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Newsletter
Volume 132
November 3, 2014
Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture Launched
Ford B. West Center Launch Ford B. West Center Launch Ford B. West Center Launch Ford B. West Center Launch
A magically lit setting provided the backdrop for the launch of the new Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture on Monday night, October 27th. Transformed into a grand ballroom, a huge fertilizer bay served as the central point of the reception and launch. More than 120 people attended the dedication ceremony to commemorate the launch and to honor Ford B. West. Mr. West served as the President of The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), a national organization representing the agricultural nutrient industry. He retired in 2013 after 34 years of service to TFI and the industry
"Ford B. West is known throughout the U.S. for his impeccable integrity, tireless work ethic and an inherent ability to quickly dissect complicated issues into a simple plan of action. It is very fitting that we honor him by creating a first-of-its-kind learning center that will advance safety and compliance for the ag industry," said Allen Summers, President of the Asmark Institute.
Crop Production Services donated the retired facility to the Asmark Institute to help make this national training center possible. The facility will be used as a national training and education center for personnel employed in the agricultural inputs industry, including the training of auditors for the new ResponsibleAg stewardship initiative.
First ResponsibleAg Course for Auditors
Following the launch of the new training center, the inaugural course for credentialing ResponsibleAg auditors began with a class of 22 participants. The ResponsibleAg course is a rigorous curriculum that prepares participants that want to be recognized as an auditor under the ResponsibleAg certification program. The course focuses on auditing techniques and is based on the federal regulatory requirements that apply to U.S. fertilizer retailers. This first-of-its-kind curriculum is a combination of lectures, testing, role-playing scenarios, problem-solving sessions and hands-on exercises. It will serve as the cornerstone of ResponsibleAg's efforts to promote safety for fertilizer storage facilities throughout the nation. The West Center includes a computer lab designed for auditing. The entire facility is modeled after an active working farm center handling dry and liquid fertilizer, anhydrous ammonia, package and bulk crop protection chemicals, seed and other products one would find at a typical retail center.
"We greatly appreciate our partnership with our friends at the Asmark Institute," said J. Billy Pirkle, Chairman of ResponsibleAg. "With the support of the team at Asmark, the new training center will provide students and auditors the same equipment they see in the field. This will better prepare them to conduct thorough onsite assessments and ensure regulatory compliance."
ResponsibleAg Course Schedule Announced
Registration is now open for all upcoming sessions of ResponsibleAg auditor training through the end of 2015. The courses start November 18th and are offered about once a month through the end of 2015. Minimum applicant prerequisites have been established to ensure the experience, knowledge base and objectives of auditor candidates are as uniform as possible. Please click here to register or obtain more detailed information on the ResponsibleAg program and the auditor course. If you are interested in becoming a ResponsibleAg auditor, then don't delay, register today! Classes are limited in size and number and offered on a first-come first-serve basis.
Air in Ammonia Nurse Tanks Not Allowed in Illinois
The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association and the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) are asking for help in assuring that air is not introduced into anhydrous ammonia nurse tanks. The introduction of air into nurse tanks at the ag retail facility or at the farm field is not allowed by IDOA. Air can lead to stress corrosion in the nurse tanks and since ammonia is a closed transfer system, air can have detrimental impacts on the entire ammonia distribution system including in storage tanks and transport tanks. Note: This reminder serves as beneficial information regardless of the state in which you operate.
Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements
As a reminder, OSHA's final rule titled Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements was published in the September 18 Federal Register. If you haven't reviewed this new revision to the rule, you should do so as soon as possible. The rule becomes effective on January 1, 2015. The rule revises work-related reporting requirements to mandate the reporting to OSHA within 24 hours of any severe injuries or illnesses requiring in-patient hospitalization or resulting in an amputation or the loss of an eye. The requirement to report a work-related fatality to OSHA within eight hours has not changed.
CSB Reviews Emergency Response Guidebook - Makes Recommendations
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is recommending critical safety improvements to the widely-used Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) published by the DOT for emergency responders to use when confronting chemical fires, explosions and releases of hazardous materials. CSB found some of the directions given in the manual are vague, citing guidebook changes needed for handling ammonium nitrate fires such as the one that led to a massive explosion at a fertilizer storage facility in West, Texas last year.
The CSB recommendations are contained in a seven-page response to a formal Request for Information (RFI) DOT issued August 29, 2014. The next edition is scheduled for public release in 2016. The current guidebook was released in 2012. CSB proposed that the Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) place a cautionary note at the front of the manual--rather than on page 356 where it is now--to read, in capital letters, "Only intended for use when responding to transportation incidents."
CSB Investigation Team Lead Johnnie Banks noted, "The CSB recommended the ERG include additional guidance on where responders can find chemical hazard information in responding to incidents at fixed facilities, such as Safety Data Sheets or EPA-required SARA Tier 2 information which specifies the chemicals on hand at facilities. We feel responders need to know where to go for data quickly in the heat of battle."
