International Clients
Australia
Canada
South America
×
 
Main Menu
Select A Category
About Us
Hot Topics
International Clients
Resources
Training Centers
 
Back to Main Menu
Hot Topics
Consolidation Chart
Helping Your CDL Drivers...
How To Comply (CFATS)
Prepare for a DOT Audit
PSM for Ag Retailers
Restricted CDL Report
 
Back to Main Menu
International Clients
Australia
Canada
South America
 
<
 
List
 
>
Newsletter
Volume 116
July 1, 2013
Signature Training Starts in July - Sign Up Today!
The first Ammonia Technician Course of the season is scheduled for July 16-18th in Bloomington, IL at the Agricenter. This course fills up quick, so click here to register. The first week of the Professional Applicator Training kicks off in Centreville, MD on July 9th, Bloomsburg, PA on July 11th and Ithaca, NY on July 12th. It will be next year before these classes return to the East coast, so click here to register. Don't forget the new Grain Handling courses on July 9-11th - click here to register.
Lighthouse Executive Summary
New Executive Summary Highlights Potential Areas of Concern
This dynamic new service uses logic to identify potential areas of concern specific to each manned facility. The Lighthouse Executive Summary is designed to prompt the facility to action before an inspector or auditor shows up. It's about dotting your i's and crossing your t's. The result should be happier audits with less violations and penalties - and hopefully you will never make the nightly news or be referred to the Attorney General's office. Each page of the Executive Summary is dedicated to a specific subject and contains a brief explanation of the regulatory requirement and how to proceed in completing it. This will be an annual report mailed each year the first week in July. Our thanks to Brandon, Mike, Megan and Susan, the team that made it possible to build the logic and extract the data in a common sense and forward-thinking manner. The most recent copy of the Lighthouse Executive Summary for each facility will be archived on Snapshots.
2013 National Safety School - Register Now!
The 35th annual National Agronomic Environmental Health & Safety School is being held on August 20 & 21, 2013 in Bloomington, Illinois at the Asmark Institute Agricenter. We encourage you to register early as this year's school is sure to fill up fast! An outstanding lineup of national speakers has been secured and with the recent events affecting our industry, it is now more important than ever to attend. Topics include information on the upcoming 5-Year RMP update, the new DOT Medical Certification requirements and the new industry initiative on third-party inspections being introduced in response to the West Fertilizer incident. The Chemical Safety Board has been invited to speak this year.
Safety School
This year's program marks the 35th anniversary of the Safety School. Each participant will receive a Limited Edition 1935 Chevrolet Sprayer Truck, produced specifically to commemorate the school's 35th anniversary. The replica is a 1:24 scale model, which is the first of its kind to be produced. Trucks are limited, so register today! For further information, to view the agenda and to register, click here.
While in Bloomington that week, we recommend you stay an extra day to attend the Midwest AG Industries Expo (MAGIE) on August 21 & 22, 2013. It's truly one of the finest displays of "ride and buy" shows in the United States. For more information on registering for MAGIE, click here.
Message to The Hill
Check out this timely and important message to our legislators and the agencies that regulate our industry. Click here to access the article.
Reminder: HazMat Annual Registration Expires on June 30th
If your company transports, or offers for transport, hazardous materials that require placarding by the DOT, they must be registered with the Department of Transportation (DOT). The current registration number or a copy of the registration document must be carried in every company vehicle used to transport hazardous materials. You can register and pay the fee online at the DOT's website by clicking here.
Dwight Siewert Presents...
Our industry is being challenged right now more than ever to keep up with the wave of new DOT rulemaking issues. This is something that will only grow to be a bigger challenge as time goes on, so the Asmark Institute secured the services of Dwight Siewert, Senior Compliance Consultant for J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc., for a two-day training workshop. We routinely organize workshops like this as forums to learn, foster discussions, raise awareness and further educate our industry on compliance and audits. Along with Asmark Institute staff, about 20 representatives of our clients came together to soak in all that they could and see what the future holds for them in respects to the new DOT requirements. Dwight Siewert has been an important part of the Asmark Institute's DOT activities for more than 20 years. On a special note, we wish Dwight a healthy and happy retirement. He has been with the Keller organization for more than 30 years total and actually led our workshop on the Tuesday and Wednesday before retiring on Thursday, his last day. Thanks Dwight and congratulations on your retirement!
