Posted April 17, 2020 by Erin
Last Friday, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued an enforcement guidance with details on how employers should record occupational illnesses, specifically cases of the COVID-19. In areas where there is ongoing community transmission, employers – other than those in the healthcare industry, emergency response organizations and correctional institutions – may have difficulty determining whether workers contracted COVID-19 due to exposures at work. In light of those difficulties, OSHA is exercising enforcement discretion in order to provide certainty to the regulated community.
OSHA has determined that under its recordkeeping requirements in 29 CFR § 1904.5, COVID-19 is a recordable illness and employers are responsible for recording cases of the disease, if: the case is a confirmed case of COVID-19, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the case is work-related, as defined by 29 CFR § 1904.5; and the case involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR § 1904.7.
The American Feed Industry Association expects that it will be difficult for companies to determine whether a case of COVID-19 is work-related as defined by 29 CFR § 1904.5. However, until further notice, OSHA will not enforce 29 CFR § 1904 to require other employers to make the same work-related determinations, except where:
- There is objective evidence that a COVID-19 case may be work-related. This could include, for example, a number of cases developing among workers who work closely together without an alternative explanation; and
- The evidence was reasonably available to the employer. For purposes of this memorandum, examples of “reasonably available evidence” include information given to the employer by employees, as well as information that an employer learns regarding its employees’ health and safety in the ordinary course of managing its business and employees. This enforcement policy should help employers focus their response efforts on implementing good hygiene practices in their workplaces and otherwise mitigating COVID-19’s effects, rather than on making difficult work-related decisions in circumstances where there is community transmission. If it is determined that a case is work-related, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and should be coded as such on the OSHA Form 300. Because this is an illness, if an employee voluntarily requests that his or her name not be entered on the log, the employer must comply as specified under 29 CFR § 1904.29(b)(7)(vi).
This memorandum will take effect immediately and remain in effect until further notice. This guidance is intended to be time-limited to the current public health crisis. Visit OSHA’s webpage frequently for updates.
Article Source: Kansas Grain and Feed Association. Originally Published by the American Feed Industry Association
Posted April 10, 2020 by Erin
In spite of the almost universal shutdown of our national economy, the FMCSA, and Texas DPS, are still actively conducting regulatory audits. Fortunately, as of right now, all audits are being conducted remotely via email and phone calls. That does not eliminate the seriousness of the audit, but it does relieve you of the added pressure of having a government regulator sitting in your office for a week.
So, what do you do if you receive notice of an audit? The following steps have proven to be an effective response framework for most motor carriers.
- Organize Your Audit Response Team
Get your most effective team members organized to manage the audit response. This team should have clear authority from senior leadership. Senior leadership should communicate with any and all department heads to clarify the purpose and role of the audit response team in assessing and responding to the audit. This is not the time for departmental silos, compartmentalization of information, or managers being territorial.
- Facts are Critical
The audit response team should be focused on gathering facts. Your HOS records for the past 6 months are what they are. But, you must know what they are. Discover the truth within each area of your operations with compassion and empathy toward coworkers, but do not let the hurt feelings push you away from accurately assessing the current state of your business operations.
- Free Up the Audit Response Team
Senior leadership needs to clear other non-critical responsibilities from the audit response team so they can be present and available to effectively respond to the auditor.
- Take Ownership
We will respond to the audit findings through a high-quality Corrective Action Plan. However, senior leadership needs to take absolute ownership for those findings. Great leaders do not point fingers.
- Be Present for Audit Opening and Closing
If the audit is serious, you may need to postpone your business trips and your golf outings. It is most important for you as a leader to be present for the audit opening and closing if it is an on-site Compliance Review. This is when real leadership is manifested.
For more information or if you have questions, please reach out to your Cline Wood, a Marsh & McLennan Agency representative.
Posted April 9, 2020 by Erin
Late yesterday afternoon, FMCSA further expanded the nationwide Emergency Declaration. Key changes include:
1. Extends the expiration date of the Emergency Declaration to May 15, 2020.
2. Added Liquified Gases used for refrigeration and cooling to the list of commodities covered by the Emergency Declaration.
3. Requires a motor carrier, whose driver is involved in a crash while operating under this emergency declaration, to report any recordable crash within 24 hours, by phone or in writing, to the FMCSA Division Office where the motor carrier is domiciled. The carrier must report the date, time, location, driver, vehicle identification, and brief description of the crash.
