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Newsletter
Volume 152
July 5, 2016
Preserving a Legend
Legacy Series
His greatest professional accomplishment may very well be his cooperative work with extension educators in Indiana. He has greatly improved pesticide education and has expanded the use of outreach programs. Dr. Fred Whitford, coordinator of the Purdue Pesticide Programs, has developed the PPP-Extension pesticide series which currently lists over 90 science, regulatory, consumer, business and agricultural titles. These publications represent one of the most comprehensive sources of pesticide information nationwide. He has delivered over 4,500 extension presentations across the country and recently our thoughts turned to what would we do without him. With retirement inevitable at some point, we are proud to announce we are working with Dr. Whitford to preserve as many of his highly sought-out presentations as possible. A special studio has been built to film this legend, and possibly others in the future, under the project name of the Legacy Series.
Heads Up! Watch for Your Executive Summary
Back by popular demand, this dynamic service uses logic to identify potential areas of concern specific to each manned facility. The 2016 Lighthouse Executive Summary was mailed on July 1st and is designed to prompt the facility to action before an inspector or auditor shows up. It's about dotting your i's and crossing your t's. The result should be happier audits with less violations and penalties - and hopefully you will never make the nightly news or be referred to the Attorney General's office. Each page of the Executive Summary is dedicated to a specific subject and contains a brief explanation of the regulatory requirement and how to proceed in completing it.
Nurse Tank Inspection "CT" Training: July Courses are Filling Up!
If your certification of three years has expired or if you are interested in certifying your own employees to be able to perform nurse tank inspections, then register today! We don't offer very many of these courses and they are timed to be in the offseason. Three classes will be offered at the Agricenter in Bloomington, IL between July 26-28th. Click here to register. The course is an action packed day and registration is $165 per person. Space is limited so register today.
Reminder: HazMat Annual Registration Expired on June 30th
If your company transports, or offers for transport, hazardous materials that require placarding by the DOT, they must be registered with the Department of Transportation (DOT). If your company registers with DOT annually, then your HazMat Registration expires on June 30th each year. If your company registers for a two or three year period, check your registration for the expiration year. A copy of the current registration must be carried in every company vehicle used to transport hazardous materials. You can register and pay the fee online at the DOT's website by clicking here.
PSM Lawsuit Update: Yes or No Expected Soon
Did OSHA overstep their authority on July 22, 2015 when they rescinded the letter of interpretation that originally granted the "retail exemption" to our industry? ARA and TFI have petitioned the court asking simply for a "yes" or "no" to this question. We expect to hear back from the court with their decision any day now. Stay tuned! We will pass along the news as soon as possible.
EPA To Target High-Risk RMP Facilities
With about 13,000 active Risk Management Plan (RMP) facilities on record, EPA recently announced it will focus its enforcement efforts on reducing the potential risks of accidental releases starting October 1, 2016. While EPA didn't provide a lot of detail, they expect this new National Enforcement Initiative to target facilities that pose the greatest risks, such as those located closely to dense populations or those with a history of accidental releases. According to EPA, there are approximately 2,000 facilities that fit the criteria of being considered high risk. Additionally, EPA announced a renewed effort to identify facilities that have failed to file an RMP.
2016 National Safety School - Register Today!
The 38th annual National, Agronomic, Environmental, Health & Safety School will be held on August 23-24, 2016 in Bloomington, Illinois at the Asmark Institute Agricenter. An outstanding lineup of national speakers has been confirmed to present, and this is one you won't want to miss! This year's keynote address will be given by the U.S. Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board Chairperson, Vanessa Sutherland. Other speakers include Jeffrey Wanko, the Directorate of Enforcement Program with U.S. OSHA, who will cover RAGAGEP and Nancy Fitz with the U.S. EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs will discuss the WPS update and proposed changes for certified applicators. Other favorites speaking again this year will be Brian Bothast, OSHA Compliance Specialist, Tom Bray with J.J. Keller and Associates, and Dr. Fred Whitford, who will present sprayer cleanout techniques. A special Airbrakes 101: Components & Adjustments demonstration segment will be given by Mike Templeton, former Indiana State Trooper and surface transportation consultant. Please visit the website at naehss.org for further information and to register.
It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg
More than 2,000 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, with 238 facilities already receiving their certification. We encourage you to register your facilities today and support the program. The explosion of the West, Texas retail facility in April 2013 marked a low point in the public and regulatory agencies perception of the fertilizer industry. The industry was criticized for not having an organized effort to assist retail dealers in understanding and complying with existing federal regulations. Help is in place now. For more information and to register, go to: www.responsibleag.org
Become a ResponsibleAg Auditor or Attend to Learn More....
We are seeing several organizations credential one or more of their employees to perform their own audits. Many others are signing up for the training to become contract auditors or to learn firsthand about ResponsibleAg - they want to see how it works - so they will be ready for their audit. More than 140 people have already participated in the training, with more than 85 choosing to become credentialed by ResponsibleAg. To become a ResponsibleAg auditor, the first step is to attend the training. Registration is open and two classes are offered per year. The next class will be on September 13-16th. Click here to register. This is the only course scheduled for the remainder of 2016 so register soon to reserve your seat.
Asmark Institute Sponsors 25 ResponsibleAg Auditor Training Scholarships
The Asmark Institute is happy to announce plans to provide 25 scholarships through their affiliated State associations to help encourage qualified individuals to become credentialed auditors under the ResponsibleAg Certification Program. While the numbers of "internal" auditors, those trained to perform audits for their own company, has grown rapidly, there is a need for qualified "contract" auditors, those who will provide the service of performing audits for small and medium-size independent or cooperative businesses.
