Friday, December 30, 2011

Liberty Mutual/SADD Study Reveals Teens Drink and Drive on NYE

New data from a 2011 teen driving study by Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD reveals that teens believe New Year's Eve is the most dangerous time of year to drive, yet it also is the holiday or event when teens most frequently drive under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. The results of a survey of about 2,300 eleventh and twelfth graders show that when teen drivers were asked about how dangerous they feel certain events are for driving and the likelihood of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs on one of these events, New Year's Eve topped both lists. While 49% of respondents view NYE as extremely dangerous to drive under the influence, 10% admitted they had done it in the past. The 4th of July came in second, while prom was third, followed by graduation and homecoming. Liberty Mutual/SADD research shows that clear driving ground rules, with mutually agreed upon expectations, consequences and rewards, are effective in curbing unsafe driving behaviors by teens. The Parent/Teen Contract at LibertyMutual.com/TeenDriving offers families a starting place to begin the safe driving conversation.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

DHS and NHL: Public Awareness Partnership

DHS has announced a new partnership between their "If You See Something, Say Something" public awareness campaign and the NHL in which a public service announcement will be read before and during games, and campaign graphics will appear on the videoboard and on ribbon boards. Safety messaging will also be printed on the back of NHL Winter Classic credentials for staff, players and volunteers. The campaign, originally implemented by New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority and now licensed to DHS, is an effective program that engages the public and frontline employees to identify and report indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats to proper authorities. Over the past year, the Department has collaborated with federal, state, local and private sector partners to expand the "If You See Something, Say Something” campaign, as well as with the Department of Justice on the nationwide SAR Initiative. Other recent expansions of this initiative include partnerships with numerous sports teams and leagues, transportation agencies, private sector partners, states, municipalities, and colleges and universities.

UL Study Analyzes Consumer Products


A new annual global study from UL, "Navigating the Product Mindset," examines perceptions about products and how they are made, sold, bought and consumed. The survey includes products from the food, building materials, household chemicals and high tech industries, from Germany, U.S., China and India. UL says the survey, "explores the connections and contradictions between perceptions of consumers and manufacturers on issues of safety, innovation, performance and sustainability."
A few main points from the study, which can be downloaded, include:
  • Safety and performance are the top two concerns impacting product mind-set for consumers and manufacturers.
  • Geography and culture influence product perceptions.
  • More than 90% of manufacturers are confident that they are ahead of the curve in delivering safety, reliability and sustainability, but 70% of consumers feel that manufacturers do not conduct adequate testing before releasing new products.


EPA Finalizes 2012 Renewable Fuel Standards


EPA has finalized the 2012 percentage standards for four fuel categories that are part of the agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program (RFS2), established by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to strengthen U.S. energy security and decrease greenhouse gas pollution.

To achieve annual renewable fuel volume targets, which increase steadily to an overall level of 36 billion gallons in 2022, EPA calculates a percentage-based standard for the following year. Based on the standard, each refiner and importer determines the minimum volume of renewable fuel that it must ensure is used in its transportation fuel.

The final 2012 overall volumes and standards are:
  • Biomass-based diesel (1.0 billion gallons; 0.91%)
  • Advanced biofuels (2.0 billion gallons; 1.21%)
  • Cellulosic biofuels (8.65 million gallons; 0.006%)
  • Total renewable fuels (15.2 billion gallons; 9.23%)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

FMCSA Issues Final Rule for Commercial Truck Driver Hours of Service


Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a final rule to ensure that commercial truck drivers have adequate rest for operating safely on the road. The rule employs the latest research in driver fatigue and revises the hours-of-service safety requirements for commercial truck drivers.

“This final rule is the culmination of the most extensive and transparent public outreach effort in our agency’s history,” says FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro.  “With robust input from all areas of the trucking community, coupled with the latest scientific research, we carefully crafted a rule acknowledging that when truckers are rested, alert and focused on safety, it makes our roadways safer.”

