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Department of Commerce: Connect to a world of opportunity in Latin America

Posted By Darrell Smith, Monday, May 2, 2016
The 2016 Trade Winds program offers U.S. companies the opportunity to explore seven markets in Latin America, September 6-13, 2016.

Hosted in Chile, Trade Winds will feature a Latin America business forum, consisting of regional and industry specific conference sessions as well as pre-arranged consultations with senior U.S. diplomats representing commercial markets from 22 Western Hemisphere countries.

Additional trade mission stops will give participants the opportunity to conduct customized business-to-business meetings with pre-screened firms in Mexico, Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile, Peru, Argentina and Uruguay. 

For additional information please contact Joshua Kaplan at Joshua.Kaplan@trade.gov   

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Monday Moves with MineFit: Super On-Site Stretch Series Week Seven: The Front to Back Safe Step

Posted By Darrell Smith, Monday, May 2, 2016

This is the FINAL week of the Super On-Site Stretch Series, brought to you by MineFit! This final week highlights the Front to Back Safe Step, which helps workers learn better control while stepping at various lengths and distances to decelerate and preserve feet and ankles. Additionally, it helps improve the muscles in the upper leg, encourages a light cardiovascular warmup to benefit circulation, and releases stiff hips from long periods of sitting.

Directions: Perform 8 on each leg, stepping both forwards and backwards on the same leg. Keep the standing leg in the same place, raising the heel up on the front step and keeping the foot flat on the back step. Keep the upper body from “wobbling” while you try to make each step a little bigger and longer. For an extra challenge, bend both knees more in each stride before returning to standing position.  






 

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MineFit Tidbit: When it Comes to the Body, Timing is Everything

Posted By Darrell Smith, Friday, April 29, 2016
Proper Timing for Meals and Rest can Deal-Make (or Break) Your Bodyweight and Your Work...

A recent meta-summary of “The Right Time To Do Everything” highlights several bodies of research to create a set of statistics to apply to the right time for all of your most important daily habits. 

Meals:
We are best served to eat the majority of our calories in the 8 most active hours of the day: in fact, research indicates as great as a 40% discrepancy between those who followed the daytime eating strategy versus an all-day eating pattern.

Sleep: 
We are designed to have our longer sleep during the night and a mini-rest during the early afternoon.  Studies show that the amount of sleep one gets is actually less important than ensuring straight REM cycles (3-3.5 hours per cycle) at night and a short rest period during the lunch break/early afternoon to sustain energy and cognitive focus in the later portion of the day.

Exercising:  
As a general rule of exercise, generally, later is better. To clarify: stretching amply in the morning does reduce joint problems and injury; but, for higher levels of activity, such as cardiovascular training or weights, the hours from 2pm-5pm are ideal. Furthermore, muscle strength peaks between 2pm-6pm. This has important implications within the industry: delegating heavier lifting tasks for this time of day might produce more work product and fewer injuries on site.  
 

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NISA Sends Letter on Final Silica Rule to House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, April 28, 2016

Last week the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a heading on the OSHA final rule on suitable occupational exposure levels to respirable crystalline silica. As expected, the hearing broke down along partisan lines with the majority Republicans questioning whether the final rule reflected functional public policy and the minority Democrats saying it was long overdue. Both the Members and the witnesses spoke to the need to protect workers from a potential, but preventable, occupational hazard; they just differed in approach.

As follow up to the hearing, NISA sent a letter to Chairman Tim Walberg and Ranking Member Frederica Wilson to be entered into the public record of the hearing.  The letter highlights NISA and IMA-NA's steadfast position that OSHA's rule should keep the current 100 micrograms PEL but create an action level of 50 micrograms which triggers further exposure monitoring and medical surveillance.  The "NISA Solution" has been our message from the start of the rulemaking process. Our members have had tremendous success from implementing the Silicosis Prevention Program (SPP) and we wanted to ensure NISA's voice was on the Congressional record as well as the rulemaking record.

Please see the attached letter and op-ed NISA submitted to the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.

Click here to watch the hearing.  

Download File (PDF)

 Attached Files:

Tags:  comments  hearing  House  NISA  nisa solution  silica  Subcommittee on Workforce Protections 

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Sand Facts - 162nd Anniversary of Hertha Marks Ayrton's Birth

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, April 28, 2016

Google is celebrating a scientist whose work included a focus on understanding sand's interaction with its environment. Today marks the 162nd anniversary of the birth of Hertha Marks Ayrton, a famous British inventor and scientist. Hertha Marks Ayrton is well known for her work on the origin of sand ripples. She explored how and why ripples form in the sand, what the relationship between sand and water is, why the ripples can take on a kind of uniformity, and how long ripples stay in a semi-permanent state.  Hertha read her paper, The Origin and Growth of Ripple Marks before the Royal Society in 1904; becoming the first woman to present her work herself before the Society.  Two years later she was awarded the Hughes Medal for her work on both the electrical arc and sand ripples.

Tags:  sand  sand fact  science 

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IMA-NA Joins Group Supporting Appropriations for USGS

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Monday, April 25, 2016
Last week, as a member of the Minerals Sciences and Information Coalition (MSIC) IMA-NA signed onto a letter of support for President Obama's budgetary request for the US Geological Survey (USGS). The Coalition submitted the letter to the Senate Committee on Appropriations on April 20th. In the letter, the signatory organizations applauded President Obama's request for $49 million for the USGS Mineral Resources Program (MRP) and requested an additional $5 million be added specifically for the development of minerals forecasting programs. As a member of MSIC, IMA-NA works to promote the important work of USGS in cataloging, researching, and mapping our geological resources.  Additionally, due to the criticality of stable mineral supply chains MSIC continues to push for an expansion of the current programs at USGS to include forecasting abilities. IMA-NA is pleased to work with our fellow Coalition members as a voice for minerals science in DC.

