Safety Information and Updates

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Driver Safety

CVSA's Annual Roadcheck is This Week!

Every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) holds a weeklong International “Road Check” to both remind us all of how crucial safe driving and regulatory compliance is in the trucking industry, and to dial in on a topic with roadside stops to get a picture of the level of compliance nationwide, as well as removing from service vehicles or drivers in violation. Each year, the CVSA focuses on a specific topic or portion of regulations. This year, Road Check will take place from May 14-16th in the US, and the focus topics are Tractor Protection Systems, and Controlled Substances. 

Tractor Control Systems will focus on tractor protection valves, trailer supply valves, and anti-bleed back valves. According to the CVSA, items like these are often skipped or missed in pre/post trip inspections because of how much time and effort they can take to properly inspect. This is the type of topic that Road Check usually focuses on, but they have added Controlled Substances to this years’ stop topic to highlight the importance of both having a controlled substance policy in place and managing strict adherence to it by personnel.

As we’ve discussed previously, the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) instituted a “clearinghouse” or online database of CDL drug & alcohol violations, as well as if drivers have completed all required steps of the return-to-duty process in order to return to work legally after a violation. The emphasis in this years Road Check on confirming Controlled Substance regulations are followed, as well as that operators are aware of the rules around substances and reporting should serve as a good reminder of how important Controlled Substance policies and compliance are for safe driving.

If you're curious, this is the link to read the official announcement from the CVSA: CVSA's International Roadcheck is Scheduled for May 14-16th 

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Marine Fueling Safety

Gas stations are busy places. Cars and trucks fuel regularly, and most drivers fill their vehicles without giving it a second thought. How often have we all stood at the gas station and watched as another motorist filled their tank while talking on a cell phone, or was scrolling through social media, or doing some other mundane tasks while waiting for their tank to be full? When the nozzle clicked, and the process was complete, the driver would simply go on their way. For most, refueling is almost as routine as walking or chewing gum.

Boats need fuel too but their refueling process can be very involved. There are several regulations surrounding marine fueling, and many things to take into consideration. Spilling fuel on the ground is a big deal, and cleaning up a spill is a very complex process. Spilling fuel in the water and cleaning up after a marine fueling spill takes that to an entirely different level. For that reason, there are many additional considerations, regulations, and precautions.

If a vessel has a total capacity, from a combination of all bulk products, of 250 barrels or more, the refueling process is considered a Coast Guard regulated delivery. One barrel of oil is 42 gallons, so if the vessel has a total capacity for all bulk tanks, greater than 10,500 gallons, there are a lot of hoops to jump through, for both the vessel and the delivery vehicle.

Both the vessel and the delivery vehicle or “mobile facility” (as the Coast Guard calls it) are required to have a designated “Person in Charge” or “PIC”. PICs are required to receive annual training and must have specific experience making fuel deliveries.

Before a fueling operation is allowed to commence, the Coast Guard’s Captain of the Port (COTP) must be given advanced written notice in the form of an “Advanced Notice of Transfer”. This is required to be sent at least 4 hours before the delivery begins and must outline the time and place of the delivery, and prior history of any spills that may have taken place in the past.

PICs have specific duties and responsibilities during the transfer of fuel. They must communicate with one another prior to the transfer to ensure they’re on the same page and are each required to complete a thorough checklist to ensure the vessel and the mobile facility are in safe working order, and adequately prepared for the transfer to begin. Once both PICs have signed off, only then can the delivery process begin.

While vessels with an overall capacity of less than 10,500 gallons are not regulated by the US Coast Guard, they still require a great deal of vigilance and preparation.   Permits are required to fuel commercially, and there are several regulations and training requirements. In all cases, regardless of whether a fuel transfer is Coast Guard regulated or not, there cannot be any hose connections over the water. If multiple hoses are required, the connections must be either on land, or on the vessel. It’s imperative that any hot work, sparks, flames, or other heat sources be removed from the area or stopped during the transfer. This sounds like common sense, and like something that would be easy to accomplish, but for working vessels, often the only time they must make repairs is when they are at the dock refueling, so vessel staff often try to multi-task or “kill two birds with one stone”. Delivery drivers must always remain vigilant to ensure the safety of all involved.  

