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Newsletter
Volume 137
April 1, 2015
Asmark Institute Starts Monitoring for Downgraded CDLs
DOT requires a new CDLIS-MVR be produced, reviewed and placed in the driver qualification file each time there is a change in the medical examination certification date. We added a category called "Downgraded" to the Disqualification Notice to help alert motor carriers their driver has an issue with their renewal. For new drivers, we will send notice to the facility contact as soon as we review the CDLIS-MVR. This typically occurs within a few days of creating the new driver file.
PSM "Retail Exemption" Announcement Expected
Of great interest and importance to retailers, an announcement on OSHA's Process Safety Management (PSM) "Retail Exemption" is expected this summer. OSHA has gone on record as seeing any change of the current exemption as an internal policy change, not a regulatory change, so no new rulemaking would be required according to the agency. This stance is considered to be controversial by the regulated community. Stay tuned for more information.
Note: Loss of the retail exemption would potentially cause what is considered to be a Program 2 Risk Management Program (RMP) facility to become a Program 3 RMP facility. Process Safety Management (PSM) applies to manufacturing facilities and applying it to a retail facility is considered to be very difficult, if not impossible. There has been some discussion of a "PSM-Light" version of the full rule that could be introduced and implemented with some degree of effectiveness.
2015 Regulatory Posters Coming Soon!
The 2015 regulatory posters are shipping as this newsletter is published. The posters are normally updated and shipped around the middle of February, but are subject to delays each year due to the increase in the regulatory activity that prompts the labels and Safety Data Sheets to be revised. The set of three includes posters with information on DOT shipping descriptions, Worker Protection Standards and Restricted-Use Products.
U.S. EPA Revises "List of Lists"
Dated March 2015, and just recently posted publicly, U.S. EPA has posted a revised version of the consolidated "List of Lists" on their website. The List of Lists is used as a reference for many regulatory requirements, but most importantly spill reporting. Access the List of Lists by clicking here.
ResponsibleAg Registration is Open
Just under 1,500 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program. We encourage you to register your facilities today and support the program. To become a ResponsibleAg credentialed auditor, the first step is to attend training. For auditor training, registration is also open and classes are offered about once a month through the end of the year. Click here to register.
-- Attention CDL Drivers: Heads Up! --
We estimate 30% of the CDL drivers have been downgraded by their state driver license agency. In case you missed it last month, check out the Special Report Helping Your Drivers Assure Compliance with the CDL Requirements. The Special Report has been archived on our homepage.
Reminder: 300A Should be Posted
OSHA requires your previous year's Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A) to be displayed from February 1st to April 30th of each year in a conspicuous place where employee notices are customarily posted. See any one of our last two newsletters for more information.
Caution: MCS-150 vs. MCS-150B
A basic requirement of being a motor carrier in the U.S. is updating your MCS-150 Motor Carrier Profile every two years. Not to be confused with another version of the form, DOT published the MCS-150B 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.
Non-English Speaking Truckers Off the Hook
Mexican and Canadian commercial vehicle drivers will no longer be put out-of-service for not being able to communicate in English, according to new Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) tolerance guidelines. According to CVSA's Executive Director, Stephen Keppler, not being fluent in English is not an "imminent hazard" and does not place a driver in "imminent danger of a crash." This change has been greatly debated, however the language proficiency requirement has been removed effective April 1st.
NACD Comments on OSHA's Request for Information on Process Safety Management
The National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) recently submitted comments in response to the OSHA's Request for Information (RFI) on process safety management (PSM) and prevention of major chemical accidents regulations. Through the RFI, which is an initiative related to Executive Order 13650 - Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security, OSHA proposed several options for expanding the scope of the PSM standard.
NACD urged a formal and thorough rulemaking process to determine whether changes should be made, stressing the significant impact such rule changes would have on small businesses. The association highlighted that OSHA would need to follow the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) and convene a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel to thoroughly assess the proposal's impact.
