Exhausted nation: Americans more tired than ever, survey finds

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

New York — Do you feel like you’re constantly running on fumes? If so, it’s not just you. Around 3 out of 5 U.S. adults say they feel more tired now than they’ve ever been and blame it on additional time spent at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, results of a recent survey show.

Researchers from marketing research company OnePoll surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults to learn about the impacts the pandemic is having on their energy levels, as well as any accompanying side effects. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they feel unfocused or disjointed, and that taking a brief nap isn’t a “viable solution.” More than half of the respondents (55%) said no amount of rest helps them feel focused, while slightly more (56%) believe poor sleep schedules have led to low energy levels.

Other findings:

  • 69% of the respondents said working from home has disrupted their sleep schedule.
  • Long work hours (53%), staying indoors during lockdowns (52%), too much screen time (46%) and lack of a regular routine (41%) were cited as the leading causes for prolonged feelings of exhaustion.
  • Among the participants working from home, 34% said many of the activities that typically boost their energy levels aren’t possible during the pandemic.
  • 3 out of 5 respondents said video conferences are more draining than in-person meetings.

The American Sleep Association offers tips for getting a better night’s sleep.


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.

Supreme Court mulling decision on OSHA’s ETS on COVID-19

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Washington — Who gets to decide how to protect workers against COVID-19? That was one of the central questions posed by opponents of OSHA’s emergency temporary standard on COVID-19 vaccination, testing and masking during a Jan. 7 hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Scott Keller, attorney for the National Federation of Independent Business, presented the question in a response to questioning from Justice Stephen Breyer early in the two-hour hearing. “You said the question is, ‘Who decides?’” Justice Elena Kagan said to Keller later in the hearing. “I think that’s right. I think that is the question.”

Kagan contended in her questioning that OSHA has experts on workplace safety and is politically accountable to the public via the election of presidents and representatives in Congress.

“Courts are not politically accountable,” she said. “Courts have not been elected. Courts have no epidemiological expertise. Why in the world would courts decide this question?”

Keller and Ohio Solicitor General Benjamin Flowers contended that Congress didn’t give OSHA clear authority to address vaccinations in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The duo also argued that states and private businesses can decide how to protect workers from COVID-19.

Chief Justice John Roberts expressed similar thoughts to U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, who was arguing on behalf of the government.

“It sounds like the sort of thing that states will be responding to, or should be, and Congress should be responding to, rather than agency by agency of the federal government and the executive branch acting alone.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor mentioned that “certain states … are stopping employers from requiring vaccines” and masks.

“Why shouldn’t the federal government, which … Congress has decided to give OSHA the power to regulate workplace safety, have a national rule that will protect workers?” she asked.

Reading from the OSH Act, Sotomayor noted that Congress gave OSHA the authority to develop “innovative methods, techniques and approaches for dealing with occupational health and safety problems.”

Prelogar pointed to Section 20(a)(5), which reads: “Nothing in this or any other provision of this act shall be deemed to authorize or require medical examination, immunization, or treatment for those who object thereto on religious grounds, except where such is necessary for the protection of the health or safety of others.”

Enforcement of OSHA’s COVID-19 ETS to begin Jan. 10

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Cincinnati — The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld OSHA’s emergency temporary standard on COVID-19 vaccination, testing and masking, with a 2-1 decision issued Dec. 17.

The decision ends a stay issued by the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit on Nov. 12 and means the implementation and enforcement of the ETS can move forward.

The 6th Circuit was chosen to consider a consolidated challenge to the ETS via a lottery, conducted by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Nov. 16 after 27 petitions were filed for review in 12 appeals courts.

According to a Dec. 18 press release, OSHA won’t issue citations “for noncompliance with any requirements of the ETS” before Jan. 10 and won’t issue citations for testing requirements before Feb. 9, “so long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard.” Additionally, the agency will provide compliance assistance to covered employers.

“OSHA can now once again implement this vital workplace health standard, which will protect the health of workers by mitigating the spread of the unprecedented virus in the workplace,” the release states.

Hours after the decision was handed down, 27 states and “a long list of companies and organizations” filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, according to a press release from South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office.

“This case does not present the question whether vaccines or vaccine mandates are wise or desirable,” the release states. “Instead, it presents the narrow questions whether OSHA had authority to issue the mandate and whether it lawfully exercised whatever authority it had. After all, ‘our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully,’ even during a pandemic and ‘even in pursuit of desirable ends.’”

OSHA published the ETS in the Nov. 5 Federal Register, giving employers with 100-plus employees 30 days to develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy – or provide a policy that gives workers the choice to get vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

Covered employees had an initial deadline of Jan. 4 to become fully vaccinated, or begin weekly testing and wear a face covering while indoors or in a vehicle “with another person for work purposes.”


