This is the first publication of NRLA’s Regulatory Newsletter. This newsletter will be published twice a year and update members on recent regulatory changes as well as upcoming changes. While every state has their own regulatory changes, this newsletter will focus on regulatory issues that cross state lines. NRLA hopes that members find these newsletters informational and useful for their business.
DOT Hours of Service Changed
New truck driver hours-of-service regulations took effect July 1. The rule requires drivers to take a 30-minute break before driving more than eight hours and limits the use of the 34-hour restart to reset a driver’s weekly clock in two ways: The restart can only be used once a week (every 168 hours), and it must include two consecutive periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. Any driver that has not completed their 34-hour restart by 12:00 a.m. on July 1 must adhere to the new HOS restart regulation.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has published a “visor card” outlining the changes to truck driver hours-of-service regulations, which may be downloaded here.
Victory on NLRB Union Ambush Rule
NRLA and NLBMDA helped win another regulatory victory for their members. On May 7, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., struck down the controversial National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule requiring businesses to post notices that were virtually “directions on how to unionize.” NRLA & NLBMDA are members of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), which was a party to the lawsuit.
Affordable care act changes
(1) The Affordable Care Act (ACA) included an employer mandate, which required companies with 50 or more employees to provide healthcare coverage for their employees. The mandate was set to go into effect on January 1, 2014. The Administration announced that this mandate would be delayed for one year until 2015.
This is an enormous victory for businesses, which have been lobbying for a delay. Please note this delay does not affect or delay the individual mandate.
(2) The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) announced that it would delay for one year an option under the SHOP exchanges that would have allowed employers to select a certain benefit level and then allowed employees to choose among a variety of plans at that level. That option now will not be available until 2015. Until then, a company can still choose an insurance plan in the exchange, but employees will have to sign up for coverage through the carrier chosen.
Changes to the FMLA
The Department of Labor (DOL) recently published final regulations clarifying several amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). To review a detailed article summarizing the final regulations, click here.
The DOL’s final regulations take effect on March 8, 2013. As a covered employer, a company must ensure that its FMLA policy be consistent with these new regulations. Accordingly, we recommend that companies consider replacing their current FMLA policy with the updated policy.
The DOL also issued a new FMLA workplace poster. You can find the new poster here, and it should replace the old one no later than March, 2, 2013.
OSHA Crane operator licenses
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced that it will extend the compliance date for the crane operator certification requirement by three years to Nov. 10, 2017. The proposal would also extend to the same date the existing phase-in requirement that employers ensure that their operators are qualified to operate the equipment.
NRLA members were getting ready to deal with this new certification requirement, but the delay allows NRLA and NLBMDA to continue to work with OSHA to get questions concerning articulating knuckle boom exemptions answered as well as a clearer definition as to what certification requirements these trucks will require.
OSHA is starting to implement new Hazard Communication rules and moving to the Global Harmonized System (GHS). By December 1, 2013 all employees must be trained on the new label elements and Safety Data Sheets (SDS), formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).
Over the next two plus years, all businesses will also have to comply with the new GHS labels and replace all of their SDS sheets. By June 1, 2015 all employers must be in full compliance with the new GHS rules and by June 1, 2016 all labeling and SDS sheets must be updated to the new GHS standards.
The GHS standard is being adopted so that hazardous materials can be identified internationally. The requirement to have proper GHS labels and SDS sheets falls on all employers. SDS sheets cover a wide variety of products; everything from soaps, cleaning products, even wood (as sawdust is combustible).
Safe Water Drinking Act updated – Sell off date for products
The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act (RLDWA) goes into effect on Jan. 4, 2014. The law sets new standards for the amount of lead allowed in plumbing products connected to potable water sources. The current law allows for up to 8% lead, but the new law requires a reduction down to 0.25%. Click here to be brought to a site that will help identify whether the products you have are compliant or not. Anything that is above 0.25% should be sold off before Jan. 4, 2014.
(1) The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a final rule in late 2008 creating a single electronic medical record database known as the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) for CDL drivers. As a result, CDL drivers need to complete a self-certification form and submit a current medical examiner’s certificate to their respective State Driver Licensing Agency (SDLA), such as the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). CDL drivers who do not self-certify and/or do not keep their medical examiner’s certificate up-to-date may lose their CDL status.
Each SDLA has its own self-certification forms, submission process, and additional information about the rule online. To access the information, visit the Government Affairs section of the NRLA website, click on your respective state on the left side, and then click on useful links.
(2) In February 2012, the Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established a National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (National Registry). The rule requires that all medical examiners who conduct physical examinations for commercial motor vehicle drivers complete periodic training and testing, and register with the National Registry. By May 21, 2014, all motor carriers and drivers are required to use medical examiners that are registered with the Agency’s National Registry. To access the FMCSA’s National Registry, visit National Registry.
(3) While many states are passing laws that allow for the medical or recreational use of marijuana it is important to note that marijuana use is still illegal under federal law, even for medical purposes. CDL drivers hold federal licenses and are required to adhere to federal DOT requirements. If a driver holding a CDL license tests positive for marijuana, he/she will have to complete the required return-to-work process.