID-19, meanwhile, has killed over 229,000 Americans since early 2020. As the normal flu season ramps up, the potential for spread, infection and confusion around these viruses will increase. While you might consider a flu shot and cough syrup an adequate response to the flu in a regular year, those steps are not enough this year. Each of us must take action to avoid infection, limit the spread of these viruses and keep each other safe.

Key Differences in Signs and Symptoms

To prevent the spread of viruses this flu season, you must be able to spot the signs and symptoms of a typical cold, the annual flu and COVID-19. According to the CDC, there are some similarities and differences between a cold and the flu, and between the flu and COVID-19.

With a cold:

  • Symptoms may be gradual
  • Most common symptoms include sneezing, a stuffy nose and a sore throat
  • It is rare to experience a fever or headache

With the flu:

  • Symptoms show up abruptly
  • Common symptoms include a fever, aches, fatigue, chest discomfort and a headache
  • It is less common to experience sneezing, a stuffy nose or a sore throat

With COVID-19:

  • Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus
  • Common shared symptoms with the flu include a fever, aches, fatigue and a headache
  • Common symptoms different from the flu can include change in or loss of taste or smell

Some of these overlapping symptoms can be confusing, but it’s important to keep in mind that each person’s experience with a cold, the flu or COVID-19 may be different. Symptoms may be more severe or, in some COVID-19 cases, there may be no symptoms at all. That is why, whether working remotely or in a traditional workplace, spotting these signs in yourself or others – or learning you were in contact with someone with COVID-19 – should spur you to action.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, the CDC recommends quarantining at home and contacting your health care provider for additional guidance. The same goes if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19. Talk to your supervisor about working from home or taking time off to keep yourself and your co-workers safe. It can be difficult to decide whether you need to get tested for COVID-19, but the CDC has a tool to help. The Coronavirus Self-Checker allows you to enter your symptoms and other information to help determine whether you should get tested or access additional medical care.

If you get the flu, the CDC recommends:

  • Staying home and resting
  • Avoiding contact with people who are not sick, including those in your home
  • Drinking plenty of water to prevent dehydration

If you are caring for someone with the flu but you don’t have it, the CDC recommends:

  • Avoiding close contact with the sick individual as much as possible
  • Washing your hands frequently with soap and water
  • Using an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water aren’t easily available

See more CDC recommendations, including a list of flu symptoms that may require immediate medical care and take a look at this article from the winter issue of Family Safety & Health® magazine for additional information on the differences between symptoms.


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.

COVID-19 Guidance on Ventilation in the Workplace

First published by OSHA.

OSHA is committed to protecting the health and safety of America’s workers and workplaces during these unprecedented times. The agency will be issuing a series of alerts designed to keep workers safe. Ensuring adequate ventilation throughout the work environment can help to maintain a safe and healthy workplace. Employers should work with a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professional to consider steps to optimize building ventilation. An HVAC professional can ensure that the ventilation system is operating as intended. The following tips can help reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus:
Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.

  • Ensure all HVAC systems are fully functional, especially those shut down or operating at reduced capacity during the pandemic.
  • Remove or redirect personal fans to prevent blowing air from one worker to another.
  • Use HVAC system filters with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating of 13 or higher, where feasible.
  • Increase the HVAC system’s outdoor air intake. Open windows or other sources of fresh air where possible.
  • Be sure exhaust air is not pulled back into the building from HVAC air intakes or open windows.
  • Consider using portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) fan/filtration systems to increase clean air, especially in higher-risk areas.
  • When changing filters, wear appropriate personal protective equipment. ASHRAE recommends N95 respirators, eye protection (safety glasses, goggles, or face shields), and disposable gloves.
  • Make sure exhaust fans in restrooms are fully functional, operating at maximum capacity, and are set to remain on.
  • Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.

For more information, visit www.osha.gov/coronavirus or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742)


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.

Communicating through a facemask

Communicating through a face mask, McCraren Compliance

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Wearing a facemask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 can present obstacles to communication, “an important and complex transaction that depends on visual and, often, auditory cues,” says Debara L. Tucci, director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

When facial coverings are worn, facial features are obscured, while speech perception and conveyed emotion are disrupted. Facial coverings also filter speech, making sounds less clear, Tucci said, adding, “When it is harder to understand speech – whether because of cloth face coverings, distance or other factors – research suggests that we have fewer cognitive resources to process information deeply. As a result, communication suffers, and feelings of stress and isolation may increase.”

NIDCD offers the following tips to improve communication when wearing a facial covering:
Be aware. Is the person you’re communicating with having trouble understanding you? Ask and adapt if needed.
Be patient. Facial coverings block visual cues and muffle sounds that help us understand speech, which can make interactions frustrating.
Be mindful. Consider how physical distancing might affect your communication. As distance increases, sound levels decrease and visual cues are more difficult to see.
Be loud and clear. Speak up, but don’t shout. Focus on speaking clearly. Consider wearing a clear facial covering, if possible. If you’re having trouble understanding, ask the person you’re talking with to speak louder. If you lip-read, ask those you interact with regularly to wear a clear facial covering.
Turn down the background volume. Background noise can make conversation especially hard. Move to a quieter spot or turn down the sound, when possible.
Communicate another way. Use a smartphone talk-to-text app or writing tools (e.g., paper/pen, whiteboard) to communicate.
Confirm your statement is clear. Ask if your message has been understood.
Bring a friend or be a friend. If it’s essential that you comprehend important spoken details – during a discussion with a health care provider, for example – consider bringing a friend or family member with you.


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

ICYMI: U.S. Department of Labor Acts to Help American Workers and Employers During the Coronavirus Pandemic

First published by U.S. Department of Labor.

WASHINGTON, DC – Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor took a range of actions to aid American workers and employers as our nation combats the coronavirus pandemic.

Reopening America’s Economy:

Keeping America’s Workplaces Safe and Healthy:

Defending Workers’ Rights to Paid Leave and Wages Earned:

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Labor is focused on protecting the safety and health of American workers, assisting our state partners as they deliver traditional unemployment and expanded unemployment benefits, ensuring Americans know their rights to new paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave, providing guidance and assistance to employers, and carrying out the mission of the Department.


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.