MSHA: ‘No changes are necessary’ to criteria for certifying coal mine rescue teams

Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) | Protecting Miners' Safety and Health Since 1978
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Arlington, VA — Criteria for the certification of coal mine rescue teams will “remain in effect, without changes,” the Mine Safety and Health Administration announced Sept. 1, after completing a requisite review under the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (MINER) Act of 2006.

MSHA revised the guidelines of the MINER Act in December 2013. Certification criteria for mine rescue teams outlined under Title 30 CFR Part 49.50 state that members must:

  • Receive proper annual training.
  • Be familiar with the operations of each covered mine.
  • Participate in at least two local mine rescue contests each year.
  • Complete mine rescue training at each covered mine.
  • Be knowledgeable about the operations and ventilation of each covered mine.

The MINER Act requires MSHA to review the certification criteria every five years.

“After a review of these criteria, MSHA has determined that these criteria are still appropriate and that no changes are necessary,” the agency states.

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.

Speeding most cited violation during Operation Safe Driver Week

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.
Greenbelt, MD — Law enforcement officials issued more than 71,000 citations and warnings to drivers during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s annual Operation Safe Driver Week.

From July 12 to July 18, law enforcement officials throughout the United States and Canada were on the lookout for commercial and passenger vehicle drivers engaging in unsafe behaviors such as following too closely, not wearing a seat belt and distracted driving, while placing added emphasis on speeding, CVSA states in a Sept. 2 press release.

Citations and warnings related to speeding were most common among both groups of drivers. Commercial motor vehicle drivers received 2,339 citations and 3,423 warnings for speeding, while passenger drivers accounted for 14,378 citations and 11,456 warnings.

Rounding out the top five citations issued to CMV drivers: failure to wear a seat belt (1,003), failure to obey a traffic control device (617), texting or using a handheld phone (269), and improper lane change (122).

The next most common citations issued to passenger vehicle drivers were failure to wear a seat belt (932), possession/use/under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (452), failure to obey a traffic control device (399), and improper lane change (273).

“Although CVSA is a commercial motor vehicle safety organization, it was important that passenger vehicle drivers were also involved in this annual weeklong driver safety enforcement initiative,” CVSA President John Samis said in the release. “When commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles collide, no matter who was at fault, the results can be catastrophic, especially for the smaller and lighter passenger vehicle. Preventing crashes from happening requires every driver – commercial and personal – to be aware of how to safely share the road with other types of vehicles.”

The rate of motor vehicle-related deaths jumped 20% in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2019 – despite a 17% drop in the number of miles driven – according to preliminary estimates released Sept. 15 by the National Safety Council.

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 to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment

Cranes and derricks in railroad roadway work: OSHA clarifies final rule; lists exemptions


Photo: Washington State Dept. of Transportation

Washington — OSHA is providing specific exemptions and clarifications for railroad roadway work in its Cranes and Derricks in Construction Standard.

According to a final rule published in the Sept. 15 Federal Register, the exemptions and clarifications are intended to “recognize the unique equipment and circumstances in railroad roadway work,” as well as reflect the preemption of OSHA requirements by Federal Railroad Administration regulations, including those for the safe operation of railroad roadway maintenance machines that have cranes or other hoisting devices.

Some of the exemptions apply to flash-butt welding trucks, the use of rail stops and rail clamps, dragging a load sideways, out-of-level work, and boom-hoist limiting devices for hydraulic cylinder-equipped booms. Operator training and certification will follow FRA regulations, OSHA states in a Sept. 14 press release.

This rulemaking culminates a 10-year period that began when the Association of American Railroads and a number of individual railroads filed a petition challenging the Cranes and Derricks in Construction Standard – published in August 2010.

OSHA published a notice of proposed rulemaking in July 2018 after reaching a settlement agreement with those organizations. Nearly a year later, FRA informed OSHA that it intended to preempt many of the requirements in the NPRM.

OSHA states in the rule that “Although any exemption from OSHA requirements resulting from the preemption of OSHA statutory authority by FRA would apply whether or not the OSHA regulations include any specific exemptions, OSHA believes it is still appropriate to amend the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) to include the explicit exemptions for RMMs in the OSHA crane standard. Having the exemptions specified in the OSHA crane standard will provide additional clarity for employers in the railroad industry, including contractors, who may be unfamiliar with the legal implications of FRA’s action.”

The rule is scheduled to go into effect Nov. 16.

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.

‘Soaring rate of deaths’: Motor vehicle fatality rate surges in first half of 2020

Police: Impaired driver causes 5-vehicle crash on Highway 69 | The Daily  Courier | Prescott, AZ

Itasca, IL — The rate of motor vehicle-related deaths jumped 20% in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2019, according to preliminary estimates released by the National Safety Council.

The spike in the rate – an indicator of how safe the nation’s roads are – comes despite a 17% drop in the number of miles driven over the course of the six months, NSC states in a Sept. 15 press release. The estimated total number of deaths, meanwhile, was up 1% from the first-half total of last year.