The rule reduces the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work from 82 hours to 70 hours within a 7-day period. Also, truck drivers must take a break of at least 30 minutes after working 8 hours. The 11-hour daily driving limit remains in place. According to FMCSA, it will continue to conduct analysis and examine risks associated with the 11-hour limit. The rule includes a 34-hour restart provision, which allows drivers to restart the clock on their work week by being off-duty for 34 consecutive hours. The provision includes sleep requirements, and is limited to once per 7-day period.

Commercial truck drivers and companies must comply with the HOS final rule by July 1, 2013.

FAA Issues Final Rule on Pilot Fatigue


FAA has announced a final rule to ensure that pilots have the chance to rest before flying.
The final rule for commercial passenger flights addresses:
  • varying flight and duty requirements based on what time the pilot’s day begins;
  • flight time limits of 8 or 9 hours;
  • 10-hour minimum rest period;
  • new cumulative flight duty and flight time limits;
  • fitness for duty;
  • Fatigue Risk Management System.
“This is a major safety achievement,” says DOT Secretary Ray LaHood. “We made a promise to the traveling public that we would do everything possible to make sure pilots are rested when they get in the cockpit. This new rule raises the safety bar to prevent fatigue.”

The final rule will take effect in 2 years to allow commercial passenger airline operators time to transition. A fact sheet with additional information can be found here.

Report Urges a 'System Safety' Approach to Offshore Drilling

The National Academies released a new report urging companies involved in offshore drilling to take a “system safety" approach to anticipating and managing possible dangers at every level of operation. The approach should combine strong industry safety goals with mandatory oversight at critical points during drilling operations, the report states. Operating companies should have ultimate responsibility and accountability, and the drilling contractor should be held responsible for the operation and safety of the offshore equipment. In addition to expanding the formal education and training of personnel, the report says that guidelines should be established so that well designs incorporate protection against the various credible risks associated with the drilling and abandonment process. Competent authority should review cemented and mechanical barriers designed to contain the flow of hydrocarbons in wells, it adds. The SEMS program is a good first step toward an enhanced regulatory approach, the report states, adding that regulators should identify and enforce safety-critical points that warrant explicit regulatory review and approval before operations can proceed. The study comes in light of the aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, which showed that multiple flawed decisions led to a blowout and explosion that killed 11 workers and produced the biggest accidental oil spill in U.S. history.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Initiative to Raise Awareness About Wildfires

NFPA's Fire Adapted Communities Initiative aims to increase the level of wildfire risk awareness and to encourage proactive planning and responsibility of those who reside in high-risk areas of such fires. The initiative will provide a comprehensive website (www.fireadapted.org) that will provide users with various wildfire safety resources and programs to help people turn their neighborhoods into fire adapted communities. NPFA says the website will be ready to officially launch in Spring 2012.

ISO Standard for Emergency Managment

ISO’s new standard for emergency management and incident response, ISO 22320:2011, Societal security – Emergency management – Requirements for incident response, helps mitigate damage during an emergency and guarantees continuity of basic services such as health, rescue services, water and food supplies, and electricity and fuel delivery. Through decision support, traceability and information management, the standard makes sure that all relevant parties are on the same page during a disaster, minimizing the risk of misunderstandings and ensuring a more effective use of the combined resources. It is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details) or may be obtained through the ISO Store.