Among the changes, OSHA proposed expanding PSM coverage and the requirements for reactivity hazards. In its comments, NACD urged the agency to refrain from attempting to define or specifically cover chemical reactivity hazards in the PSM standard, stating, "Chemical reactivity involves too many factors and is too complex to be effectively defined ... PSM already covers several substances that are highly reactive, and PSM-regulated facilities evaluate reactivity during Process Hazard Analyses."
The association also recommended that OSHA and other agencies partner with process safety experts and industry organizations to provide more education and resources on reactive hazards, including reinstituting an alliance among OSHA, the EPA, universities, and major chemical industry trade organizations to improve information sharing on reactive hazards.
"Rather than making the PSM standard even more complex, NACD strongly recommends that OSHA focus its efforts on outreach, compliance assistance, and effective enforcement of the current standard. This would be the most effective way to bring facilities into compliance and prevent future accidents," wrote NACD Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Jennifer Gibson.
OSHA Set to Form Panel on Process Safety Management (PSM)
OSHA has announced it plans to convene a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act panel for discussion of its Process Safety Management rule. Topics include:
  • Update of the PSM rule.
  • Expand the list of hazardous chemicals.
  • Addition of ammonium nitrate under the PSM regulations versus revising 29 CFR 1910.109(I).
  • Expand Mechanical Integrity Procedures.
  • Define "Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practices."
  • Require third-party compliance audits.
  • Expand PSM regulatory coverage to include reactive hazards.
Des Moines Water Works Files Lawsuit against Drainage Districts for Nitrate Pollution
The Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) recently filed a lawsuit against several Iowa County Boards of Supervisors in their capacity as the Trustees of 13 drainage districts in Iowa. The lawsuit alleges that the drainage districts have failed to obtain National Pollutant Discharge Permits (NPDES) for nitrate pollution which flows into the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers from the subsurface and surface drainage structures managed by the drainage districts.
NPDES permits are required under the Clean Water Act (CWA) for point source discharges of pollution. DMWW is alleging that the drainage ditches and other drainage structures should be considered point sources under the CWA and State of Iowa's regulations. In addition to the claim that the drainage districts have failed to obtain permits, DMWW also lists a variety of other "harms" including public nuisance, negligence and trespass. If DMWW is successful, the drainage districts would be required to obtain NPDES permits for the drainage ditches that flow into the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers.
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is concerned about the potential precedent this lawsuit could set with regard to both nutrient pollution and agricultural water management and has established a member task force to address both the legal and public affairs aspects of the lawsuit. TFI is working with counsel to review the lawsuit. Additionally, TFI is in close contact with the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Iowa Farm Bureau and American Farm Bureau, as they are helping the drainage districts respond to the lawsuit. Wade Foster, the Manager, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs with TFI, is following this important issue.
U.S. Drivers Top 3 Trillion Miles in 2014
DOT reports that Americans drove nearly 3.02 trillion miles in 2014, the highest point since 2007 and the second-highest since data collection began 79 years ago.
EPA "Secret Science" Bills Draw Veto Threat
Two bills aimed at changing the way EPA uses science to justify rulemakings recently received a veto threat from the White House. The first bill would require the agency to publicly release the details of all scientific research that is used to support a proposed rule. The second bill changes the way outside members are chosen to sit on the agency's Scientific Review Board (SRB).
The White House said in its veto declaration, "The Administration strongly supports regulatory transparency, but strongly opposes (these bills). The bill would impose arbitrary, unnecessary and expensive requirements that would seriously impede EPA's ability to use science to protect public health and the environment...while increasing uncertainty for businesses and States."
The administration said the new requirements could be used to block EPA from proposing, finalizing or disseminating any "covered action" until legal challenges about the legitimate withholding of scientific and technical information are resolved.
Mandatory E-Verify Use Spawns Opposition
A bill to require all U.S. employers to use the electronic E-Verify federal system to confirm the legal status of all future hires was recently approved by the House Judiciary Committee, but the bill faces strong opposition as it moves to the floor.