Each scholarship will offset the $2,150 registration for training and includes the credentialing application process. The scholarship program is designed to help offset some of the start-up costs for new auditors and help relieve some of the risk associated with launching a new national initiative of this magnitude. Recipients of the scholarships are expected to follow through and provide the service of performing audits.
"There are no better references than the State agribusiness association to help locate, select and foster the local highly-qualified individuals needed for this program," said Allen Summers, President of the Asmark Institute," so it was an easy decision on our part to support our partners in each State and look to them for help with launching this vital program." Individuals interested in learning more about this scholarship program should contact their participating State agribusiness association. To learn more about ResponsibleAg, contact the Helpdesk at 270-683-6777 or visit the website at www.responsibleag.org.
FAA Finalizes Rules for Drones
DOT's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has finalized the first operational rules for routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or "drones"). The new rule, which takes effect in late August, offers safety regulations for unmanned aircraft drones weighing less than 55 pounds that are conducting non-hobbyist operations. Operators must have a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating, or be directly supervised by someone with such a certificate. TSA will conduct a security background check of all remote pilot applications prior to issuance of a certificate. Click here for more information on what FAA calls Part 107.
Illinois Anhydrous Ammonia Rules Are Finalized
The Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) has approved the final amendments to the rules governing Anhydrous Ammonia, Low Pressure Nitrogen Solutions, Equipment, Containers and Storage Facilities. The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association worked with the IL Department of Ag over the past several years to revise portions of the rules to ensure our state remains current with national standards that ensure that new technologies are incorporated to enhance ammonia safety as well as efficiency. The effective date of the rules was July 1, 2016.
DOT Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Rule Update
Aiming for a late August final rule, DOT's rule concerning the establishment of a Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse has reached the Office of Management Budget (OMB) for review. OMB typically takes about 90 days to review the rule before returning it to the agency for further action.
On February 20, 2014, DOT published a notice of proposed rulemaking to establish a database that would contain controlled substances (drug) and alcohol test result information for the holders of commercial driver's licenses. The proposed rule would require DOT-regulated motor carrier employers, Medical Review Officers, Substance Abuse Professionals, and consortia/third party administrators supporting DOT testing programs to report verified positive, adulterated and substituted drug test results, positive alcohol test results, test refusals, negative return-to-duty test results and information on follow-up testing.
The proposed rule would also require employers to report actual knowledge of traffic citations for driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) while under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. The proposed rule would establish the terms of access to the database, including the conditions under which information would be submitted, accessed, maintained, updated, removed, and released to prospective employers, current employers and other authorized entities. Finally, it would require laboratories that provide DOT-regulated motor carrier employers with DOT drug testing services to report annual summary information about their testing activities. This rule is mandated by Section 32402 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act.
Seat Belts Required for Passengers in CMVs Starting August 8th
DOT published a final rule in the Federal Register on June 7th requiring that all passengers traveling in property-carrying commercial motor vehicles wear seat belts. While it already requires that drivers wear seat belts, the agency has been silent on whether passengers riding in large trucks must use seat belts. The rule, effective August 8th, holds motor carriers and drivers responsible for ensuring that passengers riding in property-carrying CMVs are using seat belts. "Occupants would include instructors, evaluators or any other personnel who might be seated in a property-carrying CMV, regardless of their status," the agency said. Since 1990, federal regulations require manufacturers of trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds to install seat belts or a "complete passenger protection system" at every seating position in a truck, according to the rule.
Loss of Atrazine Will Cost Producers Dearly
EPA has started the process that may lead to the banning of atrazine. Should that happen, it will be a lot harder and more expensive to raise corn and soybeans. Atrazine is currently used on about 80% of the corn. According to Bill Johnson, weed specialist with Purdue, "Atrazine is easily the most effective broad spectrum herbicide we use that gives us control of grass and broadleaf weeds."
Decades of research have shown atrazine is safe; and, as recently as 4 years ago, the EPA did not show atrazine as a threat to the environment. Yet now their most recent assessment says the technology is a danger to man and animals. Johnson says, if farmers are prevented from using atrazine, the alternative may have more adverse environmental impacts, "The banning of atrazine will not result in the reduction of herbicide use. We will be using a higher level of chemicals in our corn production system." Some of these have the potential to have an even greater impact on the environment than atrazine.
DHS Announces Phased Roll Out of New Features
DHS recently notified registered facilities that it is strengthening the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program and plans to implement an improved risk tiering methodology this coming fall.
In the coming weeks, DHS expects to publish a Federal Register notice informing the public of their intention to begin taking steps towards implementation of the improved tiering methodology for chemical facilities of interest. The notice will temporarily suspend the requirement to submit Top-Screens and Security Vulnerability Assessments in order to allow for a phased roll out of the new Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT) 2.0 surveys. CSAT 2.0 consists of an improved CSAT Top-Screen, improved Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA), and an improved Site Security Plan. Once the proposed revisions are approved by the Office of Management and Budget, chemical facilities of interest will be notified to submit their Top-Screen using CSAT 2.0.
To minimize duplication for facilities during the interim period, DHS is planning to slow down and in some cases suspend the review of some Top-Screens and SVAs. DHS will automatically extend due dates for facilities that have Top-Screens and SVAs due in the coming weeks. These extensions will release facilities from the requirement to submit a Top-Screen or SVA until the Federal Register notice is published announcing the formal suspension.