West Fertilizer Subject of EPW Hearing
The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), held a hearing on June 27th on chemical facility safety with a focus on the West, Texas ammonium nitrate fertilizer explosion. During the hearing the committee heard testimony that the tragedy was preventable and then much attention was focused on the storage of ammonium nitrate. NFPA 400 (formerly 490) is the standard that most building code inspectors and those in our industry followed when the subject came up. It seems the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) regulations on Explosives and Blasting Agents, 29 CFR 1910.109 also applies and was the most cited guidelines in the EPW hearing. OSHA promulgated these regulations in May 1971. 29 CFR 1910.109(i) was based on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 490, Storage of Ammonium Nitrate and applies to fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate and mixtures containing 60 percent or more ammonium nitrate. It is important if you store ammonium nitrate that you review this OSHA regulation for compliance.
The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) testified at the hearing and provided a list of eighteen observations and preliminary findings. CSB doesn't expect preliminary recommendations until late summer, but these findings may be a good indication of what the board's recommendations might be. Click here to review a copy of the findings.
If Headings are any indication....
You don't need a crystal ball to figure out the regulatory environment is going to be changed as a result of the West Fertilizer tragedy. Here are some samples (by no means all) of the headings this week:
  • Senate committee demands EPA regulate fertilizer chemicals, The Washington Post
  • West fertilizer blast could have been prevented, Dallas Morning News
  • CSB Finds Lax Oversight in West Fertilizer Facility Explosion, Wall Street Journal
  • Boxer Gives EPA Ultimatum on Chemical Safety After Blast, Bloomberg
  • Elevator explosion first reported as fertilizer blast, Ag Professional
Elevator Explosion First Reported as Fertilizer Blast
Every explosion at an agricultural retailer operation cannot be blamed on fertilizer, but the non-agricultural news media is enthralled with being first to report fertilizer dangers and hazards since the West, Texas fertilizer fire and explosion.
So, when an explosion at the Co-Alliance, LLP operation at Union Mills, Indiana occurred and claimed one life on June 24th, it was erroneously attributed to a fertilizer explosion, when in reality it occurred at the grain facility portion of the company's operation.
Union Mills is both an agronomy retail center and a grain elevator and storage facility. Preliminary indications are that an explosion took place at the top of the grain elevator. Thorough investigations are still on-going, but the focus for the cause is centered on grain dust ignition, according to Shawn Lambert, Co-Alliance safety and risk manager, who has been on site and is coordinating the internal investigation.
Reuters was one of the major news services issuing a national report that this was a fertilizer explosion about 70 miles southeast of Chicago, when in fact it had nothing to do with fertilizer. The time of the explosion was reported as about 1:30 p.m., which would normally be the height of activity around a grain and fertilizer operation.
The co-op management in its official statement thanked the quick and professional efforts of all the first-responder departments and agencies. It also issued its sympathy and concern for the family of the victim. "In the days to come, Co-Alliance and its employees will be working closely with investigating agencies to provide any assistance necessary. Ensuring the safety and health of employees is of primary concern.
The company has arranged for grief counselors to be on-site. Determining the cause of the accident is our top priority moving forward. As more information becomes available and is confirmed, it will be included in future updates." (Courtesy of Ag Professional)
Prison Time for Failure to Register Under CFATS Proposed
Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), introduced legislation to strengthen a federal law that requires chemical plants and other facilities in possession of dangerous chemicals to register with DHS. The bill, if passed, would fix a loophole in existing law that limits DHS' ability to issue penalties and would make it a crime for facilities to fail to register the dangerous chemicals stored on-site. In addition, the bill would establish civil penalties of $25,000 per day for any facility that holds a chemical of interest above the screening threshold quantity established by 6 CFR 27, Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), but has not reported to DHS through the program. Moreover, it would be a Class D Felony penalty for the officers of any company that owns a facility subject to CFATS that intentionally fail to report under the program.
