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Newsletter
Volume 135
February 2, 2015
DOT Rules: Hard on the "Bee's Knees"
The phrase "bee's knees" commonly means good, cool, etc. It came about because the knees of the bee are where all the sweet, good stuff is collected. DOT's 30 minute hours of service rest break is not only not cool, but can be deadly to bees as it turns out. Bees need a continuous flow of cool air to live. Hours of service neglects that continuity. As if the declining bee population isn't enough, it can be fatal to this sensitive cargo if the truck comes to a standstill and reaches a certain temperature. The bee haulers filed a petition on January 7th for an hours of service exemption. Livestock haulers were granted an hours of service exemption last summer for related circumstances. Not surprising, the DOT and USDA are not on the same page when it comes to bees, and their knees, or their needs. One says they are livestock. One says that they are not. The bee haulers are working to secure their own hours of service petition.
Environmental Respect Awards: March 6th Deadline to Enter
An Environmental Respect Award is not a one-time honor. It is about carrying the flag, being advocates for agriculture and pledging a lifetime commitment. March 6th is the deadline to pledge your commitment. For more information, or if you have questions on how to enter, call 440-942-2000.
Reminder: Time to Post Your 300A
It's time to complete your 2014 injury and illness recordkeeping obligations by posting the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A). OSHA requires that the notice be displayed from February 1st to April 30th of each year in a conspicuous place where employee notices are customarily posted. Businesses with no injuries or illnesses for the year must still post the form. A company official must certify the information in Form 300A was examined and is believed to be correct and complete. Click here to access the form and instructions.
Reminder: New OSHA reporting requirements went into effect January 1st
Starting January 1, 2015, all employers must report all work-related fatalities within 8 hours and all in-patient hospitalizations, amputations and losses of an eye within 24 hours of finding out about the incident. Employers can report an incident by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), calling your nearest OSHA area office, during normal business hours (http://www.osha.gov/html/RAmap.html) or online at http://www.osha.gov/report_online.
SARA: Don't Let the March 1st Deadline Slip Up on
As a reminder worth mentioning, SARA Tier II submissions are due on March 1st. These are annual requirements that most retailers are familiar with; however, the penalties have become quite severe for non-compliance. We believe it is prudent to remind our clients of the upcoming deadline. Each of our clients required to submit a SARA Tier II Report will have received either a Master Report to be used by the facility personnel in reporting and certifying the data electronically as mandated by their state, or the packet of traditional hard copies to be signed, certified and submitted to their State Emergency Response Commission, Local Emergency Planning Commission and Fire Department. Don't forget to follow your state's instructions to pay any applicable fees.
SARA Tier II Report - Heads Up!
Reminder: Several State Emergency Response Commissions advise they have received questions from people who installed the new Tier2Submit2014 program and received a "Win32" error message. Tier2Submit2014 requires Windows 7 (Service Pack 1), Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. They advise if you receive a "Win32" error message to determine what operating system is being used. They believe the error message is prompted by using Windows XP, which is no longer supported by Microsoft. The only fix for this is to upgrade the operating system or use a different computer.
Pesticide-Production Report Update
Reminder: Asmark Institute submits and documents receipt of the Pesticide Production Report by U.S. EPA for each of our clients. All clients' reports are currently out for signature and should be returned as soon as possible. Nick Clements is responsible for this process. Plans are to file all annual reports on schedule to be received by U.S. EPA by the March 1st deadline.
Electronic Service Program (ESP)
More and more of our clients are electing to use ESP to receive their correspondence electronically. With each new postal increase, ESP becomes more attractive. If you are already an ESP user, please make sure you are checking and opening your notifications as they contain time-sensitive reports - especially this time of year.
Custom Application Vehicles: Safety on the Road
Based on the comments received so far, this new training program is a hit! Asmark Institute clients will find this new training program to be part of their set of DVDs. CAV: Safety on the Road was developed in cooperation with the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA). ARA is offering copies of the new training program as a membership service for $49 (member price) and $99 (non-member price) plus shipping and handling. Orders can be placed on ARA's website.