EPA Too Focused on Enforcement, Not Assistance
EPA got "kicked around" recently in an oversight hearing by the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee where Republican members said the agency cares too much about enforcement and not enough about assisting stakeholders with compliance. Senator Mike Rounds (R, SD), Chair of the subcommittee on Superfund, waste management and regulatory oversight, said the agency at times is simply too aggressive and at times imposes unreasonable penalties using "questionable enforcement methods."
Lawmakers paid special attention to what are called "Section 114" letters, used to enforce the Clean Air Act, which includes the Risk Management Program. The agency, Rounds said, "has increasingly issued Section 114 letters to companies who are not the target of an enforcement action, but merely may have information relevant to a separate investigation." The cost of complying with the letters is "burdensome," Rounds said, and companies not part of an investigation, but in receipt of a Section 114 letter related to a separate action, can be subject to civil and criminal penalties if they don't respond "accurately and in a timely fashion."
The only witness at the hearing was Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator of EPA's Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance. Giles shot back at the unfriendly Senators, saying her office has "developed many innovative compliance assistance tools" to assist the regulated community to comply with the federal requirements, particularly those affecting small business. Committee ranking member Senator Ed Markey (D, MA) defended the agency and Giles, explaining EPA's enforcement budget has been cut 9% since 2010 and the agency is "strained by diminished resources."
EPA Settles with Nebraska Fertilizer Plant to Resolve RMP Violations
The owner of a fertilizer plant in southwest Nebraska has agreed to comply with federal Risk Management Program (RMP) requirements as part of a settlement with EPA. Under a final order filed June 20, 2016, by EPA Region 7, the Nebraska retailer will also pay a $101,808 civil penalty and must provide documentation to EPA by January 31, 2017, showing that it has completed the actions necessary to bring the facility into compliance with RMP regulations.
An EPA inspection of the facility in August 2014 found it was storing approximately 620,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia but did not have the proper Risk Management Program in place.
DOT Revises Civil Penalties
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is revising the maximum and minimum civil penalties for a knowing violation of the Federal hazardous material transportation law. A previous federal law dealing with inflation requires agencies to update their civil monetary penalties through interim final rulemaking. The maximum civil penalty for a knowing violation is now $77,114, except for violations that result in death, serious illness or severe injury to any person or substantial destruction of property, for which the maximum civil penalty is $179,933. In addition, the minimum civil penalty amount for a violation relating to training is now $463. The effective date is August 1, 2016.
OSHA Penalties to be Adjusted for Inflation After August 1st
Maximum penalties for OSHA violations are set to increase for the first time since 1990 as part of overall federal penalty adjustments mandated by Congress last year. The increases were recently announced by the Department of Labor, which issued two interim rules covering penalty adjustments for several DOL agencies, including OSHA, the Mine Safety and Health Administration and Wage and Hour Division.
OSHA's new penalty levels will take effect after August 1st, when the maximum penalty for serious violations will rise from $7,000 to over $12,471. The maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations will increase from $70,000 to $124,709. Any citations issued by OSHA after August 1st will be subject to the new penalties if the related violations occurred after November 2, 2015.
OSHA Enforcement Statistics Revealing
In fiscal year 2014, OSHA conducted 36,163 total inspections and found 67,941 violations. This is more than 3,000 fewer inspections and 10,000 fewer violations than in 2013. Some of the decrease in total inspections and violations in 2014 is attributed to the government shutdown that occurred from October 1-16, 2013. Without the government shutdown, OSHA estimates that there would have been approximately 71,000 total violations recorded in FY 2014, which is still 7,000 fewer violations than in 2013. The 2014 inspections include 146 significant enforcement actions, including 6 egregious cases. In addition, OSHA conducted 19,222 programmed inspections. According to OSHA, these inspections indicate that OSHA devoted more resources to proactively target the industries and employers that experienced the greatest number of workplace injuries and illnesses. OSHA also conducted 16,941 unprogrammed inspections, including employee complaints, injuries/fatalities and referrals.
OSHA Inspection Statistics
FY 2010
FY 2011
FY 2012
FY 2013
FY 2014
Total Inspections
40,993
40,614
40,961
39,228
36,163*
Total Programmed Inspections
24,773
23,329
23,078
22,170
19,222
Total Unprogrammed Inspections
16,220
17,285
17,883
17,058
16,941
Fatality/Catastrophe Investigations
830
851
900
826
850
Complaints
8,027
8,765
9,573
9,505
9,570
Referrals
4,634
4,776
4,864
4,024
3,829
Other Unprogrammed Inspections
2,729
2,893
2,546
2,703
2,525
OSHA Violation Statistics
FY 2010
FY 2011
FY 2012
FY 2013
FY 2014
Total Violations
96,742
85,514
78,723
78,186
67,941**
Total Serious Violations
74,885
62,115
57,112
58,316
49,616
Total Willful Violations
1,519***
594
423
319
439
Total Repeat Violations
2,758
3,229
3,034
3,139
2,966
Total Other-Than-Serious
17,244
19,306
18,054
16,290
14,503
* The October 2013 Government shutdown occurred during this time period. ** Much of the decrease in total violations in FY 2014 is attributed to the government shutdown that occurred from October 1-16, 2013. Without the government shutdown, OSHA estimates that there would have been approximately 71,000 total violations recorded in FY 2014. *** It should be noted that the significant increase in willful violations in FY 2010 is due to a number of significant enforcement actions in the refinery industry.
TFI & Nutrients for Life Foundation Unveil 4R Reader
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and the Nutrients for Life Foundation (NFLF) are joining forces to teach students about nutrient stewardship and soil science. NFLF released the 4R Reader for 3rd and 4th grade elementary school students. The activity booklet introduces the 4Rs in a way that relates to the student's life including health and eating.
