The latest from the silvertooth team

August 20, 2015

PHMSA’s Pipeline Damage Prevention Programs Final Rule

PHMSA issued the Pipeline Damage Prevention Programs Final Rule and thereby established the process for evaluating state excavation damage prevention programs. This final ruling also established a federal standard for enforcement in states where such requirements were inadequate or non-existent. In response to the passing of the rule, PHMSA Interim Executive Director Stacy Cummings reported, “Between 1988 and 2014, there were 1,815 pipeline incidents caused by excavation damage that resulted in 193 deaths, 757 injuries, and nearly $545 million in property damage. This rule represents a critical achievement in the Department’s continuing efforts to prevent excavation damage to pipelines.” Specifically, the Pipeline Damage Prevention Programs Final Rule establishes the following items copied directly from PHMSA’s website: The criteria and procedures PHMSA will use to determine the adequacy of state pipeline excavation damage prevention law enforcement programs; The administrative process for states to contest notices of inadequacy from PHMSA should they elect to do so; The federal requirements PHMSA will enforce against excavators for violations in states with inadequate excavation damage prevention law enforcement programs; and The adjudication process for administrative enforcement proceedings against excavators where federal authority is exercised. In 2006, the PIPES Act gave PHMSA authority to develop criteria […]
July 6, 2015

Industry Evolution: Updated Drug & Alcohol Testing

PHMSA has proposed updates to the requirements for drug and alcohol testing of employees after an accident/incident. The revised and new language in the OQ NPRM limits exemptions from post-accident/incident testing only to situations when sufficient information exists to establish that the employee(s) had no role in the accident/incident. The additional language will also require operators to document specific reasons to justify why testing was not administered and to retain such documentation for at least three years. The current PHMSA regulations require documentation of decisions not to administer a post-accident alcohol test, however, documentation for decisions not to conduct a post-accident drug test is only implied in the regulation, although it is generally followed. PHMSA’s move to expand and clarify the language for post-accident/incident drug and alcohol testing stems from the National Transportation Safety Boards (NTSB) safety recommendation to PHMSA on September 26, 2011, via NTSB Recommendation. CURRENT PHMSA REGULATIONS 199.105 Drug tests required. Each operator shall conduct the following drug tests for the presence of a prohibited drug: (b) Post-accident testing. As soon as possible but no later than 32 hours after an accident, an operator shall drug test each employee whose performance either contributed to the accident or […]
May 21, 2015

OSHA Confined Space Construction Final Rule

On May 1, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a Final Rule addressing Confined Spaces in Construction (29 CFR Part 1926). This new subpart will be a comprehensive standard comprised of a permit program aimed at protecting employees from associated work hazards in confined spaces, such as atmospheric and physical. Furthermore, the Final Rule includes “several provisions addressing construction-specific hazards, accounts for advancements in technology, and improves the enforceability of the requirements.” The new comprehensive subpart standard will replace OSHA’s one training requirement for confined spaces. Confined spaces present a number of atmospheric and physical challenges that can be life-threatening if not addressed. Such challenges include limited or difficult exit points in case of emergency, exposure to toxic substances, electrocutions, explosions, and asphyxiation. OSHA’s Confined Space in Construction Final Rule considers such hazardous conditions and is written with an emphasis on training and communication for the employees to save and protect lives and property. U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The department’s Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) […]
May 18, 2015

Christmas in July: EWN Water Drive a Success!

For the last few weeks, we have held a water drive for local fire departments here at EWN. We are reaching the time of the summer when there are constant grass fires and long days for these folks and the least we can do is keep them hydrated. We are so proud of our EWN team, with close to 40 cases donated, we are filling up all the local fire departments & volunteer fire departments as well. EWN has also matched the donations from employees with donations to local fire departments for equipment or other needs.
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