The CSB found what investigators called "vague or poorly defined terms" in the proposed new guidelines. Where firefighters are told, for instance, to "fight fire from maximum distance," the CSB recommended DOT specify the distance so firefighters are not left to guess what "maximum" means. CSB noted the catastrophic explosion at West Fertilizer resulted in 15 fatalities and over 250 injuries, and that twelve first responders perished fighting the blaze when the storage facility exploded. The CSB reviewed the DOT guidance in the ERG for ammonium nitrate fertilizer, classified as an oxidizer. Within Guide 140 for a large fire, the guidance states "Flood fire with water from a distance." In the case of an ammonium nitrate fire similar to West Fertilizer, the CSB response to DOT notes that "flooding the fire with water from an undefined distance could result in serious injuries or fatalities if the ammonium nitrate detonated."
California Law Affects Employer Requirements for Finding and Fixing Hazards
The state of California recently enacted legislation that changes employers' responsibilities for finding and fixing workplace hazards that can harm employees. Under Assembly Bill 1634, an employer can receive a penalty reduction for fixing a hazard only if the cited hazard is shown to be actually fixed. The new law also now requires employers to fix the most serious hazards cited by California OSHA more promptly, and employers can delay correcting a cited hazard only during the first appeal. California operates its own state OSHA plan, and the new law applies only to California OSHA operations.
South Dakota Elevator Cited on Grain Violations
A 51-year-old worker was fatally injured when he became engulfed in flowing grain in a railcar load-out elevator at a South Dakota grain elevator. The worker was killed when attempting to remove a jam from a chute while the auger was moving. OSHA cited the company for multiple violations, many involving OSHA's grain handling, permit-required confined space and fall protection safety regulations. Proposed penalties totaled $120,120. "A worker can be completely submerged in flowing grain within a matter of seconds. That is what happened in this case, and a worker paid with his life," said Eric Brooks, OSHA's area director in Bismarck. "If the company had followed basic safety standards, this tragic incident could have been prevented." OSHA issued citations for allowing employees inside the grain bin while the auger and conveyor systems were operating, failing to complete a confined space entry permit before allowing workers to enter grain bins, and failing to provide fall protection for workers around an unguarded floor opening.
Potential for a Revamp of CSA
Congressman Lou Barletta, (PA), recently introduced the "Safer Trucks and Buses Act" (H.R. 5532). The legislation would prohibit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) from publishing motor safety scores on its website until the agency revamps its Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) scoring system. Under the bill, FMCSA must submit to Congress an improvement plan and implement that improvement plan. According to Barletta's legislation, once the scores are more reflective of a motor carrier's safety practices, FMCSA will be granted permission to once again make them available to the public.
Yet another MVR!
The new CDL/medical card merger rule requires a motor vehicle record (MVR) as proof of medical certification. According to the rule tying the Commercial Driver's License (CDL) to the driver's medical qualifications, carriers must request a motor vehicle record (MVR) from the state of licensing as proof of medical status. A MVR must be generated each time the CDL holder obtains a new medical certificate. For drivers with medical conditions requiring additional monitoring, they may be issued medical certification for less than two years. In some instances, this may even be for less than one year (ex. 3 or 6 months). The motor carrier must order a MVR for each new medical certification, even if that means multiple reports in one calendar year. The question has been posed, "Can we use this federal medical card MVR for our annual MVR too?" The answer is yes, providing it is requested within 12 months of the previous annual MVR. You may request an annual MVR and perform the documented annual review of the driving record early, but never late.
Check For Blocking Violations
We're not talking about football, we're talking about blocking as it relates to safety. As we visit client sites on a regular basis, we encounter one of the most common findings are blocking violations. Even clients who are doing most other things right, can have a number of blocking violations. We recommend you check your facility for access to emergency exits, eyewash stations and showers, electrical panels, electrical disconnects, fire extinguishers and pedestrian aisles to name a few. The good news is that blocking is easy to identify and fix. Consider painting zones around these areas and installing signs to inform people they can't be blocked.
Exercise Your Right to Vote
The November elections are only days away now. We have some very close elections across the country involving our representatives that are key to agriculture. The person elected to these posts will shape the future direction of our federal government and the nation's economy. Americans have the opportunity to make their voices heard by exercising their right to vote. Please make sure your co-workers, family members, friends, as well as yourself, exercise their right to vote. We encourage you to protect our industry's freedom to operate by electing pro-agribusiness candidates. Regardless of which political party or candidate you may support, it is important for every American to become politically involved and make sure their voice is heard.
Most Quoteworthy: "We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force." - Ayn Rand the American novelist, philosopher, playwright and screenwriter known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.
