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Newsletter
Volume 155
September 1, 2016
Congratulations!
Tommy Greene
Tommy Greene (center) of Crop Production Services in Vanceboro, NC, accepts the 2016 DuPont Ambassador of Respect Award for North America.
Congratulations go out to Tommy Greene and his team at Crop Production Services in Vanceboro, NC. They recently received top honors in a formal ceremony as recipient of the North America Ambassador of Respect for 2016 award. The winner was announced at the annual Environmental Respect Awards event in Wilmington, DE, on July 28, 2016. The program is sponsored by DuPont Crop Protection and CropLife magazine and is the agricultural industry's highest recognition for environmental stewardship. The Vanceboro branch was recognized for significant investments in improving its ag retail outlet in a proactive manner. Our most heartfelt congratulations go to the crew at Vanceboro, NC for their achievement. We also congratulate the following State/Provincial winners for stepping up and showing their environmental respect. Members of the Asmark Institute are denoted in red.
Crop Production Services - Madison, AL
Helena Chemical Company - Newport, AR
Providence Ag Seaford - Seaford, DE
Crop Production Services - Belle Glade, FL
Crop Production Services - Clay, KY - Spirit Award Winner
Crop Production Services - Hodgenville, KY
Crop Production Services - Bunkie, LA
CHS Inc. - Wayland, MI
Crop Production Services - Clarksdale, MS
Crop Production Services - Norwood, NC
Carolina-Eastern Vail - Auburn, NY
Crop Production Services - Huntingdon, TN
Crop Production Services - Cloverdale, VA
Crop Production Services - Eldon, IA
Crop Production Services - Sheldon, IL
Crop Production Services - Franklin, IN
Heinen Brothers Agra Services - Seneca, KS
Crop Production Services - Big Lake, MN
Crop Production Services - Palmyra, MO
Helena Chemical Company - Blackwell, OK
South Dakota Wheat Growers - Roscoe, SD
Crop Production Services - Salinas, CA
CHS Bingham Cooperative - American Falls, ID
Helena Chemical Company - Artesia, NM
Crop Production Services - Salem, OR
Helena Chemical Company - Wellington, TX
Crowfoot Ag Solutions - Strathmore, Alberta
Crop Production Services - Perdue, Saskatchewan
Crop Production Services - Weyburn, Saskatchewan
Case Construction Awards McKeel Equipment as Top Dealer
Case Construction Equipment has released its list of 2016 "Diamond Dealer" and "Gold Dealer" award recipients as a part of its North American program. The awards recognize dealerships across the U.S. and Canada for leadership and excellence in five categories: sales performance, marketing and communications, product support, parts support and training. We congratulate McKeel Equipment in Murray, KY as a recipient of the prestigious Diamond Dealer Award.
New OSHA Ag-30 Course Launches - Registration Open
As OSHA ramps up its requirements for reporting and recording injuries and illnesses, it will be very important that our clients take every precaution they can to avoid workplace accidents and fatalities. Understanding the OSHA requirements will save your company money - but more importantly, it will reduce the number of injuries and it may even save lives. This training has been developed specifically to meet the needs of agribusiness and is designed for facility managers or assistant managers, safety and health coordinators, EHS staff and personnel with responsibilities for safety and health at the facility. We encourage at least one person per facility receive this training.
We are proud to announce the Ford West Center for Responsible Agriculture will host this new course. Brian Miller, with Miller Risk Management, will serve as the lead instructor on this course. Brian brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this course. This training is recognized by OSHA, and upon successful completion, participants will receive a "30-Hour" training card from OSHA and a certificate from the Asmark Institute. The new OSHA Ag-30 course kicks off in November, so sign up today to reserve the class of your choice. Watch your mail for a personal invitation. Click here for more information or to register.
PSM Lawsuit Update: The Court is Running Out the Clock?
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 join the many who are anxiously awaiting to hear back from the court with their decision any day now. Stay tuned! We will pass along the news as soon as possible. The deadline as it stands today is October 1st to be in full compliance with PSM.
OSHA Visits Farm Center to Learn How Fertilizer is Blended
Working cooperatively, representatives of TFI, ARA, Brandt and the Asmark Institute provided a tour and information on August 24th on the process surrounding blended fertilizer. In June 2015, OSHA surprised our industry with news that each load of blended fertilizer would need to be accompanied by a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) prepared specific to that blend. The new requirement was interpreted to be part of the new Global Harmonization Standard (GHS). Just within the Asmark client base, there has been determined to be at least 38,260 unique blends of dry fertilizer - translating into 38,260 SDS if the agency held tight to its interpretation.
The tour demonstrated the process starting with the number of fields, the unique results associated with each soil test and how the retailer works with each grower on each field to recommend a prescription-type recommendation. No two fields are essentially the same, thus the huge number of potential blends. Sven Rundman, with the OSHA Directorate of Enforcement in Washington, DC, oversees implementation and enforcement of the OSHA hazard communication program. Mr. Rundman seemed to have a new appreciation for the blending process, the limited potential for exposure to workers and the difficulty and futility of preparing unique SDS for the thousands of blends done at retail facilities like the one owned by Brandt. He agreed to lead an effort within his office to reconsider the agency guidance issued by OSHA on the matter.
A special word of thanks to Tim McArdle, Bill Roth, Dan Dixon and Deanna with the Brandt organization for their willingness to host this tour. Also, we appreciate Andy O'Hare and Justin Louchheim with The Fertilizer Institute for his work in making the tour possible with Mr. Rundman and Kyle Liske, with ARA, for his support and participation in the tour.
Obama Administration on Track to Publish 640-plus Major Rules by 2017
A "major rule" in federal government is one that costs the regulated industry at least $100 million a year and triggers all kinds of secondary actions by the government and industry. The Obama Administration averaged 81 major rulemakings a year for the last seven-plus years, reports the American Action Forum (AAF). AAF goes on to say this White House is on track to publish 641 major rules by the time President Obama leaves office, with an estimated price tag of $813 billion.