TFI and ARA Announce Plan to Develop Fertilizer Code of Practice
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is partnering with the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) to develop a Fertilizer Code of Practice for agricultural retailers. Through this member-led initiative, retailers will be provided with tools based on existing regulation to ensure that fertilizers are safely handled and stored. The initiative will also include third-party inspections to ensure observance of the established guidelines. The proposed structure envisions an over-arching umbrella organization for governance and to ensure consistency in guidelines and inspection/audit procedures. Suppliers would register with the system and encourage their brokers and distributors to do so, which would flow through the system to dealers. It has been recommended that unmanned storage sites and potentially farmer-owned storage be included as well. Dealers could also look up in the system to see if their suppliers or wholesalers are registered. The code of practice initiative came as a result of discussions between ARA staff and association members, most recently at a meeting on May 28th of interested parties in Washington, D.C. More than 50 people representing producers, retailers, wholesalers, transportation companies, state associations and companies that assist retailers in regulatory compliance were in attendance. Plans are currently under development.
myRMP Suite of Retail Guidance to be Updated
Representatives of The Fertilizer Institute, the Asmark Institute and the retail industry met on June 11th to participate in a meeting with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) on a complete review of the myRMP program for agricultural retailers. In June 2014, Risk Management Plans are due for their five-year update. By working with USEPA, who has endorsed the myRMP program for Program 2 facilities, many beneficial improvements to the myRMP program will be made, including incorporation of an intuitive new Hazard Review that uses logic to lead the user through the required steps and provides documentation on the exercise when finished. The Asmark Institute plans to have the updates on its website for review later this summer. Work is also underway to develop ag-industry specific guidance and materials for Program 3 facilities.
New Injury/Illness Recordkeeping Guidance Added to Snapshots
OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements - Under the OSHA Recordkeeping regulation, covered employers are required to prepare and maintain records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses, using the OSHA 300 Log. This information is important for employers, workers and OSHA in evaluating the safety of a workplace, understanding industry hazards and implementing worker protections to reduce and eliminate hazards. For more information on determining what is recordable under OSHA's Recordkeeping Regulation, access the online resource by clicking here.
DOT Proposes Changes to Medical Forms and Processes
The proposed rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) would require medical examiners to submit completed exam results to the agency for review. For drivers with commercial driver's licenses (CDLs), the agency would forward those results to state driver licensing agencies, eliminating the need for the drivers to do so. FMCSA says it has the authority to void a medical certificate if it was issued to a driver who fails to meet the agency's medical standards or if the examiner falsely claimed to be authorized to perform driver medical exams. Exam results will have to be reported to the FMCSA for all commercial drivers who are required to be medically certified to operate in interstate commerce, not only those who hold or apply for a CDL. Most of the changes being proposed would take effect three years after the effective date of the final rule. Among other changes being proposed is the removal of the requirement for motor carriers to verify that the medical examiner is listed in the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. Medical examiners will need to use a newly developed Medical Examination Report Form and Medical Examiner's Certificate. Medical examiners will need to report exam results to FMCSA by close of business on the day of the exam, using a secure online form. When transmitting exam results to driver licensing agencies, the FMCSA would also send medical variance information (exemptions, skills performance evaluation certificates and grandfathered exemptions), allowing enforcement officials to access the most current and accurate information regarding the medical status of each driver. The "Medical Examiner's Certification Integration" proposed rule appeared in the Federal Register on May 10, 2013. FMCSA is accepting public comments on the proposal until July 9, 2013, at www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FMCSA-2012-0178. Click here to review the proposed rule.
