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Volume 102
May 1, 2012
Registration Begins for the 2012 Emergency Response Refresher Course
Agricenter Training Facility Construction
Stark Construction poured and finished the 20,080 square foot floor for the new Agricenter Training Facility in Bloomington, IL on Tuesday, April 24th. The new complex is on schedule to open August 20th.
Invitations to the 2012 refresher courses were mailed on April 13th and classes are already beginning to fill up. There will be 48 days of training provided at remote locations around the country this year for the one-day refresher course. Register today to ensure space is available for the class of your choice. Register online by clicking here.
Environmental Respect Award State & Regional Winners
The Environmental Respect Award (ERA) is the agricultural industry's highest recognition for environmental stewardship among U.S. retailers, those serving growers with agronomic information critical to effective crop production. A panel of industry experts gathers each year to recognize achievement in environmental stewardship, professional excellence and community involvement. Winners have been chosen based on evidence of excellence in site design, in-plant storage and handling procedures, emergency preparedness and response, proper application and leadership in safety and stewardship among customers and employees. We congratulate the following State winners for stepping up and showing their environmental respect. Members of the Asmark Institute are denoted in red.
Crop Production Services, Summerdale, Alabama
Helena Chemical Company, Bay, Arkansas
Crop Production Services, Coolidge, Arizona
Mid Valley Agricultural Services, Inc., Livingston, California
Wilbur-Ellis Company, Monte Vista, Colorado
Growmark FS, Milford, Delaware
Crop Production Services, Americus, Georgia
Crop Production Services, Kunia, Hawaii
JR Simplot Company, Caldwell, Idaho
Crop Production Services, Oakland, Illinois
Crop Production Services, Delphi, Indiana
Crop Production Services, Union, Iowa
Wilbur-Ellis Company, Leona, Kansas
Crop Production Services, Pocomoke City, Maryland
Andersons Litchfield Farm Center, Litchfield, Michigan
Crop Production Services, Harmony, Minnesota
Crop Production Services, Leland, Mississippi
Helena Chemical Company, Hayti, Missouri
Crop Production Services, McCook, Nebraska
Crop Production Services, Albemarle, North Carolina
Wilbur-Ellis Company, Grand Forks, North Dakota
Crop Production Services, Hatch, New Mexico
Crop Production Services, Greenville, Ohio
Bluestern Aerial Sprayers, Cushing, Oklahoma
Crop Production Services, Holtwood, Pennsylvania
Helena Chemical Company, Alamo, Tennessee
Crop Production Services, Uvalde, Texas
Wilbur-Ellis Company, Pasco, Washington
Each state winner will receive the distinctive ERA personalized crystal sculpture, a statewide press campaign geared toward select print and broadcast media and a public relations kit. The winning agribusinesses also competed for regional Environmental Respect Awards. Regional winners will receive a trophy during a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. The national award winner will also be announced at this time. We congratulate the following Regional winners just announced. Members of the Asmark Institute are denoted in red.
Crop Production Services, Wynne, Arkansas
Crop Production Services, Vernalis, California
Growmark FS, Milford, Delaware
Crop Production Services, Oakland, Illinois
South Dakota Wheat Growers, Chamberlain, South Dakota
Dr. Wolf Presents at the CropLife America/RISE 2012 Spring Conference
The latest in precision application technologies for crop protection products and specialty pesticides was the focus during the CLA/RISE 2012 Spring Conference held April 5th and 6th in Arlington, VA. Aaron Hobbs (RISE) and Jay Vroom (CropLife America) envisioned the Spring Conference as one of the only conferences focused on the precision application of pesticides. The vision resulted in a record turnout of members, allies, EPA and USDA colleagues who contributed to the success of the conference. The conference included three general sessions, 16 concurrent sessions and nearly 40 speakers. This year's conference featured a new series of workshop-style sessions on clarity of specialty pesticide label language; an exciting exhibit floor with companies displaying the best in precision application technologies; and "soapbox sessions" designed to provide ample opportunity to become involved in discussion and show-and-tell!
