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EPA Responds to TVA Kingston Fossil Ash Slurry Spill

The largest fly ash release in United States history occurred on December 22, 2008 at the Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) Kinston Fossil Plant. The spill occurred when an earthen dike broke at a 40 acre waste retention pond. The plant uses ponds to store the coal combustion by-product. Over one billion gallons of coal fly ash slurry, a mixture of fly ash and water, was released. The spill is expected to take several weeks to clean up; however some have speculated the process could take months if not years.

The break caused the slurry to travel downhill, damaging homes, rupturing a local gas line, covering surrounding land and spilling into local waterways. The spill has killed numerous water life animals including fish; no human injures or deaths occurred. Water contamination testing has occurred and initial test revealed elevated levels of lead, thallium, mercury and arsenic; further testing has revealed a decreasing amount of toxins. Soil samples have not yet revealed any numbers in excess of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard for contaminant levels requiring critical response.

The EPA has promised they will take every measure to ensure the quality of public welfare and the environment. TVA has taken on responsibility for containment and clean-up efforts. A Unified Command response to the fly ash slurry spill has assembled.

For further details, read the full article on the EPA website.

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OSHA Launches National Initiative on Cranes and Derricks

To coincide with the proposed rule on Cranes and Derricks in Construction published in October 2008 in the Federal Register, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has initiated a National Crane Safety Initiative to address safety hazards during construction crane operation.

The Crane Safety Initiative also builds on a number of steps taken by OSHA earlier this year to raise awareness on crane safety and increase enforcement of the current standards, including launching local emphasis programs in a number of regions to inspect high-rise construction, stakeholder outreach and additional training on crane safety.

Through its agency partners in the construction industry, OSHA will increase awareness of and provide information on how to avoid crane hazards. The agency's compliance safety and health officers will receive enhanced resources on crane safety. Additionally, the National Emphasis Program will incorporate increased targeted inspections of construction worksites to identify crane hazards and promote compliance with workplace crane safety requirements.

For more information, follow the links below to the official DOL-OSHA web site and the Federal Register.

Read the press release on the OSHA's official website.

View the new rule in the Federal Register.

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OSHA Publishes Final PPE Rule Effective In 2008

Effective on February 13, 2008 is a final rule published by OSHA that requires employers to provide personal protective equipment used to comply with OSHA's standards at no cost to employees. However, employers do not have to provide PPE where it has not previously been required. The final rule must be implemented by May 15, 2008. For more information, follow the links below to the official DOL-OSHA Web Site and the Federal Register.

Read the final rule on OSHA's Web Site.

View the final rule in the Federal Register.

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New Federal Rule to Make School Buses Safer

October 15, 2008 - New federal rules will make the nation's 474,000 school buses safer by requiring higher seat backs, mandating lap and shoulder belts on small school buses and setting safety standards for seat belts on large school buses, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters announced today.�

Secretary Peters said the new rule requires all new school buses in America to be equipped with 24-inch-high seat backs, instead of the 20-inch-high seat backs required today.� Higher seat backs will help prevent taller and heavier children from being thrown over the seat in a crash, decreasing the chance of injury to them and the children in front of them.

She added that all new school buses weighing less than five tons will be required to have three-point seat belts.� She noted that the lap and shoulder belts better protect children in small buses, adding that smaller school buses are more vulnerable because they don't absorb shock as well as larger buses.

The Secretary said the federal government also was setting new standards for seat belts on large school buses.� Standards will improve seat belt safety and help lower the cost of installing the belts.� She cautioned, however, that seat belts on larger buses can limit capacity and force more students to walk or ride in cars to school, which is statistically more dangerous.

For more information, follow the links below to the official DOT web site and final rule.
Read the press release on the official DOT website:

Read the new rule:

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Surface Trade with Canada and Mexico Rose 15.9 Percent

Trade using surface transportation between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico was 15.9 percent higher in July 2008 than in July 2007, reaching $71.6 billion, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico fell 3.4 percent in July from June. Month-to-month changes can be affected by seasonal variations and other factors.

Surface transportation consists largely of freight movements by truck, rail and pipeline. About 88 percent of U.S. trade by value with Canada and Mexico moves on land.

The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico this July was up 68.1 percent compared to July 2003, and up 123.6 percent compared to July 1998, a period of 10.� Imports in July 2008 were up 129.8 percent compared to July 1998, while exports were up 116.2 percent.

For more information, follow the links to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics website.

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Industry Links

  1. American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  3. Environmental Protection Agency
  4. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
  5. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
  6. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

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