"TFI's 4R Nutrient Stewardship program has made significant strides in educating our partners and stakeholders about sustainable nutrient management," said Chris Jahn, TFI President. "However, we believe that to really be effective and make an impact in the responsible use of fertilizer, we need to be teaching the next generation these same principles. The 4R Reader is an excellent tool to educate elementary school students about the basics about nutrient stewardship."
"We are excited to share this new resource with the more than 40,000 teachers nationwide in our network," said NFLF Executive Director Harriet Wegmeyer. "The 4R Nutrient Stewardship program is an important concept to teach to our nation's youth. Since its inception, NFLF has impacted more than 24 million students - it's awesome to think that students will now be introduced to the 4Rs."
To download the 4R Reader, Feeding the World & Protecting the Environment piece, or any of NFLF's soil science resources, visit https://www.nutrientsforlife.org/nutrients-life-store.
OSHA 300 Recordkeeping Changes and Penalty Schedule: Reduce Your Risk of Violation
Under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, OSHA has been authorized to raise fines for recordkeeping violations in order to account for current inflation rates. And, in subsequent years, they may continue increasing fines on an annual basis to adjust for inflation. OSHA has yet to publish the new penalty schedule-which is anticipated to be enforced beginning August 1, 2016, but penalties for a serious violation will likely rise from $7,000 to $12,471 and penalties for a repeated or willful violation will likely rise from $70,000 to $124,709.
This, coupled with the 2015 overhaul to OSHA's recordkeeping rule, which added requirements for severe injury and fatality events, presents a real threat of increased fines for organizations that fail to comply with OSHA 300 recordkeeping requirements. Potential penalties could be significant especially if OSHA uses its egregious penalty process, each affected employee would trigger a separate penalty of up to $70,000, or determines that the violation is willful or repeated, in which case the employer could be liable for up to $70,000.
The best approach for ensuring compliance is evaluating your existing program, taking a close look at the most frequent common OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping mistakes, determining if you have potential issues in these areas, and developing an organization-wide strategy to address them.
It's IRS Form 2290 Time
It's time to think about the federal highway use tax for heavy vehicles. It's that $550 fee you pay each year when you file an IRS Form 2290. The federal heavy vehicle use tax applies to trucks, truck tractors and buses with a gross taxable weight of 55,000 pounds or more. The tax year begins on July 1st and ends on June 30th. The balance due shown on the Form 2290 must be paid in full by August 31st. State governments are required to receive proof of payment of the federal heavy vehicle use tax as a condition of vehicle registration. Companies with less than 25 vehicles may pay online with the IRS, by mailed check or money order, or online. New this year, you must have an Employer Identification Number to e-file. You can no longer use your Social Security number.
FBI: Vehicles 'increasingly vulnerable' to Remote Access
The FBI is warning auto makers, motorists and auto repair shops that many of the vehicles on the road today are vulnerable to hacking from outside sources and cybersecurity can be jeopardized. The FBI went on to point out that the analysis by security analysts "demonstrated the researchers could gain significant control over vehicle functions remotely by exploiting wireless communications vulnerabilities. While the identified vulnerabilities have been addressed, it is important that consumers and manufacturers are aware of the possible threats and how an attacker may seek to remotely exploit vulnerabilities in the future.
Federal Wage and Labor Law Poster Updates
IDAHO
Unemployment Insurance (Effective date May 2016) - Idaho has updated their Unemployment Insurance notice. The new notice reflects the requirement that claims be filed online rather than being brought to the office. This is a substantive change and an updated Idaho poster is required. Click here to order.
OREGON
Minimum Wage (Effective date July 2016) - Oregon has passed a law to increase the minimum wage annually through 2023 beginning July 1st. The new notice has not yet been released but, once it has, we will update our state poster. This is a substantive change and an updated Oregon poster is required. Click here to order.
WISCONSIN
Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Leave (Effective date May 2016) - Wisconsin released the new Organ Donor Leave Notice on June 24th, backdating it to May. This is an entirely new notice which is required for employers with 50 or more employees informing them of their rights to time off for organ or bone marrow donation. Employers with 25 or more employees are required to post the employer's own leave policy. Note: Though this poster will be required only for employers with 50 or more employees, we are adding it to the All-In-One state poster. Employers with fewer employees will simply not need to update. Projected availability: The week of July 11th. This is a substantive change and a new Wisconsin poster is required as noted above. Click here to order.

By popular demand, we are including here a list of the cities and counties that also require their own labor law posters. If your company has a location within any of the following jurisdictions, please contact our Customer Service team for assistance in getting the correct posters.
CALIFORNIA
Berkeley, El Cerrito, Emeryville, Oakland, Richmond, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, Pasadena, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale and San Francisco.
COLORADO
Denver
FLORIDA
Broward County
ILLINOIS
Chicago
KENTUCKY
Louisville
MAINE
Portland
MARYLAND
Baltimore, Montgomery County and Prince George County
MICHIGAN
Ann Arbor
NEW JERSEY
Bloomfield, East Orange, Irvington, Jersey City, Montclair, New Brunswick, Newark, Passaic, Paterson and Trenton
NEW MEXICO
Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, Las Cruces, Santa Fe
NEW YORK
New York City
OREGON
Portland
PENNSYLVANIA
Philadelphia
WASHINGTON
Seattle and Tacoma
WISCONSIN
Madison
Most Quoteworthy!
"Status quo, you know, is Latin for 'the mess we're in'." Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States, 1981-1989.
