International Clients
Australia
Canada
South America
×
<
 
List
 
>
Newsletter
Volume 117
August 1, 2013
Centennial Ag Supply Honored with National Environmental Respect Award
Our congratulations to the entire team at Centennial Ag Supply of Kersey, Colorado for being honored as the National Environmental Respect Award winner for 2013. Jim Fargo, General Manager of the retail farm supply business, was on hand at a special ceremony on July 23rd to accept the trophy representing excellence in environmental stewardship. The Environmental Respect Awards, sponsored by DuPont Crop Protection and conducted by CropLife® magazine, are the agricultural industry's highest recognition for environmental stewardship among U.S. agricultural retailers. Each year, a panel of industry experts gathers to recognize achievement in environmental stewardship, professional excellence and community involvement. Centennial Ag Supply's Kersey facility won the award based on excellence in site design, in-plant storage and handling procedures, proper application and leadership in safety and stewardship among customers and employees. "DuPont is pleased to congratulate the winners of the 2013 Environmental Respect Awards and applauds their accomplishment in environmental stewardship," said Rik Miller, President, DuPont Crop Protection.
West Fertilizer Hearing
Pictured from the left: Tip O'Neill, International Raw Materials, Representative Patrick Meehan (Chairman), Donnie Dippel, TAIA, and Paul Derig, J.R. Simplot Company.
Hearing Examines West Fertilizer Company
The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies Subcommittee held a hearing today titled, "West Fertilizer, Off the Grid: The Problem of Unidentified Chemical Facilities." The hearing focused on the CFATS program and potential ways for DHS to identify and locate facilities like West Fertilizer Company that have not voluntarily filed "top screen" reports as required by the CFATS program. Donnie Dippel, President of the Texas Ag Industries Association and Paul Derig, EHS Manager with J.R. Simplot Company provided testimony on behalf of our industry. Dippel provided testimony on the confusion caused by CFATS and the difficulty encountered by retailers, especially small businesses in trying to comply with the DHS rules. Derig's testimony and follow-up questions detailed Responsible Ag, the industry initiative by ARA and TFI to restore accountability to an industry hit hard by the West tragedy. All panelists reported the existing regulatory requirements are sufficient and what is called for is better coordination between the government agencies. Click here to watch the hearing.
2013 National Safety School - Register Now!
The 35th annual National Agronomic Environmental Health & Safety School is shaping up to be one you don't want to miss. Johnnie Banks, Investigation Supervisor with the U.S. Chemical Safety Board will be on hand to talk about the West Fertilizer tragedy. Tom Bielema, Peoria Area Director with OSHA will provide the keynote speech kicking off a topnotch lineup of national speakers on topics such as Responsible Ag, the new industry initiative providing for third-party inspections in response to the West Fertilizer incident. The 2013 Safety School is being held on August 20 & 21st in Bloomington, Illinois at the Asmark Institute Agricenter. Additionally, each participant will receive a Limited Edition 1935 Chevrolet Sprayer Truck, produced specifically to commemorate the school's 35th anniversary. For further information, to view the agenda and to register, click here.
While in Bloomington that week, we recommend that 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.
Responsible Ag
In the months ahead you will be hearing more about this initiative. The regulated community is already overwhelmed with regulations. In the wake of the West Fertilizer tragedy, the regulatory agencies - both State and Federal, have come under fire to prevent a tragedy such as West from ever occurring again. Agencies and legislators alike are calling for even more regulation. Responsible Ag will help ensure our industry is aware of and complies with the regulations that have already been put in place, while working to prevent additional unnecessary regulations.
Lighthouse Executive Summary "Shines"
The first annual Lighthouse Executive Summary was mailed on July 2nd and was designed to prompt the facility personnel to action - before - an inspector or auditor shows up. It's all about dotting your i's and crossing your t's. The perspective provided by this innovative new report has been received well and is proving beneficial based on the feedback we've received so far. Watch for this report to be prepared and mailed on July 1st each year.
