FMCSA Grants American Concrete Pumping Association HOS ELD 30-minute Rest Break Exemption
The FMCSA Decision
FMCSA announces its decision to grant the American Concrete Pumping Association (ACPA) and others an exemption from the 30-minute rest break requirement in the Agency's hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. The exemption enables all concrete pump operators, concrete pumping companies, and drivers who operate concrete pumps in interstate commerce to count on-duty time while attending equipment but performing no other work-related activity, toward the 30-minute rest break provision of the HOS regulations. FMCSA has analyzed the exemption application and the public comments and has determined that the exemption, subject to the terms and conditions imposed, will achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption.
American Concrete Pumping Association Request for 30-minute Rest Break Exemption
The American Concrete Pumping Association (ACPA) represents more than 600 member companies who employ over 7,000 workers nationwide. The exemption would be applied to all interstate concrete pumper trucks and their operators, regardless of the motor carrier or membership in ACPA. Although many of the trucks operate intrastate and would therefore not be covered by an FMCSA exemption, an unknown number of the pumping trucks are operated in metropolitan areas and do routinely cross State lines.
ACPA requests an exemption from the 30-minute rest break provision in 49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii). The exemption would apply industry-wide to all concrete pump operators, concrete pumping companies and drivers who deliver, set-up, and operate concrete pumps in interstate commerce across the United States. ACPA requests the exemption because it states that the mandatory 30-minute rest break increases the risk of dangerous conditions on job sites. A mandatory break during which the concrete pump operator is considered to be “off duty” would require the pump to be shut down and likely cleaned out. Stopping the flow of concrete through the pump creates the risk of introducing air in the pump's pipe system which in turn could cause hose-whipping that can injure not only the pump operator, but any personnel within reach of the hose. Concrete pump operators also already take rest breaks throughout the typical day that reflect the work flow at the job site, so an additional 30-minute rest break does not enhance job safety.
ACPA added that concrete is a perishable product. The perishable nature of concrete also creates difficult schedule coordination issues due to concrete being needed on a just-in-time basis. Concrete pump operators cannot plan the timing of the 30-minute break, as they cannot interrupt their work activity without the threat of failure—failure to accept and deliver concrete within its perishable limits and failure to comply with their contracts. Once the ingredients of ready-mixed concrete have been combined, there is a brief window during which the product can be pumped (roughly 90 minutes before the concrete hardens). Should the concrete pump operator be required to take the 30-minute rest break, it would cause a ripple effect on the ready-mixed concrete trucks in line to supply the pump. Such a delay could cost thousands of dollars to rectify and could potentially violate a delivery contract, according to ACPA. Once the concrete pump starts to receive a delivery, it must be completed without disruption Start Printed Page 14596to conduct a safe and structurally sound pour.
Further details regarding this industry's safety controls can be found in the application for exemption, which can be accessed in the docket identified at the beginning of this notice. ACPA asserted that granting this exemption would achieve the same level of safety provided by the rule requiring the 30-minute rest break. The Association stated that the concrete pumping industry has a “solid” safety record, and that concrete pump operators already receive numerous other breaks throughout the workday. ACPA's Operation Certification Program ensures, encourages, and educates the industry on safe pumping and placement procedures, and these safety practices allow concrete operators to maintain their safety record through careful training and well-developed safety guidelines. The proposed exemption would be effective for 2 years.
Period of Exemption
The exemption is applicable from March 21, 2017 and expires on March 21, 2019.