Tags:  appropriations  budget  coalition  comments  legislation  minerals science  msic 

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Monday Moves with MineFit: Super On-Site Stretch Series Week Six: The Heel Raise

Posted By Darrell Smith, Monday, April 25, 2016
MineFit has developed a basic set of seven stretching moves for employees to use on-site. In previous weeks, we introduced the Cross-Body Stretch, the Overhead-Reach, the Side-Bend, and the Single-Leg Stretch, and the Heel Raise. We have two important stretches remaining before the publication of a full guide to be used on-site as a post in the break room and for trainings and meetings.   

This week, the Knee to Chest stretches the back of the leg and the hip to “undo” the sitting position. It is useful because the hips hold tension; but, a lesser known fact is that their stiffness disables the abdominals from being able to engage. Doing the Knee to Chest allows the abdominal muscles to gain strength, which pays off in reducing back pain. This stretch can be done both as a static and an active stretch, and can be performed as a balance technique.

Perform one knee to chest stretch and hold for 20-40 seconds, breathing through the stretch. Then, to make it an active stretch, stand and bring the knee to chest repeatedly for an additional 12 total repetitions. Keep the standing leg straight and standing tall, don’t bend over excessively to grab the knee throughout the repetitions. Hold on for assistance, or use NO hands and try to keep your balance.
 

  

 

 

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IMA-NA and NISA Join Comments to Protect Oil and Gas Development

Posted By Darrell Smith, Monday, April 25, 2016
The National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Iron and Steel Institute, the Corn Refiners Association, the Fertilizer Institute, the Industrial Minerals Association - North America, the Natural Gas Supply Association, the National Industrial Sand Association, and SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association (collectively, “the Associations”) submit the following comments in response to the Department of the Interior (“DOI”), Bureau of Land Management’s (“BLM”) proposed rule on Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation for oil and gas production activities on onshore Federal and Indian leases (“Proposed Rule”). According to the BLM, the Proposed Rule would “require operators to limit waste of gas through flaring and venting, clarify the situations in which flared gas would be subject to royalties, conform the royalty terms applicable to competitive leases with the corresponding statutory language, and clarify the on-site uses of gas that are exempt from royalties” and “require operators to record and report information related to venting and flaring of gas.

There are abundant oil and natural gas resources in the United States and the Associations support policies that promote the leasing, exploration and development of the nation's oil and natural gas resources in a responsible manner, balancing environmental protection and economic impacts. Major advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies have made the extraction of shale gas and oil more cost-effective and technologically feasible. Development of these massive new deposits of oil and gas has greatly improved the current and future outlook for energy in the U.S. and has made the nation more energy secure.

The impacts of regulations like the Proposed Rule do not occur in a vacuum for the Associations’ members, but rather are felt collectively in the form of higher energy prices, greater challenges in obtaining necessary environmental permits and threats to international competitiveness from higher operating costs. Often, the negative impacts of overly burdensome regulations compound each other. For example, and in the context of the Proposed Rule, the burdens and additional costs potentially imposed may result in the curtailing of oil and gas production on Federal and Indian lands. Land under BLM management and regulation accounts for 11 percent of the Nation’s natural gas supply and five percent of its oil supply.

Keep reading...

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MineFit TidBit: As Weather Gets Warm, Are you Staying Thirsty?

Posted By Darrell Smith, Friday, April 22, 2016

…a Focus on Proper Hydration as Invaluable to Safety and Heath.

Did you know that your body is made up of at least 60% water? Losing even 1.5% — the tipping point for mild dehydration — causes dips in mood, energy levels, and cognitive function.   

Common causes of dehydration can be as innocuous as a sunny day with mild sweating throughout the day, a morning workout routine during the summer, and frequent high blood sugar levels (very often unrecognized by doctors - causes kidney stress).  

Other contributors can be medications, stress level, sleeping patterns, and dietary restrictions which cause excessive fluid loss or stress on the liver and kidneys.  

On the worksite, it is estimated that 60% of workers arrive at work in a state of dehydration. Just 1% dehydration has been found to decrease worker productivity by 12%, and 3% dehydration equates to a state of intoxication: decreasing reaction time and safe practices while operating heavy machinery.  

The solution? Be sure to drink 80 ounces of fluid (that’s almost 3 liters per day) even if you are not thirsty, because the thirst mechanism in the body is often unreliable. Water is not enough. Choose fluids with electrolytes (yes, Pedialyte is great) and those with B vitamins to encourage high rates of cognitive and muscular function.  

Cheers to a safe and hydrated summer.  

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Senate Passes Energy Policy Modernization Act

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, April 20, 2016

This morning the Senate passed Senator Murkowski's Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 (S. 2012) by a vote of 85-12.  The bill grew out of a bipartisan effort in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and addresses a wide array of energy issues including: energy efficiency standards, electric grid infrastructure, across the board energy development, and resource management funding. IMA-NA supported the bill, specifically Subtitle D. which was comprised entirely of Senator Murkowski's American Mineral Security Act of 2015 (S. 883).  Passage of S. 2012 is impressive for the scope of the issues addressed by the legislation but for the mining industry it is a step towards greater recognition of the important role minerals play in our economy and energy development.  Subtitle D. pushes for greater funding for USGS and their minerals sciences, specifically with the goal of mapping and forecasting our resources in the United States. The Senate vote this morning on a comprehensive energy bill is the first success since 2007 and the inclusion of minerals and minerals sciences is an important step forward. 

To read the bill click here. 

Tags:  energy  industrial minerals industry  legislation  minerals science  msic  Senate  USGS 

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