The bill, the "Legal Workforce Act," is designed to overcome conflicting state and local laws and would replace the current paper I-9 forms with the electronic system. However, an employer could continue to use the paper-based I-9 system. The new system would be phased in for companies based on number of employees in six-month increments over two years. The bill would also increase penalties on employers who knowingly hire illegal workers or who knowingly submit false information to the E-Verify system. It also preempts conflicting state mandatory E-Verify laws.
E-Verify was created in 1996, and checks the Social Security Number (SSN) of a prospective employee against Social Security Administration (SSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) records to be sure a worker is eligible for legal employment. The meat and poultry industries use the system widely, and have urged Congress to make changes in the system to keep pace with technology. The program reportedly confirms 99.7% of work-eligible employees in about two minutes. Over half-a-million employers currently use the system.
List of Marine Pollutants Updated
Earlier this year, DOT published notification of 62 new entries to the List of Marine Pollutants under HM-215M. The list is found at 49 CFR 172.101 and some of the new entries include: Allyl alcohol, Ammonia Solutions, Isooctane and Turpentine.
Carrier Faces $86,900 in Penalties for Failure to Prepare for Emergency Response
Employees at the Wallingford, CT freight shipping terminal faced dangerous chemical, fire and explosion hazards as they tried to contain a chemical spill without proper training and personal protective equipment. "Workers were essentially defenseless. They didn't know how to evaluate the hazards involved, what personal protective equipment to use and what steps to follow to contain the spill safely. Worse, no one present at the terminal did," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport. "These deficiencies in emergency response put its employees at risk of death or serious injury."
The investigation determined a forklift was being used to move a pallet of tetrahydrofuran from one truck to another when a 55-gallon drum containing the liquid was punctured accidentally. The chemical began leaking through the truck bed to the ground. R+L employees attempted to contain the spill with sorbent material beneath the truck and by cordoning off the area. OSHA investigators found that Wallingford terminal's management lacked an emergency response plan and had not trained employees as first responders.
EPA Cites Facilities for SARA Tier II Violations
Four Pacific Northwest companies have agreed to correct violations and pay fines related to the reporting the storage, handling and accidental release of hazardous chemicals. Two of the firms failed to report releases of ammonia (over the reporting thresholds) at their facilities in a timely manner. Two other firms violated the hazardous chemical inventory reporting requirements of EPCRA by failing to report annually their SARA Tier II Report. The four companies collectively paid $166,555 in penalties as part of the settlements.
"First responders and communities depend on accurate chemical storage information and quick release reporting when accidents occur," said Kelly McFadden, Manager of the Pesticides and Toxics unit in the EPA Seattle office. "These laws are designed to ensure that responsible emergency preparedness, diligent record-keeping and quick reporting will help minimize health risks if the unthinkable happens."
Equipment Dealer Fined in Fatal Wheel Explosion
A farm equipment sales and service company was recently fined $70,000 after a worker was killed in the explosion of a farm tire wheel assembly. The worker, a tire technician, had removed the rim and started to mount a replacement tire on it. However, the worker noticed that the rim was bent in several places and that the replacement tire was patched. The agency said the worker obtained a two-way, non-locking air chuck and connected it to an air hose to inflate the tire. During inflation, the tire came off the rim and the air pressure caused the wheel assembly to strike the worker in his head and hands, killing him. The agency cited the company for not having a locking air chuck on the premises. If the dealership had had a locking air chuck, the agency said, the worker would not have had to hold the valve stem while inflating the tire.
Trucker Found Guilty of Negligent Homicide
Authorities say the trucker who killed an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer was on Facebook on his mobile device just seconds before the deadly crash. On May 6, 2013, Jorge Espinoza crashed on eastbound Interstate 8 in Yuma County. He was driving an empty fuel tanker at 65 mph when he crashed into three police cars and two fire trucks. They were there responding to an earlier crash. Officer Tim Huffman was in his car when Espinoza hit it and killed him.