Keynote speaker Julie Borlaug, assistant director for partnerships at the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University, discussed the importance of research and "taking it to the farmer," as was recently advocated by her grandfather, Dr. Norman E. Borlaug; Julie continues to work with the new GreenSeeker technology used to improve field nutrient management. The second keynote speaker Phil Needham (Needham Ag Technologies) took the participants to the field, and described precision application of all ag inputs in modern agriculture.
CropLife America/RISE 2012 Spring Conference
Barb Glenn (CLA) and Bob Wolf (Asmark Institute and Wolf Consulting and Research).
A special web video features a discussion from Bob Wolf (Asmark Institute and Wolf Consulting and Research) about precision application. During the 2012 Spring Conference, Bob gave an on-site demonstration to provide attendees with a firsthand look at the technology and innovation that goes into precision application equipment for farmers. Click here to watch!
Labor Department Withdraws Proposed Child Farm Rules
After months of rural and ag industry outrage and mounting political pressure, the Labor Department announced late Thursday evening that it was dropping its plans to impose new safety rules that would have prevented children and young people from doing most activities on their family farms. Click here for the statement that was posted on the agency's website. Reaction from the agricultural community was quick and positive. The original proposal announced last fall ignited outrage and indignation among farm and rural families nationwide. The Department's proposal came, in part, as a reaction to the accidental death of two high school students last summer while working in a field on an Illinois farm.
Medical Examiners Required to Register by 2014
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) made waves late last week when it announced its Final Rule concerning the registration of Medical Examiners. Under the new rule, when a driver goes to a "medical examiner" (doctor) to get their driver medical certificate, they will no longer be able to simply go to any practitioner. Starting in 2014, drivers will only be able to go to a medical examiner that has undergone a FMCSA training course about trucking and the Federal regulations and who has been put on a "National Register of Certified Medical Examiners."
FMCSA says that it expects at least 40,000 doctors available before the launch, but industry figures are responding with skepticism. The Owner Operator Independent Driver's Association summed up the central criticism of the rule as, "Ultimately, the rule means fewer options for drivers, which will translate into higher costs and have other unintended consequences. If a family physician who normally was used for DOT physicals stops providing that service because of the new rule, a driver has to find a new one who will know nothing about his or her history."
Some doctor and chiropractor associations criticize the rule saying that it is unlikely that doctors will be willing to undergo the one-day training, let alone multiple times to maintain their certification. Critics also suggest that FMCSA is being optimistic in its notion that 40,000 medical examiners will offer full service to an industry with 3 million drivers and that is 3,000 miles wide. Seeing as you need a new certificate every other year, it would work out to be about 38 drivers per medical examiner. In all likelihood, this rule will likely drive the cost of visiting a medical examiner through the roof.
Industry Petition Successful on Tank Vehicle Definition
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's proposed definition on tank vehicles will be modified in line with industry recommendations, according to the industry coalition that has been working on the issue. The industry coalition seeking the change is led by the American Trucking Association (ATA), and includes a number of food and agriculture organizations including the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and the National Grain & Feed Association (NGFA). The agency's originally proposed definition, read: "Tank vehicle means any commercial motor vehicle that is designed to transport any liquid or gaseous materials within a tank or tanks having an individual rated capacity of more than 119 gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more, that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or the chassis. A commercial motor vehicle transporting an empty storage container tank, not designed for transportation, with a rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that is temporarily attached to a flatbed trailer is not considered a tank vehicle." The new definition - after FMCSA publishes its change for public comment - will be: "Tank vehicle means any commercial motor vehicle that is designed to transport any liquid or gaseous materials within a tank having an individual rated capacity of more than 1,000 gallons that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or the chassis; or tanks having an individual rated capacity of more than 119 gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that are permanently attached to the vehicle or the chassis. A commercial motor vehicle transporting portable tanks that are manifested as either empty or as residue on a bill of lading or transporting an empty storage container tank, not designed for transportation and with a rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more, that is temporarily attached to a flatbed trailer are not considered to be tank vehicles."
