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

Over 23 million students nationwide begin and end their day with a trip on the school bus.

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,

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.