EWN Blog

 
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 […]
June 25, 2015

Two Trains Passing in the Mountains Experience a Natural Gas Explosion

On June 3, 1989 in RussiaΓÇÖs Ural Mountains near the town of Ufa, a natural gas pipeline experienced a significant drop in pressure indicating a possible gas leak. In an effort to keep the pressure up, pipeline workers increased the flow of natural gas to the pipeline allowing the natural gas to leak and spread into the surrounding area. The natural gas settled in a low area close to nearby a Trans-Siberian Railway. As the natural gas began to settle in the low area, two trains approached each other from opposing directions on the rail tracks passing each other near the settled natural gas. As the two trains passed, the settled natural gas ignited causing a massive explosion including a fireball and flames that spread one mile from the source. The force of the explosion incinerated hundreds of trees instantly and knocked several train cars off the tracks. Due to the severity of the incident, it is not possible to determine the exact amount of lives lost. However, the best estimates were just over 500 lives lost and numerous individuals suffered severe burns requiring helicopter transport to local hospitals for treatment.
June 25, 2015

2014 Manhattan Gas Explosion (NTSB Coverage)

NTSB Meeting Covering the 3/12/2014 New York City, NY East Harlem District of Manhattan Gas Explosion On June 9, 2015, the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) held a meeting to discuss the findings and final rulings on the 3/12/2014 New York City, NY East Harlem District of Manhattan Gas Explosion. The final ruling is expected to be released sometime in July. The NTSB determined two factors contributing to the probable cause of the incident: Failure of a defective fuse joint at a service tee A breach in the adjacent sewer line that allowed groundwater and soil to flow into the sewer that was left unrepaired since at least 2006, resulting in a loss of support for the gas main, which caused the line to sag; thereby overstressing the defective fusion joint Recommendations determined through the NTSB meeting outline and follow industry best practices for integrity management, quality work procedures performed by qualified individuals, emergency planning, strategic isolation valve placement, and thorough audit processes on a 5-year basis. Video of full meeting: All Meetings ┬á┬á┬áFlash Media┬á┬á┬á Windows Media┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á Mobile Version 2014 East Harlem Gas Explosion discussions begins about 210 minutes into the presentation recording or can be accessed at the beginning […]
June 25, 2015

Safety First: OSHA Heat App

Summer is here and so are the temperatures! Safety must come first when working outside during the summertime to avoid heat-related illnesses. To assist with this, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has developed and released an OSHA Heat App for your mobile device! The OSHA Heat App calculates the current heat index and risk level of a particular area or job site using the current temperature and humidity level. Based on the heat index and risk level, the OSHA Heat App provides a Precautions button to help reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses and accidents. By clicking the Precautions button, the user will receive reminders for such things as rest breaks and fluid intake. The OSHA Heat App is available in English and Spanish for Andriods or iPhones. To download your OSHA Heat App today, please visit: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/heat_index/heat_app.html.
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