Initially, Espinoza told police he did not see the cars or the public safety captain directing traffic around a closed lane because he was "looking in his mirror at a passing truck." Evidence showed a different reason for why Espinoza crashed. At the time of the crash, Espinoza was allegedly using his cell phone to look at pictures of women on Facebook.
Espinoza was found guilty of negligent homicide on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015. He was originally charged with second-degree murder and convicted of six counts of criminal damage and six of 13 counts of endangerment. Espinoza has been out of custody on $200,000 bond. However, Yuma County Superior Court Judge, David Haws, ordered Espinoza be taken right into custody pending sentencing.
Proof He's the Science Guy: Bill Nye is Changing His Mind About GMOs
He's not making his popular children's science show anymore, but Bill Nye the Science Guy is still making a public impact by going after pseudoscience and science denial. He's railed against the idea of teaching creationism in public schools, and he's come to the defense of climate science and vaccines.
But on another hot-button issue involving science - genetically modified organisms (GMOs) - Nye has actually angered many scientists. Over the years, including in a chapter in his 2014 book "Undeniable," Nye has suggested that there's something fundamentally problematic with foods containing GMO crops. He has argued that GMOs may carry environmental risks that we can never rule out with certainty.
Now, Nye seems to have changed his mind. Backstage after an appearance on Bill Maher's "Real Time," Nye said an upcoming revision to his book would contain a rewritten chapter on GMOs. "I went to Monsanto," Nye said, "and I spent a lot of time with the scientists there, and I have revised my outlook, and I'm very excited about telling the world."
Vroom Farm is a Centennial Farm
The Illinois Department of Agriculture has granted the historical distinction of Centennial Farm to the agricultural property owned by CropLife America CEO Jay Vroom. Originally purchased by Vroom's great grandfather in 1897, the farm located near Princeton, Illinois, has been owned by Vroom since 1994. A Centennial Farm must have been owned by a straight or collateral line of descendants for at least 100 years. Congratulations Jay on this historic distinction!
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.
Asmark Institute Starts Monitoring for Downgraded CDLs
DOT requires a new CDLIS-MVR be produced, reviewed and placed in the driver qualification file each time there is a change in the medical examination certification date. We added a category called "Downgraded" to the Disqualification Notice to help alert motor carriers their driver has an issue with their renewal. For new drivers, we will send notice to the facility contact as soon as we review the CDLIS-MVR. This typically occurs within a few days of creating the new driver file.
PSM "Retail Exemption" Announcement Expected
Of great interest and importance to retailers, an announcement on OSHA's Process Safety Management (PSM) "Retail Exemption" is expected this summer. OSHA has gone on record as seeing any change of the current exemption as an internal policy change, not a regulatory change, so no new rulemaking would be required according to the agency. This stance is considered to be controversial by the regulated community. Stay tuned for more information.
Note: Loss of the retail exemption would potentially cause what is considered to be a Program 2 Risk Management Program (RMP) facility to become a Program 3 RMP facility. Process Safety Management (PSM) applies to manufacturing facilities and applying it to a retail facility is considered to be very difficult, if not impossible. There has been some discussion of a "PSM-Light" version of the full rule that could be introduced and implemented with some degree of effectiveness.
2015 Regulatory Posters Coming Soon!
The 2015 regulatory posters are shipping as this newsletter is published. The posters are normally updated and shipped around the middle of February, but are subject to delays each year due to the increase in the regulatory activity that prompts the labels and Safety Data Sheets to be revised. The set of three includes posters with information on DOT shipping descriptions, Worker Protection Standards and Restricted-Use Products.
U.S. EPA Revises "List of Lists"
Dated March 2015, and just recently posted publicly, U.S. EPA has posted a revised version of the consolidated "List of Lists" on their website. The List of Lists is used as a reference for many regulatory requirements, but most importantly spill reporting. Access the List of Lists by clicking here.
