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Industry corner


A new NIOSH fact sheet outlines occupational hazards in the landscape services industry.
An average of 197 landscape services workers, typically employed in landscape and irrigation installation, lawn care, tree removal, general landscape maintenance, and snow removal, died from on-the-job injuries each year between 2003 and 2006.

The use of tools or machinery during tree trimming or removal is particularly hazardous and has led to falls, struck-by incidents and electrocutions. The industry's fatality rate – 25 deaths per 100,000 workers – is similar to high-risk industries such as agriculture and mining, the agency said. Federal statistics show that although landscape services workers make up 0.8 percent of the U.S. workforce, they experience 3.5 percent of total occupational fatalities.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a document outlining the criteria the agency uses to evaluate electrical apparatus.

The updated document published Nov. 4, covers what criteria MSHA will use to ensure the circuits of electrical apparatus are "intrinsically safe" as required by 30 CFR.

DOT final rule on direct observation of urine delayed

A Department of Transportation final rule permitting direct observation of urine collection for drug testing has been temporarily delayed, pending a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeal for the D.C. Circuit.

The proposed rule would mandate direct observation during return-to-duty and follow-up drug testing for commercial motor vehicle drivers. Direct observation for return-to-duty and follow-up drug testing will continue to be an employer option.

Concerns center around privacy rights. In response, DOT stressed in an information sheet that only individuals who previously have shown willingness to endanger public safety, who have a greater likelihood of using illegal drugs in the future, or have a higher than average motivation to cheat on a drug test must undergo direct observation. Officials said the amendments were necessary because of a noticeable increase in the availability of products designed to help drivers manipulate drug tests, such as prosthetics that carry clean specimens.

FMCSA issues final rule on trucker hours of service

A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration final rule on truck driver hours of service retains limits that have been struck down twice in federal appeals court.

The final rule published in the Nov. 19 Federal Register, allows drivers to spend 11 hours behind the wheel each day and to reset their weekly on-duty clocks after 34 consecutive hours of rest.. This is an increase from the former limit of 10 hours.