Anhydrous Ammonia Bill Fails to Obtain Approval
SB 147 was sponsored by the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA), but failed to be approved by both chambers. This bill would have required each ammonia tank to be permitted through KDA and would have made it unlawful for any person to fill a tank with ammonia unless it was marked with a new "permit to fill" decal. The bill also required each ammonia tank to be inspected annually and required tank owners to maintain records of each inspection for a period of five years. The bill further authorized KDA officials to inspect any tank upon receiving a complaint. SB 147 would also have established a new commercial ammonia tonnage fee and an Anhydrous Ammonia Fee Fund. However, all ammonia sold as an ag fertilizer would have been exempt from the new fee. KARA testified in support of this bill due to the fact that it maintained regulatory oversight at the state level rather than the local or county level; and because KDA initially had indicated that it was pursuing an agenda to completely stop all regulatory oversight of ammonia storage and handling. Because SB 147 left many questions unanswered, the bill passed out of the House Ag Committee, but was not brought above the line for a full House vote. Without passage of SB 147, the regulatory framework for ammonia in Kansas will remain largely unchanged. Thanks to our affiliates at the Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association (KARA) for this update.
Another Court Strikes Down National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Poster Rule
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has affirmed a lower court decision that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) went too far when it required employers to post a notice of employee rights. "Because the Board is nowhere charged with informing employees of their rights under the NLRA (National Labor Relations Act), we find no indication in the plain language of the Act that Congress intended to grant the Board the authority to promulgate such a requirement," the Appeals Court stated in the decision for the case, Chamber of Commerce v. NLRB. The decision, issued on June 14th, affirms a ruling from the District Court of South Carolina. In addition, it agrees with a ruling issued on May 7th by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which also struck down the posting requirement. In addition, Congress did not grant the Board the statutory authority to create notice requirements, as was granted to other federal agencies, the Court pointed out. Agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Occupational Safety and Health Administration have the power to proactively file charges and undertake investigations, and have been granted the authority to require the posting of notices. "Had Congress intended to grant the NLRB the power to require the posting of employee rights notices, it could have amended the NLRA to do so," the Court's decision stated.
Think You Know All About Distracted Driving? Think Again!
New research reveals that voice-activated in-car technologies dangerously undermine driver attention. Apparently, our brains are not able to concentrate on driving and Facebook at the same time. Hands-free technologies, once thought to be a safer alternative for drivers than hand-held cell phones, actually are more distracting for drivers, according to a new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. While such devices might make it easier for motorists to text, talk on the phone or even use Facebook while they drive, do you really want employees - or anyone - doing these things while driving?
New Jersey Bill to Force Drivers to Hand Over Phones
A bill proposed in the New Jersey State Senate would require drivers involved in an accident to hand over their phones, no warrant necessary. Bill S2783 states "whenever an operator of a motor vehicle has been involved in an accident resulting in death, bodily injury or property damage, a police officer may confiscate the operator's hand-held wireless telephone if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the operator was operating a hand-held wireless telephone while driving."
Valid Questions About Cloud Security Emerge After NSA Leak
The actions of former CIA contractor Edward Snowden are making companies think twice about the security of data they hand over to cloud providers. "The question is, how well does your cloud provider manage the ecosystem of contractors and third parties that are farther down the food chain?" writes Rob Livingstone, a former chief information officer and author of "Navigating Through the Cloud."
Note: Asmark Institute does not utilize the cloud for storage of data. Additionally, data never leaves our possession via secure websites and servers administered on-site. Access to data is limited to qualified and authorized Asmark Institute employees.
OSHA: Ensure Exit Doors are Unlocked, Exit Routes Unobstructed
OSHA is reminding compliance officers to check for adequate means of egress at all workplaces. This follows the recent disastrous fire and explosion that killed at least 119 workers on June 4, 2013, at a poultry processing plant in China. A memorandum sent to the agency's regional administrators and state plan designees directs field inspectors, when conducting inspections, to be mindful of whether employers have provided and maintained adequate means of egress from work areas. This includes checking that an adequate number of exit routes are provided, that the exit routes are free and unobstructed and that exit doors are not locked.
