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Nominations Open for NIOSH Technology Innovations Award

Posted By Mark Ellis, Friday, May 26, 2017

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2017 NIOSH Mine Safety and Health Technology Innovations Award for Industrial Minerals.  The award and nominations process are described in the attached flyer.  More information on the award and the nominations process can be accessed through the following link:  http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/mining/content/innovationsawards.html.  The nominations process closes on Friday, June 30.  The award for industrial minerals will be presented in conjunction with the IMA-NA Annual Meeting, September 25-28, 2017, in Chicago, IL.  We encourage you to consider self-nominating your company for the award.


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Tags:  IMA-NA Annual Meeting  NIOSH  Technology Innovations Award 

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IMA-NA Submits Comments for House Ways and Means Committee Hearing on Tax Reform

Posted By Chris Greissing, Friday, May 26, 2017

On Thursday, May 18, 2017, the House Ways and Means Committee held their first hearing on tax reform.  The title of the hearing was “How Tax Reform Will Grow Our Economy and Create Jobs”.  

 

Testifying at the hearing were: John Stephens, Sr. Executive VP and CFO, AT&T; Zachary Mottl, Chief Alignment Officer, Atlas Tool Works, Inc.; David Farr, Chairman and CEO, Emerson Electric Co.; Douglas Peterson, President and CEO, S&P Global, Inc.; and Steven Rattner, Chairman Willett Advisors, LLC.  

 

A full hearing report is attached below.  

 

IMA-NA has been meeting with Members of the Committee for the past several months educating them on the importance of retaining the percentage depletion deduction as they move forward with tax reform. With this hearing, IMA saw a strategic opportunity to get this position on the record formally with the Committee and submitted the attached comments. 

 

We are making good progress at educating Members on the importance of this deduction to our industry and the downstream impact that this has on manufacturing as well. As you have seen though in various news reports, the path forward for tax reform is constantly shifting, so we have to remain on the offensive and push to ensure that our industry is able to come out as strong or stronger in any tax reform effort.  

 

Please let IMA-NA staff know if you have any questions on this important topic. 


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British Columbia Updates Regulation on Silica and Rock Dust Exposure

Posted By Chris Greissing, Wednesday, May 24, 2017

On May 1, 2017, British Columbia updated sections 6.110-6.115 of the Occupational Health Safety (OHS) Regulation (B.C. Reg. 296/97) and related OHS Guidelines to clarify employer requirements to protect workers from exposures to silica dust.  Changes to the regulation include the expansion of section on rock dust to include specific sections protecting workers from the risks of exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust. 

 

The attached two page sheet describes all of the relevant changes to the OHS Regulations and related Guidelines. 

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Canadian Government Proposed New Approach for Confidentiality Claims

Posted By Chris Greissing, Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada in an effort to promote a “high degree of public participation, openness and transparency in decision making" is proposing new limits on the ability for companies to claim confidentiality on information provided to the Government.

 

The attached document proposes an approach to achieve “an appropriate balance between transparency and industry's right to protect confidential information” in Environment Canada's process for assessing and managing the risks posed by new and existing substances.

 

The aim of the approach is to “minimize the scope, frequency and duration of claims of confidentiality for information related to substances.” The government expects this will help with publishing robust rationales for risk assessment decisions, as well as increasing transparency to Canadians with respect to substances in commerce in Canada, while protecting confidential information.

 

Comments may be made by June 30, 2017 to eccc.substances.eccc@canada.ca (e-mail).

 

IMA-NA will review the proposal in greater detail, and welcomes any feedback from our members.

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Effective Date for MSHA’s Final Rule on Examinations

Posted By Mark Ellis, Monday, May 22, 2017

On January 23, 2017, MSHA published a final rule in the Federal Register amending the Agency’s standards for the examination of working places in metal and nonmetal mines.  The final rule was scheduled to become effective on May 23, 2017.  MSHA is delaying the effective date of the final rule from May 23, 2017 to October 2, 2017.  This extension offers additional time for MSHA to provide stakeholders training and compliance assistance.  The extension notice was published in the Federal Register on Monday, May 22, 2017.

To view the final rule on examinations, click here. 

To view the extension notice, click here. 


Tags:  effective date  examinations of working places  final rule  MSHA 

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Friday MineFit TidBit - Plus a BONUS lower back exercise

Posted By Darrell Smith, Friday, May 19, 2017
Happy Friday! Today we will focus on: The Big Three Injury Free: Lower Back Pain Reduction

Read this study, then apply it where your workforce needs it the most.  

First, the TidBit: 
The study is relevant because of (1) the number of participants is high and (2) it has sound methodology. It outlines a top diagnostic tool to measure lower back pain, and it is a window into the best way to reduce back pain in patients between 45-55.

Methods: Lay on your back and try to lift your leg up into the air, keeping your leg locked, and do not let your spine pull away from the floor. How high do you get? This metric is directly correlated to the likelihood of experiencing lower back pain. The less height you get, the more vulnerable you are to pain. 

Second, the Move:
A leading cause of back pain is tight hips and thighs. Apply this exercise in your next health and safety training! It is a catch-all for lower back pain and injury reductions among your workforce.