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.

FMCSA renews regulatory relief extension

First published by FMCSA

EXTENSION OF THE MODIFIED
EMERGENCY DECLARATION No. 2020-002 UNDER 49 CFR § 390.25

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hereby declares that the continuing national emergency warrants extension of the modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002.  The extension of the modified Emergency Declaration continues the exemption granted from certain requirements in Part 395 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) for the fifty States and the District of Columbia as set forth below.

FMCSA issued Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 in response to the March 13, 2020 declaration of a national emergency under 42 U.S.C. § 5191(b) related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and the immediate risk COVID-19 presents to public health and welfare.  FMCSA has previously modified Emergency Declaration 2020-002 to expand and remove categories of supplies, equipment and persons covered by the Emergency Declaration to respond to changing needs for emergency relief.  On August 31, 2021, FMCSA extended and amended the modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 and associated regulatory relief through November 30, 2021 in accordance with 49 CFR § 390.25.

FMCSA is continuing the exemption and associated regulatory relief in accordance with 49 CFR § 390.25, because the presidentially declared emergency remains in place and because, although the number of COVID-19 cases began to decline in the U.S. following widespread introduction of vaccinations, persistent issues arising out of COVID-19 continue to affect the U.S. including impacts on supply chains and the need to ensure capacity to respond to variants and potential rises in infections.  Therefore, a continued exemption is needed to support direct emergency assistance for some supply chains.  This notice continues the relief granted in Emergency Declaration 2020-002, as modified on June 15, 2020, August 15, 2020, December 1, 2020, and August 2021, through February 28, 2022 subject to the restrictions and conditions set forth herein unless modified or terminated sooner.  This extension of the modified Emergency Declaration addresses national emergency conditions that create a need for immediate transportation of essential supplies and provides necessary relief from the FMCSRs for motor carriers and drivers.  Read More»


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 info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

OSHA extends comment period for COVID-19 ETS

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Washington — OSHA has extended until Jan. 19 the comment period on its emergency temporary standard on COVID-19 vaccination, testing and masking.

According to a Nov. 30 press release, the extension allows stakeholders additional time to review the ETS as well as collect information and data necessary for comment. OSHA published the ETS in the Nov. 5 Federal Register, with the initial comment period slated to end Dec. 6.

The fate of the ETS is still unclear. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals halted the implementation and enforcement of the rule by granting a stay Nov. 12. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals is slated to consider a consolidated challenge to the ETS in the near future.


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 ETS on COVID-19 wouldn’t apply to most truckers

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Washington — The majority of truck drivers will be exempt from OSHA’s emergency temporary standard on COVID-19 vaccination, testing and masking, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said during a recent TV interview.

Should the ETS survive the multiple legal challenges it’s facing, it would apply to employers with more than 100 employees. Those employers would have until Dec. 5 to develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy – or develop a policy that gives employees the choice to get vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

Meanwhile, covered employees would have a deadline of Jan. 4 to be fully vaccinated or begin undergoing weekly COVID-19 testing. Unvaccinated workers also would be required to wear a face covering while indoors or in a vehicle “with another person for work purposes.”

Reacting to concerns from trucking groups – including the American Trucking Associations – over the ETS, Walsh said during the interview on CNBC that “the ironic thing is most truckers aren’t covered by this because they’re driving a truck, they’re in a cab, they’re by themselves. They wouldn’t be covered by this.”

ATA and other groups fear that many drivers would leave the industry as a result of the ETS, amid a perceived shortage of drivers.

In a statement issued shortly after Walsh’s comments, ATA President and CEO Chris Spear called them “an enormous victory for our association and industry.”

Spear continued: “Given the nationwide shortage of truck drivers, it is vital that our industry has the relief it needs to keep critical goods moving, including food, fuel, medicine and the (COVID-19) vaccine itself.”

In a letter dated Oct. 21 and addressed to Sharon Block, acting administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Spear wrote that the association was “gravely concerned” about the impact the ETS would have on the industry, which he estimated could lead to a loss of “up to 37% of drivers to retirements, attrition to smaller carriers and/or conversion to independent contractor owner-operators.”

A Department of Labor spokesperson told CNBC that the vaccination, testing and masking requirements would apply to truck drivers who work in teams – such as two people in a cab – or those who “interact with people in buildings at their destinations or starting points.”


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.

COVID-19 and OSHA recordkeeping

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
virus.jpg

Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Many employers have questions about OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements – and the criteria for recordability – regarding COVID-19.