2013 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.
Signature Training Starts in July - Sign Up Today!
The first Ammonia Technician Course of the season is scheduled for July 16-18th in Bloomington, IL at the Agricenter. This course fills up quick, so click here to register. The first week of the Professional Applicator Training kicks off in Centreville, MD on July 9th, Bloomsburg, PA on July 11th and Ithaca, NY on July 12th. It will be next year before these classes return to the East coast, so click here to register. Don't forget the new Grain Handling courses on July 9-11th - click here to register.
Lighthouse Executive Summary
New Executive Summary Highlights Potential Areas of Concern
This dynamic new service uses logic to identify potential areas of concern specific to each manned facility. The Lighthouse Executive Summary is designed to prompt the facility to action before an inspector or auditor shows up. It's about dotting your i's and crossing your t's. The result should be happier audits with less violations and penalties - and hopefully you will never make the nightly news or be referred to the Attorney General's office. Each page of the Executive Summary is dedicated to a specific subject and contains a brief explanation of the regulatory requirement and how to proceed in completing it. This will be an annual report mailed each year the first week in July. Our thanks to Brandon, Mike, Megan and Susan, the team that made it possible to build the logic and extract the data in a common sense and forward-thinking manner. The most recent copy of the Lighthouse Executive Summary for each facility will be archived on Snapshots.
2013 National Safety School - Register Now!
The 35th annual National Agronomic Environmental Health & Safety School is being held on August 20 & 21, 2013 in Bloomington, Illinois at the Asmark Institute Agricenter. We encourage you to register early as this year's school is sure to fill up fast! An outstanding lineup of national speakers has been secured and with the recent events affecting our industry, it is now more important than ever to attend. Topics include information on the upcoming 5-Year RMP update, the new DOT Medical Certification requirements and the new industry initiative on third-party inspections being introduced in response to the West Fertilizer incident. The Chemical Safety Board has been invited to speak this year.
Safety School
This year's program marks the 35th anniversary of the Safety School. Each participant will receive a Limited Edition 1935 Chevrolet Sprayer Truck, produced specifically to commemorate the school's 35th anniversary. The replica is a 1:24 scale model, which is the first of its kind to be produced. Trucks are limited, so register today! For further information, to view the agenda and to register, click here.
While in Bloomington that week, we recommend you stay an extra day to attend the Midwest AG Industries Expo (MAGIE) on August 21 & 22, 2013. It's truly one of the finest displays of "ride and buy" shows in the United States. For more information on registering for MAGIE, click here.
Message to The Hill
Check out this timely and important message to our legislators and the agencies that regulate our industry. Click here to access the article.
Reminder: HazMat Annual Registration Expires on June 30th
If your company transports, or offers for transport, hazardous materials that require placarding by the DOT, they must be registered with the Department of Transportation (DOT). The current registration number or a copy of the registration document must be carried in every company vehicle used to transport hazardous materials. You can register and pay the fee online at the DOT's website by clicking here.
Dwight Siewert Presents...
Our industry is being challenged right now more than ever to keep up with the wave of new DOT rulemaking issues. This is something that will only grow to be a bigger challenge as time goes on, so the Asmark Institute secured the services of Dwight Siewert, Senior Compliance Consultant for J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc., for a two-day training workshop. We routinely organize workshops like this as forums to learn, foster discussions, raise awareness and further educate our industry on compliance and audits. Along with Asmark Institute staff, about 20 representatives of our clients came together to soak in all that they could and see what the future holds for them in respects to the new DOT requirements. Dwight Siewert has been an important part of the Asmark Institute's DOT activities for more than 20 years. On a special note, we wish Dwight a healthy and happy retirement. He has been with the Keller organization for more than 30 years total and actually led our workshop on the Tuesday and Wednesday before retiring on Thursday, his last day. Thanks Dwight and congratulations on your retirement!