It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg
More than 2,100 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program and just this week the 1000th audit was performed. To date, 281 facilities have already received the prestigious 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 88 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 September 13-16th class is full, so reserve your space in the February 2017 class. Click here to register.
ResponsibleAg Featured on "This Week in Agribusiness"
Last week during the Safety School and MAGIE Show, "This Week in Agribusiness" did a very professional story on the ResponsibleAg program. Tim McArdle of Brandt Consolidated and Andy O'Hare of The Fertilizer Institute were featured in the story, which aired this past Saturday. Check it out here.
CFATS Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT) Webinar Invitation
Please mark your calendars for two upcoming webinars hosted by the Department of Homeland Security addressing changes to the Chemical Facility Anti-terrorism Standards (CFATS) program.
DHS cordially invites you to view a presentation of the new Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT) 2.0 during a two-part webinar series. These webinars will provide a demonstration of the revised CSAT portal user interface and the streamlined Top-Screen, Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA) and Site Security Plan (SSP) surveys being released this fall.
Part 1: CSAT Portal User Interface and Top-Screen on September 7, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. est.
Part 2: Security Vulnerability Assessment and Site Security Plan on September 9, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. est.
CSAT 2.0 is expected to significantly improve a facility's experience when submitting surveys and dramatically decrease the burden on facilities. Additionally, it will collect the data necessary to process facilities through an improved tiering methodology, which is also being deployed this fall. Each 90-minute webinar will include an opportunity to ask questions. Webinars will be recorded and available online. In addition to this and future webinars, DHS is planning CSAT 2.0 presentations in several cities across the country, providing in-person opportunities to learn more about CSAT 2.0 and have your questions answered by the experts. Information on dates and locations will be available at https://www.dhs.gov/cfats-tiering-methodology beginning in September.
IFCA Brings Ammonia Contractors Together
We applaud Jean Payne with the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association and John Rebholz for recognizing that the companies that provide ammonia equipment and plumbing/piping/installation services to our industry will be critical partners in ensuring compliance in the coming years. Specifically, the changes to the new Illinois anhydrous ammonia storage regulations and OSHA Process Safety Management (PSM) regulations will require everyone to be well-informed and working together to complete the task. IFCA recently hosted the contractors at the Asmark Agricenter in Bloomington. The program covered a review of the new Illinois regulations and an overview of PSM. In attendance were representatives from Rocket Supply, Dibble Enterprises, Paul Akers, Fertilizer Dealer Supply, SF Welding, Squibb Taylor, Continental NH3 Products, Dultmeier Sales, Jenner Sales, AAK Mechanical, Trinity Containers and the Asmark Institute. Our thanks to Jean and John for organizing this meeting and including us.
OSHA Settlement on PSM Chemical Concentration Memo Lawsuit
On July 18, OSHA issued an enforcement memo relating to PSM chemical concentration revising its June 5, 2015 memo. The July 18th memo is the settlement product of the lawsuit the American Chemistry Council and the National Association of Chemical Distributors brought against the June 5, 2015 memo for unlawfully issuing the memo without going through the proper notice-and-comment-rulemaking. This is the second settlement OSHA has reached with industry. On May 11, 2016 OSHA revised its June 5, 2015 memo on Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practices as a result of the lawsuit between the American Petroleum Institute and the National Association of Chemical Distributors.
PSM: OSHA Clarifies Stance on Aqueous Solutions of HHCs
OSHA recently published a new Letter of Interpretation (LOI), Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals and Covered Concentrations of Listed Appendix A Chemicals. The document rescinds and replaces the document of the same title dated June 5, 2015. It clarifies the earlier document, provides additional guidance and incorporates a new interim citation policy.
The LOI discusses a significant part of the new policy:
OSHA notes that where an entry in Appendix A is listed as "anhydrous," it does not cover aqueous solutions or aqueous mixtures. Anhydrous means "containing no water" or "without water." Thus, by definition, Appendix A to PSM does not cover aqueous solutions or aqueous mixtures of chemicals specifically listed as "anhydrous."
In addition, although not specifically designated as "anhydrous," OSHA has interpreted Appendix A to mean that the PSM standard does not cover Hydrogen Chloride (CAS 7647-01-0) and/or Hydrogen Fluoride (CAS 7664-39-3) in aqueous solutions or aqueous mixtures. Therefore, the following entries in Appendix A are not covered when in aqueous solutions or aqueous mixtures:
  • Ammonia, Anhydrous (CAS 7664-41-7);
  • Dimethylamine, Anhydrous (CAS 124-40-3);
  • Hydrogen Cyanide, Anhydrous (CAS 74-90-8);
  • Methylamine, Anhydrous (CAS 74-89-5);
  • Hydrochloric Acid, Anhydrous/Hydrogen Chloride (CAS 7647-01-0); and
  • Hydrofluoric Acid, Anhydrous/Hydrogen Fluoride (CAS 7664-39-3).
In such cases, the listing in Appendix A covers only the anhydrous form of the chemical.
How Many Drones Are in Your Neighborhood? Find Out Here!
The FAA has released information showing how many hobbyist and non-hobbyist UAVs have been registered for each zip code nationwide. As of May 2016, there are 461,420 hobbyist and just 8,416 non-hobbyist UAVs registered. In Iowa, for instance, there are 4,895 hobbyist UAVs registered, or a little less than one per every ten square miles. In California, there are 57,953 UAVs, or about 3.5 UAVs per every 10 square miles. The number of UAVs bought certainly exceeds the number of UAVs registered, but this can give you a good idea of how many UAVs are in your area and serves as another reminder as to why UAV safety is, and will increasingly be, so important. (Note: Because it's an Excel file, on some computers the document will appear in your "Downloads" folder or at the bottom of the current webpage.)
New Federal Overtime Rules Become Effective December 1, 2016
On May 18, 2016, President Obama announced a new U.S. Department of Labor final rule updating federal overtime regulations. This new rule will increase the salary threshold for mandatory overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476, and becomes effective on December 1, 2016.