IFCA Board Votes to Support Code of Practice
This week the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) Board of Directors voted unanimously to support the Fertilizer Code of Practice and the forthcoming industry stewardship program. The Board's statement of support is as follows:
The Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association supports the joint leadership and efforts of the ARA and TFI to enact a Fertilizer Code of Practice. IFCA will lend support to this effort by communicating the importance of this stewardship effort, including the development of a national fertilizer facility registration system and industry-led third party audit program, to assure that all facilities who store bulk fertilizers are aware of the regulatory requirements that govern the storage, handling, security and sale of these products. IFCA will work with our manufacturer, distributor and retail members to assure participation in this program, we will promote the program in communications to our members and we will provide leadership at the state level to ensure the success of this vital stewardship effort on behalf of our members and the communities in which our member businesses operate.
More State and Regional Agribusiness Associations are expected to sign on to the Responsible Ag initiative throughout the fall and winter months.
Compliance Assessment Tool Update
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) issued a fertilizer industry-wide memorandum on May 8, 2013 making the Asmark Institute's on-line Compliance Assessment Tool available for agricultural retail facilities. This tool is used to evaluate and control risk and support the continual improvement of a fertilizer retailer's compliance effort. The use of this tool was provided free of charge to retailers nationwide in the wake of the West Fertilizer tragedy. As of this month, more than 47,000 hits were recorded on the website with more than 1,611 completed assessments.
Spotlight: DHS Mailing
It appears the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made a mailing requesting each facility confirm their status with DHS by September 9, 2013. If your facility has already submitted a top screen and received a letter from DHS advising the status of your facility (Tier 1-4 or not a high risk) then mail them a copy of the letter (via certified mail) to prove you are in their system. Mail your documentation to: DHS Infrastructure Security Compliance Division (ISCD), IP/ISCD, Mail Stop 8100, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C. 20528-8100.
If you cannot find your documentation to prove you have completed your top screen then call the CSAT Helpdesk at 866-323-2957 and request another copy be sent to you. If your facility has never submitted a top screen, and does in fact have a Chemical of Interest that exceeds the threshold in Appendix A, then work immediately to complete your submission.
"How to Prepare for a DOT Audit"
Whether a company utilizes a fleet of trucks or just one, the anticipation of a DOT audit can be a nerve wracking experience - especially if you're not prepared. Attention to detail and thorough record keeping are the keys to making sure that your business passes each and every safety audit by the DOT. To assist you in your efforts, Donna Jones with the Asmark Institute has prepared and posted a "How to Prepare for a DOT Audit" document to the website under the Hot Button. Check it out and rate your performance by completing the checklist. Click here to go straight to the document.
DOT Sparks Confusion
A basic requirement of being a motor carrier in the U.S. is updating your MCS-150 Motor Carrier Profile every two years. Approximately four years ago, DOT published a MCS-150B version of the form designed specifically to identify motor carriers with Hazardous Materials Safety Permits. Filling out and submitting the MCS-150B form rather than the MCS-150 form will throw you into the pool of carriers that transport tractor-trailer loads of materials such as anhydrous ammonia that require a HM Safety Permit. As you might expect, the requirements for these carriers are more stringent. With this information, we recommend that you pay very close attention in the future to ensure your update is submitted on the correct form.
Worker Dies When Struck by Truck at Nebraska Grain Handling Facility
A Nebraska grain elevator has been cited by OSHA for 9 serious safety violations after a worker was fatally injured on January 29th of this year. The worker was struck by a truck that was backing into a loading position at the grain handling facility. The inspection was expanded to include hazards associated with grain handling activities. The violations included a general duty citation for failing to protect employees exposed to vehicular traffic and failure to guard belts and pulleys.
Reminder: New UCC Forms - July 1st
Revisions to Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) forms went into effect on July 1, 2013. The new forms implement amendments to Article 9 of the UCC that were enacted in 2012. The amendments provide more certainty with respect to debtor names and guidance on the perfection of security interests when debtors relocate to another jurisdiction. Kentucky, for example, has adopted the new Uniform Commercial Code forms. Previously prescribed forms were accepted during a 30-day grace period, which ended July 31, 2013. Beginning August 1, 2013, all previously prescribed forms will be rejected. The new forms are available on each Secretary of State's website.
Mandatory EEOC Survey
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has completed its mailing of an employment survey that all private employers with 100 or more workers is mandated by Federal law to complete and return. The deadline to respond to the 2013 EEO-1 survey notification letters is September 30th. Click here to review the survey and EEOC requirements.