West Fertilizer Subject of EPW Hearing
The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), held a hearing on June 27th on chemical facility safety with a focus on the West, Texas ammonium nitrate fertilizer explosion. During the hearing the committee heard testimony that the tragedy was preventable and then much attention was focused on the storage of ammonium nitrate. NFPA 400 (formerly 490) is the standard that most building code inspectors and those in our industry followed when the subject came up. It seems the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) regulations on Explosives and Blasting Agents, 29 CFR 1910.109 also applies and was the most cited guidelines in the EPW hearing. OSHA promulgated these regulations in May 1971. 29 CFR 1910.109(i) was based on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 490, Storage of Ammonium Nitrate and applies to fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate and mixtures containing 60 percent or more ammonium nitrate. It is important if you store ammonium nitrate that you review this OSHA regulation for compliance.
The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) testified at the hearing and provided a list of eighteen observations and preliminary findings. CSB doesn't expect preliminary recommendations until late summer, but these findings may be a good indication of what the board's recommendations might be. Click here to review a copy of the findings.
If Headings are any indication....
You don't need a crystal ball to figure out the regulatory environment is going to be changed as a result of the West Fertilizer tragedy. Here are some samples (by no means all) of the headings this week:
  • Senate committee demands EPA regulate fertilizer chemicals, The Washington Post
  • West fertilizer blast could have been prevented, Dallas Morning News
  • CSB Finds Lax Oversight in West Fertilizer Facility Explosion, Wall Street Journal
  • Boxer Gives EPA Ultimatum on Chemical Safety After Blast, Bloomberg
  • Elevator explosion first reported as fertilizer blast, Ag Professional
Elevator Explosion First Reported as Fertilizer Blast
Every explosion at an agricultural retailer operation cannot be blamed on fertilizer, but the non-agricultural news media is enthralled with being first to report fertilizer dangers and hazards since the West, Texas fertilizer fire and explosion.
So, when an explosion at the Co-Alliance, LLP operation at Union Mills, Indiana occurred and claimed one life on June 24th, it was erroneously attributed to a fertilizer explosion, when in reality it occurred at the grain facility portion of the company's operation.
Union Mills is both an agronomy retail center and a grain elevator and storage facility. Preliminary indications are that an explosion took place at the top of the grain elevator. Thorough investigations are still on-going, but the focus for the cause is centered on grain dust ignition, according to Shawn Lambert, Co-Alliance safety and risk manager, who has been on site and is coordinating the internal investigation.
Reuters was one of the major news services issuing a national report that this was a fertilizer explosion about 70 miles southeast of Chicago, when in fact it had nothing to do with fertilizer. The time of the explosion was reported as about 1:30 p.m., which would normally be the height of activity around a grain and fertilizer operation.
The co-op management in its official statement thanked the quick and professional efforts of all the first-responder departments and agencies. It also issued its sympathy and concern for the family of the victim. "In the days to come, Co-Alliance and its employees will be working closely with investigating agencies to provide any assistance necessary. Ensuring the safety and health of employees is of primary concern.
The company has arranged for grief counselors to be on-site. Determining the cause of the accident is our top priority moving forward. As more information becomes available and is confirmed, it will be included in future updates." (Courtesy of Ag Professional)
Prison Time for Failure to Register Under CFATS Proposed
Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), introduced legislation to strengthen a federal law that requires chemical plants and other facilities in possession of dangerous chemicals to register with DHS. The bill, if passed, would fix a loophole in existing law that limits DHS' ability to issue penalties and would make it a crime for facilities to fail to register the dangerous chemicals stored on-site. In addition, the bill would establish civil penalties of $25,000 per day for any facility that holds a chemical of interest above the screening threshold quantity established by 6 CFR 27, Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), but has not reported to DHS through the program. Moreover, it would be a Class D Felony penalty for the officers of any company that owns a facility subject to CFATS that intentionally fail to report under the program.