Under the new rule, initial increases to the standard salary level (from $455 to $913 per week) and highly compensated executives (HCE) total annual compensation requirement (from $100,000 to $134,004 per year), will be effective on December 1st. Future automatic updates to those thresholds will occur every three years, beginning on January 1, 2020. The new rule will extend mandatory overtime pay requirements to over 4 million workers.
The final rule focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for Executive, Administrative and Professional workers to be exempt. Specifically, the final rule:
  1. Sets the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region, currently the South ($913 per week; $47,476 annually for a full-year worker);
  2. Sets the total annual compensation requirement for HCEs subject to a minimal duties test to the annual equivalent of the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally ($134,004);
  3. Establishes a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every three years to maintain the levels at the above percentiles and to ensure that they continue to provide useful and effective tests for exemption; and
  4. Amends the salary basis test to allow employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the new standard salary level.
WOTUS Federal Case to be Heard in Ohio Court of Appeals Disappointing States
The federal challenge to EPA's "Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS)" rulemaking brought by 10 states will be heard and decided in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio, as an Atlanta District Court "deferred the case" citing duplication of effort. WOTUS has been under attack by agriculture, the petroleum industry, Congress and the states since it was first proposed several years ago. The rule seeks to expand EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act (CWA) in ways opponents contend lack legal justification. Congress has tried repeatedly to stop the rule, but has been unsuccessful.
The decision is a disappointment to the state attorneys general as well as supporters of the rule, who argue they want to bring the case before the District Court, providing them a fallback to the Court of Appeals if they lose. Some argue the decision to keep the case in the 6th Circuit Court makes sense as it was that court which issued the national stay of the WOTUS rule in 2015. The 6th Circuit Court also ruled it has jurisdiction in the case and continues with preparations to hear arguments. It's expected the ultimate decision in the WOTUS legal battle will be made by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ethanol Falls Under Government Scrutiny: What Could This Mean for Corn?
EPA's Inspector General (IG) has determined that "EPA has not met certain statutory requirements to identify environmental impacts of renewable fuel standard." The IG, which conducts oversight over the EPA and investigates potential wrongdoings, found that EPA has not complied with the legal requirement to report to Congress every three years on the impacts of biofuels, nor have they analyzed or addressed any negative air quality impacts of the renewable fuel standard (RFS).
The IG recommends that EPA provide to Congress reports on the RFS, as required by law, and completes a study on the environmental impact of RFS. The EPA has agreed with each recommendation made by the IG and will allegedly have an RFS report to Congress by the end of 2017. The IG's determination gives RFS critics new ammo to attack the biofuel mandate. In particular, environmentalists who claim ethanol does not significantly decrease greenhouse gas emissions once land, water and other resources are factored into a cost-benefit analysis.
Should the EPA's study show that ethanol increases or does not significantly decrease greenhouse gas emissions, the RFS could eventually be amended or eliminated, which would significantly decrease the demand for corn.
Obama to Roll Out New Climate Change Measures
President Obama's administration has unfinished business fighting climate change, which the president called "one of the most urgent challenges for our time." "We know that 2015 surpassed the hottest year on record - and 2016 is on pace to be even hotter," President Obama said in his weekly address. "There's still so much more to do. And if we keep pushing, and leading the world in the right direction, there's no doubt that, together, we can leave a better, cleaner, safer future for our children."
Obama said he plans on debuting new tools for combating climate change before he leaves office. "In the weeks and months ahead, we'll release a second round of fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles. We'll take steps to meet the goal we set with Canada and Mexico to achieve 50 percent clean power across North America by 2025," Obama said. Click Here to read more.
U.S. Proposes Mandatory Speed Limiter Devices
The federal government is proposing that heavy-duty vehicles be equipped with devices that limit their speeds on U.S. roadways, but said the limiters will not be required to be tamper-proof. The proposal, announced on August 26th, discusses the benefits of setting the maximum speed at 60, 65 and 68 miles per hour, but said a final rule could differ depending on public input and vehicle tests to determine a speed limit for specific vehicle types. Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. The rule wouldn't be effective until three years after the final rule is published in the register.
Unannounced Brake Check Day Results Released by CVSA
More than 10 percent of inspected vehicles were placed out-of-service. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) held its annual, unannounced brake check day on May 4, 2016, as part of its Operation Airbrake program. CVSA-certified inspectors in 31 participating U.S. states and Canadian provinces and territories checked brakes on 6,128 commercial motor vehicles. The inspectors found:
  • 12.4 percent of vehicles were placed out-of-service with brake violations.
  • 13.9 percent of vehicles were placed out-of-service for violations other than brake violations.
According to CVSA, brake-related violations are typically the largest category of out-of-service items. Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce the braking capacity and increase stopping distances of trucks and buses, which poses a serious risk to driver and public safety.
CVSA's next Operation Airbrake event is Brake Safety Week, Sept. 11-17, 2016, which is a week-long brake safety campaign aimed at improving commercial motor vehicle brake safety through education and enforcement.
DOT Final Rule Aligns Regulations with FAST Act
DOT recently issued a final rule on July 22, 2016, that put into place eight provisions mandated by the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) enacted on December 4, 2015. According to DOT, the regulations were non-discretionary and did not require the rulemaking process, i.e., issuance of a proposed rule and public comments. In total there were eight provisions. Printed here are those believed to affect the agricultural industry.
Section 5206: Applications for exemptions
Section 5206(b)(1) made permanent the following three existing exemptions from the 30-minute rest break requirements in Section 395.3(a(3)(ii):
  • ready-mixed concrete delivery vehicle,
  • transportation of bees, and
  • transportation of livestock while the livestock are on the vehicle.
Section 5518 - Covered farm vehicles
FMCSA revised Section 390.39(b)(1) to clarify a mandate that addressed exemptions found in state laws for covered farm vehicles. Exemptions include commercial driver's licensing (CDL), DOT drug and alcohol testing, medical qualifications, HOS and vehicle inspections.