2016 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.
Preserving a Legend
Legacy Series
His greatest professional accomplishment may very well be his cooperative work with extension educators in Indiana. He has greatly improved pesticide education and has expanded the use of outreach programs. Dr. Fred Whitford, coordinator of the Purdue Pesticide Programs, has developed the PPP-Extension pesticide series which currently lists over 90 science, regulatory, consumer, business and agricultural titles. These publications represent one of the most comprehensive sources of pesticide information nationwide. He has delivered over 4,500 extension presentations across the country and recently our thoughts turned to what would we do without him. With retirement inevitable at some point, we are proud to announce we are working with Dr. Whitford to preserve as many of his highly sought-out presentations as possible. A special studio has been built to film this legend, and possibly others in the future, under the project name of the Legacy Series.
Heads Up! Watch for Your Executive Summary
Back by popular demand, this dynamic service uses logic to identify potential areas of concern specific to each manned facility. The 2016 Lighthouse Executive Summary was mailed on July 1st and is designed to prompt the facility to action before an inspector or auditor shows up. It's about dotting your i's and crossing your t's. The result should be happier audits with less violations and penalties - and hopefully you will never make the nightly news or be referred to the Attorney General's office. Each page of the Executive Summary is dedicated to a specific subject and contains a brief explanation of the regulatory requirement and how to proceed in completing it.
Nurse Tank Inspection "CT" Training: July Courses are Filling Up!
If your certification of three years has expired or if you are interested in certifying your own employees to be able to perform nurse tank inspections, then register today! We don't offer very many of these courses and they are timed to be in the offseason. Three classes will be offered at the Agricenter in Bloomington, IL between July 26-28th. Click here to register. The course is an action packed day and registration is $165 per person. Space is limited so register today.
Reminder: HazMat Annual Registration Expired on June 30th
If your company transports, or offers for transport, hazardous materials that require placarding by the DOT, they must be registered with the Department of Transportation (DOT). If your company registers with DOT annually, then your HazMat Registration expires on June 30th each year. If your company registers for a two or three year period, check your registration for the expiration year. A copy of the current registration must be carried in every company vehicle used to transport hazardous materials. You can register and pay the fee online at the DOT's website by clicking here.
PSM Lawsuit Update: Yes or No Expected Soon
Did OSHA overstep their authority on July 22, 2015 when they rescinded the letter of interpretation that originally granted the "retail exemption" to our industry? ARA and TFI have petitioned the court asking simply for a "yes" or "no" to this question. We expect to hear back from the court with their decision any day now. Stay tuned! We will pass along the news as soon as possible.
EPA To Target High-Risk RMP Facilities
With about 13,000 active Risk Management Plan (RMP) facilities on record, EPA recently announced it will focus its enforcement efforts on reducing the potential risks of accidental releases starting October 1, 2016. While EPA didn't provide a lot of detail, they expect this new National Enforcement Initiative to target facilities that pose the greatest risks, such as those located closely to dense populations or those with a history of accidental releases. According to EPA, there are approximately 2,000 facilities that fit the criteria of being considered high risk. Additionally, EPA announced a renewed effort to identify facilities that have failed to file an RMP.
2016 National Safety School - Register Today!
The 38th annual National, Agronomic, Environmental, Health & Safety School will be held on August 23-24, 2016 in Bloomington, Illinois at the Asmark Institute Agricenter. An outstanding lineup of national speakers has been confirmed to present, and this is one you won't want to miss! This year's keynote address will be given by the U.S. Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board Chairperson, Vanessa Sutherland. Other speakers include Jeffrey Wanko, the Directorate of Enforcement Program with U.S. OSHA, who will cover RAGAGEP and Nancy Fitz with the U.S. EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs will discuss the WPS update and proposed changes for certified applicators. Other favorites speaking again this year will be Brian Bothast, OSHA Compliance Specialist, Tom Bray with J.J. Keller and Associates, and Dr. Fred Whitford, who will present sprayer cleanout techniques. A special Airbrakes 101: Components & Adjustments demonstration segment will be given by Mike Templeton, former Indiana State Trooper and surface transportation consultant. Please visit the website at naehss.org for further information and to register.
It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg
More than 2,000 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, with 238 facilities already receiving their certification. We encourage you to register your facilities today and support the program. The explosion of the West, Texas retail facility in April 2013 marked a low point in the public and regulatory agencies perception of the fertilizer industry. The industry was criticized for not having an organized effort to assist retail dealers in understanding and complying with existing federal regulations. Help is in place now. For more information and to register, go to: www.responsibleag.org
Become a ResponsibleAg Auditor or Attend to Learn More....
We are seeing several organizations credential one or more of their employees to perform their own audits. Many others are signing up for the training to become contract auditors or to learn firsthand about ResponsibleAg - they want to see how it works - so they will be ready for their audit. More than 140 people have already participated in the training, with more than 85 choosing to become credentialed by ResponsibleAg. To become a ResponsibleAg auditor, the first step is to attend the training. Registration is open and two classes are offered per year. The next class will be on September 13-16th. Click here to register. This is the only course scheduled for the remainder of 2016 so register soon to reserve your seat.
Asmark Institute Sponsors 25 ResponsibleAg Auditor Training Scholarships
The Asmark Institute is happy to announce plans to provide 25 scholarships through their affiliated State associations to help encourage qualified individuals to become credentialed auditors under the ResponsibleAg Certification Program. While the numbers of "internal" auditors, those trained to perform audits for their own company, has grown rapidly, there is a need for qualified "contract" auditors, those who will provide the service of performing audits for small and medium-size independent or cooperative businesses.
