Steel Mills

Cliffs’ Drivers Granted Exemption to Hours of Service Rules

Written by Laura Miller

Truck drivers transporting scrap metal at Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.’s Indiana Harbor Works in East Chicago, Ind., have been granted an exemption from the maximum hours of service set forth in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) granted the exemption, according to a Federal Register filing, which will allow Cliffs’ drivers transporting scrap metal on two trucks between production and shipping locations to work up to 16 hours per day and to return to work with less than the mandatory 10 consecutive hours off duty.

Cliffs said the exemption is necessary, as current restrictions create problems between the schedules of employee-drivers working eight-hour shifts and employees in production and shipping typically working 12-hours shifts. The four-hour gap creates an overrun of scrap metal for disposal and/or recycling, according to the steelmaker.

Despite five public comments from individuals arguing the exemption is not a good idea due to safety concerns, the FMSCA granted the exemption after a comprehensive investigation. The agency said Cliffs’ “overall safety performance…will enable it to achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption.”

Cliffs has assured the FMSCA that its workers will not work more than 16 hours per shift, will receive eight hours off duty between shifts, and will not be allowed to drive more than 10% of their total workday.

This exemption, which will be in effect until May 11, 2027, is similar to another already granted to Cliffs’ drivers transporting steel coils.

By Laura Miller,

Laura Miller

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