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Optimizing Operations to Maintain a Culture of Safety

Optimizing Operations is a big part of how we maintain a culture of Safety at Dennis K Burke. That entails all sorts of things, from the obvious items like making sure trucks and drivers have proper permitting, licensing and hazmat, all the way out through the far less obvious things like upgrading tablets and servers in the office so drivers can work more effectively. Our Operations team includes Safety, Dispatch, Lube Ops, and Fuel Ops teams working together with drivers, Customer Service, finance and IT to always focus on the upgrades and process changes we think will have the maximum benefit for our customers, employees, and of course, enhance our drivers' ability to make safe deliveries. Upgrades we've made in the past few years that have made a major impact include:

  • GPS Monitoring on Trucks. This enables real time route tracking and allows dispatch to adjust upcoming loads as needed without interrupting drivers
  • Custom Dispatch program. This allows visibility into details of customer sites, and feeds delivery information and scheduling to driver tablets
  • Barcode scanner systems for fueling. These slow detailed gallon reporting info on all tanks filled in addition to touch fueling. 
  • Barcode systems for lubricant products 
  • Electronic dispatching to driver tablets - eliminates phone calls and status updates, and allows easy tracking of products on the customer side

These are just a few examples that we think highlight some of the process improvements we've made to establish a working environment for our drivers that is as safe and efficient as possible. We believe that it is important to focus on making the day-to-day job of fuel transport drivers as painless as possible, and a substantial part of making that happen relies on the operations team, as well as the technology updates we implement. 

We went into more detail about the process updates we made and how we see them making an impact for this months issue of Oil & Energy Magazine. You can read that in full here: Optimizing Operations: Best Practices for terminal and fuel transport operators 




  

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Happy Holiday Season: Winter Safety Tips for Reliable Product Delivery

At Dennis K. Burke, Inc. we consider Safety one of our top priorities. We aim to deliver products to our customers in as safe a manner as possible, while making sure our drivers make it home safely to their families at the end of each workday.

Winter weather brings a unique set of challenges to our industry, from making deliveries in inclement weather, winter driving, and safely accessing customer locations. Below are a few reminders from our Safety Department on how to ensure customers can ensure they’ll receive the products they need as reliably as possible.

If you’re a generator customer, please be sure the generator has a working gauge or whistle. Delivery drivers are not permitted to fill a tank without ensuring they know how much product will fit safely. Oftentimes our drivers arrive to fill generators and discover either the gauge is broken (i.e. not responding when fuel is delivered), or the tank is equipped with a whistle that does not sound. If the driver is unable to determine how much fuel is in the generator, the delivery will have to be stopped until the matter is resolved. This is to protect the customer’s property and avoid having a fuel spill.

We kindly ask all customers to provide safe access for our drivers, so they can gain access to the fills. This includes removing and or treating any snow and ice that may have accumulated, as well as other items that might be stored near the tanks we’re filling. Sometimes snow falls during the delivery, so there might be a fresh covering, making it difficult for a driver who might be unfamiliar with a location to locate a below ground fill. If possible, please mark fills with traffic cones or other objects to make them easy to spot!

Finally, a tip from DKB Safety - Remember to clear all snow and ice from your vehicle when traveling on the roadway. Motorists are responsible for anything that comes from their vehicle, including loose snow or ice. Clear the entire windshield so the driver has a clear field of vision while seated in the driver’s seat, and make sure you have plenty of washer fluid.   During winter travel it’s a good idea to bring an emergency bag just in case you get stranded. A change of clothes, bottle of water, and a snack, and even medication, in case of emergency could be the difference between a tragic outcome and a positive ending to a roadside emergency.

On behalf of DKB Safety we want to wish all our customers a Safe, Happy, and Healthy Holiday Season.

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Announcement: OSHA's Revised Recordkeeping Rule Effective Jan 1, 2024

Come January 1, 2024, employers across the United States will need to adapt to significant changes as the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rolls out its revised recordkeeping rule. This updated rule aims to bolster workplace safety by refining injury and illness reporting requirements, ultimately fostering a safer and healthier working environment.

One of the central changes involves the classification of work-related injuries and illnesses. OSHA's revised rule aligns these classifications more closely with industry best practices, promoting consistency and accuracy in reporting. This refined classification system is expected to provide employers with a clearer understanding of incident severity and associated risks.

Another key facet of the revised rule is the electronic submission of injury and illness data. Employers with 250 or more employees in covered industries will be required to submit this data to OSHA electronically. By mandating electronic reporting, OSHA aims to improve its ability to analyze and interpret workplace injury trends on a broader scale. This data-driven approach will allow OSHA to allocate resources more effectively, targeting high-risk areas and implementing preventive measures.

Furthermore, OSHA's revised rule places a significant emphasis on anti-retaliation protections for employees. Employers must ensure that their policies do not discourage workers from reporting injuries or illnesses. The rule underscores the importance of fostering a culture where employees feel comfortable reporting incidents without fearing retaliation.

In preparation for the rule's implementation, employers should take several proactive steps. First and foremost, familiarizing themselves with the revised rule's nuances is critical. Employers must understand the updated classification criteria, electronic submission requirements, and anti-retaliation provisions.

Additionally, employers should assess their current injury and illness reporting systems to ensure they align with the revised requirements. This might involve modifying reporting forms, training employees on the new classifications, and implementing mechanisms to ensure compliance with anti-retaliation protections.