Each scholarship will offset the $2,150 registration for training and includes the credentialing application process. The scholarship program is designed to help offset some of the start-up costs for new auditors and help relieve some of the risk associated with launching a new national initiative of this magnitude. Recipients of the scholarships are expected to follow through and provide the service of performing audits.
"There are no better references than the State agribusiness association to help locate, select and foster the local highly-qualified individuals needed for this program," said Allen Summers, President of the Asmark Institute," so it was an easy decision on our part to support our partners in each State and look to them for help with launching this vital program." Individuals interested in learning more about this scholarship program should contact their participating State agribusiness association. To learn more about ResponsibleAg, contact the Helpdesk at 270-683-6777 or visit the website at www.responsibleag.org.
FAA Finalizes Rules for Drones
DOT's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has finalized the first operational rules for routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or "drones"). The new rule, which takes effect in late August, offers safety regulations for unmanned aircraft drones weighing less than 55 pounds that are conducting non-hobbyist operations. Operators must have a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating, or be directly supervised by someone with such a certificate. TSA will conduct a security background check of all remote pilot applications prior to issuance of a certificate. Click here for more information on what FAA calls Part 107.
Illinois Anhydrous Ammonia Rules Are Finalized
The Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) has approved the final amendments to the rules governing Anhydrous Ammonia, Low Pressure Nitrogen Solutions, Equipment, Containers and Storage Facilities. The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association worked with the IL Department of Ag over the past several years to revise portions of the rules to ensure our state remains current with national standards that ensure that new technologies are incorporated to enhance ammonia safety as well as efficiency. The effective date of the rules was July 1, 2016.
DOT Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Rule Update
Aiming for a late August final rule, DOT's rule concerning the establishment of a Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse has reached the Office of Management Budget (OMB) for review. OMB typically takes about 90 days to review the rule before returning it to the agency for further action.
On February 20, 2014, DOT published a notice of proposed rulemaking to establish a database that would contain controlled substances (drug) and alcohol test result information for the holders of commercial driver's licenses. The proposed rule would require DOT-regulated motor carrier employers, Medical Review Officers, Substance Abuse Professionals, and consortia/third party administrators supporting DOT testing programs to report verified positive, adulterated and substituted drug test results, positive alcohol test results, test refusals, negative return-to-duty test results and information on follow-up testing.
The proposed rule would also require employers to report actual knowledge of traffic citations for driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) while under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. The proposed rule would establish the terms of access to the database, including the conditions under which information would be submitted, accessed, maintained, updated, removed, and released to prospective employers, current employers and other authorized entities. Finally, it would require laboratories that provide DOT-regulated motor carrier employers with DOT drug testing services to report annual summary information about their testing activities. This rule is mandated by Section 32402 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act.
Seat Belts Required for Passengers in CMVs Starting August 8th
DOT published a final rule in the Federal Register on June 7th requiring that all passengers traveling in property-carrying commercial motor vehicles wear seat belts. While it already requires that drivers wear seat belts, the agency has been silent on whether passengers riding in large trucks must use seat belts. The rule, effective August 8th, holds motor carriers and drivers responsible for ensuring that passengers riding in property-carrying CMVs are using seat belts. "Occupants would include instructors, evaluators or any other personnel who might be seated in a property-carrying CMV, regardless of their status," the agency said. Since 1990, federal regulations require manufacturers of trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds to install seat belts or a "complete passenger protection system" at every seating position in a truck, according to the rule.
Loss of Atrazine Will Cost Producers Dearly
EPA has started the process that may lead to the banning of atrazine. Should that happen, it will be a lot harder and more expensive to raise corn and soybeans. Atrazine is currently used on about 80% of the corn. According to Bill Johnson, weed specialist with Purdue, "Atrazine is easily the most effective broad spectrum herbicide we use that gives us control of grass and broadleaf weeds."
Decades of research have shown atrazine is safe; and, as recently as 4 years ago, the EPA did not show atrazine as a threat to the environment. Yet now their most recent assessment says the technology is a danger to man and animals. Johnson says, if farmers are prevented from using atrazine, the alternative may have more adverse environmental impacts, "The banning of atrazine will not result in the reduction of herbicide use. We will be using a higher level of chemicals in our corn production system." Some of these have the potential to have an even greater impact on the environment than atrazine.
DHS Announces Phased Roll Out of New Features
DHS recently notified registered facilities that it is strengthening the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program and plans to implement an improved risk tiering methodology this coming fall.
In the coming weeks, DHS expects to publish a Federal Register notice informing the public of their intention to begin taking steps towards implementation of the improved tiering methodology for chemical facilities of interest. The notice will temporarily suspend the requirement to submit Top-Screens and Security Vulnerability Assessments in order to allow for a phased roll out of the new Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT) 2.0 surveys. CSAT 2.0 consists of an improved CSAT Top-Screen, improved Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA), and an improved Site Security Plan. Once the proposed revisions are approved by the Office of Management and Budget, chemical facilities of interest will be notified to submit their Top-Screen using CSAT 2.0.
To minimize duplication for facilities during the interim period, DHS is planning to slow down and in some cases suspend the review of some Top-Screens and SVAs. DHS will automatically extend due dates for facilities that have Top-Screens and SVAs due in the coming weeks. These extensions will release facilities from the requirement to submit a Top-Screen or SVA until the Federal Register notice is published announcing the formal suspension.