The 20% increase is the largest jump the council has calculated for a six-month period since 1999.

“Because of COVID-19 and states’ shelter-in-place orders earlier this year, the country should have reaped a safety benefit from less traffic,” NSC President and CEO Lorraine M. Martin said in the release. “Instead, our soaring rate of deaths speaks to our need to improve safety on our roads. Clearly, we must work harder as a society to reverse this trend, especially since the pandemic is not nearly over.”

To help ensure roadway safety, the council is urging drivers to:

  • Obey speed limits, even if roads are clear and traffic is light.
  • Practice defensive driving. Buckle up; designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation; get plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue; and drive attentively, avoiding distractions.
  • If you have a teen driver, stay engaged and practice with him or her often – tips are available at
  • Follow state and local directives, and stay off the roads if officials have directed you do to so.
  • Be aware of increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic, particularly in urban areas. Conversely, pedestrians and bicyclists should remember that streets are getting congested again, and vulnerable roadway users need to be careful.
  • Encourage your employer to join the Road to Zero Coalition, a 1,500-member group committed to eliminating roadway deaths by 2050.

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.

Protect your skin


Do you work with wet cement, paints or plaster? Maybe adhesives? These are just some of the materials that can irritate your skin because they can contain harsh substances such as hexavalent chromium, calcium hydroxide, toluene, xylene, epoxy resins and lime. This can result in burns, dermatitis and other skin disorders, and even cancer.

Symptoms of skin disorders include:

  • Red and/or swollen hands or fingers
  • Cracked or itchy skin
  • Crusting or thickening of the skin
  • Blisters
  • Flaky or scaly skin
  • Burns

Here’s how you can protect your skin:
Prevent exposure. Try to keep your arms and clothes dry. Wear protective clothing, including gloves, coveralls and boots. If you work outdoors, always apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher. Clean your hands and skin before applying the sunscreen.
Wear gloves. Make sure you’re using the right glove for the materials you’re handling. The gloves should fit and keep your hands clean and dry.
Keep your skin clean. Wash your hands with soap and clean water if you come in contact with a hazardous substance. Use a pH neutral soap if you work with wet cement or other caustics.

Setting up a workplace safety and health program


Looking for some quick recommendations for setting up a workplace safety and health program?
OSHA has 10 steps:
  1. Establish safety and health as a core value of your organization. Convey to your workers that starting and finishing their day safely is the way you want to do business. Let them know you intend to work with them to find and fix any hazards that could result in injury or illness.
  2. Lead by example. Model safe behaviors and make safety part of your daily conversations with workers.
  3. Create a reporting system. Develop and communicate a process for workers to report injuries, illnesses, near misses, hazards, or safety and health concerns without fear of retaliation. Include an option for anonymous reporting.
  4. Train your workers. Teach workers how to identify and control workplace hazards.
  5. Conduct inspections. Walk through the workplace with staff and ask them to identify any activity, piece of equipment or materials that concern them. Use checklists to help identify problems.
  6. Collect hazard control ideas. Ask workers for ideas on how to make workplace improvements and then follow up on their suggestions. Give them time during business hours, if possible, to research solutions.
  7. Implement hazard controls. Assign workers the task of choosing, implementing and evaluating the solutions they suggest.
  8. Plan for emergencies. Identify possible emergency scenarios and develop instructions on how to react in each case. Discuss these procedures during employee meetings and post them in a visible location in the workplace.
  9. Seek input on changes. Before you make big changes to the workplace, consult with workers to identify potential safety or health issues.
  10. Make improvements to your program. Set aside a regular time to discuss safety and health issues, with the goal of identifying ways to improve the program.

McCraren Compliance sees the solution in our people. We are developing each person into a safety leader by recognizing and valuing them as humans and teaching them to do the same with their co-workers. We are creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

COVID-19 pandemic: OSHA releases guidelines for oil and gas industry


Photo: OSHA

Washington — OSHA has published COVID-19-related guidance intended to help employers in the oil and gas industry reduce exposure among workers, including personnel in the sub industries and those whose tasks “make up the broader oil and gas industrial sector.”

The guidance includes a table with examples of tasks and associated risk levels, along with examples of engineering and administrative controls. Additionally, the agency addresses cloth facial coverings, safe work practices, personal protective equipment, and OSHA “flexibilities” on PPE requirements and prioritization during the pandemic.

Among the agency’s recommendations:

  • Defer work requiring close contact with others, if possible.
  • Configure communal work environments so workers are spaced at least 6 feet apart.
  • Stagger workers’ arrival, break and departure times.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation in work areas to help minimize potential exposure.
  • Encourage workers to wear face coverings to prevent the potential spread of the virus.

“Employers with workers engaged in the oil and gas industry should remain alert to changing conditions and implement infection prevention measures accordingly,” OSHA states.