Indian Country and Pesticide Applications
Later this year, EPA will release their Plan for the Federal Certification of Applicators of Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs) within Indian Country. EPA is taking this step to make RUPs available for use in Indian country where no current certification mechanisms exist. This action will give pesticide applicators who apply or seek to apply in Indian country access to the same pest control tools available elsewhere in the U.S. and ensure that these applicators have met competency standards.
How Applicators Can Prepare for the EPA Plan
If you are an applicator that would like to use RUPs in Indian country, make sure your state certification is up to date. When the EPA Plan goes into effect, you will need to show documentation of a valid applicator certification from a state contiguous to the area of Indian country where you intend to apply RUPs. You will need to submit a copy of your certification with an application form to the EPA Regional office.
What Pesticide Dealers in Indian Country Will Need to Do
When the EPA Plan goes into effect, send your business name and address for each dealership to your EPA Regional office. You will also have to maintain records of RUP sales. Click here for more information.
EPA Excludes Solvent Wipes
EPA has modified the hazardous waste management regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to conditionally exclude solvent-contaminated wipes from hazardous waste regulations, provided that wipes are cleaned by industrial laundries or dry cleaners and reused, and for wipes sent for disposal to a municipal solid waste landfill or a solid waste combustor. To be excluded, solvent-contaminated wipes must be managed in closed, labeled containers and cannot contain free liquids when sent for cleaning or disposal. Wipes managed under this rule no longer have to be manifested when being sent off-site and may be sent to non-hazardous waste handling facilities.
Smartphone Privacy Warning for Photos
Did you know? Many smart phones embed your GPS location into the meta data contained within each photo file. If your phone location information services are turned on for your camera apps, posting that information to a social platform like Facebook or Google may unwittingly expose unwanted geographic information about you or your company. It is easy to manage these settings if you know how. Most phone manufacturers' support sites offer detailed explanations on how to turn location services on and off for all the apps on your phone, not just the camera.
OSHA Cites Illinois Company for Repeat Violations
An Illinois grain facility has been cited for 33 safety and health violations, including three repeat and 24 serious violations. The citations follow three inspections by OSHA and carry penalties of $93,250. Twelve of the serious violations involve grain handling standards, including exposing workers to engulfment hazards in bins storing corn. "Engulfment, falls and entanglement are real hazards in grain bins, and exposing workers to those dangers is not acceptable," said Tom Bielema, OSHA's area director in Peoria. "Employers are responsible for maintaining a safe and healthful workplace. The lack of commitment to worker safety and health must be addressed."
Three repeat safety violations involve failing to implement and maintain a written hazard communication program, failing to provide workers with hazardous chemicals training in their work areas and failing to conduct periodic inspections of and train workers on energy control procedures. OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer previously was cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The same violations were cited in May 2010 for this facility.
The 12 serious safety violations relating to OSHA's grain handling standards include: failing to provide fall protection to workers walking on grain bin roofs; failing to eliminate engulfment hazards; and failing to provide training, maintenance and housekeeping. The company was also cited for 12 additional serious violations including a lack of machine guarding, failing to provide medical evaluations for workers required to wear respirators and modifying forklifts without manufacturer approval.
A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Six other-than-serious violations include failing to: implement a respiratory protection program, certify that a workplace hazard assessment had been performed and certify that forklift operators were trained. OSHA also found electrical safety violations such as flexible cords in lieu of fixed wiring and unsecure electrical control panels. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
State Labor Law Poster Update
Vermont - Unemployment Insurance - Effective July 2013
Vermont has updated their Unemployment Insurance notice. It now explicitly notes free employment assistance and adds a number of new Labor Career Resource Centers to the list. This includes a material substantive change and a new Vermont Labor Law Poster is required. Click here to order. The updated state poster became available the week of July 29, 2013.
Texas - Ombudsman Program - Effective September 1, 2013
Texas revised the Ombudsman Program notice. The employer notification legislation language has been added to the notice, as well as clarification to an Ombudsman's abilities to assist workers. This notice is required for employers who DO provide Workers' Compensation Insurance. The new notice takes effect on 9/1/2013, though the old poster must remain posted until 8/31/2013. This is a material substantive change (for some employers) and a new Texas Labor Law Poster is required. Click here to order. The updated state poster will be available the week of August 5, 2013.