Check Vehicles Before Driving in Winter Conditions


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reminds the public to check their vehicles before driving long distances or through inclement weather. NHTSA suggests the following tips to help ensure safe travels:
  • Get your car serviced, and have your vehicle checked for leaks, bad hoses or other needed repairs.
  • Have the cooling system checked for leaks.
  • Check the car's battery to ensure optimal performance. 
Safercar.gov offers additional tips for safe driving in the winter. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

USDOT Takes Action to Ensure Truck Driver Rest Time

USDOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a final rule that revises the hours-of-service (HOS) safety requirements for commercial truck drivers. The rule reduces maximum number of hours a truck driver can work within a week by 12 hours and limits a driver’s work week to 70 hours. In addition, truck drivers cannot drive after working eight hours without first taking a break of at least 30 minutes. Drivers can take the 30-minute break whenever they need rest during the eight-hour window. The rule also requires truck drivers who maximize their weekly work hours to take at least two nights’ rest when their 24-hour body clock demands sleep the most – from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. This rest requirement is part of the rule’s “34-hour restart” provision that allows drivers to restart the clock on their work week by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty. Trucking companies that allow drivers to exceed the 11-hour driving limit by three or more hours could be fined $11,000 per offense, and the drivers themselves could face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense. Commercial truck drivers and companies must comply with the HOS final rule by July 1, 2013.

Update to Agriculture Equipment Symbols Standard

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has approved five work item proposals to update standards that are used for determining symbols used in machinery for agriculture and forestry, tractors and powered lawn and garden equipment. American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) reports the standards, (ISO 3767-1, -2, -3, -4 and -5), will be updated by a group of volunteers from various countries who will review comments. The meeting is scheduled for February 22-23 in Paris, France. ASABE says, " . . . the volunteers will work to enhance, update, clarify and include additional symbols not currently included in the current edition of the standard."

EPA Issues First National Standards for Mercury Pollution from Power Plants

The EPA has issued the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards to protect American families from power plant emissions of mercury and toxic air pollution like arsenic, acid gas, nickel, selenium and cyanide. The standards will slash emissions of these dangerous pollutants by relying on widely available, proven pollution controls that are already in use at more than half of the nation’s coal-fired power plants. In addition to the more than 900,000 public comments that helped inform the final standards, EPA worked extensively with stakeholders, including industry, to minimize cost and maximize flexibilities. The feedback encouraged EPA to ensure the standards focused on readily available pollution control technologies that are not only manufactured by companies in the U.S. but also support short-term and long-term jobs. EPA estimates that manufacturing, engineering, installing and maintaining the pollution controls to meet these standards will provide employment for thousands, potentially including 46,000 short-term construction jobs and 8,000 long-term utility jobs. The standards also ensure that public health and economic benefits far outweigh costs of implementation. EPA estimates that for every dollar spent to reduce pollution from power plants, the American public will see up to $9 in health benefits. The total health and economic benefits of this standard are estimated to be as much as $90 billion annually. These standards and the final Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which was issued earlier this year, are estimated to prevent up to 46,000 premature deaths. The two programs are an investment in public health that will provide a total of up to $380 billion in return to American families in the form of longer, healthier lives and reduced health care costs.

Final Rule Updates Standard on Hard Hats

A direct final rule will update OSHA's 29 CRF 1926.100 head protection standard for the construction industry. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Reporter, the current rule references an ANSI standard dating back to 1969. Under the final rule, the standard will reference three ANSI head protection standards in place no later than 1997 (ANSI Z98.1-2009, Z89.1-2003 and Z98.1-1997).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

OSHA aims to protect workers during winter storms

OSHA has launched a Web page that provides guidance on how employers and workers involved in cleanup and recovery operations can recognize snow storm-related hazards and the necessary steps that employers must take to keep workers safe while working in these conditions. The page includes guidance for workers clearing heavy snow in front of workplaces and from rooftops, workers encountering downed power lines or traveling on icy roads, and utility workers restoring power after winter storms.