EPA Too Focused on Enforcement, Not Assistance
EPA got "kicked around" recently in an oversight hearing by the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee where Republican members said the agency cares too much about enforcement and not enough about assisting stakeholders with compliance. Senator Mike Rounds (R, SD), Chair of the subcommittee on Superfund, waste management and regulatory oversight, said the agency at times is simply too aggressive and at times imposes unreasonable penalties using "questionable enforcement methods."
Lawmakers paid special attention to what are called "Section 114" letters, used to enforce the Clean Air Act, which includes the Risk Management Program. The agency, Rounds said, "has increasingly issued Section 114 letters to companies who are not the target of an enforcement action, but merely may have information relevant to a separate investigation." The cost of complying with the letters is "burdensome," Rounds said, and companies not part of an investigation, but in receipt of a Section 114 letter related to a separate action, can be subject to civil and criminal penalties if they don't respond "accurately and in a timely fashion."
The only witness at the hearing was Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator of EPA's Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance. Giles shot back at the unfriendly Senators, saying her office has "developed many innovative compliance assistance tools" to assist the regulated community to comply with the federal requirements, particularly those affecting small business. Committee ranking member Senator Ed Markey (D, MA) defended the agency and Giles, explaining EPA's enforcement budget has been cut 9% since 2010 and the agency is "strained by diminished resources."
EPA Settles with Nebraska Fertilizer Plant to Resolve RMP Violations
The owner of a fertilizer plant in southwest Nebraska has agreed to comply with federal Risk Management Program (RMP) requirements as part of a settlement with EPA. Under a final order filed June 20, 2016, by EPA Region 7, the Nebraska retailer will also pay a $101,808 civil penalty and must provide documentation to EPA by January 31, 2017, showing that it has completed the actions necessary to bring the facility into compliance with RMP regulations.
An EPA inspection of the facility in August 2014 found it was storing approximately 620,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia but did not have the proper Risk Management Program in place.
DOT Revises Civil Penalties
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is revising the maximum and minimum civil penalties for a knowing violation of the Federal hazardous material transportation law. A previous federal law dealing with inflation requires agencies to update their civil monetary penalties through interim final rulemaking. The maximum civil penalty for a knowing violation is now $77,114, except for violations that result in death, serious illness or severe injury to any person or substantial destruction of property, for which the maximum civil penalty is $179,933. In addition, the minimum civil penalty amount for a violation relating to training is now $463. The effective date is August 1, 2016.
OSHA Penalties to be Adjusted for Inflation After August 1st
Maximum penalties for OSHA violations are set to increase for the first time since 1990 as part of overall federal penalty adjustments mandated by Congress last year. The increases were recently announced by the Department of Labor, which issued two interim rules covering penalty adjustments for several DOL agencies, including OSHA, the Mine Safety and Health Administration and Wage and Hour Division.
OSHA's new penalty levels will take effect after August 1st, when the maximum penalty for serious violations will rise from $7,000 to over $12,471. The maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations will increase from $70,000 to $124,709. Any citations issued by OSHA after August 1st will be subject to the new penalties if the related violations occurred after November 2, 2015.
OSHA Enforcement Statistics Revealing
In fiscal year 2014, OSHA conducted 36,163 total inspections and found 67,941 violations. This is more than 3,000 fewer inspections and 10,000 fewer violations than in 2013. Some of the decrease in total inspections and violations in 2014 is attributed to the government shutdown that occurred from October 1-16, 2013. Without the government shutdown, OSHA estimates that there would have been approximately 71,000 total violations recorded in FY 2014, which is still 7,000 fewer violations than in 2013. The 2014 inspections include 146 significant enforcement actions, including 6 egregious cases. In addition, OSHA conducted 19,222 programmed inspections. According to OSHA, these inspections indicate that OSHA devoted more resources to proactively target the industries and employers that experienced the greatest number of workplace injuries and illnesses. OSHA also conducted 16,941 unprogrammed inspections, including employee complaints, injuries/fatalities and referrals.
OSHA Inspection Statistics
FY 2010
FY 2011
FY 2012
FY 2013
FY 2014
Total Inspections
40,993
40,614
40,961
39,228
36,163*
Total Programmed Inspections
24,773
23,329
23,078
22,170
19,222
Total Unprogrammed Inspections
16,220
17,285
17,883
17,058
16,941
Fatality/Catastrophe Investigations
830
851
900
826
850
Complaints
8,027
8,765
9,573
9,505
9,570
Referrals
4,634
4,776
4,864
4,024
3,829
Other Unprogrammed Inspections
2,729
2,893
2,546
2,703
2,525
OSHA Violation Statistics
FY 2010
FY 2011
FY 2012
FY 2013
FY 2014
Total Violations
96,742
85,514
78,723
78,186
67,941**
Total Serious Violations
74,885
62,115
57,112
58,316
49,616
Total Willful Violations
1,519***
594
423
319
439
Total Repeat Violations
2,758
3,229
3,034
3,139
2,966
Total Other-Than-Serious
17,244
19,306
18,054
16,290
14,503
* The October 2013 Government shutdown occurred during this time period. ** Much of the decrease in total violations in FY 2014 is attributed to the government shutdown that occurred from October 1-16, 2013. Without the government shutdown, OSHA estimates that there would have been approximately 71,000 total violations recorded in FY 2014. *** It should be noted that the significant increase in willful violations in FY 2010 is due to a number of significant enforcement actions in the refinery industry.
TFI & Nutrients for Life Foundation Unveil 4R Reader
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and the Nutrients for Life Foundation (NFLF) are joining forces to teach students about nutrient stewardship and soil science. NFLF released the 4R Reader for 3rd and 4th grade elementary school students. The activity booklet introduces the 4Rs in a way that relates to the student's life including health and eating.
