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Request Congress to Extend OSHA Protections to School Bus Operations and School Buses.

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There is a loop hole in federal regulations that does not protect school buses and school bus drivers from OSHA type violations. This is clearly contrary to congressional intent. The purpose that Congress expressed in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (Public Law 91-956) is ?to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources? to ?assure ? that no worker will suffer diminished health, functional capacity, or life expectancy as a result of his work experience.?

This also exposes over 23 million schoolchildren to the same occupational environment as school bus drivers. This lack of protection is clearly unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious. All workers need the same protections. A school bus is a job site and is the working environment for a school bus driver. Now is the time to start protecting your school bus driver and your children.

Occupational illnesses, injuries, and reduced productivity are caused by the working environment on a school bus. Heat stress, fumes from exhaust or diesel fuel, fuel and grease tracked onto the buses by mechanics, sick students coughing and sneezing in a closed bus, body fluids such as vomit and urine, are a few examples of the possible problems on a school bus. Bus companies need to be required to clean these contaminants out of their school buses daily.

The environmental factors of heat stress are air temperature and movement, water vapor pressure (humidity) and radiant heat. Workers at greater risk of heat stress include those who are older, are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or take medications that may be affected by extreme heat.

School Bus Drivers are generally older and are not well-suited for heat stress environments. Most school buses do not have air conditioning; do not have adequate air movement and bus companies fail to provide drinking water on the bus; or an opportunity for the driver (or passengers/schoolchildren) to cool down. A full size bus has at least 32 windows that promote a greenhouse effect and the buses themselves are large metal boxes that get very hot and radiate heat back into the bus (like an oven). The following symptoms have occurred from heat stress on a school bus: excessive sweating and dehydration; dizziness; lightheadedness; fatigue; weakness; irritability; and being sick and vomiting.

OSHA does not have specific regulations to deal with heat-induced occupational illnesses, injuries, and reduced productivity. These need to be added beyond the OSHA ?general duty clause?. See also, Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Hot Environments, http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/86-113.html

For the reasons herein, we urge the President and Congress to extend OSHA protections to school buses and school bus drivers; to add specific OSHA regulations for heat-induced occupational illnesses, injuries, and reduced productivity for all workers; to require bus companies to clean all contaminants from their school buses daily; and that air conditioning should be required on all school buses.