ResponsibleAg Registration is Open
Just under 1,500 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program. We encourage you to register your facilities today and support the program. To become a ResponsibleAg credentialed auditor, the first step is to attend training. For auditor training, registration is also open and classes are offered about once a month through the end of the year. Click here to register.
-- Attention CDL Drivers: Heads Up! --
We estimate 30% of the CDL drivers have been downgraded by their state driver license agency. In case you missed it last month, check out the Special Report Helping Your Drivers Assure Compliance with the CDL Requirements. The Special Report has been archived on our homepage.
Reminder: 300A Should be Posted
OSHA requires your previous year's Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A) to be displayed from February 1st to April 30th of each year in a conspicuous place where employee notices are customarily posted. See any one of our last two newsletters for more information.
Caution: MCS-150 vs. MCS-150B
A basic requirement of being a motor carrier in the U.S. is updating your MCS-150 Motor Carrier Profile every two years. Not to be confused with another version of the form, DOT published the MCS-150B 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.
Non-English Speaking Truckers Off the Hook
Mexican and Canadian commercial vehicle drivers will no longer be put out-of-service for not being able to communicate in English, according to new Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) tolerance guidelines. According to CVSA's Executive Director, Stephen Keppler, not being fluent in English is not an "imminent hazard" and does not place a driver in "imminent danger of a crash." This change has been greatly debated, however the language proficiency requirement has been removed effective April 1st.
NACD Comments on OSHA's Request for Information on Process Safety Management
The National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) recently submitted comments in response to the OSHA's Request for Information (RFI) on process safety management (PSM) and prevention of major chemical accidents regulations. Through the RFI, which is an initiative related to Executive Order 13650 - Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security, OSHA proposed several options for expanding the scope of the PSM standard.
NACD urged a formal and thorough rulemaking process to determine whether changes should be made, stressing the significant impact such rule changes would have on small businesses. The association highlighted that OSHA would need to follow the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) and convene a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel to thoroughly assess the proposal's impact.
Among the changes, OSHA proposed expanding PSM coverage and the requirements for reactivity hazards. In its comments, NACD urged the agency to refrain from attempting to define or specifically cover chemical reactivity hazards in the PSM standard, stating, "Chemical reactivity involves too many factors and is too complex to be effectively defined ... PSM already covers several substances that are highly reactive, and PSM-regulated facilities evaluate reactivity during Process Hazard Analyses."
The association also recommended that OSHA and other agencies partner with process safety experts and industry organizations to provide more education and resources on reactive hazards, including reinstituting an alliance among OSHA, the EPA, universities, and major chemical industry trade organizations to improve information sharing on reactive hazards.
"Rather than making the PSM standard even more complex, NACD strongly recommends that OSHA focus its efforts on outreach, compliance assistance, and effective enforcement of the current standard. This would be the most effective way to bring facilities into compliance and prevent future accidents," wrote NACD Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Jennifer Gibson.
OSHA Set to Form Panel on Process Safety Management (PSM)
OSHA has announced it plans to convene a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act panel for discussion of its Process Safety Management rule. Topics include:
  • Update of the PSM rule.
  • Expand the list of hazardous chemicals.
  • Addition of ammonium nitrate under the PSM regulations versus revising 29 CFR 1910.109(I).
  • Expand Mechanical Integrity Procedures.
  • Define "Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practices."
  • Require third-party compliance audits.
  • Expand PSM regulatory coverage to include reactive hazards.
Des Moines Water Works Files Lawsuit against Drainage Districts for Nitrate Pollution
The Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) recently filed a lawsuit against several Iowa County Boards of Supervisors in their capacity as the Trustees of 13 drainage districts in Iowa. The lawsuit alleges that the drainage districts have failed to obtain National Pollutant Discharge Permits (NPDES) for nitrate pollution which flows into the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers from the subsurface and surface drainage structures managed by the drainage districts.