If you have any questions about these changes, or any other activities covered by the Emergency Declaration, please reach out to your Cline Wood, a Marsh & McLennan Agency representative.
The full text of the declaration can be found at the following site:
Posted March 31, 2020 by Erin
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
Employers — small and large — are required to post or distribute the FFCRA Employee Rights notification poster, but the Department of Labor (DOL) did not indicate the date by which employers would need to post the notification.
This notification poster will be updated in the future to correct inconsistency with the law and/or provide more clarity. To ensure you have the most current version of the poster, go to the Department of Labor’s website under the “Posters” section: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic.
Posted March 30, 2020 by Erin
Posted March 27, 2020 by Erin
Some of you are considering diversification of your business into sectors of trucking you have not previously operated in. I applaud your efforts. I have fielded multiple questions this week concerning two such sectors—HazMat and food transportation.
There are several regulatory requirements unique to these sectors you need to be aware of as follows:
- Drivers must have a HazMat endorsement on their CDL to transport any HazMat load which requires placards.
- Drivers must have regulatory required HazMat training prior to transporting any HazMat loads.
- The motor carrier must be registered with FMCSA as a Hazardous Materials carrier.
- Transportation of certain HazMat loads requires an additional FMCSA HazMat Safety Permit and a written Hazardous Materials Security Plan.
- Drivers pulling any bulk trailers, with a water capacity greater than 119 gallons will need a tank endorsement on their CDL.
- The safe transportation of human and animal food is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Drivers transporting most human and animal food must complete the FDA training module per the Sanitary Transportation Rule.
- Drivers pulling any bulk trailers, with a water capacity greater than 119 gallons will need a tank endorsement on their CDL. This would include milk trailers and any food grade non-HazMat tank trailers.
Please let me know if you have any questions about these requirements or need any additional assistance.
Posted March 27, 2020 by Erin
There is a fear rippling through the trucking industry that a majority of drivers may eventually become sick with the Coronavirus. While most of us are at home avoiding contact with others, drivers are still out in society working hard to continue to deliver the supplies and goods we all need. The danger for drivers is when they come into contact with others during pickup and delivery and, probably the greatest danger, when they stop to get fuel and eat. Truck stops offer the greatest risk of exposure to most drivers. From the handle of the fuel nozzle, to the store door knob, to the shower, to the packaging their food comes in, drivers are potentially exposed to the virus on a variety of surfaces Please remind your drivers of the following safety and health recommendations:
- 1. Avoid gatherings of more than ten people.
- 2. Practice social distancing by keeping a distance of about six feet from others if you must go out in public.
- 3. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- 4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- 5. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- 6. Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
- 7. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing; throw used tissues in the trash. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve, not your hands.
- 8. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
- 9. If surfaces are dirty, clean them – use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- 10. Wear a facemask if you are sick. You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
Posted March 26, 2020 by Erin
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) International Roadcheck, which was originally scheduled for May 5–7, 2020, has been postponed until a later date due to the coronavirus outbreak. Roadcheck is an annual high-volume, high-visibility enforcement initiative that highlights the importance of commercial motor vehicle safety through roadside inspections.
CVSA says that it will monitor the status of the COVID-19 pandemic, and “appropriately select the new dates when it’s safe and reasonable to do so.” It is important to note, however, that during the coronavirus crisis, regular roadside inspections will continue to be conducted.
Posted March 23, 2020 by Erin
DOT Guidance on Drug & Alcohol Testing:
Just this morning, the DOT released guidance on complying with the Federal Alcohol & Drug Testing regulations during the current national crisis. The text is available at the following link.
If you read carefully, just like with the other relief which has been granted, the motor carriers are receiving no relief from the responsibility to comply with the regs and no relief from the liability for failure to do so.
FMCSA updates to Emergency Declaration – FAQ
The FMCSA issued additional guidance last week for motor carriers who choose to pursue regulatory relief under the agency’s emergency declaration. The guidelines are available via a FAQ on the FMCSA website, but are included in their entirety as follows (Last updated: Thursday, March 19, 2020):
Are loads that include supplies related to direct assistance under the emergency declaration mixed with other, un-related materials covered under the declaration?
Generally, yes, however, mixed loads with only a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration are not covered.