Grain Employer Sentenced for Asphyxiation Death
On March 16th, a Nebraska company pled guilty and was sentenced in federal court in Lincoln, Nebraska, for violations that resulted in the asphyxiation death of a worker at their grain-handling facility and elevator. OSHA found that the employer did not evaluate permit-required confined space conditions by testing the atmospheric conditions in the boot pit for oxygen and carbon dioxide levels prior to worker entry. In addition to OSHA's citations, the employer must pay a $100,000 fine and serve two years of probation, during which time the company will be required to comply with applicable OSHA regulations, comply with an administrative agreement and allow OSHA representatives to enter into premises and inspect them.
Kansas Grain Facility Cited After 6 Die, 2 Injured in Grain Elevator Explosion
A Kansas grain facility faces five willful and eight serious safety violations cited by OSHA following an October 2011 grain elevator explosion that killed six workers and left two others hospitalized.
The willful violations include allowing grain dust - which is nine times as explosive as coal dust - to accumulate, using compressed air to remove dust without first shutting down ignition sources, jogging (repeatedly starting and stopping) inside bucket elevators to free legs choked by grain, using electrical equipment inappropriate for the working environment and failing to require employees to use fall protection when working from heights. The citations carry $406,000 in proposed fines.
"The deaths of these six workers could have been prevented had the grain elevator's operators addressed hazards that are well known in this industry," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L Solis. "Their disregard for the law led to a catastrophic accident and heartbreaking tragedy for the workers who were injured or killed, their families and the agricultural community."
Demo of Dust Explosion
Click here to see a quick demo of the new Dust Explosion Chamber built for the new grain training courses to be offered by the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois and the Asmark Institute.
The serious violations involved a lack of proper preventive maintenance, certification and lubrication of grain handling equipment; inadequate emergency action plan training for employees and contractors; a lack of employee and contractor training on job hazards; and a housekeeping program that was deficient because it did not prevent grain dust accumulations.
Additionally, a contractor employed by the grain facility is being cited for one willful violation involving a lack of fall protection for employees working on the top of rail cars; one serious violation, the lack of a hazard communication program; and one other-than-serious violation, not providing basic advisory information about respirators to employees. These violations carry total proposed penalties of $67,500.
"OSHA standards save lives, but only if companies comply with them," said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. "This company has shown what happens when basic safety standards are ignored, and this agency simply will not tolerate needless loss of life."
Over the past 35 years, there have been more than 500 explosions in grain handling facilities across the United States that have killed more than 180 people and injured more than 675. Grain dust is the main source of fuel for explosions in grain handling. This dust is highly combustible and can burn or explode if enough becomes airborne or accumulates on a surface and finds an ignition source (such as hot bearing, overheated motor or misaligned conveyor belt, as well as heat or sparks from welding, cutting and brazing operations). OSHA standards require that both grain dust and ignition sources be controlled in grain elevators to prevent potentially deadly explosions.
More Changes Coming for CSA Program
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced numerous changes to the way motor carriers and their drivers will be scored in the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) enforcement program. Among the changes: Cargo-securement violations will be moved from the Cargo-Related BASIC to the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC, and the Cargo-Related BASIC will become the "HM BASIC"; Vehicle violations found during driver-only inspections will be removed from the scoring process, as will driver violations found during vehicle-only inspections; The terms "Insufficient Data" and "Inconclusive" will be replaced with fact-based descriptions such as "<5 inspections" or "no violations within 1 year." The FMCSA has also announced one anticipated change that will not be made at this time: determining whether crashes were preventable.
Oops!
DOT was left red faced recently as it accidentally published its plans for sleep apnea testing in the Federal Register. The agency initially published the recommendations along with a request for comments only to recall the notice claiming that it had to be put up because of a "clerical error." In a statement issued, DOT said: "FMCSA is withdrawing its proposed regulatory guidance for obstructive sleep apnea and request for comment as published in today's Federal Register. The agency is still in the process of carefully reviewing the recommendations submitted by the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and Medical Review Board. The initial publication was a clerical error. We anticipate requesting public comment on the recommendations later this year."
The accidental glimpse into the prematurely proposed rule provided a sneak peek as to what DOT may be planning for sleep apnea regulation. DOT would like to stagger certification for drivers with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or greater. Initially they will receive a 60-day certification and must undergo a sleep study. Then they will get a 90-day certification and, if there are no sleep apnea related issues, the driver will receive a one-year certification. Doctors will be able to cite a number of sleep apnea triggers to make a driver go through a sleep lab. These include male drivers and post-menopausal female drivers with a BMI of 28 and have been in a crash; Male drivers with a 17-inch neck or female drivers with a 15.5-inch neck; drivers older than 42; drivers with a family history of sleep apnea; and drivers with a small jaw.