Hazards associated with working in winter storms include:
-being struck by falling objects such as icicles, tree limbs and utility poles
-driving accidents due to slippery roadways
-carbon monoxide poisoning
-dehydration, hypothermia and frostbite
-exhaustion from strenuous activity
-back injuries or heart attack while removing snow
-slips and falls due to slippery walkways
-electrocution from downed power lines and downed objects in contact with power lines
-burns from fires caused by energized line contact or equipment failure
-falls from snow removal on roofs or while working in aerial lifts or on ladders
-roof collapse under weight of snow (or melting snow if drains are clogged)
-lacerations or amputations from unguarded or improperly operated chain saws and power tools, -and improperly attempting to clear jams in snow blowers

Effective means of addressing winter storm hazards include:
-assume all power lines are energized and stay well clear of any downed or damaged power lines
-make certain all powered equipment is properly guarded and disconnected from power sources before cleaning or performing maintenance
-use caution around surfaces weighed down by large amounts snow or of ice
-scooping small amounts of snow and using proper lifting form to avoid over-exertion or injuries
-clear walking surfaces of snow and ice and use salt or its equivalent where appropriate
-employers should provide and ensure the use of fall protection and provide and maintain ladders
-stay in the vehicle – do not leave the vehicle unless help is visible within 100 yards
-wear reflective clothing, and eye, face and body protection
-establish and clearly marking work zones
-use engineering controls, personal protective equipment and safe work practices to reduce the length and severity of exposure to the cold.

White Paper Details Best Practices for Returning Employees to Work

A white paper from Liberty Mutual and Disability Management Employer Coalition discusses best practices to effectively return employees to work. The Best Practices in Return to Work 2011 Leadership Series white paper provides human resource professionals with tools for strengthening return-to-work programs, managing related costs and increasing employee productivity. A couple best practices discussed are:
  • Adopt an integrated disability and absence management strategy and provide more consistent procedures for both work-related and non-work-related situations.
  • Implement a structured transitional work program that can provide return to work options and accommodate modified duty assignments for both occupational and non-occupational cases.
Visit Liberty Mutual's Group Benefits website in the Resources for Brokers and Employers section to read the complete white paper.

EPA Issues First National Standards for Mercury Pollution from Power Plants

The EPA has issued the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards to protect American families from power plant emissions of mercury and toxic air pollution like arsenic, acid gas, nickel, selenium and cyanide. The standards will slash emissions of these dangerous pollutants by relying on widely available, proven pollution controls that are already in use at more than half of the nation’s coal-fired power plants. In addition to the more than 900,000 public comments that helped inform the final standards, EPA worked extensively with stakeholders, including industry, to minimize cost and maximize flexibilities. Part of this feedback encouraged EPA to ensure the standards focused on readily available and widely deployed pollution control technologies that are not only manufactured by companies in the US but also support short-term and long-term jobs. EPA estimates that manufacturing, engineering, installing and maintaining the pollution controls to meet these standards will provide employment for thousands, potentially including 46,000 short-term construction jobs and 8,000 long-term utility jobs. The standards also ensure that public health and economic benefits far outweigh costs of implementation. EPA estimates that for every dollar spent to reduce pollution from power plants, the American public will see up to $9 in health benefits. The total health and economic benefits of this standard are estimated to be as much as $90 billion annually. The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and the final Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which was issued earlier this year, are estimated to prevent up to 46,000 premature deaths. The two programs are an investment in public health that will provide a total of up to $380 billion in return to American families in the form of longer, healthier lives and reduced health care costs.

Healthcare Practice Specialty Nominations

The Healthcare Practice Specialty is now accepting nominations for the positions of Administrator or Assistant Administrator for the 2012-13 year. Volunteer opportunities within ASSE will help to sharpen existing skills, develop new skills in a risk-free environment, increase visibility within the profession and demonstrate workplace and leadership skills that can be documented on a resume. If interested, please contact Krista Sonneson by Jan. 15, 2012. All candidates must be professional members in good standing. View the full Council on Practices and Standards Operating Procedures here.

ASSE's SPALW Group Creates Educational Grant

ASSE's Safety Professionals and the Latino Workforce (SPALW) common interest group, in partnership with ASSE Foundation, has established a professional education grant to assist members in furthering their education and career, which in turn may help decrease workplace accidents among Latinos. SPALW hopes the grant will increase Latino representation in the occupational safety profession and decrease the number of fatal workplace injuries among the Latino population.