Time to Register with ResponsibleAg
The ResponsibleAg Certification Program has been launched and it's time to register your locations. We encourage you to register your facilities and support the program. The following information will help you in understanding more about the mission of ResponsibleAg:
ResponsibleAg anticipates facility assessments will begin in 2015 as the supply of credentialed auditors becomes available and the audit schedules are announced. ResponsibleAg allows you to select a credentialed auditor to perform your assessment. Please don't hesitate to contact us at the Asmark Institute or the ResponsibleAg Helpdesk at 270-683-6777 or by E-mail at helpdesk@responsibleag.org if you have questions or need additional information.
ResponsibleAg Course Schedule Announced
Registration is also open for the 2015 ResponsibleAg auditor training courses. The next course is full and will be held February 10-13, 2015. There are just a few seats left in the March course offered March 10-13th. Courses will be offered about once a month starting again in June through the end of the year. Click here to register. 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.
Driver Convicted of Causing Fatal Crash: SMV Related
An Illinois man faces jail time later this month when he's sentenced on misdemeanor convictions for causing a 2013 Iowa crash that killed a teenage girl. The driver was found guilty of failure to display a "slow-moving" triangle on a vehicle and movement of an improperly equipped vehicle. Investigators said the driver was operating a tractor that was pulling a 30-foot-long manure auger the night of October 12, 2013 when the auger was rear-ended by a sport utility vehicle carrying the 16-year-old girl. A section of the auger pierced the SUV's windshield, killing the teenager instantly. Several witnesses told investigators the manure pump was almost invisible in the darkness, and several drivers came within inches of hitting the auger in the minutes before the crash.
Burnett faces 30 days in jail and up to $625 in fines for each count. He also faces a wrongful death lawsuit in the matter. Burnett's employer at the time of the crash and the maker of the auger are also named as defendants.
DOT Refuses to Lower Drug Testing Rate from 50% to 25%
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced the 2015 rates for drug and alcohol testing, and in doing so, has revealed their unwillingness to respond to a positive track record by the regulated community. The decision has caused anger in the trucking industry. For 2015, testing will remain at the 50% of drivers rate for drugs and 10% of drivers for alcohol. The decision has sparked anger from some in the trucking industry as FMCSA has the option to lower the drug testing mandate to 25% of drivers. Other branches of DOT, such as the Federal Transit Administration, have already lowered their rates to 25%.
American Trucking Associations Executive Vice President Dave Osiecki said in a press release, "the trucking industry met the incentive-based rate reduction criteria in FMCSA's own regulations. And, the information and other data cited in FMCSA's statement on this issue raises a whole host of questions concerning the basis for the random rate decision."
FMCSA revealed slight increases in the overall initial positive drug test results and huge spikes in positive reasonable suspicion drug test results over the past few years as the reason for testing the higher rate. Positive random drug tests, however, are down slightly for the second year in a row. Reasonable suspicion positive test rates continued to rise sharply from 5.6 percent in 2010, to 15.7 percent in 2011 and 37.2 percent in 2012, marking a five-fold increase over the 3-year period.
Agribusiness Friendliness Index Ranks States
South Dakota is the number #1 Agribusiness-friendly state according to a new index created by Colorado State University professors. The Index takes into consideration 38 variables including local and state government policies, geography, climate and the overall state business climate. It considers ag inputs; crop, fruit and vegetable production; meat and livestock products; and, agricultural processing. New Hampshire was rated second. The report says both earned high marks for less government regulation, higher efficiency and greater services - "offsetting relatively weak performance in the business climate area." The bottom five states were: California, Hawaii, New York, Alabama and Mississippi - scoring low in government services important to agriculture, high levels of government regulation and less vibrant business climates. Click here for more information.
Idaho Company Cited Following Fatal Forklift Accident
The 30-year-old employee clocked in that fatal day, as he had many times before, at the Idaho-based company. The employee was in an unsecured basket raised improperly on a forklift about nine feet off the floor when the basket fell off a forklift onto the concrete floor below. In the past year, nearly one in four Idaho workplace fatalities was a result of improper forklift use. An investigation by OSHA found the company did not protect employees from numerous hazards related to the use of forklifts, including training, modifications and operation. OSHA has proposed fines of $38,780 for the violations. OSHA's Boise Area Office has developed a Local Emphasis Program for the Powered Industrial Trucks enforcement program to target many of the hazards found during their investigation.