Section 7208 - Hazardous materials endorsement exemption
The Act allows a state, at its discretion, to waive the requirement for a holder of a Class A CDL to obtain a hazardous materials endorsement to transport 1,000 gallons or less of diesel fuel. A state may waive the requirement if the license holder is 1) acting within the scope of the license holder's employment as an employee of a custom harvester operation, agrichemical business, farm retail outlet and supplier, or livestock feeder; and 2) is operating a service vehicle that is transporting diesel in a quantity of 3,785 liters (1,000 gallons) or less and that is clearly marked with a "flammable" or a "combustible" placard, as appropriate. FMCSA adds a new paragraph (i) to Section 383.3 to reflect this exemption.
If a state exercises this discretion, a driver may still be required to obtain a hazardous materials endorsement if he or she travels to a state that has not opted to waive the requirement.
Atrazine Decision Could Cost Famers $2.5 Billion
A new report from EPA on atrazine could cost the industry $2.5 billion in yield losses and increased input costs, at a time when net farm incomes are already in steep decline. EPA released its draft ecological risk assessment for atrazine in June 2016, as part of the re-registration process for the herbicide. If the recommendations included within the assessment stand, it would effectively ban atrazine. EPA is accepting public comments on the assessment through October 4th.
A 2012 economic analysis by the University of Chicago found that farming without atrazine could cost corn farmers up to $59 per acre. That's a staggering cost at a time when net farm income has already declined 55 percent over the past 2 years, according to USDA figures - and one that's bound to have repercussions across the entire agriculture industry.
USPS Announces Minor Rate Adjustment Effective August 28, 2016
The U.S. Postal Service announced that beginning August 28, 2016, they will be implementing a rate increase for First-Class Mail retail parcel service. A 7% increase will be implemented for First-Class Mail Parcels weighing 1-3 ounces. All other USPS rates will remain unchanged.
This adjustment is intended to correct an error created with this past January's rate increase, which resulted in retail prices for 1-3 ounce FMCP being lower than Commercial prices for similar items. Below you will find a table outlining the minor changes:
Rate Changes
GHS Labeling Policy Clarification from PHMSA
DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration recently issued a letter of interpretation on GHS labeling in response to a question from the Journal of HazMat Transportation. The letter of interpretation updates a prior interpretation letter (13-0038) based on revised GHS provisions. In short: only complete GHS labels (with pictograms) can be visible in transportation and should not be in such form or size to be confused with HMR labels. Click here to read the letter.
Family Business Succession Plans May be in Jeopardy
More than a year ago, the IRS and Department of Treasury said it soon would be issuing proposed regulations that would limit discounts in determining the value of business and other interests for gift and estate tax purposes. On August 2nd, the IRS finally issued these proposed regulations. The proposed regulations are 50 pages long and appear to be far reaching if adopted in their current form. Although the details are significant, the proposed regulations would eliminate almost all minority (lack of control) discounts for closely held entity interests, including active businesses owned by a family. To accomplish that, restrictions under the governing documents and even those under state law would be disregarded for valuation purposes. The IRS will hold a hearing on December 1, 2016 to receive comments about the proposed regulations. The Treasury has stated that the final regulations will not be effective until at least 30 days after they are finalized. We will be studying the proposed regulations and will provide additional information on the new rules soon. If you have any interest or plans to transfer or gift business interests, you should consider taking action before the end of the year.
NIOSH Launches New Mobile App for Pocket Guide on Chemical Hazards
NIOSH developed a new mobile application (app) version of its Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. The app can be used on any device with a Web browser. The NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards has informed workers, employers and occupational health professionals about workplace chemicals and their hazards for over forty years. The Pocket Guide gives general industrial hygiene information for over 600 chemicals/classes and helps users recognize and control workplace chemical hazards. The new app will provide this information at the fingertips.
The new app contains all of the content from the Pocket Guide publication allowing for quick searches by chemical name, trade name or synonym, DOT number and CAS number. A user can also store chemical records as "favorites" for later use, and control which data about a given chemical are displayed for clarity in the field. No data is sent between the user device and NIOSH other than the initial download and updates, so no privacy concerns are present.
To install the mobile NIOSH Pocket Guide, visit the CDC website and click or tap the "DOWNLOAD the mNPG" link. The app will require about 5 Mb of storage space on the device, and can be bookmarked like a standard website, or optionally a shortcut to the app can be saved to your device home screen.
Federal Wage and Labor Law Poster Updates
FEDERAL POSTER***
FLSA and POLYGRAPH PROTECTION ACT (Effective date: July 2016) - The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), aka Minimum Wage, notice has been revised based on upcoming changes to the rules. Among other minor revisions are three major revisions. First, the new notice advises that nursing mothers who are subject to the overtime requirements of the FLSA be provided reasonable break time to express breast milk and a place to do so, other than a bathroom, which is shielded from view and free from intrusion by coworkers or the public. Second, the enforcement provisions have been significantly revised explaining additional penalties for violations of the law. Third, the new notice addresses the misclassification of workers as "independent contractors" when they should be considered employees under the law.
The Polygraph Protection Act notice has also been revised. There is a new QR Code and other cosmetic changes. Despite the lack of significance of these changes, the Department is deeming it a mandatory update. Projected availability: The week of August 8th. This is a substantive change and an updated Federal V2.0 poster is required.
***Note: We are working towards a huge group purchase of the federal poster to be shipped in November. Each client will receive the opportunity to opt-in to this special group purchase. The federal poster is typically $17.02 (includes shipping) and we may be able to save substantially if we place an order for all clients at one time. Watch your mail!
COLORADO
Pregnancy Accommodations (Effective date: Aug 10, 2016) - This notice prohibits discrimination or adverse action against employees who request or use reasonable accommodations that do not impose undue hardship on the business. After repeated attempts for clarification from the state of Colorado, they finally admitted that the state would not provide a printed notice and would leave it to the employers to create their own notice regarding the appropriate sections of the ordinance. We have incorporated this notice into its own section on our All-In-One poster. This is a substantive change and an updated Colorado poster is required. Click here to order.