Ultimately, OSHA's revised recordkeeping rule reflects the agency's commitment to continually improving workplace safety. By adopting these changes and maintaining accurate injury and illness records, employers can identify potential hazards more effectively, implement preventive measures, and cultivate safer workplaces for their employees.

In light of these newly introduced revisions, Dennis K Burke remains steadfast in its dedication to elevating our internal safety protocols and actively fostering a culture of well-being across our organizational landscape.      

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FMCSA Clearinghouse Turns 3 in January. What's Changing?

On January 6, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) instituted a “clearinghouse”, or online database where information about commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder’s drug and alcohol violations are maintained. (For a refresher on the Cleaninghouse, go here: FMCSA Clearinghouse )

Despite having a secure online repository providing real-time information about CDL holder’s drug and alcohol violations, potential new employers have still been required to perform inquiries to all DOT regulated former employers where the prospective employee performed a safety sensitive function within the previous three years. Soon this will no longer be the case.

Effective January 6, 2023, the Clearinghouse will turn three years old. This means that for the first time ever, there will finally be three years of information contained in the Clearinghouse, so prospective employers will no longer be required to perform the drug and alcohol portion of the previous employer inquiry. Great news, right? Not so much. Unfortunately, while the Clearinghouse will satisfy the drug and alcohol portion of employment verifications required by 49 CFR §391.23(e), prospective employers will still be required to satisfy the requirements of 49 CFR §391.23(d) pertaining to accident information.

So what does this mean? As an employer of a new CDL driver, you will still be required to perform the previous employer inquiry to any employer the driver worked for as a CDL driver in the past three years. You won’t HAVE to inquire about their drug and alcohol history, but you will have to ask about any DOT recordable crashes they were involved in. Similarly, as a previous employer of a driver who may have left to seek employment elsewhere, you will no longer be required to provide information about the former employee’s drug and alcohol history, but you will still be required to provide answers about their recordable accident history.

While nothing prevents former or prospective employers from continuing to ask for, or continuing to provide drug and alcohol information, the only real change is that this information will no longer be required. Inquiries will still need to be made, and responses will still need to be given. The only change is to exactly what is required to be asked for, and what is required to be provided.  

IFor more information on the clearinghouse and specific requirements, check their site here: https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/

FMCSA Screengrab

 

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Reminder -FMCSA Clearinghouse Mandatory Registration Deadline is Jan 6

Drug Testing

The FMCSA Clearinghouse deadline is January 6th, 2020, which believe it or not, is only a few weeks away. While CDL drivers do not technically need to register immediately, they will need to do so for mandatory employer pre-employment inquiries so it's better to just get it out of the way now.

The clearinghouse will be a comprehensive database with information on CDL holders' drug or alcohol violations, as well as information on whether that driver has completed required rehabilitation in order to return to work legally. The requirements are applied to ALL CDL drivers, from school bus drivers to interstate truckers. Violations will include any positive drug or alcohol test, DUI conviction, refusal to submit to testing, or acknowledgement of a substance abuse issue. 

Employers, medical review officers and third party administrators will be legally required to report drug or alcohol violations to the database. Employers will also be required to query the database to confirm new hires are eligible to work (no violations, or have completed required rehabilitation) and will also need to annually query to make sure current employees remain eligible to be a commercial driver. State licensing agencies (like the MA RMV) will also be required to query the system when reissuing CDL licenses. 

The goal of the database implementation is to ensure that CDL holders who have drug or alcohol violations are removed from the road until they have fulfilled steps to show they are a safe operator again.

This past summer the State of Massachusetts had an extremely tragic example of what can happen when CDL license holders are not properly vetted by licensing agencies and/or employers in regard to their drug or alcohol violations when a multiple violator killed 7 motorcyclists in New Hampshire while under the influence. Comprehensive, multi-agency efforts like the FMCSA Clearinghouse are put in place to make sure the proper checks are in place to get unsafe drivers off the road, and try to reduce the likelihood another incident like the one in New Hampshire happens again.     

 

The DOT has a great powerpoint presentation that runs through some of the major points regarding the Clearinghouse that you can access here: Final Rule: Commercial Driver's License Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse

You can also access the full rule text here: Commercial Driver's Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

 

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I'll take 'Best Safety Meeting Ever' for $400, Alex

 

new haven group

This summer we had another successful round of our annual "Safety Jeopardy" game at Driver Safety meetings. We've discussed before how we try to cover as much relevant safety info and training as possible to all our drivers at our monthly meetings. Safety Jeopardy has the same goal, but even the Safety Department will admit it's more fun to review safety stats and info via Jeopardy. 

It's easy to lose sight of the truly monumental amount of information that drivers need to know and remember on multiple topics in order to do their jobs safely, and Jeopardy is a fun way to refresh everyone's memory with a little friendly competition. 

Looks like the team enjoyed it, based on those smiles (even Ed Burke and some Sales Reps got in on the action!)

 

seekonk group shotboston group shot

 

 

 group shotmaine group

taunton group

 

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