Explosive Dust and Other Hazards Found at Texas Grain Mill
Grain-dust accumulation, in certain circumstances, can injure workers if it explodes or ignites, according to citations issued to Muleshoe, a Texas-based company. Inspectors also found workers exposed to electrical equipment contaminated with foreign materials, unused openings in a breaker box improperly closed and an uncovered junction box with live electrical parts. In addition, workers at the mill were exposed to dangerous machinery, blocked emergency exit routes and falls from a platform that lacked a guardrail. Penalties proposed total $151,200.
Wall Street Journal Chronicles NAAA's Leading Role in UAV Safety Push
The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted the National Agricultural Aviation Association's (NAAA) efforts to instill safety requirements for UAV operations. The article, titled "Man vs. Drone: Some Pilots Fight Back Against Robots," appeared on the front page of the Journal's Marketplace section. NAAA Executive Director Andrew Moore spoke with reporter Jack Nicas for the piece, which focuses on the perspective of manned-aircraft pilots working in industries that will be impacted by UAVs, such as aerial photography and crop monitoring. NAAA has been a leading advocate in the effort to ensure that pending rules governing the integration of UAVs into the National Airspace System do not come at the expense of low-level pilots' safety. While the FAA's ban on the commercial use of UAVs remains in effect until it completes its rules, the agency has granted limited exemptions for commercial UAV use to 15 operators. In many of those exemptions, the Journal reports, NAAA and the Air Line Pilots Association "helped persuade the FAA to place tight restrictions on the drone flights, including requiring operators to have pilot licenses and to keep the devices within eyeshot."
Last year, after a judge struck down the FAA's first-ever fine against a man for operating a drone recklessly, NAAA filed the only outside legal brief in support of the fine. If the FAA can't punish unsafe drone users, "then the safety of flight of all manned aircraft operations is in jeopardy," wrote the group, which urges its members to report drone sightings to the FAA. Upon appeal, last November, the National Transportation Safety Board unanimously reversed the administrative law judge's decision in Huerta v. Pirker.
Farm Fined on Hiring
A New Jersey farm has agreed to pay $117,130 in back wages and $57,870 in civil money penalties after a Wage and Hour Division investigation found violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Investigators determined that, from March through December 2012, the farmer failed to comply with INA recruitment requirements by unlawfully rejecting 13 U.S. workers from Puerto Rico, who were qualified and available for work. The agency also found the farmer offered terms and working conditions to U.S. workers that were less favorable than those offered to H-2A workers.
Definition of Solid Waste: Final Rule
EPA is publishing a final rule that revises several recycling-related provisions associated with the definition of solid waste used to determine hazardous waste regulation under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The purpose of the revisions is to ensure that the hazardous secondary materials recycling regulations, as implemented, encourage reclamation in a way that does not result in increased risk to human health and the environment from discarded hazardous secondary material. This final rule is effective on July 13, 2015. Click here for more information.
Locked Exit Door Continues to Plague Company
Company employees in Wolcott, N.Y., faced dangerous risk in a fire or emergency due to a locked backroom emergency door and inadequate emergency lighting, an OSHA inspection found. The inspection also discovered fire extinguishers were overdue for annual maintenance checks. "This is not the first time this company has been cited for this type of hazard, but it must make every effort to make sure it is the last," said Christopher Adams, OSHA's area director in Syracuse. In 2010, the retail chain was cited by OSHA for the same hazard at a Buffalo, N.Y. store.
Federal Wage and Labor Law Poster Updates
ALASKA: Minimum Wage (Effective date: 02/2015)
Alaska has increased the state minimum wage to $8.75, effective February 24, 2015. On January 1, 2016, it will again increase to $9.75. Both wages are included on the new notice. This is a substantive change and an updated Alaska poster is required. (Poster version 2.0) Click here to order.
CONNECTICUT: Paid Sick Leave (Effective date: 01/2015)
Connecticut has released a new Paid Sick Leave notice. Most of the requirements remain the same, however, the new notice adds clarification that the payroll period used to determine whether or not there are 50 or more employees is the week with October 1st in it. Also the new notice stipulates that the employer shall choose the 365 day period to calculate benefits for paid sick leave. This is a substantive change and an updated Connecticut poster is required. (Poster version 4.0) Click here to order.