All CDL Drivers Must Self-Certify by January 30, 2014...or Lose Their CDL Status
Effective January 30, 2012, new DOT regulations require all Commercial Driver License (CDL) holders to self-certify their expected type of commercial driving and/or submit the required Medical Examiner's Certificate to their state driver licensing agency PRIOR to the issuance of a CDL. This must be done whenever a driver applies for a CDL, renews a CDL, applies for a higher class of CDL, applies for a new endorsement on a CDL or transfers a CDL from another state. Most states have Self-Certification forms available online if you want to self-certify prior to your CDL renewal.
Arysta LifeScience Halts Sale of Methyl Iodide Fungicide
Arysta LifeScience announced the company will immediately halt sales of all formulations of the fumigant MIDAS, a pesticide containing methyl iodide, in the United States. According to Arysta LifeScience, the company made the decision following an internal review of the fumigant and based on its economic viability in the U.S. market. MIDAS is a broad-spectrum soil fumigant used on crops such as strawberries, tomatoes and peppers. MIDAS serves as an alternative to methyl bromide which is being phased out under the Montreal Protocol. Methyl iodide was approved for use by the U.S. EPA and in 48 states. Arysta LifeScience remains committed to growers through its many other products and will continue to support the use of methyl iodide outside of the U.S. where it remains economically viable.
DOT Proposes Administrative Updates & Clarifications
The Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on miscellaneous amendments to the hazardous materials regulations to update and clarify certain regulatory requirements. A few of the amendments that may affect those in our industry follows:
  • Revise the shipping paper requirements in Section 172.203(e) to permit the phrase "Residue last contained" to be placed before or after the basic shipping description sequence, or for rail shipments, directly preceding the proper shipping name in the basic shipping description sequence.
  • Update the training recordkeeping requirements in Section 172.704 to specify that a hazardous materials (hazmat) employer must make hazmat employee training records available upon request, at a reasonable time and location, to an authorized official of the Department of Transportation or the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Revise Section 178.2(c) to clarify the applicability of the notification requirements for packages containing residues.
Click here for the complete list of amendments in the April 26th Federal Register.
Bloodborne Pathogens Standard Amended
OSHA is making a technical amendment to its Bloodborne Pathogens Standard by moving the rule's paragraph on Sharps injury log requirements from paragraph (i), entitled "Dates," to paragraph (h), entitled "Recordkeeping." The effective date for the corrections and technical amendment to the standard was April 3, 2012.
On January 18, 2001, OSHA revised the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard at 29 CFR 1910.1030 to include requirements of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act. These revisions included adding a fifth subparagraph, entitled "Sharps injury log," to paragraph (h) of the standard. However, in the July 1, 2001 publication of the CFR, subparagraph (5) was under paragraph (i) ("Dates"). These corrections and technical amendment relocate subparagraph (5) under paragraph (h) ("Recordkeeping").
EPA Says 'No' to NRDC 2,4-D Petition
A 2008 petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) seeking to ban the use of 2,4-D was rejected this week by EPA, which said the environmental group failed to show use of the chemical was harmful under its approved conditions of use. The agency said the NRDC petition "at best...is asking EPA to take a revised look at the toxicity of 2,4-D." The NRDC petition asked for revocation of 2,4-D's approval along with the allowable residue levels in food. EPA acknowledged some studies suggest toxicity at high exposure levels, but these studies are contradicted by other work. The agency said it has reviewed 2,4-D several times for safety, particularly allegations of increased cancer risk from exposure. The chemical is widely used by farmers and in lawn-care products, and was first approved back in the 1940s, the agency said. Approved versions are used in the U.S., Australia and in Argentina.
2012 Asmark Institute, Inc. This information is believed to be reliable by the Asmark Institute, however, because of constantly changing government regulations, interpretations and applicability or the possibility of human, mechanical or computer error, the Asmark Institute does not guarantee the information as suitable for any particular purpose.