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.
Congratulations!
Tommy Greene
Tommy Greene (center) of Crop Production Services in Vanceboro, NC, accepts the 2016 DuPont Ambassador of Respect Award for North America.
Congratulations go out to Tommy Greene and his team at Crop Production Services in Vanceboro, NC. They recently received top honors in a formal ceremony as recipient of the North America Ambassador of Respect for 2016 award. The winner was announced at the annual Environmental Respect Awards event in Wilmington, DE, on July 28, 2016. The program is sponsored by DuPont Crop Protection and CropLife magazine and is the agricultural industry's highest recognition for environmental stewardship. The Vanceboro branch was recognized for significant investments in improving its ag retail outlet in a proactive manner. Our most heartfelt congratulations go to the crew at Vanceboro, NC for their achievement. We also congratulate the following State/Provincial winners for stepping up and showing their environmental respect. Members of the Asmark Institute are denoted in red.
Crop Production Services - Madison, AL
Helena Chemical Company - Newport, AR
Providence Ag Seaford - Seaford, DE
Crop Production Services - Belle Glade, FL
Crop Production Services - Clay, KY - Spirit Award Winner
Crop Production Services - Hodgenville, KY
Crop Production Services - Bunkie, LA
CHS Inc. - Wayland, MI
Crop Production Services - Clarksdale, MS
Crop Production Services - Norwood, NC
Carolina-Eastern Vail - Auburn, NY
Crop Production Services - Huntingdon, TN
Crop Production Services - Cloverdale, VA
Crop Production Services - Eldon, IA
Crop Production Services - Sheldon, IL
Crop Production Services - Franklin, IN
Heinen Brothers Agra Services - Seneca, KS
Crop Production Services - Big Lake, MN
Crop Production Services - Palmyra, MO
Helena Chemical Company - Blackwell, OK
South Dakota Wheat Growers - Roscoe, SD
Crop Production Services - Salinas, CA
CHS Bingham Cooperative - American Falls, ID
Helena Chemical Company - Artesia, NM
Crop Production Services - Salem, OR
Helena Chemical Company - Wellington, TX
Crowfoot Ag Solutions - Strathmore, Alberta
Crop Production Services - Perdue, Saskatchewan
Crop Production Services - Weyburn, Saskatchewan
Case Construction Awards McKeel Equipment as Top Dealer
Case Construction Equipment has released its list of 2016 "Diamond Dealer" and "Gold Dealer" award recipients as a part of its North American program. The awards recognize dealerships across the U.S. and Canada for leadership and excellence in five categories: sales performance, marketing and communications, product support, parts support and training. We congratulate McKeel Equipment in Murray, KY as a recipient of the prestigious Diamond Dealer Award.
New OSHA Ag-30 Course Launches - Registration Open
As OSHA ramps up its requirements for reporting and recording injuries and illnesses, it will be very important that our clients take every precaution they can to avoid workplace accidents and fatalities. Understanding the OSHA requirements will save your company money - but more importantly, it will reduce the number of injuries and it may even save lives. This training has been developed specifically to meet the needs of agribusiness and is designed for facility managers or assistant managers, safety and health coordinators, EHS staff and personnel with responsibilities for safety and health at the facility. We encourage at least one person per facility receive this training.
We are proud to announce the Ford West Center for Responsible Agriculture will host this new course. Brian Miller, with Miller Risk Management, will serve as the lead instructor on this course. Brian brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this course. This training is recognized by OSHA, and upon successful completion, participants will receive a "30-Hour" training card from OSHA and a certificate from the Asmark Institute. The new OSHA Ag-30 course kicks off in November, so sign up today to reserve the class of your choice. Watch your mail for a personal invitation. Click here for more information or to register.
PSM Lawsuit Update: The Court is Running Out the Clock?
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 join the many who are anxiously awaiting to hear back from the court with their decision any day now. Stay tuned! We will pass along the news as soon as possible. The deadline as it stands today is October 1st to be in full compliance with PSM.
OSHA Visits Farm Center to Learn How Fertilizer is Blended
Working cooperatively, representatives of TFI, ARA, Brandt and the Asmark Institute provided a tour and information on August 24th on the process surrounding blended fertilizer. In June 2015, OSHA surprised our industry with news that each load of blended fertilizer would need to be accompanied by a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) prepared specific to that blend. The new requirement was interpreted to be part of the new Global Harmonization Standard (GHS). Just within the Asmark client base, there has been determined to be at least 38,260 unique blends of dry fertilizer - translating into 38,260 SDS if the agency held tight to its interpretation.
The tour demonstrated the process starting with the number of fields, the unique results associated with each soil test and how the retailer works with each grower on each field to recommend a prescription-type recommendation. No two fields are essentially the same, thus the huge number of potential blends. Sven Rundman, with the OSHA Directorate of Enforcement in Washington, DC, oversees implementation and enforcement of the OSHA hazard communication program. Mr. Rundman seemed to have a new appreciation for the blending process, the limited potential for exposure to workers and the difficulty and futility of preparing unique SDS for the thousands of blends done at retail facilities like the one owned by Brandt. He agreed to lead an effort within his office to reconsider the agency guidance issued by OSHA on the matter.
A special word of thanks to Tim McArdle, Bill Roth, Dan Dixon and Deanna with the Brandt organization for their willingness to host this tour. Also, we appreciate Andy O'Hare and Justin Louchheim with The Fertilizer Institute for his work in making the tour possible with Mr. Rundman and Kyle Liske, with ARA, for his support and participation in the tour.
Obama Administration on Track to Publish 640-plus Major Rules by 2017
A "major rule" in federal government is one that costs the regulated industry at least $100 million a year and triggers all kinds of secondary actions by the government and industry. The Obama Administration averaged 81 major rulemakings a year for the last seven-plus years, reports the American Action Forum (AAF). AAF goes on to say this White House is on track to publish 641 major rules by the time President Obama leaves office, with an estimated price tag of $813 billion.
