Regulatory Roundup, December 30, 2015

oneRegulatory Roundup is Texas Mutual’s weekly digest of workplace safety and wellness news.

Texas Mutual

Tornadoes carve path of destruction across North Texas
Over the holiday weekend, 11 tornados swept the Dallas area. The destruction included 50,000 power outages, 1,000 leveled homes and buildings, and, most important, 11 fatalities, including an infant. Texas Mutual responded with two timely blog posts. One shared tips for weathering a tornado, and the other explained the hazards associated with recovery efforts.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

E-log mandate set to take effect Dec. 2017
Semi TruckThe mandate will require truck operators to abandon paper duty status logs in favor or electronic logging devices. FMCSA says the rule will save the industry $1 billion a year in administrative costs. It also says the rule will save 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries annually…MORE

FMCSA abandons controversial proposed rule
The FMCSA will not move forward with a rule that would have required each U.S.-based commercial motor vehicle to display a label documenting the vehicle’s compliance with all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Industry groups claimed the rule would provide no safety benefits and impose significant costs on carriers…MORE

Reduced controlled substance testing rate to save carriers $50M a year
Beginning January 1, the FMCSA will lower its minimum rate for random controlled substances testing from 50 to 25 percent. FMCSA reduced the controlled substance testing rate after positive random tests fell below 1 percent for three consecutive years from 2011 through 2013. The move will save motor carriers an estimated $50 million a year…MORE

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

The usual suspects: Motor vehicle fatalities are up, and the causes are familiar
IncreaseThe death toll on U.S. highways rose 8.1 percent in the first half of 2015. More than half of people killed were not wearing seat belts, according to the NHTSA. Other causes of motor vehicle fatalities will come as no surprise: impairment, distraction and fatigue. Texas Mutual encourages the public to watch our series of one-minute videos on overcoming the common causes of motor vehicle injuries and fatalities…MORE

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

OSHA naming workers’ comp insurers in employer safety citations
OSHA issues press releases announcing employer fines of $40,000 or more. In an effort to ramp up accountability, the agency has begun identifying cited employers’ workers’ comp insurers. Note: You must register for a free Business Insurance account to read this articleMORE

Administrative court allows request for enterprise-wide hazard abatement by employer to proceed to trial
legislation
“Other appropriate relief.” Those three words form the basis of a precedent-setting judgment that could affect any employer fined by OSHA. Under the judgment, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission may have the authority under the OSH Act to order abatement measures beyond the specific violations identified in the citation…MORE

Fertilizer dealers spared from OSHA rule
A provision in the bill prohibits OSHA from applying its Process Safety Management rule to agricultural retailers until the Census Bureau has establishes a North American Industry Classification System code for farm supply retailers…MORE

Looking ahead: Future OSHA rules
If OSHA abolishes obsolete permissible exposure limits (PELs), it would be easier for its inspectors to fine employers under the General Duty Clause. PELs are one of six new rules OSHA will consider in 2016…MORE

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Drug overdose deaths surged in 14 states last year
Pills White Background
Drug overdoses increased 6.5 percent between 2013 and 2014, claiming 47,005 lives. Heroin and prescription painkillers were responsible for 61 percent of the deaths, the New York Times noted…MORE

Studies, news, resources

Dialogue, drills essential to protecting workers from violence
In 2014, 403 Americans died in workplace homicides, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Safety professionals must learn how to speak frankly about violence without scaring employees. And they should stress the importance of quickly choosing among three core responses during a violent encounter: run, hide or fight…MORE

SmartCap monitors drivers’ brainwaves to keep them alert
The cap’s built-in electroencephalogram system continuously analyzes the wearer’s brainwaves and alerts them to symptoms of fatigue, in real time…MORE

National Safety Council predicts deadly holiday weekend on the road
The National Safety Council predicts 653 people will die in traffic accidents during the Christmas and New Year’s weekends. Another 79,000 will suffer serious injuries. An estimated 405 lives could be saved if everyone wore seat belts during these two holidays…MORE

Driverless car accidents pile up, but who’s at fault?
Driverless cars have racked up a crash rate double that of those with human drivers, but they’ve been blameless in every case. Well, sort of blameless. It turns out that sometimes, the best way to protect yourself behind the wheel is to violate those best safety practices you learned so long ago. Unfortunately, driverless cars can’t exercise that level of discretion…yet…MORE

 

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