Starting in Spring 2013, the grant will be available every year to several individuals to help them develop their careers as safety professionals. SPALW is open to all ASSE members; if interested in joining it or another common interest group, visit ASSE's website.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Workshop Focuses on Healthcare Worker Safety

NIOSH researchers Ahmed Gomaa and Maria Lioce-Mata, and Marie-Claude Lavoie conducted a workshop in Grenada in June 2011 to prepare leaders in the healthcare field to provide programming on prevention of exposure to bloodborne infections and other occupational exposures. The workshop also taught attendees how to evaluate and make recommendations on policies to protect healthcare workers and to establish a regional occupational health and safety network among healthcare professionals. “If we don’t take care of those who are providing the service, we will not be able to deliver that service effectively,” said Ernest Pate, Caribbean Program Coordinator for the Pan American Health Organization, which helped organize the workshop that was attended by 33 hospital infection control and preventive medicine health professionals from nine Caribbean countries. For an overview, click here.

CPSC to Publish Notice of Proposed Rule for Gel Fuel

To improve the safe use of gel fuels and firepots, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has voted to publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking. According to CPSC data, 65 incidents involving the use of these products occurred between April 2010 and September 2011, which resulted in 34 hospitalized victims and two deaths. CPSC welcomes written public comments on how to prevent injury risks that arise from using gel fuels and firepots. Once published in the Federal Register, the public will have 60 days to comment.



NRC Enhances Its Online Public Database

A more functional search engine is one of the many changes the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has made to its online database, the Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS). The system is a recordkeeping tool for the public to search full texts of documents.
Updates to ADAM include:
  • the ability for users to see up to 500 search results in the folder contents panel; 
  • the ability to save a search with its related search criteria as a web link; 
  • the ability to change a previously saved query by editing the criteria;
  • the ability to export a list of documents as hypertext markup language or as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

Monday, December 19, 2011

BSEE's New Regulation Affects Oil and Gas Operators on the OCS

The BSEE’s regulation requiring oil and gas operators on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to strengthen safety procedures and reporting on safety performance at their facilities has recently taken effect. The new Safety and Environmental Management Systems regulation is expected to help companies meet four principal objectives.
1. Focus attention on the influences that human error and poor organization have on accidents
2. Drive continuous improvement in the offshore industry's safety and environmental records
3. Encourage the use of performance-based operating practices
4. Collaborate with industry in efforts that promote the public interests of offshore worker safety and environmental protection
“As we’ve seen with some recent events, incidents are not limited to a single impact,” says Joe Stough, VP of Innovation Technologies for IHS. “The best practice indicators for safety performance often address preventive, proactive measurements as opposed to lagging safety outcomes that allow companies to only react.” According to Stough, the first thing an off-shore oil and gas company needs to do is develop a comprehensive operations integrity, operational excellence or HSE management system that meets the criteria defined by the American Petroleum Institute Recommended Practice for Development of a Safety and Environmental Management Program 75 (API RP 75). If a company already has a structured management system, then it should complete an internal assessment to verify that their management system meets the aspects of the API RP 75. “As safety performance becomes a more vital measure of business performance and even the ‘right to operate,’ shifting to apply leading indicators as a barometer for driving performance will become more important,” he adds.

Comment on Proposed Workplace Rights Survey

To "gauge the current level of workers' voice in the workplace and the factors affecting voice," DOL is accepting public comments on its proposed survey regarding information on workers' rights until Feb. 10, 2012. DOL's voice in the workplace survey, which addressed a worker's ability to gain and understand information on their workplace rights. The agency says it, "hopes to learn how voice is related to workers' perceptions of employer noncompliance," and that "the study will also be useful in examining how noncompliance in one area, such as safety, is related to voice in the workplace and noncompliance in another area, such as wages."

