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OSHA to Ramp Up Heat-Related Enforcement and Inspections

The Biden administration is calling for stepped up enforcement and increased efforts to prevent heat-related illnesses on the job.

As part of that initiative, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration plans to increase workplace enforcement and inspections, especially on days when the heat index is above 80 degrees.

“On days when a recognized heat temperature can result in increased risks of heat-related illnesses, OSHA will increase enforcement efforts,” the agency says.

OSHA says it will also develop a National Emphasis Program, in which it will place temporary, intense focus on heat inspections. It also plans to develop a workplace heat standard.

Though construction is among the top industries affected by heat, the administration’s plan is broad-based, also including indoor workers, as well as schools and nursing homes. It cites climate change as leading to extreme heat, which “is now the leading weather-related killer in America.”

“Rising temperatures pose an imminent threat to millions of American workers exposed to the elements, to kids in schools without air conditioning, to seniors in nursing homes without cooling resources and particularly to disadvantaged communities,” President Joe Biden said in announcing the initiative.

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 43 workers died from heat-related illness in 2019 and 2,410 suffered serious injuries and illnesses from heat. The agency notes that heat illnesses are often underreported. With climate change, DOL says, those conditions will worsen.

OSHA has ordered its area directors throughout the country to do the following:

Prioritize inspections of heat-related complaints, referrals and employer-reported illnesses and initiate an onsite investigation where possible.Instruct compliance safety and health officers, during their travels to jobsites, to conduct an intervention or open an inspection when they observe employees performing strenuous work in hot conditions. An intervention involves providing the agency’s heat poster and wallet card, discussing the importance of easy access to cool water, cooling areas and acclimatization.Expand the scope of other inspections to address heat-related hazards where worksite conditions or other evidence indicates these hazards may be present.

OSHA also calls on employers to intervene with its workers in extreme heat by requiring regular breaks for water, rest and shade; training workers on identifying heat-related symptoms and what to do when a worker suspects a heat-related illness; and taking periodic measurements to determine workers’ heat exposure.

In October, OSHA plans to start the rulemaking process to develop a federal heat standard for indoor and outdoor workplaces.

The agency says the forthcoming National Emphasis Program on heat hazard cases will target high-risk industries and focus resources and staff on heat inspections.

“The Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies will work together to help ensure that the American people have safe and healthy working conditions, provide cooling assistance to homes and neighborhoods, and coordinate with state and local officials to bolster their resilience and address the impacts of this threat,” Biden said.

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Why Is Terex Trucks’ Articulated Truck Line Now Called Rokbak?

When Volvo Group changed the name of its Terex Trucks articulated truck line to Rokbak earlier this month, it represented the first time the company had created an entirely new brand, says Paul Roberts, Rokbak managing director.

North American dealer input played an integral role in the rebranding.

RobertsVolvoAfter the dust settled following Volvo’s 2014 acquisition of Terex’s articulated and rigid-frame truck lines, “we started having a dialogue with our dealers and customers asking how they felt about the brand and what it should look like,” Roberts tells Equipment World.

Volvo had changed the division name to Terex Trucks with the understanding it would be a step along the way to new identities. (The rigid frame trucks  directed primarily at the mining  and quarry segments  are now Volvo branded; both truck types are manufactured in Motherwell, Scotland.)

And with Terex now concentrating on lifting, material handling and processing, “there was quite a lot of separation from that brand,” Roberts says. “And after quite a few years of Volvo ownership, there was still some confusion in the marketplace regarding who we were. Was it still part of Terex or part of Volvo? Did Volvo buy Terex?”

About three years ago, Volvo started to delve into the Terex Truck artic product branding, asking dealers if it was time for a change. “The answers were very clear: we had to start thinking about where the brand should go,” Roberts says. “We sampled a few names with some key dealers. We wanted to convey that this is a strong, simple product that’s as solid as a rock.” 

At the forefront in this effort was the North American articulated truck market. “The North American market is hugely important,” Roberts says. “In some years, it makes up 50% of the world market for articulated haul trucks, which can be around 8,000 units. North American customers and dealers really know the product and its applications.”

Rokbak artics are distributed by around 30 North American independent multiline dealers and not through the Volvo CE dealer network, which, of course, distribute Volvo’s popular artic line. “We keep the brands separate,” Roberts says. “It’s a different platform and design.”

