Court rejects Big Labor petition to force OSHA’s hand on Covid-19 standard

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed an American Federation of Labor–Council of Industrial Organizations petition seeking an order compelling the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue an emergency temporary standard (ETS) for infectious disease and Covid-19 workplace exposure. AFL-CIO had filed a writ of mandamus petition in May after initially petitioning OSHA in March to issue an ETS addressing the virus outbreak.

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EPA measures air pollutant levels’ 50-year descent

The federal government’s latest annual report on air quality trends, “Our Nation’s Air – EPA Celebrates 50 Years!,” documents pollution reduction progress from 1970-2019, emphasizing gains during the last few years. The combined emissions of Environmental Protection Agency-designated criteria pollutants and their precursors dropped 7 percent from 2017 to 2019. That metric reflects three-year declines in the emissions levels of nitrogen oxides, -10 percent; particulate matter 2.5, -1 percent; sulfur dioxide, -16 percent; carbon monoxide, -6 percent; and, volatile organic compounds, -3 percent.

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Agency launches program portal for Industry-Recognized Apprenticeships

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP) Standards Recognition Entities (SRE) online application is live. Excepting those in construction trades, the program enables organizations to pursue SRE certification, then develop and administer training for paid apprenticeships in manufacturing and other sectors.

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Crumbling foundations spawn agency’s pyrrhotite-prone aggregate tracing

The U.S. Geological Survey has developed the first map of rock deposits exhibiting the potential to contain or form pyrrhotite, whose presence in otherwise ASTM C33 aggregate can prove extraordinarily deleterious in concrete. The map is part of a new fact sheet, “Pyrrhotite Distribution in the Conterminous United States,” publication of which abides a Congressional directive addressing widespread residential foundation failure cases in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

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FMCSA program delineates truck crash CSA, SMS reportability; codifies HOS

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s new Crash Preventability Determination Program (CPDP) enables commercial motor vehicle drivers or owners to submit a Request for Data Review covering eligible events from August 2019 forward. By formally clarifying crash conditions or circumstances, it stands to bring greater accuracy and fairness to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) and Safety Measurement System (SMS) mechanisms for critiquing driver or carrier safety performance.

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Keystone SRW test helps FHWA advance earth retention system practice

Keystone Retaining Wall Systems’ KeySystem III was recently evaluated under the Federal Highway Administration’s new Innovations, Developments, Enhancements and Advancements (IDEA) program. Administered by the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Geo-Institute, the technical evaluation serves to improve earth retention systems technology and installation methods.

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EPA revisits SCM in procurement guidelines; honors CalPortland and Cemex

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has opened a public comment period through July 6 on the Agency’s current list of 61 items that are or can be made from recovered materials in eight Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG) categories, plus recommendations to federal agencies on purchasing such items. The largest category, Construction Products, includes blended cement or concrete containing fly ash, ground granulated blast furnace slag and silica fume.

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Equipment manufacturers envision national manufacturing agenda

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To further an objective highlighted during ConExpo-Con/Agg 2020 earlier this year, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has called on the federal government to develop a comprehensive national strategy for manufacturing to strengthen the economy, create new jobs and opportunities, and ensure the United States is the best place in the world for on- and off-road machinery interests to innovate, assemble, and do business.

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