2014 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.
Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture Launched
Ford B. West Center Launch Ford B. West Center Launch Ford B. West Center Launch Ford B. West Center Launch
A magically lit setting provided the backdrop for the launch of the new Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture on Monday night, October 27th. Transformed into a grand ballroom, a huge fertilizer bay served as the central point of the reception and launch. More than 120 people attended the dedication ceremony to commemorate the launch and to honor Ford B. West. Mr. West served as the President of The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), a national organization representing the agricultural nutrient industry. He retired in 2013 after 34 years of service to TFI and the industry
"Ford B. West is known throughout the U.S. for his impeccable integrity, tireless work ethic and an inherent ability to quickly dissect complicated issues into a simple plan of action. It is very fitting that we honor him by creating a first-of-its-kind learning center that will advance safety and compliance for the ag industry," said Allen Summers, President of the Asmark Institute.
Crop Production Services donated the retired facility to the Asmark Institute to help make this national training center possible. The facility will be used as a national training and education center for personnel employed in the agricultural inputs industry, including the training of auditors for the new ResponsibleAg stewardship initiative.
First ResponsibleAg Course for Auditors
Following the launch of the new training center, the inaugural course for credentialing ResponsibleAg auditors began with a class of 22 participants. The ResponsibleAg course is a rigorous curriculum that prepares participants that want to be recognized as an auditor under the ResponsibleAg certification program. The course focuses on auditing techniques and is based on the federal regulatory requirements that apply to U.S. fertilizer retailers. This first-of-its-kind curriculum is a combination of lectures, testing, role-playing scenarios, problem-solving sessions and hands-on exercises. It will serve as the cornerstone of ResponsibleAg's efforts to promote safety for fertilizer storage facilities throughout the nation. The West Center includes a computer lab designed for auditing. The entire facility is modeled after an active working farm center handling dry and liquid fertilizer, anhydrous ammonia, package and bulk crop protection chemicals, seed and other products one would find at a typical retail center.
"We greatly appreciate our partnership with our friends at the Asmark Institute," said J. Billy Pirkle, Chairman of ResponsibleAg. "With the support of the team at Asmark, the new training center will provide students and auditors the same equipment they see in the field. This will better prepare them to conduct thorough onsite assessments and ensure regulatory compliance."
ResponsibleAg Course Schedule Announced
Registration is now open for all upcoming sessions of ResponsibleAg auditor training through the end of 2015. The courses start November 18th and are offered about once a month through the end of 2015. Minimum applicant prerequisites have been established to ensure the experience, knowledge base and objectives of auditor candidates are as uniform as possible. Please click here to register or obtain more detailed information on the ResponsibleAg program and the auditor course. If you are interested in becoming a ResponsibleAg auditor, then don't delay, register today! Classes are limited in size and number and offered on a first-come first-serve basis.
Air in Ammonia Nurse Tanks Not Allowed in Illinois
The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association and the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) are asking for help in assuring that air is not introduced into anhydrous ammonia nurse tanks. The introduction of air into nurse tanks at the ag retail facility or at the farm field is not allowed by IDOA. Air can lead to stress corrosion in the nurse tanks and since ammonia is a closed transfer system, air can have detrimental impacts on the entire ammonia distribution system including in storage tanks and transport tanks. Note: This reminder serves as beneficial information regardless of the state in which you operate.
Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements
As a reminder, OSHA's final rule titled Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements was published in the September 18 Federal Register. If you haven't reviewed this new revision to the rule, you should do so as soon as possible. The rule becomes effective on January 1, 2015. The rule revises work-related reporting requirements to mandate the reporting to OSHA within 24 hours of any severe injuries or illnesses requiring in-patient hospitalization or resulting in an amputation or the loss of an eye. The requirement to report a work-related fatality to OSHA within eight hours has not changed.
CSB Reviews Emergency Response Guidebook - Makes Recommendations
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is recommending critical safety improvements to the widely-used Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) published by the DOT for emergency responders to use when confronting chemical fires, explosions and releases of hazardous materials. CSB found some of the directions given in the manual are vague, citing guidebook changes needed for handling ammonium nitrate fires such as the one that led to a massive explosion at a fertilizer storage facility in West, Texas last year.
The CSB recommendations are contained in a seven-page response to a formal Request for Information (RFI) DOT issued August 29, 2014. The next edition is scheduled for public release in 2016. The current guidebook was released in 2012. CSB proposed that the Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) place a cautionary note at the front of the manual--rather than on page 356 where it is now--to read, in capital letters, "Only intended for use when responding to transportation incidents."
CSB Investigation Team Lead Johnnie Banks noted, "The CSB recommended the ERG include additional guidance on where responders can find chemical hazard information in responding to incidents at fixed facilities, such as Safety Data Sheets or EPA-required SARA Tier 2 information which specifies the chemicals on hand at facilities. We feel responders need to know where to go for data quickly in the heat of battle."