According to DOL, comments can be sent to Celeste Richie in the Chief Evaluation Office of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Labor Department, Room S-2312, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20210; by e-mail to richie.celeste.j@dol.gov; or by fax number to (202) 693-5960.




NTSB Estimates Nearly 35,000 Transportation Fatalities in 2010

Despite an overall decrease in U.S. transportation fatalities from 2009 to 2010 (35,994 in 2009 to 34,925 in 2010), data from National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) show a rise in several categories of fatalities, including motorcycles, medium and heavy trucks, buses, rail and pipeline.

“Though NTSB continues to advocate for changes to address human factors, equipment and infrastructure improvements to prevent crashes, we continue to see far too many deaths each year,” says NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman.

Tables and charts with detailed statistics may be found on NTSB’s website.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Research and the Safety Profession


In the latest issue of ASSE's Journal of Safety, Health and Environmental Research, an online journal published by the Society's Academics Practice Specialty, managing editor Michael Behm takes a look at the role of research in education and the SH&E profession.

Behm writes, "Too often, we think we know the answers—sometimes before we are asked a question. Research allows us open and forthright inquiry into a topic; it provides the process to explore that topic, develop hypotheses and think about the unknowns. Valid and reliable methodologies provide quality data to analyze the anecdotal. It helps us make better decisions both individually and generally."

 Read Behm's thought-provoking editorial here.

Families of Victims of Work-Related Accidents Speak

The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards, an alliance of groups interested in providing the information and resources that explain, defend and advocate for the country’s system of public protections, has recorded testimonials from family members of victims of work-related accidents. The testimonials have been uploaded to their Sensible Safeguards channel on Youtube. To watch a video, click here.

ASTM Revises Toy Safety Standard


ASTM International Committee F15 on Consumer Products has approved revisions to ASTM F963, Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety. Changes include revisions to the section on heavy metals, introduction of compositing procedures, and new safety requirements and technical guidance for bath toy projections and acoustics. For detailed information on the standard, visit ASTM’s website and follow ASTM Consumer Products on Twitter @ASTMProductsRec.

Pick 5 for Your Environment

EPA's Pick 5 for Your Environment project encourages everyone to take simple steps to help preserve the environment. Choosing five or more ideas (e.g., recycling, conserving energy or water) can make a difference in how your actions affect the air, land and elements where you live. Visit EPA's Pick 5 site, choose your ideas and share them with others. Users can register their ideas on the agency's online map, so that they can see what people in their communities are doing to help the environment.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

It’s All About Culture

MSHA has imposed a $10.8 million fine—the largest in agency history—based on its investigation into the April 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch-South Mine, which was operated by Performance Coal Co. (PCC), a subsidiary of Massey Energy Co. The explosion killed 29 miners and injured two, making it the worst U.S. coal mining disaster in 40 years. A recent report concludes that Massey's corporate culture was the root cause of the tragedy. Similar conclusions have been reached following investigations of tragic incidents involving NASA and BP operations. Read the MSHA report here.

Highway Improvements Reduce Roadway Fatalities

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced that roadway deaths in the United States in 2010 fell to 32,885, the lowest level since 1949. The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) credits the nation's Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), a core part of the Federal-aid highway program, as a major contributor to this record low number. Signed into law in August 2005, the HSIP was established to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads through the implementation of infrastructure-related highway safety improvements. "The HSIP enabled states to improve roadways and install lifesaving safety features like guardrails, cable barriers, highly-reflective signage, rumble strips and other improvements," says ATSSA President and CEO Roger Wentz. "Since its inception, the national number of fatalities has continued to decline year after year, from 42,708 in 2006, to 32,885 in 2010." In 2009, ATSSA commissioned Science Application International Corporation to assess the linkage between the HSIP and the declining fatality numbers. The study concluded that for every $1 million spent on safety, seven lives were saved, yielding a benefit to cost ratio of 42 to one. "The study clearly illustrates that the increase in HSIP obligations provides a tremendous savings in terms of lives saved and the societal costs of traffic fatalities," Wentz adds. HSIP funds are typically spent on deploying lifesaving infrastructure safety measures that remain effective for years.