NPDES permits are required under the Clean Water Act (CWA) for point source discharges of pollution. DMWW is alleging that the drainage ditches and other drainage structures should be considered point sources under the CWA and State of Iowa's regulations. In addition to the claim that the drainage districts have failed to obtain permits, DMWW also lists a variety of other "harms" including public nuisance, negligence and trespass. If DMWW is successful, the drainage districts would be required to obtain NPDES permits for the drainage ditches that flow into the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers.
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is concerned about the potential precedent this lawsuit could set with regard to both nutrient pollution and agricultural water management and has established a member task force to address both the legal and public affairs aspects of the lawsuit. TFI is working with counsel to review the lawsuit. Additionally, TFI is in close contact with the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Iowa Farm Bureau and American Farm Bureau, as they are helping the drainage districts respond to the lawsuit. Wade Foster, the Manager, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs with TFI, is following this important issue.
U.S. Drivers Top 3 Trillion Miles in 2014
DOT reports that Americans drove nearly 3.02 trillion miles in 2014, the highest point since 2007 and the second-highest since data collection began 79 years ago.
EPA "Secret Science" Bills Draw Veto Threat
Two bills aimed at changing the way EPA uses science to justify rulemakings recently received a veto threat from the White House. The first bill would require the agency to publicly release the details of all scientific research that is used to support a proposed rule. The second bill changes the way outside members are chosen to sit on the agency's Scientific Review Board (SRB).
The White House said in its veto declaration, "The Administration strongly supports regulatory transparency, but strongly opposes (these bills). The bill would impose arbitrary, unnecessary and expensive requirements that would seriously impede EPA's ability to use science to protect public health and the environment...while increasing uncertainty for businesses and States."
The administration said the new requirements could be used to block EPA from proposing, finalizing or disseminating any "covered action" until legal challenges about the legitimate withholding of scientific and technical information are resolved.
Mandatory E-Verify Use Spawns Opposition
A bill to require all U.S. employers to use the electronic E-Verify federal system to confirm the legal status of all future hires was recently approved by the House Judiciary Committee, but the bill faces strong opposition as it moves to the floor.
The bill, the "Legal Workforce Act," is designed to overcome conflicting state and local laws and would replace the current paper I-9 forms with the electronic system. However, an employer could continue to use the paper-based I-9 system. The new system would be phased in for companies based on number of employees in six-month increments over two years. The bill would also increase penalties on employers who knowingly hire illegal workers or who knowingly submit false information to the E-Verify system. It also preempts conflicting state mandatory E-Verify laws.
E-Verify was created in 1996, and checks the Social Security Number (SSN) of a prospective employee against Social Security Administration (SSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) records to be sure a worker is eligible for legal employment. The meat and poultry industries use the system widely, and have urged Congress to make changes in the system to keep pace with technology. The program reportedly confirms 99.7% of work-eligible employees in about two minutes. Over half-a-million employers currently use the system.
List of Marine Pollutants Updated
Earlier this year, DOT published notification of 62 new entries to the List of Marine Pollutants under HM-215M. The list is found at 49 CFR 172.101 and some of the new entries include: Allyl alcohol, Ammonia Solutions, Isooctane and Turpentine.
Carrier Faces $86,900 in Penalties for Failure to Prepare for Emergency Response
Employees at the Wallingford, CT freight shipping terminal faced dangerous chemical, fire and explosion hazards as they tried to contain a chemical spill without proper training and personal protective equipment. "Workers were essentially defenseless. They didn't know how to evaluate the hazards involved, what personal protective equipment to use and what steps to follow to contain the spill safely. Worse, no one present at the terminal did," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport. "These deficiencies in emergency response put its employees at risk of death or serious injury."
The investigation determined a forklift was being used to move a pallet of tetrahydrofuran from one truck to another when a 55-gallon drum containing the liquid was punctured accidentally. The chemical began leaking through the truck bed to the ground. R+L employees attempted to contain the spill with sorbent material beneath the truck and by cordoning off the area. OSHA investigators found that Wallingford terminal's management lacked an emergency response plan and had not trained employees as first responders.