***DELAWARE: Discrimination (Effective date: 10/2014)
Delaware has added Gender Identity to the Discrimination notice. The revised notice was just released, but the state has retroactively dated the notice to October 2014 to coincide with the Pregnancy Accommodations change. This is a substantive change and an updated Delaware poster is required. (Poster version 4.0) Click here to order.
MASSACHUSETTS: Minimum Wage Notice (Effective date 01/2015)
Massachusetts' Attorney General's Office has released a new minimum wage notice. They have confirmed that it is temporary and an official version will be released soon. We will update our Massachusetts All-In-One poster once the official version is done. We are currently providing the stand alone poster, free of charge. You can view and print the poster here. This notice is for informational purposes only. No new poster is required at this time.
***PENNSYLVANIA: Workers' Compensation (Effective date 01/2015)
Pennsylvania has revised their Workers' Compensation Insurance notice. In addition to numerous formatting changes, they have added a statement advising that misleading or incomplete information may violate insurance fraud laws as well as a number of new claims contact information (including hearing impaired and email). This is a substantive change and an updated Pennsylvania poster is required. (Poster version 2.0) Click here to order.
TENNESSEE: Workers' Compensation (Effective date 01/2015)
Tennessee has revised their Workers' Compensation notice. On the new notice, the requirements for the panel of physicians have been updated. Rather than requiring four physicians for back injuries, the requirement is now simply for three physicians which may, instead of the previous "must," include a chiropractor. This is a substantive change and an updated Tennessee poster is required. (Poster version 2.0) Click here to order.
***WASHINGTON, D.C.: Discrimination (Effective date: 120 days after 11/22/2014)
Washington, D.C. has released a new Discrimination Notice which reflects recent changes to protect pregnant employees from discrimination. This is a substantive change and an updated Washington, D.C. poster is required. (Poster version 3.0) Click here to order.
***Note: The Pennsylvania, Delaware and Washington, D.C. changes were just released on 1/27/2015 and have not been updated on fwlli.com. Any orders placed now for these posters will be shipped out as soon as the new posters are ready. (Approximately 10-15 working days from 1/27/2015.)
2015 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.
DOT Rules: Hard on the "Bee's Knees"
The phrase "bee's knees" commonly means good, cool, etc. It came about because the knees of the bee are where all the sweet, good stuff is collected. DOT's 30 minute hours of service rest break is not only not cool, but can be deadly to bees as it turns out. Bees need a continuous flow of cool air to live. Hours of service neglects that continuity. As if the declining bee population isn't enough, it can be fatal to this sensitive cargo if the truck comes to a standstill and reaches a certain temperature. The bee haulers filed a petition on January 7th for an hours of service exemption. Livestock haulers were granted an hours of service exemption last summer for related circumstances. Not surprising, the DOT and USDA are not on the same page when it comes to bees, and their knees, or their needs. One says they are livestock. One says that they are not. The bee haulers are working to secure their own hours of service petition.
Environmental Respect Awards: March 6th Deadline to Enter
An Environmental Respect Award is not a one-time honor. It is about carrying the flag, being advocates for agriculture and pledging a lifetime commitment. March 6th is the deadline to pledge your commitment. For more information, or if you have questions on how to enter, call 440-942-2000.
Reminder: Time to Post Your 300A
It's time to complete your 2014 injury and illness recordkeeping obligations by posting the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A). OSHA requires that the notice be displayed from February 1st to April 30th of each year in a conspicuous place where employee notices are customarily posted. Businesses with no injuries or illnesses for the year must still post the form. A company official must certify the information in Form 300A was examined and is believed to be correct and complete. Click here to access the form and instructions.
Reminder: New OSHA reporting requirements went into effect January 1st
Starting January 1, 2015, all employers must report all work-related fatalities within 8 hours and all in-patient hospitalizations, amputations and losses of an eye within 24 hours of finding out about the incident. Employers can report an incident by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), calling your nearest OSHA area office, during normal business hours (http://www.osha.gov/html/RAmap.html) or online at http://www.osha.gov/report_online.
