New Year, New Rules from FMCSA and OSHA

Jeff Anderson

Safety Consultant

Three significant rule changes could pave the way to smoother operations in 2015. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) 34-hour restart rule has been suspended; and, driver-vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs) are only required if defects or deficiencies are found. These new rules will reduce burdensome restrictions and time consuming paperwork. The third rule by The U.S. Occupational Safety and Heath Administration (OSHA) expands the list of severe injuries that employers must report in an effort to more effectively focus on prevention of fatalities and serious work-related injuries and illnesses.

34-Hour Restart Rule Suspended

Effective Date: December 16, 2014

During December both houses of Congress passed a spending bill that included a provision to suspend the 2013 version of The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) 34-hour restart rule. The rules now automatically revert to the original 34-hour restart rule that was in place between 2003 and 2013.

The now suspended version of the rules had required that the restart period contain two periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. and allowed only one restart every 168 hours. The new rules instead allow drivers to revert to taking any 34-hour period for a restart. A driver can now also utilize a restart more than one time per week if necessary.

The rules have been suspended, not terminated. The Department Of Transportation has been ordered to complete a study comparing the effectiveness of the two different versions of the rules. The bill containing the suspension provision is an annual spending bill, it runs out on September 30, 2015. If that date is reached with no resolution, another suspension will need to be legislated to prevent the 2014 rules from going back into place.

Driver-Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) Paperwork
Effective Date: December 18, 2014

FMCSA now requires a driver vehicle inspection report to be filled out only if defects or deficiencies are found. Drivers only need to submit DVIRs that list defects or deficiencies.

The three signature requirement remains intact. Signatures still are needed from:

  • The driver who listed defect/deficiency
  • The person who performed repair or representative of the carrier
  • The next driver to operate the equipment

The FMCSA final rule maintains the retention period for DVIRs submitted to motor carriers as 90 days. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said this update will eliminate a burdensome daily paperwork requirement and save the trucking industry an estimated $1.7 billion annually without compromising safety. FMCSA estimates that drivers were spending about 46.7 million hours annually on DVIRs, and that 95 percent of the reports did not record defects.

OSHA Revises Reporting Rule For Fatalities and Severe Injuries

Effective Date: January 1, 2015

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Heath Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule requiring employers to notify OSHA when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. The new rule maintains the exemption for any employer with 10 or fewer employees from the requirement to keep records of worker injuries and illnesses. OSHA has published an infographic which simplifies the new rules and can be posted in the workplace.

It's important to note: This change in OSHA reporting rules does not effect what is defined as an OSHA recordable injury and what needs to be recorded on the OSHA 300 log.

New Reporting Rules:

  • Employers must report work-related fatalities within 8 hours of finding out about them.
  • Employers also must report in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss incidents within 24 hours of learning about it

Employers DO NOT have to report an event if it:

  • Resulted from a motor vehicle accident on a public street or highway (follow DOT reporting requirements for traffic related injuries). Employers must report the event if it happened in a construction work zone. 
  • Occurred on a commercial or public transportation system (airplane, subway, bus, ferry, streetcar, light rail, train).
  • Occurred more than 30 days after the work-related incident or more than 24 hours after the work-related incident in the case of an in-patient hospitalization, 
amputation, or loss of an eye.
  • Is an in-patient hospitalization for diagnostic testing or observation only. An in-patient hospitalization is defined as a formal admission to the in-patient service of a hospital or clinic for care or treatment. Employers do have to report an in-patient hospitalization due to a heart attack, if the heart attack resulted from a work-related incident.

Options For Reporting:

  • By telephone to the nearest OSHA Area Office during normal business hours.
  • By telephone to the 24-hour OSHA hotline at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
  • OSHA is developing a new website for reporting events electronically, which will be available soon at

What Information Should Be Reported:

  • Establishment name Location of the work-related incident
  • Time of the work-related incident
  • Type of reportable event (i.e., fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye)
  • Number of employees who suffered the event
  • Names of the employees who suffered the event
  • Contact person and his or her phone number
  • Brief description of the work-related incident 

If you have questions or need more information about these and other safety and compliance issues, please post a comment or contact us:
Jeff Anderson, safety consultant, 888-687-6078 or 
Greg Shinsky, safety consultant, 888-687-6078 or