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DOT Announcement- Plans to gather info on Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Oct
21,
2015
0
HealthAndSafetyWorks

Elaine Papp-Founder and CEO of HealthAndSafetyWorks.net

On October 1, 2015 the US Department of Transportation published its Monthly Report of Significant Rulemaking. In that report, DOT published an announcement that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) were planning to jointly publish an advanced notice of proposed rule making (ANPRM) on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The documents Numbered 47 and 55 are entitled, “Medical Certification of Transportation Workers in Safety Sensitive Positions; Individuals Exhibiting Risk Factors for Moderate-to-Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea.”

In DOT’s October report, they announce that the FMCSA/FRA ANPRM is to gather data and information on the prevalence of moderate-to-severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), the economic impact and the safety benefits of a rule making on obstructive sleep apnea.

The publication schedule for the ANPRM is December 11, 2015 with the close of the comment period being February, 2016.

FMCSA

Report on DOT Significant Rulemakings- Access to the Report -October 2015 Significant Rulemaking Report

So what does this mean for the transportation industry? for truckers? if this a concern? Will FMCSA be issuing a rule of OSA imminently?

In my opinion, the Agencies issuing a request for data and more information is a good thing. It is an opportunity for truckers and others in the industry to get involved in the rule-making — to become active.

 

The Agency is asking for information and data — They want to gather information on whether or not this regulations would have too high an economic burden? Or, if it would be have an important safety impact — They want to develop an evidence-based regulation, if they decide to do one. They want to know facts.

So drivers, if you have information about the cost of OSA testing and treatment and how it affects you, plan to participate and respond to the request for information. Drivers, carriers, safety advocates, law enforcement, researchers, if you have information on the safety impact of a rule on OSA, participate in the rule-making.

The purpose of an ANPRM is to notify the public that the Agency(ies) are
1) considering a rule making and
2) are requesting information on the topic that the Agency(ies) can utilize in their deliberations. So, Comments that are most helpful are those that give substantive information to help the Agency make its decision.

Does requesting information and data mean the OSA rule is imminent?
NO, not at all.
Once the Agencies get the information they may decide not to pursue it any further. A new President may not want to pursue this subject. It may not be part of his/her Agenda. There are lots of processes involved. This is the first step and an important one for all of us. We don’t want regulations to be developed based on a whim. The FRA and FMCSA are taking responsible steps to ensure that whatever direction they take it will be based on the most recent data and information. The best way for them to make their decision is get a lot of comments, including lots of data and information from a wide range of people in the regulated community.

So keep informed and participate!

 

© 2015, Elaine Papp. All rights reserved.

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By: Elaine Papp

Elaine M. Papp RN MSN COHN-S CM FAOOHN Elaine M. Papp has a broad range of occupational safety and health experience, from private industry to international organizations. A board certified occupational health nurse with experience working for regulatory agencies, Elaine is now offering her knowledge and experience in occupational and transportation health through her newly founded company, Health and Safety Works, LLC. Prior to establishing her company, Elaine spent 7 years as the Division Chief of the Office of Medical Programs at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) where she gained extensive knowledge about the relationship between medical conditions, their impact on safe operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) and FMCSA regulations/guidance. Elaine was responsible for establishment of FMCSA’s National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners including the training and testing components and compliance assistance materials. She also lead the Agency’s effort to create the hearing and seizure exemption programs. Elaine oversaw a staff of 10 who offered compliance assistance to the public answering over 3000 telephone calls and 2000 emails a month. She also served on regulation writing teams, oversaw the research of various medical conditions and their relationship to safe operation of a CMV, developed the Medical Examiners Handbook as well as various outreach and training materials for medical examiners, drivers and motor carriers. Prior to FMCSA, Elaine worked for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in several capacities: analyzing legislation, writing Congressional testimony, regulations and compliance assistance materials, participating in on-site enforcement inspections, and conducting presentations on behalf of the Agency. While at OSHA, Elaine was selected for the Executive Leadership Program (ELP) and spent a few months in Geneva Switzerland working with the World Health Organization and the International Council of Nursing (ICN) as part of the ELP development program. Elaine authored the International Council of Nursing’s (ICN) “Guidelines for a Health and Safety Program for Nurses” and a monograph entitled, “A Guide to Health Care Waste Management for Nurses.” Prior to working for the government, Elaine had her own company working as an Occupational Safety and Health Consultant. She has also worked in private industry for TRW, a fortune 100 company, as a Senior Health and Safety Specialist. Early in her career Elaine worked in a variety of health care settings — intensive care units, doctor's offices, hospital, non-governmental organizations. and health policy groups. Thus, she has developed a broad perspective of health care in the US and has cashed to focus on employee/driver health and wellness.

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