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Public Comments (1,055)
9 hours ago
Marilyn P. from Glen Saint Mary, FL writes:
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I drive a bus in the Florida heat daily! We need air conditioning in a state where the temps go into the triple digit numbers and the windows down give no relief from the heat. You stop and the air stops moving thru the bus....Is it going to take the death of a child to make air conditioned buses mandatory?
Mar 31st, 2017
Marcos T. from Las Cruces, NM writes:
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I drive a school bus and last year we had temperatures as high as 117 inside non-air conditioned school buses that some students were in for over 2 hours. The driver over three hours. Do we need to wait for an accident due to a driver having heat stroke?
Dec 12th, 2016
Someone from Woodstock, GA writes:
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Unless you have driven a school bus with no air in 100° weather you have no clue.. I put a thermometer on my bus it was 130° on my bus with the windows down. All adults that don't agree with mandatory AC should be made to drive a bus in the summer.
Oct 18th, 2016
Someone from Alton, IL writes:
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I think all buses in Illinois Should have AC it is ridculously hot and I know it can cost up to $14.000 to outfit a School Bus to have AC, I know that can cost a lot BUT, I think if companies, the government don't want to get sued for the driver and there kids for getting heat induced illiness. And kids will not be sick when it is hot out! And I agree with other signers, ALL BUSES SHOULD HAVE AC! I get it can cost anywhere from a $1,000 to 14,000 to outfit a bus to have AC.
Oct 18th, 2016
Kathleen S. from Laurel, DE writes:
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my concern is a 70 year old driving a school bus that is insulin dependent,how is this right,kids are at risk and any other driver on the road if this driver has any episode from the diabetes!
Oct 14th, 2016
Athena A. from Jacksonville, FL writes:
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They should definitely start with the states that are closer to the equator I personally live in Duval County which is the largest city in the United States. There are 900+ buses the move about the city on a daily basis. Because there is a magnet system within the school previously designed to promote desegregation buses tend to be on the road anywhere from a few minutes to an hour and some an hour and a half. It is illegal to leave a child in a hot car it should be illegal for these buses to stop and wait 20 minutes at a time after leaving one school to transfer kids to bus that hasn't arrived fromanother school before going home. They call this a hub. Exhaustion, fatigue and extreme sweating are regular conditions of the children on these buses. We are also a city that has multiple train tracks running throughout and when I train stops a bus that extends the time I had a bus show up outside of my child care facility and the children on the bus were crying in drenched in sweat I ran to the store next-door and ask the bus driver to wait so that I could purchase them bottles of water and figure that a child would die before reaching your destination which was another 25 to 30 minutes after our you have been on the bus for an hour and a half due to being stopped by a train. The only bus is at this time required to have air condition are the exceptional student education bus is more children ride based on their educational plan. A parent shouldn't have to choose between a comfortable ride home for the children and a quality education, meaning the neighborhood school that may be failing year after year or a school in another neighborhood that the families have w higher socioeconomic status.. Duvall County is one of the top 10 largest school districts in the United States as well as its home one of the top 10 high schools in the United States. The population is increasing which mean the traffic is increasing therefore school buses are necessary. Buses are a safe measure of transportation when it comes to accidents and they also helps reduce the amount of vehicles on the road each day but there has got to be some form of reprieve for these children who sit on the bus such as mine for an hour each day in sweltering temperatures for more than the nations average summer season. This is nothing more than a criminal offense being hidden by bad budgeting. I can't figure out why the federal government and states still prints things and color color- ink cost a lot of money. It would be better to print things in black-and-white to have air-conditioned buses. What is the disciplinary action for a bus driver that tells the children they can't with the windows down to get a breeze because they don't have the energy to walk the bus after their shift and put the Windows back up. With 1 million traffic lights throughout the city, as it's not a very rule place, so there's a lot of stop and go versus a continuous ride to allow air to flow through the bus. Sure the driver is equipped with a nice large window that they can open up near their seat and a little blowing fan. What about the large rainey season, then they riders have to choose being soaking wet and ruining their school materials or being hot. Sure the rain helps reduce the temperature but it's not drastic. Someone needs to be held accountable for these "near death" situations and it shouldn't take the death of a child to fix the problem. I'm sure that they will have the coroner attribute the loss of life to previously existing conditions. I dedicate my days and nights to the to the profession of early childhood education. Five different buses stop at one of my childcare centers on the westside of Jacksonville and I can see the difference in the children that have been on a bus for an extended amount of time and what their temperament and productivity is when it comes to completing their homework. There are even those are that have to be woke up on a daily basis after being on the bus for over an hour and the poor children always seem to need a new shirt because theirs is soaking wet. They are thirsty beyond belief, some of them haven't even had an opportunity to use the bathroom before leaving school. With such strict classroom rules with the teacher not considerate of their transportation home. What about the children that eat lunch as early as 10:30 AM and the teachers don't provide a snack time and they arentallowed to eat on the bus and then they are not reaching their destination until five 5:30 PM. Visualize this hungry and thirsty child coming off of bus with temperatures over 100° It's only a matter of time before something happens to someone as precious child that cannot be replaced with any monetary value. In the Bora bus driver who typically have a decent hourly wage compared to what the minimum is but not only are they on the route of one child there are three levels of school and most drivers have multiple routes in the afternoon. Heat exhaustion cause an accident in the lives of many. We all know that still many children around the world don't even have access to an education or walk thru treturous conditions to get to a school that has dirt floors and a make shift roof, but this is America. In the Philippines a person can sell ice cubes to make money- why? Because not everyone in the neighborhood has a refrigerator. Here in America you lose you kids to the system when you don't have electricity and running water or a mattress for a child to sleep. Well, 3 hours of transportation on a bus 120 days out of a year is a lot of a holds life spent in the hands of someone who hasn't been considered neglectful during the summer months, mean while parents are being carted off to jail or stripped of their parental rights for the same level of offenses. Justice is manufacturing and installing systems to existing buses and maintaining the operation of them once installed and previously existing ones as well. Look at the jobs this movement would create.
Sep 23rd, 2016
Someone from Lexington, KY signed.
Sep 23rd, 2016
Someone from Arlington, TN signed.
Sep 21st, 2016
Someone from Dunbar, PA writes:
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I drive charter trips all the time. Using a school bus. So I do a lot of sports football , soccer, baseball , track etc. The kids have no way to cool down when hot and humid like it is today.Even myself I have to stay until the games are done. Which in return the bus sits out in the hot sun. All bases should be required to have air conditioning!!!
Sep 21st, 2016
Someone from Pinehurst, TX signed.