Volvo says the two Rokbak models, the the 30.9-ton RA30 and the 41.9-ton RA40, offer better fuel economy, lower emissions, improved safety and greater durability than the previous Terex Truck models.
Volvo says the two Rokbak models, the the 30.9-ton RA30 and the 41.9-ton RA40, offer better fuel economy, lower emissions, improved safety and greater durability than the previous Terex Truck models.Volvo

Roberts points out that the articulated hauler space has relatively few competitors. He sees two types of customers: those looking for feature-laden premium products and those wanting simpler products. Rokbak products would tend to appeal to smaller to medium-sized earthmoving contractors. Top Rokbak markets are Florida, the Carolinas and Texas. The division is also looking to expand in Georgia and some areas in Canada. 

Today’s supply-chain problems, however, have created interest in Rokkbak trucks outside its usual customer base, says Roberts. It’s a two-edged sword, however, since the division also faces similar supplier issues as other OEMs. 

Volvo says the two Rokbak models, the the 30.9-ton RA30 and the 41.9-ton RA40, offer better fuel economy, lower emissions, improved safety and greater durability than the previous Terex Truck models, TA300 and TA400. For artics going to the European market, Europe’s Stage 5 engine requirements also prompted major changes in the machine control, intake and exhaust system that will not be part of the North American product.

Volvo traces the Rokbak’s lineage to 1934 when Euclid Road Machinery built what Volvo calls the world’s first off-road truck, the Model 1Z. The trucks have been made in Motherwell, Scotland, since 1950. General Motors bought Euclid in 1953 and renamed its earthmoving division “Terex,” from the Latin “terra” (earth) and “rex” (king). Terex became independent of General Motors in 1987, was bought by North West Engineering in 1992, forming Terex Corporation. Volvo Group then bought the off-road truck line from Terex in 2014.

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Plagued with Low Battery Life? These Chargers Will Keep Your Devices Ready to Go

Time for a battery check. You rely on your devices especially phones to power your business. But will they last a full day which in contractor terms means way past eight hours?

The good news: There are a slew of good, reliable and affordable charging options out there. But whatever you buy, be sure to look for these basics:

Size and Capacity: A good rule of thumb for power banks says the bigger the battery, the greater its capacity and the more ports it can accommodate. It’s easy to find an inexpensive one that will fit in your pocket and, with 5,000mAh, reload your phone once or twice. It’s also not hard to find something a bit more robust.

Power In. Power Out: When shopping for a charger or power bank, be sure it’s compatible with the device(s) you’ll be using it with. Most will have a USB-A port for reloading the battery and for sending the juice to your device. More and more devices are relying on USB-C ports, as they are also compatible with most fast-charging options.

And, of course, Apple has a port all its own: Lightning. However, with the Apple iPhone 12, charging can be done with a USB-C port. 

So, regardless of the charger or battery pack you buy, be sure its ports match up with your device’s cords.

Wireless Charging Is a Real Thing: Newer models of smartphones and other devices may be set up to be charged without having to be plugged in. Wireless charging relies on electromagnetic induction to reload your device. In short, wireless, or Qi, charging works by transmitting power from a coil in a charging unit to a coil in the receiving device. All you do is place your smartphone or other device on the pad of the receiver.

As we said, there are hundreds of charging devices on the market. With even modest study, you can find one at a travel center, truck stop, big-box store or online that fits your device and your budget.

Here’s a few to get you started: 

Jackery Explorer

To the untrained or unfamiliar, putting using this portable power station in your pickup might seem like going rabbit hunting with a Howitzer. But it never hurts to be over-prepared.

Weighing in at just a shade less than 4 pounds, the Explorer packs a big charging wallop and also provides the convenience of not having to reload it too often.

It has a 100-watt AC outlet, a USB-C and two USB-A outlets, and a 12-volt car outlet as well.

And at its heart, the Explorer has rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that provide 167 watt-hours of energy storage. That means it’ll recharge the thirstiest of smartphones 16 times.

You can refill those batteries by plugging into a wall socket (about five hours) or your truck’s 12-volt system as you drive, or hook it to an optional solar panel.

The Explorer 160 sells for about $106 on Jackery’s website.

PowerDrive’s Cup Holder Power Inverter
Powerdrive Cupholder Charger 6110344d4c0d0

This device not only charges your devices, it also provides AC and 12-volt outlets so you can use your truck’s battery to power other appliances.