Understanding the Term "Commercial Motor Vehicle"
This article is made possible by J.J. Keller & Associates, a valued partner of the Asmark Institute for over 24 years. Our thanks to J.J. Keller for their support over the years and for the use of this article.
The definition of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) generates more questions than just about any other topic in relation to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). To guess wrong might result in some serious violations and fines. For interstate commerce carriers, every time you see the term "commercial motor vehicle" appearing in 49 CFR Parts 350-399, it is referencing the definition in Section 390.5. Based on this, the driver and vehicle are subject to driver qualifications, vehicle inspection and maintenance, equipment, USDOT numbers/markings, insurance, hours of service, and the like.
How do we know this?
Section 390.5 indicates "Unless specifically defined elsewhere, in this subchapter" the definitions provided in the section apply. One of the definitions provided is "commercial motor vehicle."
Section 390.5 defines a commercial motor vehicle as "any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle:
  1. Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater; or
  2. Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or
  3. Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or
  4. Is used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and transported in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the Secretary under 49 CFR, subtitle B, chapter I, subchapter C."
What does 'this subchapter' mean?
When Section 390.5 uses the word "subchapter," you have to look at the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 49, Transportation - which is broken up by mode. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules are found in Subtitle B, Volume 5, Chapter III of Title 49. Within Chapter III, you have Subchapters A and B. Subchapter B is essentially Parts 350-399.
Using the verbiage from Section 390.5, unless specified in Parts 350-399 (the subchapter), the term CMV is referencing the definition in Section 390.5.
When would it be different?
The regulations have a few instances of when a CMV definition would differ from Section 390.5. Parts 383, 382, and 380 have their own definition of commercial motor vehicle (i.e., specifically defined elsewhere). Basically, these definitions include only vehicles that require a commercial driver's license (CDL).
What about intrastate-only vehicles?
For intrastate commerce, a state has the option of adopting its own definitions for its version of the safety regulations. The weight thresholds for intrastate-only vehicles vary greatly, often mimicking the federal standard of 10,001 pounds or tying it into the need for a CDL. Yet other states have adopted weights completely unrelated to any federal rule (e.g., 18,001 pounds).
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.
Centennial Ag Supply Honored with National Environmental Respect Award
Our congratulations to the entire team at Centennial Ag Supply of Kersey, Colorado for being honored as the National Environmental Respect Award winner for 2013. Jim Fargo, General Manager of the retail farm supply business, was on hand at a special ceremony on July 23rd to accept the trophy representing excellence in environmental stewardship. The Environmental Respect Awards, sponsored by DuPont Crop Protection and conducted by CropLife® magazine, are the agricultural industry's highest recognition for environmental stewardship among U.S. agricultural retailers. Each year, a panel of industry experts gathers to recognize achievement in environmental stewardship, professional excellence and community involvement. Centennial Ag Supply's Kersey facility won the award based on excellence in site design, in-plant storage and handling procedures, proper application and leadership in safety and stewardship among customers and employees. "DuPont is pleased to congratulate the winners of the 2013 Environmental Respect Awards and applauds their accomplishment in environmental stewardship," said Rik Miller, President, DuPont Crop Protection.
West Fertilizer Hearing
Pictured from the left: Tip O'Neill, International Raw Materials, Representative Patrick Meehan (Chairman), Donnie Dippel, TAIA, and Paul Derig, J.R. Simplot Company.
Hearing Examines West Fertilizer Company
The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies Subcommittee held a hearing today titled, "West Fertilizer, Off the Grid: The Problem of Unidentified Chemical Facilities." The hearing focused on the CFATS program and potential ways for DHS to identify and locate facilities like West Fertilizer Company that have not voluntarily filed "top screen" reports as required by the CFATS program. Donnie Dippel, President of the Texas Ag Industries Association and Paul Derig, EHS Manager with J.R. Simplot Company provided testimony on behalf of our industry. Dippel provided testimony on the confusion caused by CFATS and the difficulty encountered by retailers, especially small businesses in trying to comply with the DHS rules. Derig's testimony and follow-up questions detailed Responsible Ag, the industry initiative by ARA and TFI to restore accountability to an industry hit hard by the West tragedy. All panelists reported the existing regulatory requirements are sufficient and what is called for is better coordination between the government agencies. Click here to watch the hearing.