Get Your Free Copy of the "It's the Law" Poster

OSHA's free "Job Safety and Health: It's the Law" poster, which informs workers about their rights under the OSH Act, is available on the agency's revised website. On the update site, employers can find information on how to get copies of the poster to be displayed at workplaces, and the site also provides information on Department of Labor's many other posters. Visit the site to download a copy, or call (800) 321-6742 to order one.



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Electronic Newsletter from ANSI

The American National Standards Institute now produces a weekly electronic newsletter that is free for its members and constituents. What’s New? includes synopses and links to the most recent news, events and publications available from ANSI. To subscribe, email pr@ansi.org.

Updated Website Provides Surge Protection Information

To increase awareness of the benefits of surge protection to promote proper application and usage, National Electrical Manufacturers Association's Surge Protection Institute has updated its website. Specifically, the website explains how to specify and apply surge protection to commercial, industrial and residential facilities; how surge protective devices work; and important surge characteristics. In addition, the site provides reference materials, links to regulations, and it explains the harmful effects of electrical surges and how to minimize damage and lost productivity they can cause.




Distracted Driving Problem Extends Beyond Texting

New research from State Farm shows that while texting while driving remains a huge concern, drivers are accessing other mobile web services at much higher rates. These behaviors may pose equal or greater concerns in the battle against distracted driving, State Farms says.

In a new survey of nearly 900 motorists, the company found that use of mobile web services has increased dramatically over the last 2 years. For drivers age 18 to 29:
  • Accessing the Internet while on a cell phone while driving increased from 29% in 2009 to 43% in 2011. 
  • Reading social media networks while driving increased from 21% in 2009 to 37% in 2011. 
  • Updating social networks while driving increased from 20% in 2009 to 33% in 2011. 
Ironically, the study showed that texting while driving has remained flat or is decreasing in some instances:
  • For drivers age 18 to 29, 71% said they engaged in texting while driving in 2009. That number dropped to 64% in 2011. 
  • For all drivers, this number stayed relatively flat coming in at 31% in 2009 compared to 32% in 2011. 
"Calls from National Transportation Safety Board (NSTB) and others to ban cell phones are focusing now on both texting and web use while driving. The mobile web is a growing issue for safety advocates concerned about distractions while driving," says State Farm’s David Beigie.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

NSTB Calls for Nationwide Ban on PEDs While Driving


National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is calling for the first-ever nationwide ban on driver use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) while operating a motor vehicle. Specifically, the recommendation calls for all states to ban nonemergency use of PEDs for all drivers (excluding those that support the driving task). The recommendation urges use of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) high-visibilty enforcement model.

“According to NHTSA, more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents,” says NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman. “It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving.”

A synopsis of the NTSB report, including the probable cause, findings and a complete list of safety recommendations, is available here.

MADD Calls for Drunk Driving Countermeasures to Prevent Holiday Fatalities


Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have announced 2010 data showing that more than 400 of 10,228 drunk driving fatalities occurred in the second half of December. MADD reports that high-visibility law enforcement tactics (e.g., sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols) conducted around holidays and throughout the year remain among the most effective tools to catch and deter drunk drivers. The group says that, when publicized, increased enforcement reduces drunk driving fatalities by up to 20%.

“Increased enforcement efforts around the holidays are a vital part of MADD's Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, which relies on proven drunk driving countermeasures to eliminate the leading cause of highway fatalities,” says Jan Withers, MADD National President. Marking the fifth anniversary of its Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, MADD released its “Report to the Nation” that rates states on their progress toward eliminating drunk driving. States earn a maximum of five stars based on their adoption of proven DUI countermeasures, including increased holiday enforcement tactics such as sobriety checkpoints and no-refusal activities.