Registration Begins for the 2012 Emergency Response Refresher Course
Agricenter Training Facility Construction
Stark Construction poured and finished the 20,080 square foot floor for the new Agricenter Training Facility in Bloomington, IL on Tuesday, April 24th. The new complex is on schedule to open August 20th.
Invitations to the 2012 refresher courses were mailed on April 13th and classes are already beginning to fill up. There will be 48 days of training provided at remote locations around the country this year for the one-day refresher course. Register today to ensure space is available for the class of your choice. Register online by clicking here.
Environmental Respect Award State & Regional Winners
The Environmental Respect Award (ERA) is the agricultural industry's highest recognition for environmental stewardship among U.S. retailers, those serving growers with agronomic information critical to effective crop production. A panel of industry experts gathers each year to recognize achievement in environmental stewardship, professional excellence and community involvement. Winners have been chosen based on evidence of excellence in site design, in-plant storage and handling procedures, emergency preparedness and response, proper application and leadership in safety and stewardship among customers and employees. We congratulate the following State winners for stepping up and showing their environmental respect. Members of the Asmark Institute are denoted in red.
Crop Production Services, Summerdale, Alabama
Helena Chemical Company, Bay, Arkansas
Crop Production Services, Coolidge, Arizona
Mid Valley Agricultural Services, Inc., Livingston, California
Wilbur-Ellis Company, Monte Vista, Colorado
Growmark FS, Milford, Delaware
Crop Production Services, Americus, Georgia
Crop Production Services, Kunia, Hawaii
JR Simplot Company, Caldwell, Idaho
Crop Production Services, Oakland, Illinois
Crop Production Services, Delphi, Indiana
Crop Production Services, Union, Iowa
Wilbur-Ellis Company, Leona, Kansas
Crop Production Services, Pocomoke City, Maryland
Andersons Litchfield Farm Center, Litchfield, Michigan
Crop Production Services, Harmony, Minnesota
Crop Production Services, Leland, Mississippi
Helena Chemical Company, Hayti, Missouri
Crop Production Services, McCook, Nebraska
Crop Production Services, Albemarle, North Carolina
Wilbur-Ellis Company, Grand Forks, North Dakota
Crop Production Services, Hatch, New Mexico
Crop Production Services, Greenville, Ohio
Bluestern Aerial Sprayers, Cushing, Oklahoma
Crop Production Services, Holtwood, Pennsylvania
Helena Chemical Company, Alamo, Tennessee
Crop Production Services, Uvalde, Texas
Wilbur-Ellis Company, Pasco, Washington
Each state winner will receive the distinctive ERA personalized crystal sculpture, a statewide press campaign geared toward select print and broadcast media and a public relations kit. The winning agribusinesses also competed for regional Environmental Respect Awards. Regional winners will receive a trophy during a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. The national award winner will also be announced at this time. We congratulate the following Regional winners just announced. Members of the Asmark Institute are denoted in red.
Crop Production Services, Wynne, Arkansas
Crop Production Services, Vernalis, California
Growmark FS, Milford, Delaware
Crop Production Services, Oakland, Illinois
South Dakota Wheat Growers, Chamberlain, South Dakota
Dr. Wolf Presents at the CropLife America/RISE 2012 Spring Conference
The latest in precision application technologies for crop protection products and specialty pesticides was the focus during the CLA/RISE 2012 Spring Conference held April 5th and 6th in Arlington, VA. Aaron Hobbs (RISE) and Jay Vroom (CropLife America) envisioned the Spring Conference as one of the only conferences focused on the precision application of pesticides. The vision resulted in a record turnout of members, allies, EPA and USDA colleagues who contributed to the success of the conference. The conference included three general sessions, 16 concurrent sessions and nearly 40 speakers. This year's conference featured a new series of workshop-style sessions on clarity of specialty pesticide label language; an exciting exhibit floor with companies displaying the best in precision application technologies; and "soapbox sessions" designed to provide ample opportunity to become involved in discussion and show-and-tell!