TFI and ARA Announce Plan to Develop Fertilizer Code of Practice
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is partnering with the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) to develop a Fertilizer Code of Practice for agricultural retailers. Through this member-led initiative, retailers will be provided with tools based on existing regulation to ensure that fertilizers are safely handled and stored. The initiative will also include third-party inspections to ensure observance of the established guidelines. The proposed structure envisions an over-arching umbrella organization for governance and to ensure consistency in guidelines and inspection/audit procedures. Suppliers would register with the system and encourage their brokers and distributors to do so, which would flow through the system to dealers. It has been recommended that unmanned storage sites and potentially farmer-owned storage be included as well. Dealers could also look up in the system to see if their suppliers or wholesalers are registered. The code of practice initiative came as a result of discussions between ARA staff and association members, most recently at a meeting on May 28th of interested parties in Washington, D.C. More than 50 people representing producers, retailers, wholesalers, transportation companies, state associations and companies that assist retailers in regulatory compliance were in attendance. Plans are currently under development.
myRMP Suite of Retail Guidance to be Updated
Representatives of The Fertilizer Institute, the Asmark Institute and the retail industry met on June 11th to participate in a meeting with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) on a complete review of the myRMP program for agricultural retailers. In June 2014, Risk Management Plans are due for their five-year update. By working with USEPA, who has endorsed the myRMP program for Program 2 facilities, many beneficial improvements to the myRMP program will be made, including incorporation of an intuitive new Hazard Review that uses logic to lead the user through the required steps and provides documentation on the exercise when finished. The Asmark Institute plans to have the updates on its website for review later this summer. Work is also underway to develop ag-industry specific guidance and materials for Program 3 facilities.
New Injury/Illness Recordkeeping Guidance Added to Snapshots
OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements - Under the OSHA Recordkeeping regulation, covered employers are required to prepare and maintain records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses, using the OSHA 300 Log. This information is important for employers, workers and OSHA in evaluating the safety of a workplace, understanding industry hazards and implementing worker protections to reduce and eliminate hazards. For more information on determining what is recordable under OSHA's Recordkeeping Regulation, access the online resource by clicking here.
DOT Proposes Changes to Medical Forms and Processes
The proposed rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) would require medical examiners to submit completed exam results to the agency for review. For drivers with commercial driver's licenses (CDLs), the agency would forward those results to state driver licensing agencies, eliminating the need for the drivers to do so. FMCSA says it has the authority to void a medical certificate if it was issued to a driver who fails to meet the agency's medical standards or if the examiner falsely claimed to be authorized to perform driver medical exams. Exam results will have to be reported to the FMCSA for all commercial drivers who are required to be medically certified to operate in interstate commerce, not only those who hold or apply for a CDL. Most of the changes being proposed would take effect three years after the effective date of the final rule. Among other changes being proposed is the removal of the requirement for motor carriers to verify that the medical examiner is listed in the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. Medical examiners will need to use a newly developed Medical Examination Report Form and Medical Examiner's Certificate. Medical examiners will need to report exam results to FMCSA by close of business on the day of the exam, using a secure online form. When transmitting exam results to driver licensing agencies, the FMCSA would also send medical variance information (exemptions, skills performance evaluation certificates and grandfathered exemptions), allowing enforcement officials to access the most current and accurate information regarding the medical status of each driver. The "Medical Examiner's Certification Integration" proposed rule appeared in the Federal Register on May 10, 2013. FMCSA is accepting public comments on the proposal until July 9, 2013, at www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FMCSA-2012-0178. Click here to review the proposed rule.