SARA: Don't Let the March 1st Deadline Slip Up on
As a reminder worth mentioning, SARA Tier II submissions are due on March 1st. These are annual requirements that most retailers are familiar with; however, the penalties have become quite severe for non-compliance. We believe it is prudent to remind our clients of the upcoming deadline. Each of our clients required to submit a SARA Tier II Report will have received either a Master Report to be used by the facility personnel in reporting and certifying the data electronically as mandated by their state, or the packet of traditional hard copies to be signed, certified and submitted to their State Emergency Response Commission, Local Emergency Planning Commission and Fire Department. Don't forget to follow your state's instructions to pay any applicable fees.
SARA Tier II Report - Heads Up!
Reminder: Several State Emergency Response Commissions advise they have received questions from people who installed the new Tier2Submit2014 program and received a "Win32" error message. Tier2Submit2014 requires Windows 7 (Service Pack 1), Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. They advise if you receive a "Win32" error message to determine what operating system is being used. They believe the error message is prompted by using Windows XP, which is no longer supported by Microsoft. The only fix for this is to upgrade the operating system or use a different computer.
Pesticide-Production Report Update
Reminder: Asmark Institute submits and documents receipt of the Pesticide Production Report by U.S. EPA for each of our clients. All clients' reports are currently out for signature and should be returned as soon as possible. Nick Clements is responsible for this process. Plans are to file all annual reports on schedule to be received by U.S. EPA by the March 1st deadline.
Electronic Service Program (ESP)
More and more of our clients are electing to use ESP to receive their correspondence electronically. With each new postal increase, ESP becomes more attractive. If you are already an ESP user, please make sure you are checking and opening your notifications as they contain time-sensitive reports - especially this time of year.
Custom Application Vehicles: Safety on the Road
Based on the comments received so far, this new training program is a hit! Asmark Institute clients will find this new training program to be part of their set of DVDs. CAV: Safety on the Road was developed in cooperation with the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA). ARA is offering copies of the new training program as a membership service for $49 (member price) and $99 (non-member price) plus shipping and handling. Orders can be placed on ARA's website.
Time to Register with ResponsibleAg
The ResponsibleAg Certification Program has been launched and it's time to register your locations. We encourage you to register your facilities and support the program. The following information will help you in understanding more about the mission of ResponsibleAg:
ResponsibleAg anticipates facility assessments will begin in 2015 as the supply of credentialed auditors becomes available and the audit schedules are announced. ResponsibleAg allows you to select a credentialed auditor to perform your assessment. Please don't hesitate to contact us at the Asmark Institute or the ResponsibleAg Helpdesk at 270-683-6777 or by E-mail at helpdesk@responsibleag.org if you have questions or need additional information.
ResponsibleAg Course Schedule Announced
Registration is also open for the 2015 ResponsibleAg auditor training courses. The next course is full and will be held February 10-13, 2015. There are just a few seats left in the March course offered March 10-13th. Courses will be offered about once a month starting again in June through the end of the year. Click here to register. 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.
Driver Convicted of Causing Fatal Crash: SMV Related
An Illinois man faces jail time later this month when he's sentenced on misdemeanor convictions for causing a 2013 Iowa crash that killed a teenage girl. The driver was found guilty of failure to display a "slow-moving" triangle on a vehicle and movement of an improperly equipped vehicle. Investigators said the driver was operating a tractor that was pulling a 30-foot-long manure auger the night of October 12, 2013 when the auger was rear-ended by a sport utility vehicle carrying the 16-year-old girl. A section of the auger pierced the SUV's windshield, killing the teenager instantly. Several witnesses told investigators the manure pump was almost invisible in the darkness, and several drivers came within inches of hitting the auger in the minutes before the crash.
Burnett faces 30 days in jail and up to $625 in fines for each count. He also faces a wrongful death lawsuit in the matter. Burnett's employer at the time of the crash and the maker of the auger are also named as defendants.
DOT Refuses to Lower Drug Testing Rate from 50% to 25%
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced the 2015 rates for drug and alcohol testing, and in doing so, has revealed their unwillingness to respond to a positive track record by the regulated community. The decision has caused anger in the trucking industry. For 2015, testing will remain at the 50% of drivers rate for drugs and 10% of drivers for alcohol. The decision has sparked anger from some in the trucking industry as FMCSA has the option to lower the drug testing mandate to 25% of drivers. Other branches of DOT, such as the Federal Transit Administration, have already lowered their rates to 25%.