Keynote speaker Julie Borlaug, assistant director for partnerships at the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University, discussed the importance of research and "taking it to the farmer," as was recently advocated by her grandfather, Dr. Norman E. Borlaug; Julie continues to work with the new GreenSeeker technology used to improve field nutrient management. The second keynote speaker Phil Needham (Needham Ag Technologies) took the participants to the field, and described precision application of all ag inputs in modern agriculture.
CropLife America/RISE 2012 Spring Conference
Barb Glenn (CLA) and Bob Wolf (Asmark Institute and Wolf Consulting and Research).
A special web video features a discussion from Bob Wolf (Asmark Institute and Wolf Consulting and Research) about precision application. During the 2012 Spring Conference, Bob gave an on-site demonstration to provide attendees with a firsthand look at the technology and innovation that goes into precision application equipment for farmers. Click here to watch!
Labor Department Withdraws Proposed Child Farm Rules
After months of rural and ag industry outrage and mounting political pressure, the Labor Department announced late Thursday evening that it was dropping its plans to impose new safety rules that would have prevented children and young people from doing most activities on their family farms. Click here for the statement that was posted on the agency's website. Reaction from the agricultural community was quick and positive. The original proposal announced last fall ignited outrage and indignation among farm and rural families nationwide. The Department's proposal came, in part, as a reaction to the accidental death of two high school students last summer while working in a field on an Illinois farm.
Medical Examiners Required to Register by 2014
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) made waves late last week when it announced its Final Rule concerning the registration of Medical Examiners. Under the new rule, when a driver goes to a "medical examiner" (doctor) to get their driver medical certificate, they will no longer be able to simply go to any practitioner. Starting in 2014, drivers will only be able to go to a medical examiner that has undergone a FMCSA training course about trucking and the Federal regulations and who has been put on a "National Register of Certified Medical Examiners."
FMCSA says that it expects at least 40,000 doctors available before the launch, but industry figures are responding with skepticism. The Owner Operator Independent Driver's Association summed up the central criticism of the rule as, "Ultimately, the rule means fewer options for drivers, which will translate into higher costs and have other unintended consequences. If a family physician who normally was used for DOT physicals stops providing that service because of the new rule, a driver has to find a new one who will know nothing about his or her history."
Some doctor and chiropractor associations criticize the rule saying that it is unlikely that doctors will be willing to undergo the one-day training, let alone multiple times to maintain their certification. Critics also suggest that FMCSA is being optimistic in its notion that 40,000 medical examiners will offer full service to an industry with 3 million drivers and that is 3,000 miles wide. Seeing as you need a new certificate every other year, it would work out to be about 38 drivers per medical examiner. In all likelihood, this rule will likely drive the cost of visiting a medical examiner through the roof.
Industry Petition Successful on Tank Vehicle Definition
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's proposed definition on tank vehicles will be modified in line with industry recommendations, according to the industry coalition that has been working on the issue. The industry coalition seeking the change is led by the American Trucking Association (ATA), and includes a number of food and agriculture organizations including the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and the National Grain & Feed Association (NGFA). The agency's originally proposed definition, read: "Tank vehicle means any commercial motor vehicle that is designed to transport any liquid or gaseous materials within a tank or tanks having an individual rated capacity of more than 119 gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more, that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or the chassis. A commercial motor vehicle transporting an empty storage container tank, not designed for transportation, with a rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that is temporarily attached to a flatbed trailer is not considered a tank vehicle." The new definition - after FMCSA publishes its change for public comment - will be: "Tank vehicle means any commercial motor vehicle that is designed to transport any liquid or gaseous materials within a tank having an individual rated capacity of more than 1,000 gallons that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or the chassis; or tanks having an individual rated capacity of more than 119 gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that are permanently attached to the vehicle or the chassis. A commercial motor vehicle transporting portable tanks that are manifested as either empty or as residue on a bill of lading or transporting an empty storage container tank, not designed for transportation and with a rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more, that is temporarily attached to a flatbed trailer are not considered to be tank vehicles."
Grain Employer Sentenced for Asphyxiation Death
On March 16th, a Nebraska company pled guilty and was sentenced in federal court in Lincoln, Nebraska, for violations that resulted in the asphyxiation death of a worker at their grain-handling facility and elevator. OSHA found that the employer did not evaluate permit-required confined space conditions by testing the atmospheric conditions in the boot pit for oxygen and carbon dioxide levels prior to worker entry. In addition to OSHA's citations, the employer must pay a $100,000 fine and serve two years of probation, during which time the company will be required to comply with applicable OSHA regulations, comply with an administrative agreement and allow OSHA representatives to enter into premises and inspect them.