Scissor stretch!
Stand up and cross your right leg in front of your left, keeping both legs stick straight. Then, jut your left hip out to your left as far as possible. You will probably feel a stretch on the outside of your left leg, and maybe even in the back of the leg. 

Switch legs and repeat the same action. Hold for 20 seconds, two times each side. The pictures below indicate an option to go overhead with your arm, or hold onto a wall. You can do it without either of these modifications, just free-standing during a training or warmup.  

Why do we do this? As you might recall, tight hips and hamstrings refer as lower back pain because the muscles pull on the lower spine, inducing stress and strain. 

So, take five minutes to cross your legs in a scissor position while standing. It will save you and your employees a trip to the doctor — and the distraction (and cost) of chronic lower back pain.

Your MineFit Head Coach,
Monica



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Intent to Renegotiate NAFTA Sent to Congress

Posted By Chris Greissing, Friday, May 19, 2017

On Thursday, newly confirmed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer sent a notification to Congressional Leadership informing them of the Administration’s intent to enter renegotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  This begins the 90 day window of consulting with Congress ahead of formal negotiations with Canada and Mexico on a new agreement.  

 

Trade Representative Lighthizer has indicated that the intent is to modernize the agreement by building on aspects that have worked, and revisit, change and improve aspects that have been negative for the U.S.  The letter stated that the Administration would focus on including provisions to address intellectual property rights, regulatory practices, state-owned enterprises, services, customs procedures, sanitary measures, labor and environment issues.

 

IMA-NA will be following this issue very closely in the coming months.  If there are particular issues or concerns your companies have, please let us know so we can be sure to track those issues and develop appropriate positions.  

 

The letter of Intent sent to Congressional Leadership is attached.  

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House Education and Workforce Committee Passes Career & Technical Education Bill

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, May 17, 2017

This morning, the House Education and Workforce Committee voted to pass the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (HR 2353) with unanimous bipartisan support. The bill reauthorizes and updates the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins Act), which provides federal support to state and local career and technical education programs. HR 2353 is nearly identical to legislation passed by the full House during the 114th Congress, HR 5587. During the Committee markup of the bill, both Republican and Democrat alike focused on the need to provide for educational resources to provide individuals opportunities outside the 4 year bacalaureat programs. Almost every Committee member cited the growing skills gap, the existence of high paying jobs in traditional industries, and greater individual choice as incentives to reauthorize and update the Perkins Act. Additionally, the Committee sees this legislation as a step forward in providing for programs built through stakeholder collaboration that are reactive to the needs of industry in the United States. HR 2353 will need to pass the full House before moving to the Senate, as of now a vote is expected some time in June.

As with years past, IMA-NA signed onto a letter supporting the reauthorization of the Perkins Act. The letter has a broad array of signatories that demonstrate the scope of this legislation.  The letter is attached below.

To read the opening statements click here

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Tags:  115th Congress  bipartisan  committee on education and workforce  Congress  education  legislation  perkins reauthorization 

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Friday MineFit Tidbit: Good News! You don't have to work out

Posted By Darrell Smith, Friday, May 5, 2017
We all like to watch professional athletes from the comfort of the couch. But, did you know that simply looking at exercise actually increases your heart rate and other physiological measures - just as if you were working out.  

The International Journal Frontiers in Autonomic Neuroscience recently reported that when people watch a 'first person' video of someone else running, heart rate, respiration and skin blood flow all increased.  

Researchers have shown that muscle sympathetic nerve activity (translation: calorie burn) increases when we simply watch physical activity.

Method: during the study, very fine needles were inserted into an outer nerve of volunteers to record the electrical signals of nerve fibers directed to blood vessels, providing a very sensitive measure of the body's physiological responses to physical or mental stress.

The participants watched a static image on a computer screen while the researchers monitored their muscle sympathetic nerve activity and other physiological parameters. There was no change when participants looked at a static image of a landscape. BUT, when shown a 22-minute video shot by a runner on a vigorous jog, sympathetic (active) nerve activity and sweat release increased.

The MOST INTERESTING fact about this is that the responses originated from the mind - not the body - and were in the absence of physical activity. 

END MESSAGE: Your body will get a "small workout” from simply watching others exercise.  

But don’t give up your gym membership just yet... It’s just ~20% benefit versus 100% doing it yourself.  

Have a good weekend!

Monica
 

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Presentations from the IMA-NA Workshop

Posted By Chris Greissing, Thursday, May 4, 2017

Last week, the IMA-NA held its annual Industrial Minerals Technology Workshop in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  We would like to thank Unimin Corporation for hosting our Mine Tour on Monday at their facility.  We then had 1 1/2 days of presentations on a number of key issues impacting the industrial minerals sector, including: challenges obtaining permitting; legal issues surrounding the use of drones at your facilities; presentations on optimizing your equipment to get the best returns on your investments; and presentations on a variety of safety and health topics.  We would like to thank all of our presenters for all of the great information they were able to provide us.  

All of the presentations can be found in a dropbox folder, here.  

A picture of the mine tour participants is attached.

 

 

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