It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg
More than 2,100 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program and just this week the 1000th audit was performed. To date, 281 facilities have already received the prestigious 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 88 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 September 13-16th class is full, so reserve your space in the February 2017 class. Click here to register.
ResponsibleAg Featured on "This Week in Agribusiness"
Last week during the Safety School and MAGIE Show, "This Week in Agribusiness" did a very professional story on the ResponsibleAg program. Tim McArdle of Brandt Consolidated and Andy O'Hare of The Fertilizer Institute were featured in the story, which aired this past Saturday. Check it out here.
CFATS Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT) Webinar Invitation
Please mark your calendars for two upcoming webinars hosted by the Department of Homeland Security addressing changes to the Chemical Facility Anti-terrorism Standards (CFATS) program.
DHS cordially invites you to view a presentation of the new Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT) 2.0 during a two-part webinar series. These webinars will provide a demonstration of the revised CSAT portal user interface and the streamlined Top-Screen, Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA) and Site Security Plan (SSP) surveys being released this fall.
Part 1: CSAT Portal User Interface and Top-Screen on September 7, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. est.
Part 2: Security Vulnerability Assessment and Site Security Plan on September 9, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. est.
CSAT 2.0 is expected to significantly improve a facility's experience when submitting surveys and dramatically decrease the burden on facilities. Additionally, it will collect the data necessary to process facilities through an improved tiering methodology, which is also being deployed this fall. Each 90-minute webinar will include an opportunity to ask questions. Webinars will be recorded and available online. In addition to this and future webinars, DHS is planning CSAT 2.0 presentations in several cities across the country, providing in-person opportunities to learn more about CSAT 2.0 and have your questions answered by the experts. Information on dates and locations will be available at https://www.dhs.gov/cfats-tiering-methodology beginning in September.
IFCA Brings Ammonia Contractors Together
We applaud Jean Payne with the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association and John Rebholz for recognizing that the companies that provide ammonia equipment and plumbing/piping/installation services to our industry will be critical partners in ensuring compliance in the coming years. Specifically, the changes to the new Illinois anhydrous ammonia storage regulations and OSHA Process Safety Management (PSM) regulations will require everyone to be well-informed and working together to complete the task. IFCA recently hosted the contractors at the Asmark Agricenter in Bloomington. The program covered a review of the new Illinois regulations and an overview of PSM. In attendance were representatives from Rocket Supply, Dibble Enterprises, Paul Akers, Fertilizer Dealer Supply, SF Welding, Squibb Taylor, Continental NH3 Products, Dultmeier Sales, Jenner Sales, AAK Mechanical, Trinity Containers and the Asmark Institute. Our thanks to Jean and John for organizing this meeting and including us.
OSHA Settlement on PSM Chemical Concentration Memo Lawsuit
On July 18, OSHA issued an enforcement memo relating to PSM chemical concentration revising its June 5, 2015 memo. The July 18th memo is the settlement product of the lawsuit the American Chemistry Council and the National Association of Chemical Distributors brought against the June 5, 2015 memo for unlawfully issuing the memo without going through the proper notice-and-comment-rulemaking. This is the second settlement OSHA has reached with industry. On May 11, 2016 OSHA revised its June 5, 2015 memo on Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practices as a result of the lawsuit between the American Petroleum Institute and the National Association of Chemical Distributors.
PSM: OSHA Clarifies Stance on Aqueous Solutions of HHCs
OSHA recently published a new Letter of Interpretation (LOI), Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals and Covered Concentrations of Listed Appendix A Chemicals. The document rescinds and replaces the document of the same title dated June 5, 2015. It clarifies the earlier document, provides additional guidance and incorporates a new interim citation policy.
The LOI discusses a significant part of the new policy:
OSHA notes that where an entry in Appendix A is listed as "anhydrous," it does not cover aqueous solutions or aqueous mixtures. Anhydrous means "containing no water" or "without water." Thus, by definition, Appendix A to PSM does not cover aqueous solutions or aqueous mixtures of chemicals specifically listed as "anhydrous."
In addition, although not specifically designated as "anhydrous," OSHA has interpreted Appendix A to mean that the PSM standard does not cover Hydrogen Chloride (CAS 7647-01-0) and/or Hydrogen Fluoride (CAS 7664-39-3) in aqueous solutions or aqueous mixtures. Therefore, the following entries in Appendix A are not covered when in aqueous solutions or aqueous mixtures:
  • Ammonia, Anhydrous (CAS 7664-41-7);
  • Dimethylamine, Anhydrous (CAS 124-40-3);
  • Hydrogen Cyanide, Anhydrous (CAS 74-90-8);
  • Methylamine, Anhydrous (CAS 74-89-5);
  • Hydrochloric Acid, Anhydrous/Hydrogen Chloride (CAS 7647-01-0); and
  • Hydrofluoric Acid, Anhydrous/Hydrogen Fluoride (CAS 7664-39-3).
In such cases, the listing in Appendix A covers only the anhydrous form of the chemical.
How Many Drones Are in Your Neighborhood? Find Out Here!
The FAA has released information showing how many hobbyist and non-hobbyist UAVs have been registered for each zip code nationwide. As of May 2016, there are 461,420 hobbyist and just 8,416 non-hobbyist UAVs registered. In Iowa, for instance, there are 4,895 hobbyist UAVs registered, or a little less than one per every ten square miles. In California, there are 57,953 UAVs, or about 3.5 UAVs per every 10 square miles. The number of UAVs bought certainly exceeds the number of UAVs registered, but this can give you a good idea of how many UAVs are in your area and serves as another reminder as to why UAV safety is, and will increasingly be, so important. (Note: Because it's an Excel file, on some computers the document will appear in your "Downloads" folder or at the bottom of the current webpage.)
New Federal Overtime Rules Become Effective December 1, 2016
On May 18, 2016, President Obama announced a new U.S. Department of Labor final rule updating federal overtime regulations. This new rule will increase the salary threshold for mandatory overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476, and becomes effective on December 1, 2016.