Kansas Grain Facility Cited After 6 Die, 2 Injured in Grain Elevator Explosion
A Kansas grain facility faces five willful and eight serious safety violations cited by OSHA following an October 2011 grain elevator explosion that killed six workers and left two others hospitalized.
The willful violations include allowing grain dust - which is nine times as explosive as coal dust - to accumulate, using compressed air to remove dust without first shutting down ignition sources, jogging (repeatedly starting and stopping) inside bucket elevators to free legs choked by grain, using electrical equipment inappropriate for the working environment and failing to require employees to use fall protection when working from heights. The citations carry $406,000 in proposed fines.
"The deaths of these six workers could have been prevented had the grain elevator's operators addressed hazards that are well known in this industry," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L Solis. "Their disregard for the law led to a catastrophic accident and heartbreaking tragedy for the workers who were injured or killed, their families and the agricultural community."
Demo of Dust Explosion
Click here to see a quick demo of the new Dust Explosion Chamber built for the new grain training courses to be offered by the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois and the Asmark Institute.
The serious violations involved a lack of proper preventive maintenance, certification and lubrication of grain handling equipment; inadequate emergency action plan training for employees and contractors; a lack of employee and contractor training on job hazards; and a housekeeping program that was deficient because it did not prevent grain dust accumulations.
Additionally, a contractor employed by the grain facility is being cited for one willful violation involving a lack of fall protection for employees working on the top of rail cars; one serious violation, the lack of a hazard communication program; and one other-than-serious violation, not providing basic advisory information about respirators to employees. These violations carry total proposed penalties of $67,500.
"OSHA standards save lives, but only if companies comply with them," said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. "This company has shown what happens when basic safety standards are ignored, and this agency simply will not tolerate needless loss of life."
Over the past 35 years, there have been more than 500 explosions in grain handling facilities across the United States that have killed more than 180 people and injured more than 675. Grain dust is the main source of fuel for explosions in grain handling. This dust is highly combustible and can burn or explode if enough becomes airborne or accumulates on a surface and finds an ignition source (such as hot bearing, overheated motor or misaligned conveyor belt, as well as heat or sparks from welding, cutting and brazing operations). OSHA standards require that both grain dust and ignition sources be controlled in grain elevators to prevent potentially deadly explosions.
More Changes Coming for CSA Program
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced numerous changes to the way motor carriers and their drivers will be scored in the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) enforcement program. Among the changes: Cargo-securement violations will be moved from the Cargo-Related BASIC to the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC, and the Cargo-Related BASIC will become the "HM BASIC"; Vehicle violations found during driver-only inspections will be removed from the scoring process, as will driver violations found during vehicle-only inspections; The terms "Insufficient Data" and "Inconclusive" will be replaced with fact-based descriptions such as "<5 inspections" or "no violations within 1 year." The FMCSA has also announced one anticipated change that will not be made at this time: determining whether crashes were preventable.
Oops!
DOT was left red faced recently as it accidentally published its plans for sleep apnea testing in the Federal Register. The agency initially published the recommendations along with a request for comments only to recall the notice claiming that it had to be put up because of a "clerical error." In a statement issued, DOT said: "FMCSA is withdrawing its proposed regulatory guidance for obstructive sleep apnea and request for comment as published in today's Federal Register. The agency is still in the process of carefully reviewing the recommendations submitted by the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and Medical Review Board. The initial publication was a clerical error. We anticipate requesting public comment on the recommendations later this year."
The accidental glimpse into the prematurely proposed rule provided a sneak peek as to what DOT may be planning for sleep apnea regulation. DOT would like to stagger certification for drivers with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or greater. Initially they will receive a 60-day certification and must undergo a sleep study. Then they will get a 90-day certification and, if there are no sleep apnea related issues, the driver will receive a one-year certification. Doctors will be able to cite a number of sleep apnea triggers to make a driver go through a sleep lab. These include male drivers and post-menopausal female drivers with a BMI of 28 and have been in a crash; Male drivers with a 17-inch neck or female drivers with a 15.5-inch neck; drivers older than 42; drivers with a family history of sleep apnea; and drivers with a small jaw.