2013 National Safety School - Register Now!
The 35th annual National Agronomic Environmental Health & Safety School is shaping up to be one you don't want to miss. Johnnie Banks, Investigation Supervisor with the U.S. Chemical Safety Board will be on hand to talk about the West Fertilizer tragedy. Tom Bielema, Peoria Area Director with OSHA will provide the keynote speech kicking off a topnotch lineup of national speakers on topics such as Responsible Ag, the new industry initiative providing for third-party inspections in response to the West Fertilizer incident. The 2013 Safety School is being held on August 20 & 21st in Bloomington, Illinois at the Asmark Institute Agricenter. Additionally, each participant will receive a Limited Edition 1935 Chevrolet Sprayer Truck, produced specifically to commemorate the school's 35th anniversary. For further information, to view the agenda and to register, click here.
While in Bloomington that week, we recommend that 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.
Responsible Ag
In the months ahead you will be hearing more about this initiative. The regulated community is already overwhelmed with regulations. In the wake of the West Fertilizer tragedy, the regulatory agencies - both State and Federal, have come under fire to prevent a tragedy such as West from ever occurring again. Agencies and legislators alike are calling for even more regulation. Responsible Ag will help ensure our industry is aware of and complies with the regulations that have already been put in place, while working to prevent additional unnecessary regulations.
Lighthouse Executive Summary "Shines"
The first annual Lighthouse Executive Summary was mailed on July 2nd and was designed to prompt the facility personnel to action - before - an inspector or auditor shows up. It's all about dotting your i's and crossing your t's. The perspective provided by this innovative new report has been received well and is proving beneficial based on the feedback we've received so far. Watch for this report to be prepared and mailed on July 1st each year.
IFCA Board Votes to Support Code of Practice
This week the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) Board of Directors voted unanimously to support the Fertilizer Code of Practice and the forthcoming industry stewardship program. The Board's statement of support is as follows:
The Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association supports the joint leadership and efforts of the ARA and TFI to enact a Fertilizer Code of Practice. IFCA will lend support to this effort by communicating the importance of this stewardship effort, including the development of a national fertilizer facility registration system and industry-led third party audit program, to assure that all facilities who store bulk fertilizers are aware of the regulatory requirements that govern the storage, handling, security and sale of these products. IFCA will work with our manufacturer, distributor and retail members to assure participation in this program, we will promote the program in communications to our members and we will provide leadership at the state level to ensure the success of this vital stewardship effort on behalf of our members and the communities in which our member businesses operate.
More State and Regional Agribusiness Associations are expected to sign on to the Responsible Ag initiative throughout the fall and winter months.
Compliance Assessment Tool Update
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) issued a fertilizer industry-wide memorandum on May 8, 2013 making the Asmark Institute's on-line Compliance Assessment Tool available for agricultural retail facilities. This tool is used to evaluate and control risk and support the continual improvement of a fertilizer retailer's compliance effort. The use of this tool was provided free of charge to retailers nationwide in the wake of the West Fertilizer tragedy. As of this month, more than 47,000 hits were recorded on the website with more than 1,611 completed assessments.
Spotlight: DHS Mailing
It appears the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made a mailing requesting each facility confirm their status with DHS by September 9, 2013. If your facility has already submitted a top screen and received a letter from DHS advising the status of your facility (Tier 1-4 or not a high risk) then mail them a copy of the letter (via certified mail) to prove you are in their system. Mail your documentation to: DHS Infrastructure Security Compliance Division (ISCD), IP/ISCD, Mail Stop 8100, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C. 20528-8100.
If you cannot find your documentation to prove you have completed your top screen then call the CSAT Helpdesk at 866-323-2957 and request another copy be sent to you. If your facility has never submitted a top screen, and does in fact have a Chemical of Interest that exceeds the threshold in Appendix A, then work immediately to complete your submission.
"How to Prepare for a DOT Audit"
Whether a company utilizes a fleet of trucks or just one, the anticipation of a DOT audit can be a nerve wracking experience - especially if you're not prepared. Attention to detail and thorough record keeping are the keys to making sure that your business passes each and every safety audit by the DOT. To assist you in your efforts, Donna Jones with the Asmark Institute has prepared and posted a "How to Prepare for a DOT Audit" document to the website under the Hot Button. Check it out and rate your performance by completing the checklist. Click here to go straight to the document.