American Trucking Associations Executive Vice President Dave Osiecki said in a press release, "the trucking industry met the incentive-based rate reduction criteria in FMCSA's own regulations. And, the information and other data cited in FMCSA's statement on this issue raises a whole host of questions concerning the basis for the random rate decision."
FMCSA revealed slight increases in the overall initial positive drug test results and huge spikes in positive reasonable suspicion drug test results over the past few years as the reason for testing the higher rate. Positive random drug tests, however, are down slightly for the second year in a row. Reasonable suspicion positive test rates continued to rise sharply from 5.6 percent in 2010, to 15.7 percent in 2011 and 37.2 percent in 2012, marking a five-fold increase over the 3-year period.
Agribusiness Friendliness Index Ranks States
South Dakota is the number #1 Agribusiness-friendly state according to a new index created by Colorado State University professors. The Index takes into consideration 38 variables including local and state government policies, geography, climate and the overall state business climate. It considers ag inputs; crop, fruit and vegetable production; meat and livestock products; and, agricultural processing. New Hampshire was rated second. The report says both earned high marks for less government regulation, higher efficiency and greater services - "offsetting relatively weak performance in the business climate area." The bottom five states were: California, Hawaii, New York, Alabama and Mississippi - scoring low in government services important to agriculture, high levels of government regulation and less vibrant business climates. Click here for more information.
Idaho Company Cited Following Fatal Forklift Accident
The 30-year-old employee clocked in that fatal day, as he had many times before, at the Idaho-based company. The employee was in an unsecured basket raised improperly on a forklift about nine feet off the floor when the basket fell off a forklift onto the concrete floor below. In the past year, nearly one in four Idaho workplace fatalities was a result of improper forklift use. An investigation by OSHA found the company did not protect employees from numerous hazards related to the use of forklifts, including training, modifications and operation. OSHA has proposed fines of $38,780 for the violations. OSHA's Boise Area Office has developed a Local Emphasis Program for the Powered Industrial Trucks enforcement program to target many of the hazards found during their investigation.
Explosive Dust and Other Hazards Found at Texas Grain Mill
Grain-dust accumulation, in certain circumstances, can injure workers if it explodes or ignites, according to citations issued to Muleshoe, a Texas-based company. Inspectors also found workers exposed to electrical equipment contaminated with foreign materials, unused openings in a breaker box improperly closed and an uncovered junction box with live electrical parts. In addition, workers at the mill were exposed to dangerous machinery, blocked emergency exit routes and falls from a platform that lacked a guardrail. Penalties proposed total $151,200.
Wall Street Journal Chronicles NAAA's Leading Role in UAV Safety Push
The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted the National Agricultural Aviation Association's (NAAA) efforts to instill safety requirements for UAV operations. The article, titled "Man vs. Drone: Some Pilots Fight Back Against Robots," appeared on the front page of the Journal's Marketplace section. NAAA Executive Director Andrew Moore spoke with reporter Jack Nicas for the piece, which focuses on the perspective of manned-aircraft pilots working in industries that will be impacted by UAVs, such as aerial photography and crop monitoring. NAAA has been a leading advocate in the effort to ensure that pending rules governing the integration of UAVs into the National Airspace System do not come at the expense of low-level pilots' safety. While the FAA's ban on the commercial use of UAVs remains in effect until it completes its rules, the agency has granted limited exemptions for commercial UAV use to 15 operators. In many of those exemptions, the Journal reports, NAAA and the Air Line Pilots Association "helped persuade the FAA to place tight restrictions on the drone flights, including requiring operators to have pilot licenses and to keep the devices within eyeshot."
Last year, after a judge struck down the FAA's first-ever fine against a man for operating a drone recklessly, NAAA filed the only outside legal brief in support of the fine. If the FAA can't punish unsafe drone users, "then the safety of flight of all manned aircraft operations is in jeopardy," wrote the group, which urges its members to report drone sightings to the FAA. Upon appeal, last November, the National Transportation Safety Board unanimously reversed the administrative law judge's decision in Huerta v. Pirker.