Anhydrous Ammonia Bill Fails to Obtain Approval
SB 147 was sponsored by the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA), but failed to be approved by both chambers. This bill would have required each ammonia tank to be permitted through KDA and would have made it unlawful for any person to fill a tank with ammonia unless it was marked with a new "permit to fill" decal. The bill also required each ammonia tank to be inspected annually and required tank owners to maintain records of each inspection for a period of five years. The bill further authorized KDA officials to inspect any tank upon receiving a complaint. SB 147 would also have established a new commercial ammonia tonnage fee and an Anhydrous Ammonia Fee Fund. However, all ammonia sold as an ag fertilizer would have been exempt from the new fee. KARA testified in support of this bill due to the fact that it maintained regulatory oversight at the state level rather than the local or county level; and because KDA initially had indicated that it was pursuing an agenda to completely stop all regulatory oversight of ammonia storage and handling. Because SB 147 left many questions unanswered, the bill passed out of the House Ag Committee, but was not brought above the line for a full House vote. Without passage of SB 147, the regulatory framework for ammonia in Kansas will remain largely unchanged. Thanks to our affiliates at the Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association (KARA) for this update.
Another Court Strikes Down National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Poster Rule
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has affirmed a lower court decision that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) went too far when it required employers to post a notice of employee rights. "Because the Board is nowhere charged with informing employees of their rights under the NLRA (National Labor Relations Act), we find no indication in the plain language of the Act that Congress intended to grant the Board the authority to promulgate such a requirement," the Appeals Court stated in the decision for the case, Chamber of Commerce v. NLRB. The decision, issued on June 14th, affirms a ruling from the District Court of South Carolina. In addition, it agrees with a ruling issued on May 7th by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which also struck down the posting requirement. In addition, Congress did not grant the Board the statutory authority to create notice requirements, as was granted to other federal agencies, the Court pointed out. Agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Occupational Safety and Health Administration have the power to proactively file charges and undertake investigations, and have been granted the authority to require the posting of notices. "Had Congress intended to grant the NLRB the power to require the posting of employee rights notices, it could have amended the NLRA to do so," the Court's decision stated.
Think You Know All About Distracted Driving? Think Again!
New research reveals that voice-activated in-car technologies dangerously undermine driver attention. Apparently, our brains are not able to concentrate on driving and Facebook at the same time. Hands-free technologies, once thought to be a safer alternative for drivers than hand-held cell phones, actually are more distracting for drivers, according to a new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. While such devices might make it easier for motorists to text, talk on the phone or even use Facebook while they drive, do you really want employees - or anyone - doing these things while driving?
New Jersey Bill to Force Drivers to Hand Over Phones
A bill proposed in the New Jersey State Senate would require drivers involved in an accident to hand over their phones, no warrant necessary. Bill S2783 states "whenever an operator of a motor vehicle has been involved in an accident resulting in death, bodily injury or property damage, a police officer may confiscate the operator's hand-held wireless telephone if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the operator was operating a hand-held wireless telephone while driving."
Valid Questions About Cloud Security Emerge After NSA Leak
The actions of former CIA contractor Edward Snowden are making companies think twice about the security of data they hand over to cloud providers. "The question is, how well does your cloud provider manage the ecosystem of contractors and third parties that are farther down the food chain?" writes Rob Livingstone, a former chief information officer and author of "Navigating Through the Cloud."
Note: Asmark Institute does not utilize the cloud for storage of data. Additionally, data never leaves our possession via secure websites and servers administered on-site. Access to data is limited to qualified and authorized Asmark Institute employees.
OSHA: Ensure Exit Doors are Unlocked, Exit Routes Unobstructed
OSHA is reminding compliance officers to check for adequate means of egress at all workplaces. This follows the recent disastrous fire and explosion that killed at least 119 workers on June 4, 2013, at a poultry processing plant in China. A memorandum sent to the agency's regional administrators and state plan designees directs field inspectors, when conducting inspections, to be mindful of whether employers have provided and maintained adequate means of egress from work areas. This includes checking that an adequate number of exit routes are provided, that the exit routes are free and unobstructed and that exit doors are not locked.
2013 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.