Under the new rule, initial increases to the standard salary level (from $455 to $913 per week) and highly compensated executives (HCE) total annual compensation requirement (from $100,000 to $134,004 per year), will be effective on December 1st. Future automatic updates to those thresholds will occur every three years, beginning on January 1, 2020. The new rule will extend mandatory overtime pay requirements to over 4 million workers.
The final rule focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for Executive, Administrative and Professional workers to be exempt. Specifically, the final rule:
  1. Sets the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region, currently the South ($913 per week; $47,476 annually for a full-year worker);
  2. Sets the total annual compensation requirement for HCEs subject to a minimal duties test to the annual equivalent of the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally ($134,004);
  3. Establishes a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every three years to maintain the levels at the above percentiles and to ensure that they continue to provide useful and effective tests for exemption; and
  4. Amends the salary basis test to allow employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the new standard salary level.
WOTUS Federal Case to be Heard in Ohio Court of Appeals Disappointing States
The federal challenge to EPA's "Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS)" rulemaking brought by 10 states will be heard and decided in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio, as an Atlanta District Court "deferred the case" citing duplication of effort. WOTUS has been under attack by agriculture, the petroleum industry, Congress and the states since it was first proposed several years ago. The rule seeks to expand EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act (CWA) in ways opponents contend lack legal justification. Congress has tried repeatedly to stop the rule, but has been unsuccessful.
The decision is a disappointment to the state attorneys general as well as supporters of the rule, who argue they want to bring the case before the District Court, providing them a fallback to the Court of Appeals if they lose. Some argue the decision to keep the case in the 6th Circuit Court makes sense as it was that court which issued the national stay of the WOTUS rule in 2015. The 6th Circuit Court also ruled it has jurisdiction in the case and continues with preparations to hear arguments. It's expected the ultimate decision in the WOTUS legal battle will be made by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ethanol Falls Under Government Scrutiny: What Could This Mean for Corn?
EPA's Inspector General (IG) has determined that "EPA has not met certain statutory requirements to identify environmental impacts of renewable fuel standard." The IG, which conducts oversight over the EPA and investigates potential wrongdoings, found that EPA has not complied with the legal requirement to report to Congress every three years on the impacts of biofuels, nor have they analyzed or addressed any negative air quality impacts of the renewable fuel standard (RFS).
The IG recommends that EPA provide to Congress reports on the RFS, as required by law, and completes a study on the environmental impact of RFS. The EPA has agreed with each recommendation made by the IG and will allegedly have an RFS report to Congress by the end of 2017. The IG's determination gives RFS critics new ammo to attack the biofuel mandate. In particular, environmentalists who claim ethanol does not significantly decrease greenhouse gas emissions once land, water and other resources are factored into a cost-benefit analysis.
Should the EPA's study show that ethanol increases or does not significantly decrease greenhouse gas emissions, the RFS could eventually be amended or eliminated, which would significantly decrease the demand for corn.
Obama to Roll Out New Climate Change Measures
President Obama's administration has unfinished business fighting climate change, which the president called "one of the most urgent challenges for our time." "We know that 2015 surpassed the hottest year on record - and 2016 is on pace to be even hotter," President Obama said in his weekly address. "There's still so much more to do. And if we keep pushing, and leading the world in the right direction, there's no doubt that, together, we can leave a better, cleaner, safer future for our children."
Obama said he plans on debuting new tools for combating climate change before he leaves office. "In the weeks and months ahead, we'll release a second round of fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles. We'll take steps to meet the goal we set with Canada and Mexico to achieve 50 percent clean power across North America by 2025," Obama said. Click Here to read more.
U.S. Proposes Mandatory Speed Limiter Devices
The federal government is proposing that heavy-duty vehicles be equipped with devices that limit their speeds on U.S. roadways, but said the limiters will not be required to be tamper-proof. The proposal, announced on August 26th, discusses the benefits of setting the maximum speed at 60, 65 and 68 miles per hour, but said a final rule could differ depending on public input and vehicle tests to determine a speed limit for specific vehicle types. Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. The rule wouldn't be effective until three years after the final rule is published in the register.
Unannounced Brake Check Day Results Released by CVSA
More than 10 percent of inspected vehicles were placed out-of-service. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) held its annual, unannounced brake check day on May 4, 2016, as part of its Operation Airbrake program. CVSA-certified inspectors in 31 participating U.S. states and Canadian provinces and territories checked brakes on 6,128 commercial motor vehicles. The inspectors found:
  • 12.4 percent of vehicles were placed out-of-service with brake violations.
  • 13.9 percent of vehicles were placed out-of-service for violations other than brake violations.
According to CVSA, brake-related violations are typically the largest category of out-of-service items. Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce the braking capacity and increase stopping distances of trucks and buses, which poses a serious risk to driver and public safety.
CVSA's next Operation Airbrake event is Brake Safety Week, Sept. 11-17, 2016, which is a week-long brake safety campaign aimed at improving commercial motor vehicle brake safety through education and enforcement.
DOT Final Rule Aligns Regulations with FAST Act
DOT recently issued a final rule on July 22, 2016, that put into place eight provisions mandated by the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) enacted on December 4, 2015. According to DOT, the regulations were non-discretionary and did not require the rulemaking process, i.e., issuance of a proposed rule and public comments. In total there were eight provisions. Printed here are those believed to affect the agricultural industry.
Section 5206: Applications for exemptions
Section 5206(b)(1) made permanent the following three existing exemptions from the 30-minute rest break requirements in Section 395.3(a(3)(ii):
  • ready-mixed concrete delivery vehicle,
  • transportation of bees, and
  • transportation of livestock while the livestock are on the vehicle.
Section 5518 - Covered farm vehicles
FMCSA revised Section 390.39(b)(1) to clarify a mandate that addressed exemptions found in state laws for covered farm vehicles. Exemptions include commercial driver's licensing (CDL), DOT drug and alcohol testing, medical qualifications, HOS and vehicle inspections.