This is especially true when trying to determine whether a case is work-related.

Under the agency’s recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness, which means employers are responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 if the case:

  1. Is confirmed to be COVID-19.
  2. Is work-related, as defined by 1904.5.
  3. Involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 1904.7.

First, the case must be a confirmed as COVID-19. This means the employee must test positive using one of the testing methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Next, the case must be work-related, as defined by 1904.5. According to the regulation, “work-related” means that an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a preexisting injury or illness. Work-relatedness is presumed for injuries and illnesses resulting from events or exposures occurring in the work environment, unless an exception in 1904.5(b)(2) specifically applies (see 1904.5).

OSHA defines the work environment as “the establishment and other locations where one or more employees are working or are present as a condition of their employment. The work environment includes not only physical locations, but also the equipment or materials used by the employee during the course of his or her work.”

Lastly, the case involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 1904.7, as follows:

“You must consider an injury or illness to meet the general recording criteria, and therefore to be recordable, if it results in any of the following: death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness. You must also consider a case to meet the general recording criteria if it involves a significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional, even if it does not result in death, days away from work, restricted work or job transfer, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness.”


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.

DOL OIG to audit MSHA’s inspection processes during pandemic

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Photo property of MSHA

Washington — The Department of Labor Office of Inspector General will conduct an audit of the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s ability to complete required safety and health inspections amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an audit notice dated Oct. 29 and addressed to MSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and acting administrator Jeannette Galanis, Carolyn Hantz, assistant inspector general for audit programs, requests copies of inspection reports and various other agency records, policies and procedures. These include:

  • National, regional and district documents applicable to COVID-19 adjustments or other process changes related to mandatory safety and health inspections
  • Criteria for assigning and changing mine status, including any business rules
  • More recent versions or pending changes to the MSHA Program Police Manual, Volume 1; supervisors’ handbooks; the MSHA Centralized Application System user manual; and the Inspection Application System user guide
  • Accountability audits, internal reviews and evaluations issued since Oct. 1, 2017, related to mine status classifications or changes, completion of mandatory inspections, or COVID-19

The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 directs MSHA to inspect underground mines four times annually and surface mines twice a year.

The audit notice indicates that “work is expected to begin immediately” after a meeting between DOL OIG and an MSHA audit liaison “to discuss the audit objective, scope and methodology.”

A DOL spokesperson told Safety+Health that “MSHA is aware of the OIG audit of the COVID-19 impact on MSHA’s mandatory inspection program and will comply with the request for information.”

During a Sept. 29 stakeholder conference call, Galanis said MSHA won’t require COVID-19 vaccination or weekly negative testing at the nation’s mines. She said the Mine Act gives MSHA the authority to issue hygiene-related citations and temporarily shut down mine operations at facilities in which the coronavirus is found to be spreading.

Agency officials on the call also pointed to updated MSHA guidance – issued in March – that advises mine operators at coal, metal and nonmetal mines to establish a virus protection program or augment an existing one. The guidance includes recommendations on the use of personal protective equipment, physical distancing strategies, improving ventilation, effective hygiene and routine cleaning.

“We must be able to inspect mines during COVID,” Galanis said, “and so our mine inspectors are doing their jobs and getting out there and trying to be as careful as possible.”


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.

Court issues stay of OSHA ETS on COVID-19 vaccination, testing

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Photo property of OSHA

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has put a temporary halt to OSHA’s emergency temporary standard on COVID-19 vaccination, testing and masking by granting an emergency motion Nov. 5.

The three judges granted the stay, pending an expedited review, because “the petitions give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the [ETS].” They also gave OSHA and the Department of Labor until 5 p.m. on Nov. 8 to respond to a request for a permanent injunction from the petitioners, which include Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, businesses, and religious and advocacy groups.

The suit is among a number of court challenges against the ETS, according to multiple sources.

On Oct. 29, the Supreme Court refused to block a vaccine mandate for health care workers in Maine. That same day, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s decision to block a vaccine mandate for health care workers in New York.

Similarly, in August, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett turned down an appeal from Indiana University students to block their school’s vaccination requirement.

OSHA published its ETS, which would apply to employers with at least 100 employees, in the Nov. 5 Federal Register. Covered employers would have until Dec. 5 to develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy – or develop a policy that gives employees the choice to get vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

Covered employees would have a deadline of Jan. 4 to be fully vaccinated or begin undergoing weekly COVID-19 testing. Under the ETS, unvaccinated workers would be required to wear a face covering while indoors or in a vehicle “with another person for work purposes.”