All CDL Drivers Must Self-Certify by January 30, 2014...or Lose Their CDL Status
Effective January 30, 2012, new DOT regulations require all Commercial Driver License (CDL) holders to self-certify their expected type of commercial driving and/or submit the required Medical Examiner's Certificate to their state driver licensing agency PRIOR to the issuance of a CDL. This must be done whenever a driver applies for a CDL, renews a CDL, applies for a higher class of CDL, applies for a new endorsement on a CDL or transfers a CDL from another state. Most states have Self-Certification forms available online if you want to self-certify prior to your CDL renewal.
Arysta LifeScience Halts Sale of Methyl Iodide Fungicide
Arysta LifeScience announced the company will immediately halt sales of all formulations of the fumigant MIDAS, a pesticide containing methyl iodide, in the United States. According to Arysta LifeScience, the company made the decision following an internal review of the fumigant and based on its economic viability in the U.S. market. MIDAS is a broad-spectrum soil fumigant used on crops such as strawberries, tomatoes and peppers. MIDAS serves as an alternative to methyl bromide which is being phased out under the Montreal Protocol. Methyl iodide was approved for use by the U.S. EPA and in 48 states. Arysta LifeScience remains committed to growers through its many other products and will continue to support the use of methyl iodide outside of the U.S. where it remains economically viable.
DOT Proposes Administrative Updates & Clarifications
The Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on miscellaneous amendments to the hazardous materials regulations to update and clarify certain regulatory requirements. A few of the amendments that may affect those in our industry follows:
  • Revise the shipping paper requirements in Section 172.203(e) to permit the phrase "Residue last contained" to be placed before or after the basic shipping description sequence, or for rail shipments, directly preceding the proper shipping name in the basic shipping description sequence.
  • Update the training recordkeeping requirements in Section 172.704 to specify that a hazardous materials (hazmat) employer must make hazmat employee training records available upon request, at a reasonable time and location, to an authorized official of the Department of Transportation or the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Revise Section 178.2(c) to clarify the applicability of the notification requirements for packages containing residues.
Click here for the complete list of amendments in the April 26th Federal Register.
Bloodborne Pathogens Standard Amended
OSHA is making a technical amendment to its Bloodborne Pathogens Standard by moving the rule's paragraph on Sharps injury log requirements from paragraph (i), entitled "Dates," to paragraph (h), entitled "Recordkeeping." The effective date for the corrections and technical amendment to the standard was April 3, 2012.
On January 18, 2001, OSHA revised the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard at 29 CFR 1910.1030 to include requirements of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act. These revisions included adding a fifth subparagraph, entitled "Sharps injury log," to paragraph (h) of the standard. However, in the July 1, 2001 publication of the CFR, subparagraph (5) was under paragraph (i) ("Dates"). These corrections and technical amendment relocate subparagraph (5) under paragraph (h) ("Recordkeeping").
EPA Says 'No' to NRDC 2,4-D Petition
A 2008 petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) seeking to ban the use of 2,4-D was rejected this week by EPA, which said the environmental group failed to show use of the chemical was harmful under its approved conditions of use. The agency said the NRDC petition "at best...is asking EPA to take a revised look at the toxicity of 2,4-D." The NRDC petition asked for revocation of 2,4-D's approval along with the allowable residue levels in food. EPA acknowledged some studies suggest toxicity at high exposure levels, but these studies are contradicted by other work. The agency said it has reviewed 2,4-D several times for safety, particularly allegations of increased cancer risk from exposure. The chemical is widely used by farmers and in lawn-care products, and was first approved back in the 1940s, the agency said. Approved versions are used in the U.S., Australia and in Argentina.
2012 Asmark Institute, Inc. This information is believed to be reliable by the Asmark Institute, however, because of constantly changing government regulations, interpretations and applicability or the possibility of human, mechanical or computer error, the Asmark Institute does not guarantee the information as suitable for any particular purpose.