Farm Fined on Hiring
A New Jersey farm has agreed to pay $117,130 in back wages and $57,870 in civil money penalties after a Wage and Hour Division investigation found violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Investigators determined that, from March through December 2012, the farmer failed to comply with INA recruitment requirements by unlawfully rejecting 13 U.S. workers from Puerto Rico, who were qualified and available for work. The agency also found the farmer offered terms and working conditions to U.S. workers that were less favorable than those offered to H-2A workers.
Definition of Solid Waste: Final Rule
EPA is publishing a final rule that revises several recycling-related provisions associated with the definition of solid waste used to determine hazardous waste regulation under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The purpose of the revisions is to ensure that the hazardous secondary materials recycling regulations, as implemented, encourage reclamation in a way that does not result in increased risk to human health and the environment from discarded hazardous secondary material. This final rule is effective on July 13, 2015. Click here for more information.
Locked Exit Door Continues to Plague Company
Company employees in Wolcott, N.Y., faced dangerous risk in a fire or emergency due to a locked backroom emergency door and inadequate emergency lighting, an OSHA inspection found. The inspection also discovered fire extinguishers were overdue for annual maintenance checks. "This is not the first time this company has been cited for this type of hazard, but it must make every effort to make sure it is the last," said Christopher Adams, OSHA's area director in Syracuse. In 2010, the retail chain was cited by OSHA for the same hazard at a Buffalo, N.Y. store.
Federal Wage and Labor Law Poster Updates
ALASKA: Minimum Wage (Effective date: 02/2015)
Alaska has increased the state minimum wage to $8.75, effective February 24, 2015. On January 1, 2016, it will again increase to $9.75. Both wages are included on the new notice. This is a substantive change and an updated Alaska poster is required. (Poster version 2.0) Click here to order.
CONNECTICUT: Paid Sick Leave (Effective date: 01/2015)
Connecticut has released a new Paid Sick Leave notice. Most of the requirements remain the same, however, the new notice adds clarification that the payroll period used to determine whether or not there are 50 or more employees is the week with October 1st in it. Also the new notice stipulates that the employer shall choose the 365 day period to calculate benefits for paid sick leave. This is a substantive change and an updated Connecticut poster is required. (Poster version 4.0) Click here to order.
***DELAWARE: Discrimination (Effective date: 10/2014)
Delaware has added Gender Identity to the Discrimination notice. The revised notice was just released, but the state has retroactively dated the notice to October 2014 to coincide with the Pregnancy Accommodations change. This is a substantive change and an updated Delaware poster is required. (Poster version 4.0) Click here to order.
MASSACHUSETTS: Minimum Wage Notice (Effective date 01/2015)
Massachusetts' Attorney General's Office has released a new minimum wage notice. They have confirmed that it is temporary and an official version will be released soon. We will update our Massachusetts All-In-One poster once the official version is done. We are currently providing the stand alone poster, free of charge. You can view and print the poster here. This notice is for informational purposes only. No new poster is required at this time.
***PENNSYLVANIA: Workers' Compensation (Effective date 01/2015)
Pennsylvania has revised their Workers' Compensation Insurance notice. In addition to numerous formatting changes, they have added a statement advising that misleading or incomplete information may violate insurance fraud laws as well as a number of new claims contact information (including hearing impaired and email). This is a substantive change and an updated Pennsylvania poster is required. (Poster version 2.0) Click here to order.
TENNESSEE: Workers' Compensation (Effective date 01/2015)
Tennessee has revised their Workers' Compensation notice. On the new notice, the requirements for the panel of physicians have been updated. Rather than requiring four physicians for back injuries, the requirement is now simply for three physicians which may, instead of the previous "must," include a chiropractor. This is a substantive change and an updated Tennessee poster is required. (Poster version 2.0) Click here to order.
***WASHINGTON, D.C.: Discrimination (Effective date: 120 days after 11/22/2014)
Washington, D.C. has released a new Discrimination Notice which reflects recent changes to protect pregnant employees from discrimination. This is a substantive change and an updated Washington, D.C. poster is required. (Poster version 3.0) Click here to order.
***Note: The Pennsylvania, Delaware and Washington, D.C. changes were just released on 1/27/2015 and have not been updated on fwlli.com. Any orders placed now for these posters will be shipped out as soon as the new posters are ready. (Approximately 10-15 working days from 1/27/2015.)
2015 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.