The CSB found what investigators called "vague or poorly defined terms" in the proposed new guidelines. Where firefighters are told, for instance, to "fight fire from maximum distance," the CSB recommended DOT specify the distance so firefighters are not left to guess what "maximum" means. CSB noted the catastrophic explosion at West Fertilizer resulted in 15 fatalities and over 250 injuries, and that twelve first responders perished fighting the blaze when the storage facility exploded. The CSB reviewed the DOT guidance in the ERG for ammonium nitrate fertilizer, classified as an oxidizer. Within Guide 140 for a large fire, the guidance states "Flood fire with water from a distance." In the case of an ammonium nitrate fire similar to West Fertilizer, the CSB response to DOT notes that "flooding the fire with water from an undefined distance could result in serious injuries or fatalities if the ammonium nitrate detonated."
California Law Affects Employer Requirements for Finding and Fixing Hazards
The state of California recently enacted legislation that changes employers' responsibilities for finding and fixing workplace hazards that can harm employees. Under Assembly Bill 1634, an employer can receive a penalty reduction for fixing a hazard only if the cited hazard is shown to be actually fixed. The new law also now requires employers to fix the most serious hazards cited by California OSHA more promptly, and employers can delay correcting a cited hazard only during the first appeal. California operates its own state OSHA plan, and the new law applies only to California OSHA operations.
South Dakota Elevator Cited on Grain Violations
A 51-year-old worker was fatally injured when he became engulfed in flowing grain in a railcar load-out elevator at a South Dakota grain elevator. The worker was killed when attempting to remove a jam from a chute while the auger was moving. OSHA cited the company for multiple violations, many involving OSHA's grain handling, permit-required confined space and fall protection safety regulations. Proposed penalties totaled $120,120. "A worker can be completely submerged in flowing grain within a matter of seconds. That is what happened in this case, and a worker paid with his life," said Eric Brooks, OSHA's area director in Bismarck. "If the company had followed basic safety standards, this tragic incident could have been prevented." OSHA issued citations for allowing employees inside the grain bin while the auger and conveyor systems were operating, failing to complete a confined space entry permit before allowing workers to enter grain bins, and failing to provide fall protection for workers around an unguarded floor opening.
Potential for a Revamp of CSA
Congressman Lou Barletta, (PA), recently introduced the "Safer Trucks and Buses Act" (H.R. 5532). The legislation would prohibit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) from publishing motor safety scores on its website until the agency revamps its Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) scoring system. Under the bill, FMCSA must submit to Congress an improvement plan and implement that improvement plan. According to Barletta's legislation, once the scores are more reflective of a motor carrier's safety practices, FMCSA will be granted permission to once again make them available to the public.
Yet another MVR!
The new CDL/medical card merger rule requires a motor vehicle record (MVR) as proof of medical certification. According to the rule tying the Commercial Driver's License (CDL) to the driver's medical qualifications, carriers must request a motor vehicle record (MVR) from the state of licensing as proof of medical status. A MVR must be generated each time the CDL holder obtains a new medical certificate. For drivers with medical conditions requiring additional monitoring, they may be issued medical certification for less than two years. In some instances, this may even be for less than one year (ex. 3 or 6 months). The motor carrier must order a MVR for each new medical certification, even if that means multiple reports in one calendar year. The question has been posed, "Can we use this federal medical card MVR for our annual MVR too?" The answer is yes, providing it is requested within 12 months of the previous annual MVR. You may request an annual MVR and perform the documented annual review of the driving record early, but never late.
Check For Blocking Violations
We're not talking about football, we're talking about blocking as it relates to safety. As we visit client sites on a regular basis, we encounter one of the most common findings are blocking violations. Even clients who are doing most other things right, can have a number of blocking violations. We recommend you check your facility for access to emergency exits, eyewash stations and showers, electrical panels, electrical disconnects, fire extinguishers and pedestrian aisles to name a few. The good news is that blocking is easy to identify and fix. Consider painting zones around these areas and installing signs to inform people they can't be blocked.
Exercise Your Right to Vote
The November elections are only days away now. We have some very close elections across the country involving our representatives that are key to agriculture. The person elected to these posts will shape the future direction of our federal government and the nation's economy. Americans have the opportunity to make their voices heard by exercising their right to vote. Please make sure your co-workers, family members, friends, as well as yourself, exercise their right to vote. We encourage you to protect our industry's freedom to operate by electing pro-agribusiness candidates. Regardless of which political party or candidate you may support, it is important for every American to become politically involved and make sure their voice is heard.
Most Quoteworthy: "We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force." - Ayn Rand the American novelist, philosopher, playwright and screenwriter known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.
2014 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.