Years of conferring with agency officials on the unique aspects of concrete production and delivery have netted National Ready Mixed Concrete Association staff and Safety, Operations and Environment Committee members a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposal updating drivers’ Hours of Service rules.
|The FMCSA proposal affords tanker truck drivers the same hours of service rule thresholds as their mixer truck peers. SEFA GROUP WINYAH TERMINAL PHOTO: Concrete Products|
“Not only will the elements of the proposal benefit the industry when they’re finalized, but FMCSA specifically relied upon the ready mixed concrete industry’s recent HOS exemptions and excellent safety record as justification for the new changes,” affirms NRMCA Senior Vice President, Compliance & Regulatory Kevin Walgenbach in an alert to SEO members. “Newly proposed changes will extend the flexibilities mixer drivers have been afforded over recent years[;] once finalized, drivers of aggregate haulers and cement tankers will receive the same flexibilities NRMCA has secured for mixer drivers.”
Among items of most consequence to bulk materials and concrete hauling, the association cites these FMCSA-proposed revisions for existing HOS rules:
- Increase safety and flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by tying the break requirement to eight hours of driving time without an interruption for at least 30 minutes, and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on duty, not driving status, rather than off duty.
- Change the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers by lengthening the drivers’ maximum on-duty period from 12 to 14 hours, and extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 to 150 air miles.
- Allow one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than three hours, that pauses a truck driver’s 14-hour driving window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.
- Modify the adverse driving conditions exception by adding two hours to the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
“We are pleased to see FMCSA listen and work with relevant stakeholders involved in short and long-haul trucking regarding the need to update the current HOS standards that will improve highway safety for all users, establish continuity of policies across various industries that use heavy-duty trucks and help law enforcement, and regulated industries, better follow and adhere to FMCSA’s operating regulations,” notes National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association CEO Michael Johnson. “The aggregates industry is extremely diverse—where it is not uncommon for NSSGA members to haul various materials with an assortment of different trucks, all of which impact the HOS standards drivers must follow—yet the current HOS standards have created confusion and inefficiency for truck operators. The new proposed rule helps NSSGA members and their trucking partners.”
The public comment period for the FMCSA Notice of Proposed Rule-Making on HOS changes runs through October 10. Comments can be submitted through the Federal Regulations Portal, www.regulations.gov.
OSHA MOVES TO EXPAND SILICA STANDARD TABLE 1
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is soliciting industry perspective and comments on Table 1 of the agency’s Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction through mid October. Officials seek information on a) additional engineering and work practice control methods to effectively limit exposure to silica for listed equipment and tasks; and, b) other silica-generating construction equipment and tasks that the agency should consider adding to the table.
In addition, OSHA is open to comments about whether to revise paragraph (a)(3) of the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for General Industry to broaden the circumstances under which general industry and maritime employers would be permitted to comply with Table 1 of the silica standard for construction. Feedback will allow the agency to consider new developments and enhanced control methods for equipment that generates exposures to silica, and provide additional data on exposures to silica from equipment and tasks using a variety of control methods under different workplace conditions. Expanding Table 1 to include additional engineering and work practice control methods, equipment, and tasks could provide employers with more flexibility and reduce regulatory burdens while maintaining protections for employees, OSHA officials contend.