DOT Sparks Confusion
A basic requirement of being a motor carrier in the U.S. is updating your MCS-150 Motor Carrier Profile every two years. Approximately four years ago, DOT published a MCS-150B version of the form designed specifically to identify motor carriers with Hazardous Materials Safety Permits. Filling out and submitting the MCS-150B form rather than the MCS-150 form will throw you into the pool of carriers that transport tractor-trailer loads of materials such as anhydrous ammonia that require a HM Safety Permit. As you might expect, the requirements for these carriers are more stringent. With this information, we recommend that you pay very close attention in the future to ensure your update is submitted on the correct form.
Worker Dies When Struck by Truck at Nebraska Grain Handling Facility
A Nebraska grain elevator has been cited by OSHA for 9 serious safety violations after a worker was fatally injured on January 29th of this year. The worker was struck by a truck that was backing into a loading position at the grain handling facility. The inspection was expanded to include hazards associated with grain handling activities. The violations included a general duty citation for failing to protect employees exposed to vehicular traffic and failure to guard belts and pulleys.
Reminder: New UCC Forms - July 1st
Revisions to Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) forms went into effect on July 1, 2013. The new forms implement amendments to Article 9 of the UCC that were enacted in 2012. The amendments provide more certainty with respect to debtor names and guidance on the perfection of security interests when debtors relocate to another jurisdiction. Kentucky, for example, has adopted the new Uniform Commercial Code forms. Previously prescribed forms were accepted during a 30-day grace period, which ended July 31, 2013. Beginning August 1, 2013, all previously prescribed forms will be rejected. The new forms are available on each Secretary of State's website.
Mandatory EEOC Survey
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has completed its mailing of an employment survey that all private employers with 100 or more workers is mandated by Federal law to complete and return. The deadline to respond to the 2013 EEO-1 survey notification letters is September 30th. Click here to review the survey and EEOC requirements.
Indian Country and Pesticide Applications
Later this year, EPA will release their Plan for the Federal Certification of Applicators of Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs) within Indian Country. EPA is taking this step to make RUPs available for use in Indian country where no current certification mechanisms exist. This action will give pesticide applicators who apply or seek to apply in Indian country access to the same pest control tools available elsewhere in the U.S. and ensure that these applicators have met competency standards.
How Applicators Can Prepare for the EPA Plan
If you are an applicator that would like to use RUPs in Indian country, make sure your state certification is up to date. When the EPA Plan goes into effect, you will need to show documentation of a valid applicator certification from a state contiguous to the area of Indian country where you intend to apply RUPs. You will need to submit a copy of your certification with an application form to the EPA Regional office.
What Pesticide Dealers in Indian Country Will Need to Do
When the EPA Plan goes into effect, send your business name and address for each dealership to your EPA Regional office. You will also have to maintain records of RUP sales. Click here for more information.
EPA Excludes Solvent Wipes
EPA has modified the hazardous waste management regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to conditionally exclude solvent-contaminated wipes from hazardous waste regulations, provided that wipes are cleaned by industrial laundries or dry cleaners and reused, and for wipes sent for disposal to a municipal solid waste landfill or a solid waste combustor. To be excluded, solvent-contaminated wipes must be managed in closed, labeled containers and cannot contain free liquids when sent for cleaning or disposal. Wipes managed under this rule no longer have to be manifested when being sent off-site and may be sent to non-hazardous waste handling facilities.
Smartphone Privacy Warning for Photos
Did you know? Many smart phones embed your GPS location into the meta data contained within each photo file. If your phone location information services are turned on for your camera apps, posting that information to a social platform like Facebook or Google may unwittingly expose unwanted geographic information about you or your company. It is easy to manage these settings if you know how. Most phone manufacturers' support sites offer detailed explanations on how to turn location services on and off for all the apps on your phone, not just the camera.