"TFI's 4R Nutrient Stewardship program has made significant strides in educating our partners and stakeholders about sustainable nutrient management," said Chris Jahn, TFI President. "However, we believe that to really be effective and make an impact in the responsible use of fertilizer, we need to be teaching the next generation these same principles. The 4R Reader is an excellent tool to educate elementary school students about the basics about nutrient stewardship."
"We are excited to share this new resource with the more than 40,000 teachers nationwide in our network," said NFLF Executive Director Harriet Wegmeyer. "The 4R Nutrient Stewardship program is an important concept to teach to our nation's youth. Since its inception, NFLF has impacted more than 24 million students - it's awesome to think that students will now be introduced to the 4Rs."
To download the 4R Reader, Feeding the World & Protecting the Environment piece, or any of NFLF's soil science resources, visit https://www.nutrientsforlife.org/nutrients-life-store.
OSHA 300 Recordkeeping Changes and Penalty Schedule: Reduce Your Risk of Violation
Under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, OSHA has been authorized to raise fines for recordkeeping violations in order to account for current inflation rates. And, in subsequent years, they may continue increasing fines on an annual basis to adjust for inflation. OSHA has yet to publish the new penalty schedule-which is anticipated to be enforced beginning August 1, 2016, but penalties for a serious violation will likely rise from $7,000 to $12,471 and penalties for a repeated or willful violation will likely rise from $70,000 to $124,709.
This, coupled with the 2015 overhaul to OSHA's recordkeeping rule, which added requirements for severe injury and fatality events, presents a real threat of increased fines for organizations that fail to comply with OSHA 300 recordkeeping requirements. Potential penalties could be significant especially if OSHA uses its egregious penalty process, each affected employee would trigger a separate penalty of up to $70,000, or determines that the violation is willful or repeated, in which case the employer could be liable for up to $70,000.
The best approach for ensuring compliance is evaluating your existing program, taking a close look at the most frequent common OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping mistakes, determining if you have potential issues in these areas, and developing an organization-wide strategy to address them.
It's IRS Form 2290 Time
It's time to think about the federal highway use tax for heavy vehicles. It's that $550 fee you pay each year when you file an IRS Form 2290. The federal heavy vehicle use tax applies to trucks, truck tractors and buses with a gross taxable weight of 55,000 pounds or more. The tax year begins on July 1st and ends on June 30th. The balance due shown on the Form 2290 must be paid in full by August 31st. State governments are required to receive proof of payment of the federal heavy vehicle use tax as a condition of vehicle registration. Companies with less than 25 vehicles may pay online with the IRS, by mailed check or money order, or online. New this year, you must have an Employer Identification Number to e-file. You can no longer use your Social Security number.
FBI: Vehicles 'increasingly vulnerable' to Remote Access
The FBI is warning auto makers, motorists and auto repair shops that many of the vehicles on the road today are vulnerable to hacking from outside sources and cybersecurity can be jeopardized. The FBI went on to point out that the analysis by security analysts "demonstrated the researchers could gain significant control over vehicle functions remotely by exploiting wireless communications vulnerabilities. While the identified vulnerabilities have been addressed, it is important that consumers and manufacturers are aware of the possible threats and how an attacker may seek to remotely exploit vulnerabilities in the future.
Federal Wage and Labor Law Poster Updates
IDAHO
Unemployment Insurance (Effective date May 2016) - Idaho has updated their Unemployment Insurance notice. The new notice reflects the requirement that claims be filed online rather than being brought to the office. This is a substantive change and an updated Idaho poster is required. Click here to order.
OREGON
Minimum Wage (Effective date July 2016) - Oregon has passed a law to increase the minimum wage annually through 2023 beginning July 1st. The new notice has not yet been released but, once it has, we will update our state poster. This is a substantive change and an updated Oregon poster is required. Click here to order.
WISCONSIN
Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Leave (Effective date May 2016) - Wisconsin released the new Organ Donor Leave Notice on June 24th, backdating it to May. This is an entirely new notice which is required for employers with 50 or more employees informing them of their rights to time off for organ or bone marrow donation. Employers with 25 or more employees are required to post the employer's own leave policy. Note: Though this poster will be required only for employers with 50 or more employees, we are adding it to the All-In-One state poster. Employers with fewer employees will simply not need to update. Projected availability: The week of July 11th. This is a substantive change and a new Wisconsin poster is required as noted above. Click here to order.

By popular demand, we are including here a list of the cities and counties that also require their own labor law posters. If your company has a location within any of the following jurisdictions, please contact our Customer Service team for assistance in getting the correct posters.
CALIFORNIA
Berkeley, El Cerrito, Emeryville, Oakland, Richmond, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, Pasadena, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale and San Francisco.
COLORADO
Denver
FLORIDA
Broward County
ILLINOIS
Chicago
KENTUCKY
Louisville
MAINE
Portland
MARYLAND
Baltimore, Montgomery County and Prince George County
MICHIGAN
Ann Arbor
NEW JERSEY
Bloomfield, East Orange, Irvington, Jersey City, Montclair, New Brunswick, Newark, Passaic, Paterson and Trenton
NEW MEXICO
Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, Las Cruces, Santa Fe
NEW YORK
New York City
OREGON
Portland
PENNSYLVANIA
Philadelphia
WASHINGTON
Seattle and Tacoma
WISCONSIN
Madison
Most Quoteworthy!
"Status quo, you know, is Latin for 'the mess we're in'." Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States, 1981-1989.
2016 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.