The ETS directs employers to provide paid time off to receive a vaccine – up to four hours for each dose – and paid leave for any side effects from vaccinations. The 30 days would allow employers time to determine the vaccination status of employees and get any documentation in order, among other considerations. It also would give workers time to get their only dose or the first of two doses of a vaccine.

According to an OSHA fact sheet, the ETS wouldn’t apply to employees who work from home, work “exclusively outdoors” or don’t report to a workplace “where other individuals are present.”

During a Nov. 4 press conference, OSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Jim Frederick said many employers already are complying with the requirements of the ETS. He also noted that the agency chose the 100-employee threshold because employers with that many workers typically have the “administrative capacity” to implement the requirements of the ETS “promptly.”

He added: “We know that the vast majority of workplaces will comply with this rule.”

The ETS includes a 30-day comment period. One subject OSHA is seeking to learn more about is “the ability of employers with fewer than 100 employees to implement COVID-19 vaccination and/or testing programs.” This means the employee threshold could be adjusted in the future.

Frederick noted that the agency will provide “robust” compliance assistance along with outreach to companies.

In addition to the fact sheet on the ETS, OSHA has an ETS summary, a set of frequently asked questions and answers, and sample policies for employers.

In response to the ETS news, Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) announced that he’s leading an effort – with the support of at least 40 other lawmakers – to overturn the regulation under the Congressional Review Act. However, the CRA requires approval from both the House and Senate as well as a presidential signature, so the attempt is largely symbolic.

“This unacceptable federal directive impacts tens of millions of Americans and warrants review by Congress,” Braun said in a press release.

OSHA estimates that two-thirds of private-sector workers, or around 84 million, would be covered under the ETS, which would preempt any state laws, according to Department of Labor Solicitor Seema Nanda. State Plans would have to adopt standards that are “at least as effective as” federal OSHA’s.


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 ETS sets deadline of Jan. 4 for worker vaccination

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

OSHA will officially publish its emergency temporary standard on COVID-19 vaccination and testing, which will apply to employers with more than 100 employees, in the Nov. 5 Federal Register.

Covered employers will have until Dec. 5 to develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy – or develop a policy that gives employees the choice to get vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

Covered employees will have a deadline of Jan. 4 to be fully vaccinated or begin undergoing weekly COVID-19 testing. Unvaccinated workers also will be required to wear a face covering while indoors or in a vehicle “with another person for work purposes.”

The ETS directs employers to provide paid time off to receive a vaccine – up to four hours for each dose – and paid leave for any side effects from vaccinations. The 30 days will allow employers time to determine the vaccination status of employees and get any documentation in order, among other considerations. It also will give workers time to get their only dose or the first of two doses of a vaccine.

According to an OSHA fact sheet, the ETS won’t apply to employees who work from home, work “exclusively outdoors” or don’t report to a workplace “where other individuals are present.”

During a Nov. 4 press conference, OSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Jim Frederick said many employers already are complying with the requirements of the ETS. He also noted that the agency chose the 100-employee threshold because employers with that many workers typically have the “administrative capacity” to implement the requirements of the ETS “promptly.”

He added: “We know that the vast majority of workplaces will comply with this rule.”

The ETS includes a 30-day comment period. One subject OSHA is seeking to learn more about is “the ability of employers with fewer than 100 employees to implement COVID-19 vaccination and/or testing programs.” This means the employee threshold could be adjusted in the future.

Frederick noted that the agency will provide “robust” compliance assistance along with outreach to companies.

In addition to the fact sheet on the ETS, OSHA has an ETS summary, a set of frequently asked questions and answers, and sample policies for employers.

In response to the ETS news, Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) announced that he’s leading an effort – with the support of at least 40 other lawmakers – to overturn the regulation under the Congressional Review Act. However, the CRA requires approval from both the House and Senate as well as the president, so the attempt is largely symbolic.

“This unacceptable federal directive impacts tens of millions of Americans and warrants review by Congress,” Braun said in a press release.

OSHA estimates that two-thirds of private-sector workers, or around 84 million, will be covered under the ETS, which will preempt any state laws, according to Department of Labor Solicitor Seema Nanda. State Plans will have to adopt standards that are “at least as effective as” federal OSHA’s.

The ETS will likely face challenges in the courts. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced Oct. 29 that they would file a lawsuit against a similar vaccination requirement, from the Biden administration, for federal contractors. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R), as well as Alabama, Idaho, Kansas and West Virginia, have joined the suit.

Also on Oct. 29, the Supreme Court refused to block a vaccine mandate for health care workers in Maine. That same day, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s decision to block a vaccine mandate for health care workers in New York.

Similarly, in August, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett turned down an appeal from Indiana University students to block their school’s vaccination requirement.


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.