Fitting nicely into your truck’s cup holder, it has both USB 2.4 amp and USB-C 3 amp ports, in addition to the AC outlet, making it able to accommodate most of your charging requirements.

It has a 2-foot-long cable to plug into your truck’s 12-volt port.

PowerDrive is a member of the RoadPro Family of Brands, and the cup holder inverter is available at most travel centers and truck stops and sells for $32 online. 

Nekteck PD 45W Type-C Car Charger

Don’t be thrown by the name. This’ll work in your truck and delivers plenty of power for a reasonable price – about $20 online.

This device fast-charges phones, tablets and laptops on its USB-C port and, at the same time, can charge a second phone on its USB-A port. It conforms to USB-C fast-charging standards and includes a good quality cable.

This Nekteck’s 45-watt output and its USB-C–to–C cable support the maximum charge rate on Android phones, the 2018 and 2020 iPad Pros, and some laptops. In addition, you can use the 12-watt USB-A port at the same time to charge a second phone or other device with any USB cable you already have.

MobileSpec Charging Bundles
Mobilespec Multitool 6110344981c34

Let’s face it; your fancy smartphone is useless if not charged. And even the best, most powerful charger is of no value if you can’t get the juice to that same smartphone. The important link is the cable (yes, yes, we know, Qi allows wireless charging, but not every person has a compatible device), and MobileSpec delivers not just a good, solid charging cable but some much-appreciated accessories in its bundles.

Each bundle has a 6-foot-long Lightning to USB or USB-C to USB braided cable that has strain relief built-in, but other goodies as well. All three bundles include five cable organizers. Then you can get a bundle with a:

● Multi-tool that has a pen, knife, bottle opener and flashlight

● Phone cardholder for up to three cards

● Three-in-one phone mount (finger, stand or dashboard venter)

MobileSpec is a member of the RoadPro Family of Brands, and its bundles and other charging devices can be found at most truck stops and travel centers. Available online for under $13.

WeeGo Jump Starting Power Pack
Weego 611034496358d

Don’t let the name fool you. This powerful battery can:

1. Jump-start your pickup or ATV

2. Recharge your smartphone or other device

3. Fit in the palm of your hand

That makes it ideal to keep in your truck’s cab. It literally packs a lot of power and takes up little valuable space.

WeeGo makes several power packs (including the Crankenstein, which is suitable for jump-starting duties at jobsites and repair shops), and includes the 44.1.

WeeGo’s new 44.1 weighs just a pound and a half, but its lithium-ion battery delivers 440 cranking amps, so you can jump-start most vehicles. The $129 unit also has a 12-volt port, a fast-charge USB port, and doubles as a flashlight with 500 lumens of illumination.  

nker 24W Three-Port USB Portable Solar Charger
Anker 24w 3 Port Portable Solar 6110344be4ae5

Anker is well known for producing reliable, affordable chargers and other digital devices. Among them is a solar charger; the Anker 24W 3-Port USB portable solar charger includes a foldable CIGS (thin-film) solar panel.

It’s suitable for iPhone 12/SE/11/XS Max/XR/X/8, iPad, Samsung Galaxy S20/S10/S9/S8. The solar panel’s three USB ports share a total 21W output, allowing you to simultaneously charge up to three devices. When you’re not charging, the PowerSolar folds away for easy storage. The built-in storage compartment can hold cables or small mobile devices. It comes with an 18-month warranty.

Available online for $79.99.

myCharge HubMax 10050 Portable Charger
Hubmax 10050 611034498f964

The myCharge HubMax 10050mAh portable charger has an integrated Apple Lightning cable, an integrated USB-C cable and a USB port. It also has self-contained wall prongs so you can plug it into a wall socket or an inverter.

With a 10050mAh internal battery, the HubMax 10050 delivers up to 54 hours of charging power. It’s available online for $89.99.

Belkin Boost Charge Wireless Charging Stand
Belkin Boost Wireless 61103444ee87c

Belkin Boost WirelessThis wireless charging stand can reload a typical smartphone from empty to 50% in about an hour. It comes with a cable and wall plug and delivers a 7.5 W charging speed for iPhones and 10 W for Android smartphones.

The Belkin Boost is compatible with Qi-enabled devices including iPhones, Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel. You can charge your phone in portrait or landscape modes.

Available online for $32.99.

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