EPA Cites Facilities for SARA Tier II Violations
Four Pacific Northwest companies have agreed to correct violations and pay fines related to the reporting the storage, handling and accidental release of hazardous chemicals. Two of the firms failed to report releases of ammonia (over the reporting thresholds) at their facilities in a timely manner. Two other firms violated the hazardous chemical inventory reporting requirements of EPCRA by failing to report annually their SARA Tier II Report. The four companies collectively paid $166,555 in penalties as part of the settlements.
"First responders and communities depend on accurate chemical storage information and quick release reporting when accidents occur," said Kelly McFadden, Manager of the Pesticides and Toxics unit in the EPA Seattle office. "These laws are designed to ensure that responsible emergency preparedness, diligent record-keeping and quick reporting will help minimize health risks if the unthinkable happens."
Equipment Dealer Fined in Fatal Wheel Explosion
A farm equipment sales and service company was recently fined $70,000 after a worker was killed in the explosion of a farm tire wheel assembly. The worker, a tire technician, had removed the rim and started to mount a replacement tire on it. However, the worker noticed that the rim was bent in several places and that the replacement tire was patched. The agency said the worker obtained a two-way, non-locking air chuck and connected it to an air hose to inflate the tire. During inflation, the tire came off the rim and the air pressure caused the wheel assembly to strike the worker in his head and hands, killing him. The agency cited the company for not having a locking air chuck on the premises. If the dealership had had a locking air chuck, the agency said, the worker would not have had to hold the valve stem while inflating the tire.
Trucker Found Guilty of Negligent Homicide
Authorities say the trucker who killed an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer was on Facebook on his mobile device just seconds before the deadly crash. On May 6, 2013, Jorge Espinoza crashed on eastbound Interstate 8 in Yuma County. He was driving an empty fuel tanker at 65 mph when he crashed into three police cars and two fire trucks. They were there responding to an earlier crash. Officer Tim Huffman was in his car when Espinoza hit it and killed him.
Initially, Espinoza told police he did not see the cars or the public safety captain directing traffic around a closed lane because he was "looking in his mirror at a passing truck." Evidence showed a different reason for why Espinoza crashed. At the time of the crash, Espinoza was allegedly using his cell phone to look at pictures of women on Facebook.
Espinoza was found guilty of negligent homicide on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015. He was originally charged with second-degree murder and convicted of six counts of criminal damage and six of 13 counts of endangerment. Espinoza has been out of custody on $200,000 bond. However, Yuma County Superior Court Judge, David Haws, ordered Espinoza be taken right into custody pending sentencing.
Proof He's the Science Guy: Bill Nye is Changing His Mind About GMOs
He's not making his popular children's science show anymore, but Bill Nye the Science Guy is still making a public impact by going after pseudoscience and science denial. He's railed against the idea of teaching creationism in public schools, and he's come to the defense of climate science and vaccines.
But on another hot-button issue involving science - genetically modified organisms (GMOs) - Nye has actually angered many scientists. Over the years, including in a chapter in his 2014 book "Undeniable," Nye has suggested that there's something fundamentally problematic with foods containing GMO crops. He has argued that GMOs may carry environmental risks that we can never rule out with certainty.
Now, Nye seems to have changed his mind. Backstage after an appearance on Bill Maher's "Real Time," Nye said an upcoming revision to his book would contain a rewritten chapter on GMOs. "I went to Monsanto," Nye said, "and I spent a lot of time with the scientists there, and I have revised my outlook, and I'm very excited about telling the world."
Vroom Farm is a Centennial Farm
The Illinois Department of Agriculture has granted the historical distinction of Centennial Farm to the agricultural property owned by CropLife America CEO Jay Vroom. Originally purchased by Vroom's great grandfather in 1897, the farm located near Princeton, Illinois, has been owned by Vroom since 1994. A Centennial Farm must have been owned by a straight or collateral line of descendants for at least 100 years. Congratulations Jay on this historic distinction!
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.