OSHA Cites Illinois Company for Repeat Violations
An Illinois grain facility has been cited for 33 safety and health violations, including three repeat and 24 serious violations. The citations follow three inspections by OSHA and carry penalties of $93,250. Twelve of the serious violations involve grain handling standards, including exposing workers to engulfment hazards in bins storing corn. "Engulfment, falls and entanglement are real hazards in grain bins, and exposing workers to those dangers is not acceptable," said Tom Bielema, OSHA's area director in Peoria. "Employers are responsible for maintaining a safe and healthful workplace. The lack of commitment to worker safety and health must be addressed."
Three repeat safety violations involve failing to implement and maintain a written hazard communication program, failing to provide workers with hazardous chemicals training in their work areas and failing to conduct periodic inspections of and train workers on energy control procedures. OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer previously was cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The same violations were cited in May 2010 for this facility.
The 12 serious safety violations relating to OSHA's grain handling standards include: failing to provide fall protection to workers walking on grain bin roofs; failing to eliminate engulfment hazards; and failing to provide training, maintenance and housekeeping. The company was also cited for 12 additional serious violations including a lack of machine guarding, failing to provide medical evaluations for workers required to wear respirators and modifying forklifts without manufacturer approval.
A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Six other-than-serious violations include failing to: implement a respiratory protection program, certify that a workplace hazard assessment had been performed and certify that forklift operators were trained. OSHA also found electrical safety violations such as flexible cords in lieu of fixed wiring and unsecure electrical control panels. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
State Labor Law Poster Update
Vermont - Unemployment Insurance - Effective July 2013
Vermont has updated their Unemployment Insurance notice. It now explicitly notes free employment assistance and adds a number of new Labor Career Resource Centers to the list. This includes a material substantive change and a new Vermont Labor Law Poster is required. Click here to order. The updated state poster became available the week of July 29, 2013.
Texas - Ombudsman Program - Effective September 1, 2013
Texas revised the Ombudsman Program notice. The employer notification legislation language has been added to the notice, as well as clarification to an Ombudsman's abilities to assist workers. This notice is required for employers who DO provide Workers' Compensation Insurance. The new notice takes effect on 9/1/2013, though the old poster must remain posted until 8/31/2013. This is a material substantive change (for some employers) and a new Texas Labor Law Poster is required. Click here to order. The updated state poster will be available the week of August 5, 2013.
Understanding the Term "Commercial Motor Vehicle"
This article is made possible by J.J. Keller & Associates, a valued partner of the Asmark Institute for over 24 years. Our thanks to J.J. Keller for their support over the years and for the use of this article.
The definition of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) generates more questions than just about any other topic in relation to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). To guess wrong might result in some serious violations and fines. For interstate commerce carriers, every time you see the term "commercial motor vehicle" appearing in 49 CFR Parts 350-399, it is referencing the definition in Section 390.5. Based on this, the driver and vehicle are subject to driver qualifications, vehicle inspection and maintenance, equipment, USDOT numbers/markings, insurance, hours of service, and the like.
How do we know this?
Section 390.5 indicates "Unless specifically defined elsewhere, in this subchapter" the definitions provided in the section apply. One of the definitions provided is "commercial motor vehicle."
Section 390.5 defines a commercial motor vehicle as "any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle:
  1. Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater; or
  2. Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or
  3. Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or
  4. Is used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and transported in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the Secretary under 49 CFR, subtitle B, chapter I, subchapter C."
What does 'this subchapter' mean?
When Section 390.5 uses the word "subchapter," you have to look at the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 49, Transportation - which is broken up by mode. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules are found in Subtitle B, Volume 5, Chapter III of Title 49. Within Chapter III, you have Subchapters A and B. Subchapter B is essentially Parts 350-399.
Using the verbiage from Section 390.5, unless specified in Parts 350-399 (the subchapter), the term CMV is referencing the definition in Section 390.5.
When would it be different?
The regulations have a few instances of when a CMV definition would differ from Section 390.5. Parts 383, 382, and 380 have their own definition of commercial motor vehicle (i.e., specifically defined elsewhere). Basically, these definitions include only vehicles that require a commercial driver's license (CDL).
What about intrastate-only vehicles?
For intrastate commerce, a state has the option of adopting its own definitions for its version of the safety regulations. The weight thresholds for intrastate-only vehicles vary greatly, often mimicking the federal standard of 10,001 pounds or tying it into the need for a CDL. Yet other states have adopted weights completely unrelated to any federal rule (e.g., 18,001 pounds).
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.