Section 7208 - Hazardous materials endorsement exemption
The Act allows a state, at its discretion, to waive the requirement for a holder of a Class A CDL to obtain a hazardous materials endorsement to transport 1,000 gallons or less of diesel fuel. A state may waive the requirement if the license holder is 1) acting within the scope of the license holder's employment as an employee of a custom harvester operation, agrichemical business, farm retail outlet and supplier, or livestock feeder; and 2) is operating a service vehicle that is transporting diesel in a quantity of 3,785 liters (1,000 gallons) or less and that is clearly marked with a "flammable" or a "combustible" placard, as appropriate. FMCSA adds a new paragraph (i) to Section 383.3 to reflect this exemption.
If a state exercises this discretion, a driver may still be required to obtain a hazardous materials endorsement if he or she travels to a state that has not opted to waive the requirement.
Atrazine Decision Could Cost Famers $2.5 Billion
A new report from EPA on atrazine could cost the industry $2.5 billion in yield losses and increased input costs, at a time when net farm incomes are already in steep decline. EPA released its draft ecological risk assessment for atrazine in June 2016, as part of the re-registration process for the herbicide. If the recommendations included within the assessment stand, it would effectively ban atrazine. EPA is accepting public comments on the assessment through October 4th.
A 2012 economic analysis by the University of Chicago found that farming without atrazine could cost corn farmers up to $59 per acre. That's a staggering cost at a time when net farm income has already declined 55 percent over the past 2 years, according to USDA figures - and one that's bound to have repercussions across the entire agriculture industry.
USPS Announces Minor Rate Adjustment Effective August 28, 2016
The U.S. Postal Service announced that beginning August 28, 2016, they will be implementing a rate increase for First-Class Mail retail parcel service. A 7% increase will be implemented for First-Class Mail Parcels weighing 1-3 ounces. All other USPS rates will remain unchanged.
This adjustment is intended to correct an error created with this past January's rate increase, which resulted in retail prices for 1-3 ounce FMCP being lower than Commercial prices for similar items. Below you will find a table outlining the minor changes:
Rate Changes
GHS Labeling Policy Clarification from PHMSA
DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration recently issued a letter of interpretation on GHS labeling in response to a question from the Journal of HazMat Transportation. The letter of interpretation updates a prior interpretation letter (13-0038) based on revised GHS provisions. In short: only complete GHS labels (with pictograms) can be visible in transportation and should not be in such form or size to be confused with HMR labels. Click here to read the letter.
Family Business Succession Plans May be in Jeopardy
More than a year ago, the IRS and Department of Treasury said it soon would be issuing proposed regulations that would limit discounts in determining the value of business and other interests for gift and estate tax purposes. On August 2nd, the IRS finally issued these proposed regulations. The proposed regulations are 50 pages long and appear to be far reaching if adopted in their current form. Although the details are significant, the proposed regulations would eliminate almost all minority (lack of control) discounts for closely held entity interests, including active businesses owned by a family. To accomplish that, restrictions under the governing documents and even those under state law would be disregarded for valuation purposes. The IRS will hold a hearing on December 1, 2016 to receive comments about the proposed regulations. The Treasury has stated that the final regulations will not be effective until at least 30 days after they are finalized. We will be studying the proposed regulations and will provide additional information on the new rules soon. If you have any interest or plans to transfer or gift business interests, you should consider taking action before the end of the year.
NIOSH Launches New Mobile App for Pocket Guide on Chemical Hazards
NIOSH developed a new mobile application (app) version of its Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. The app can be used on any device with a Web browser. The NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards has informed workers, employers and occupational health professionals about workplace chemicals and their hazards for over forty years. The Pocket Guide gives general industrial hygiene information for over 600 chemicals/classes and helps users recognize and control workplace chemical hazards. The new app will provide this information at the fingertips.
The new app contains all of the content from the Pocket Guide publication allowing for quick searches by chemical name, trade name or synonym, DOT number and CAS number. A user can also store chemical records as "favorites" for later use, and control which data about a given chemical are displayed for clarity in the field. No data is sent between the user device and NIOSH other than the initial download and updates, so no privacy concerns are present.
To install the mobile NIOSH Pocket Guide, visit the CDC website and click or tap the "DOWNLOAD the mNPG" link. The app will require about 5 Mb of storage space on the device, and can be bookmarked like a standard website, or optionally a shortcut to the app can be saved to your device home screen.
Federal Wage and Labor Law Poster Updates
FEDERAL POSTER***
FLSA and POLYGRAPH PROTECTION ACT (Effective date: July 2016) - The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), aka Minimum Wage, notice has been revised based on upcoming changes to the rules. Among other minor revisions are three major revisions. First, the new notice advises that nursing mothers who are subject to the overtime requirements of the FLSA be provided reasonable break time to express breast milk and a place to do so, other than a bathroom, which is shielded from view and free from intrusion by coworkers or the public. Second, the enforcement provisions have been significantly revised explaining additional penalties for violations of the law. Third, the new notice addresses the misclassification of workers as "independent contractors" when they should be considered employees under the law.
The Polygraph Protection Act notice has also been revised. There is a new QR Code and other cosmetic changes. Despite the lack of significance of these changes, the Department is deeming it a mandatory update. Projected availability: The week of August 8th. This is a substantive change and an updated Federal V2.0 poster is required.
***Note: We are working towards a huge group purchase of the federal poster to be shipped in November. Each client will receive the opportunity to opt-in to this special group purchase. The federal poster is typically $17.02 (includes shipping) and we may be able to save substantially if we place an order for all clients at one time. Watch your mail!
COLORADO
Pregnancy Accommodations (Effective date: Aug 10, 2016) - This notice prohibits discrimination or adverse action against employees who request or use reasonable accommodations that do not impose undue hardship on the business. After repeated attempts for clarification from the state of Colorado, they finally admitted that the state would not provide a printed notice and would leave it to the employers to create their own notice regarding the appropriate sections of the ordinance. We have incorporated this notice into its own section on our All-In-One poster. This is a substantive change and an updated Colorado poster is required. Click here to order.
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.