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MSHA Announces POV Proposed Rule

MSHA announces a proposed rule to revise its pattern of violations regulation in 30 Code of Federal Regulations Part 104.  In September 2010, MSHA announced new screening criteria for the POV program, giving the agency an additional enforcement tool to use at mines with a history of violating safety and health standards.

"As I've said many times before, the current POV system is broken, and this regulation is the next critical step in reforming the enforcement program under the existing statute," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "It would require mine operators to be much more proactive in monitoring their compliance performance and would eliminate two provisions in the existing regulation: the potential POV procedure and the requirement regarding final orders. Congress enacted this law 33 years ago, and not one mine has ever been placed on a POV."

Read more: MSHA Announces POV Proposed Rule

Highway Construction Posts Gains in 2010

New construction starts in December climbed 19 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $450.2 billion, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Nonresidential building rebounded after a weak November, and nonbuilding construction was lifted by the start of several large electric utility projects. Gains were registered by highway construction, which rose 7 percent. Meanwhile, residential building in December showed slight growth, continuing the gradual upward trend of recent months.

For 2010 as a whole, total construction starts dropped 2 percent to $412.5 billion, a less severe decline than the 24 percent plunge for 2009. Highway construction (the largest public works category) was still able to post a 3 percent gain for the year as a whole.

Read more: Highway Construction Posts Gains in 2010

Knife River Marks Safety Milestone

Knife River Corp. employees continued their strong safety commitment, marking another year of reduced injury and illness rates. In the past 11 years, Knife River has reduced its injury and illness rates by 83 percent.

In 2010, Knife River’s overall recordable-incident rate was 2.19, down 19 percent from 2009 and 50 percent lower than the national industry average. The lost-time-accident rate for 2010 was 0.41, which is 14 percent lower than 2009 and 75 percent below industry average.

Read more: Knife River Marks Safety Milestone

Cat Sales up 31 percent in 2010

Caterpillar Inc.  announced sales and revenues of $42.588 billion for 2010, an increase of 31 percent from $32.396 billion in 2009.  Profit in 2010 was $2.700 billion, an increase of 202 percent from 2009 profit of $895 million.  Profit per share of $4.15 was up from $1.43 in 2009.  Excluding redundancy costs, profit per share in 2009 was $2.18.

Fourth-quarter sales and revenues were $12.807 billion, an increase of 62 percent compared with $7.898 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009.  Fourth-quarter profit of $968 million was 317 percent higher than profit of $232 million in the fourth quarter of 2009.  Profit per share of $1.47 was up from $0.36 per share in the fourth quarter of 2009.   Excluding redundancy costs, profit for the fourth quarter of 2009 was $0.41 per share.

Read more: Cat Sales up 31 percent in 2010

Vulcan Materials Receives International Habitat Conservation Award

Employees at Vulcan Materials Co.’s Stafford Quarry received international recognition for their contributions to wildlife habitat conservation at the Wildlife Habitat Council’s (WHC) 22nd Annual Symposium, The Business of Biodiversity. Vulcan demonstrated its commitment to environmental stewardship and increasing native biodiversity by achieving Wildlife at Work recertification at the Stafford Quarry.

“The Wildlife Habitat Council believes that collaboration among all stakeholder groups is critical to addressing the complex issues facing the sustainability of the planet,” said Robert Johnson, WHC president. “WHC members take a leading role in connecting community stakeholders through wildlife habitat enhancement, community outreach and conservation education. Congratulations to Vulcan for their commitment to a healthy natural world and connected communities.”

Read more: Vulcan Materials Receives International Habitat Conservation Award