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EPA has approved a waiver that allows California’s Air Resources Board to require on board diagnostic systems on heavy-duty vehicles and engines starting in 2010.
On board diagnostics, or OBD, monitor engine performance – including emission controls – and identify failures. OBD systems have been installed on new light-duty cars and trucks since 1996.
According to California ARB, implementing OBD systems will lead to much lower emissions from heavy-duty fleets by alerting operators to malfunctions in components such as diesel particulate filters, and thus lead to faster repairs. “Engine manufacturers have made great strides in emission controls and OBD systems will help ensure those emission controls are robust and durable,” notes Karen Caesar, information officer, California ARB.
Some industry associations voiced concerns to the EPA that California ARB’s OBD program will cause other states to consider opting into California’s program, which could lead to confusion when and if the EPA decides to propose its own heavy-duty OBD rule.
Robert Meyers, principal deputy assistant administrator at the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, admitted EPA’s decision “will affect not only persons in California, but also manufacturers outside the state who must comply with California’s requirments to produce heavy-duty vehicles and engines for sale in California.”
– Barbara Cox
High visibility safety apparel regulation to take effect next month
All workers on public roads projects will have to wear high-visibility apparel, according to a revised American National Standards Institute standard that takes effect November 28. The standard updates an ANSI/ISEA regulation approved five years ago and provides a uniform guide for users.
Previously, personnel working on public roads where required by law to wear high-visibility apparel only if they were working on federal-aid highway projects. The proposed Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) calls for all personnel; construction, utility, survey crews, incident responders and law enforcement to wear the approved high-visibility apparel for work in close proximity to any public road.
The National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse held a webinar to explain the new regulation and included speakers Hari Kalla, MUTCD Team Leader for the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Operations and Janice Bradley, Technical Director of the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA).
“The revision doesn’t change the basic requirements of the standard such as garment dimensions, color or retroreflective performance,” says Bradley. “The standard has been expanded to keep up with the state of the art in fabrics technology and design, and now provides users with documentation that a garment meets all the requirements of the standard.”
To examine the revised standard and examples of the three performance classes of high-visibility safety apparel, visit www.workzonesafety.org.
– Adam Giannini
Construction industry fatalities down 5 percent in 2007
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, fatalities within the construction industry dropped to 1,178 during 2007, down from the 2006 total of 1,239 – a 5 percent decrease. Although construction fatalities showed a slight decline, it continues to sustain the most fatalities of any industry in the private sector, a trend that has remained constant for the past five years according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary. Construction and extraction occupations accounted for 21 percent of all fatalities.
Falls continue to be the leading cause of death for construction workers. Of the 1,178 total construction fatalities in 2007, 38 percent involved falls, a series high for the fatality census.
Non-residential construction saw an 11-percent increase in fatalities, with most involving building construction. Specialty trade contractors had a 6-percent decrease in fatalities for a total of 680 fatalities. Preliminary heavy and civil engineering construction accounted for 250 deaths in 2007 – the lowest in this category since 2004, down from 277 in 2006.
The construction industry’s rate of 12.1 fatal occupational injuries per 100,000 workers ranked in the top three of the BLS findings on fatal occupational injuries by major occupation group for 2007. Construction fatalities fell behind the transportation and material moving industry at 16.2 fatalities per 100,000.
– Adam Giannini
In Equipment World’s August issue, the Kenworth utility boom model T370 was listed incorrectly as the T230.
In the August 2008 edition of Equipment World, Gehl’s new 5240E turbocharged skid steer loader lift height spec was incorrect. The 5240E model has a maximum lift height of 122 inches when equipped with 12.00 tires and is 59.7 inches wide with optional off-set wheels. The Gehl 5640E skid steer is 67 inches wide.
Senate approves $8 billion for Highway Trust Fund
The U.S. Senate has approved the transfer of $8.017 billion to the Highway Trust Fund from the General Fund. The move restores money shifted from the Highway Trust Fund to the General Fund in a 1998 budget deal, and will prevent the fund from running out of money to pay state reimbursement requests.
Manitou to purchase Gehl
French-based material handling equipment manufacturer Manitou has announced the company will purchase compact equipment manufacturer Gehl, in a transaction valued at approximately $450 million.
Vermeer to distribute Gyro-Trac
Vermeer has entered into a distribution agreement with Summerville, North Carolina-based Gyro-Trac Manufacturing. Vermeer will distribute Gyro-Trac’s line of mulching machines.
Yanmar America moves headquarters to Georgia
Yanmar America has moved their corporate headquarters from the Chicago, Illinois, area to a 480,000-square-foot facility in Adairsville, Georgia. The Yanmar/Cub Cadet manufacturing facility has also located in same area.
Ditch Witch launches used equipment website
Ditch Witch has teamed up with Equipment Web Services to launch a used equipment website, www.DitchWitchUsed.com. Customers can search by product category, recent listings or use an advanced search feature.