Is a driver required to take a 30-minute break?
No, none of the hours of service regulations apply while the driver is engaged with providing direct assistance under the emergency relief exemption.
How do the hours a driver worked under the emergency exemption impact the 60/70-hour rule when the driver goes back to normal operations?
The hours worked providing direct assistance under the emergency relief exemption do not count toward the 60/70- hour rule.
Is a 34-hour restart required after providing direct assistance under the emergency declaration?
No, however, upon completion of the direct assistance and prior to returning to normal operations, the driver is required to meet the requirements of §§ 395.3(a) and (c) and 395.5(a), which include, for example, the requirement to take 10 hours off duty (8 hours for passenger carriers) and to comply with the on-duty limit of 60/70 hours in 7/8 days before returning to driving.
Is the driver required to use a paper logbook or ELD?
No, the emergency exemption includes relief from all the hours-of service regulations in 49 CFR part 395, including the recordkeeping requirements (i.e., records of duty status (RODS)).
If there is an ELD in the truck, what should a driver do to account for the miles driven?
There are three options
- Use the “authorized personal use” (personal conveyance) function of the ELD to record all of the time providing direct assistance under the exemption. Use of this function will result in the time being recorded as off duty and requires an annotation.
- Use the ELD in its normal mode and annotate the ELD record to indicate they were driving under the emergency relief exemption; or
- Turn off the ELD, in which case the carrier would address the unassigned miles in accordance with the current regulation.
What does a driver need to do if taking a backhaul not covered by the exemption after transporting an exempt load?
Upon completion of the direct assistance activities and prior to returning to normal operations, the driver is required to take 10 consecutive hours off duty before driving. All the time the driver spends engaged in work-related activities that are not associated with providing direct assistance must be counted under the HOS rules.
Are livestock a covered commodity under the terms of the emergency declaration?
Yes, Livestock are covered as a precursor to food. The emergency declaration covers “immediate precursor raw materials—such as paper, plastic or alcohol—that are required and to be used for the manufacture of items” including food needed for the emergency restocking of stores.
Are haulers of household waste and medical waste covered under the terms of the declaration?
Yes, transportation for removal of both household and medical waste is covered as “supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19.”
What documentation is needed to verify that the driver is operating under the exemption?
There is no specific documentation required for verification. Retention of ordinary business records, such as the bill of lading, may be useful later for the convenience of the motor carrier and driver, to document use of the exemption during a future inspection or enforcement action.
Does FMCSA have preemptive authority over states that decide/attempt to close highway rest stops?
No, however FMCSA is working closely with the States to ensure adequate truck parking and facilities are available.
To read the latest on the Coronavirus Disease please visit the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
To read the latest on the FMCSA Emergency Declaration, please visit their website: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/taxonomy/term/16621
To Visit MMA’s COVID-19 Resource page for our insureds please visit: https://mma.marshmma.com/coronavirus-outbreak-resource-page
Posted December 23, 2019 by Erin
Studies conducted by two Federal agencies reveal sobering facts about rear-end collisions. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that almost half of all two-vehicle collisions were rear-end crashes which resulted in the deaths of more than 1700 people each year¹. Many of the crashes analyzed by the NTSB involved one or more commercial motor vehicles (CMV). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discovered that 87 percent of rear-end crashes involved a driver failing to properly respond to the traffic conditions ahead¹.
Prevention of rear-end crashes depends on drivers making sound, well-planned decisions. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recommends that professional truck drivers faithfully practice the following safe driving principles:
- Maintain a safe following distance since large trucks take much longer to stop than passenger cars. One of the most common crash types is when a CMV strikes the vehicle in front of them²
- Double the following distance in adverse conditions including inclement weather, poor road conditions, low visibility and heavy traffic²
- Avoid distractions outside of the vehicle including billboards, buildings and people³
- Do not text or use a handheld electronic device while driving including cell phones, tablets or dispatch devices³
- Do not read or write while driving including using paper maps³
- Do not eat or drink while driving³
In addition to observing safe-driving practices, both the NTSB and the NHTSA strongly advocate for the use of available technologies which have proven to be very effective at eliminating or mitigating rear-end crashes. Specific technologies include collision warning systems and autonomous emergency braking. The NTSB further recommends that CMV fleet owners transition to fleet vehicles equipped with such technologies¹.