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Newsletter
Volume 159
January 3, 2017
Best Wishes for a Safe, Healthy & Prosperous New Year!
One of the real joys of ringing in a New Year is the opportunity to say "Thank You" and to wish you the very best for a safe, healthy and prosperous 2017! The new year promises to be another interesting one given the change in administration and the uncertainty surrounding some of the regulatory issues. We appreciate the relationship that has developed over all the years and the opportunity to work with you in 2017!
PSM Guidance: Stay Tuned
On the eve of the presidential election, OSHA petitioned the court for a re-hearing on the subject. The Court responded just prior to Christmas denying OSHA's request. While some reports say this is the end of PSM for at least a few years, others say it isn't. If you are in the 60% of our clients that elected to proceed with PSM, then please continue on your journey. If you are in the 40% that is awaiting more information, then please sit tight until we can see how all this wrangling is going to turn out.
It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg
More than 2,300 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, with 476 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 160 people have already participated in the training, with more than 89 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. Reserve your space in the February 2017 class - only four seats left so hurry! Click here to register.
New DVD Number 3 Ships Soon
Watch for UPS to deliver your new DVD Number 3 in the next few days. Please be prepared to open your package as soon as you receive it and follow the instructions to complete the exchange. DVD Number 3 contains a variety of subjects that support your overall training program. Shot completely with new footage, this is the fourth DVD in the set of six that has been updated and released. This continuous process of improvement underscores our commitment to ensuring our clients have the best training in the industry. Our thanks to Dustin Warder, Brian Mason and Nick Clements for their work on this project.
New OSHA Ag-30 Course - 2017 Summer Courses Posted
Understanding OSHA's requirements will save your company money - but more importantly, it will reduce the number of injuries and it may even save lives. This highly successful training has been developed specifically for 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. Sign up today to reserve the class of your choice. Click here for more information or to register.
EPA Set to Publish New Updated RMP Rules
On December 21st, EPA released a pre-publication copy of the Risk Management Program (RMP) final rule. EPA's release stems from their initial July 2014 Request For Information (RFI) back in the wake of the West, Texas tragedy. The rule will be effective 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. EPA did not say for sure when the final rule would be published. Industry experts believe there is a chance that it may not be published before January 20, 2017 due to the incoming Trump administration.
The highlights of the new requirements that may affect retailers are as follows:
Accident Prevention:
  • A Root Cause Analysis will be required following a catastrophic release.
  • For facilities that have accidental releases, an independent third-party audit must be conducted following a RMP accident. While EPA dropped the requirement for the auditor to be a Professional Engineer (PE), a team of individuals may be used provided one person is an independent, third party not affiliated with the facility. Audits must be available for inspection onsite.
Emergency Response:
  • Retailers will have to coordinate annually with their Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) to discuss chemical risks, chemical stored on-site and chemical processes.
  • Facilities that have onsite resources to respond to releases of ammonia must conduct field exercises with LEPCs every 10 years; tabletop exercises every three years.
Enhanced Availability of Information:
  • Public meetings will be required within 90 days of an RMP accident.
Covered Chemicals:
  • Ammonium Nitrate was not added to RMP chemical list as broadly anticipated.
Compliance Dates:
  • 1 year from the effective date for Emergency Response requirements.
  • 4 years from the effective date for Accident Prevention and Enhanced Availability of Information Requirements.
  • 5 years from the effective date for facilities to update existing RMPs.
If this final rule is published before January 20th, there will be the question as to whether the Trump administration will withdraw the rule. This rule has already been nominated by The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and other groups as a candidate for the incoming Congress to consider to rescind the rule using a Congressional Review Act petition. Click here to review the rule.
Kentucky Native Picked to Head Trump's EPA
Scott Pruitt
President-elect Donald Trump recently announced he has selected Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who grew up in Kentucky, to serve as head of EPA.
Pruitt is well-known nationally for his legal battles against regulations being passed down from the EPA currently under the Obama administration. Specifically, he has led the fight against the Clean Power Plan and Waters of the U.S. rule.
"The American people are tired of seeing billions of dollars drained from our economy due to unnecessary EPA regulations, and I intend to run this agency in a way that fosters both responsible protection of the environment and freedom for American businesses," Pruitt said following the announcement.
The new EPA head is a Kentucky native who attended Lafayette High School in Lexington, the University of Kentucky and Georgetown College. Pruitt was born in Danville, but grew up in Lexington where he was a standout football and baseball player at Lafayette, earning a baseball scholarship to UK. After a year, he transferred to Georgetown College, where he earned degrees in political science and communications. He moved to Oklahoma to attend the University of Tulsa College of Law, and ended up staying there.
Call 811 Before You Dig -- APPLIES TO SOIL PROBING in Montana
Our affiliate in Montana, the Montana Agricultural Business Association (MABA), recently confirmed that all soil testing is required, by Federal Law, to be called in to 811 prior to conducting the sampling. As of October 1st, the Federal government has taken over the enforcement of these provisions because the State statutes don't meet or exceed federal law. There is a coalition of folks that have been working on redoing Montana's statutes so that the state will be the enforcing entity. MABA Staff became involved in these discussions as soon as they were made aware of their existence. Our thanks to Krista Lee Evans, Executive Director of MABA, for her work on this issue.
DOT has provided notice in the form of a letter to excavators (including soil probing) regarding their enforcement of the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Act. The fines are significant. Excavators who fail to comply with these requirements may be subject to civil penalties not to exceed $205,638 for each violation for each day the violation continues, except that the maximum administrative penalty may not exceed $2,056,380 for any related series of violations (49 CFR 190.223). Click here to review the letter.
AGCO 2016 Operator of the Year Announced
AGCO developed a program to recognize the Operator of the Year Award more than ten years ago because it understands the value the operators bring to the equation of custom application. Continuing this tradition, Tony Kornder with Genesis Growing Solutions in Le Sueur, Minnesota has been named the 11th annual Operator of the Year. With 19 years of application experience, Kornder applies on about 35,000 acres each year. Genesis Growing Solutions credits Kornder's knowledge and work ethic with improving client retention and gaining new customers. He always keeps equipment ready to go and continuously looks to gain efficiency in road time, routing or loading. He is widely respected for his efficiency and ability to train new applicators. Kornder is also a member of his company's safety committee and recently led a training session for all custom applicators. As a fifth-generation family farmer, Kornder personally understands the challenges his customers face. He is president of the Scott County Farm Bureau and has testified at the state capitol on agricultural issues. Congratulations to Tony on receiving this top honor.
Environmental Respect Award Call for Entries
Join the hundreds of ag retailers worldwide who have been honored for their commitment to environmental safety and security. Click here for more information.
Entry-level Driver Training Rule Released
As of February 2020, all entry-level drivers will be required to meet specific training requirements in order to obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL). The final rule establishes minimum training standards for interstate and intrastate drivers applying for their initial CDL, upgrading their current CDL, or obtaining a hazardous materials, passenger or school bus endorsement for the first time.
Individuals subject to the entry-level driver training requirements must successfully complete a prescribed program of instruction provided by an entity listed on DOT's Training Provider Registry (TPR).
The prescribed training includes both theory (knowledge) and behind-the-wheel (range and public road) instruction. There are no minimum number of hours that driver-trainees must spend on the theory (knowledge) instruction. The rule prescribes specific topics for each of the five theory curricula, requiring the training provider to cover all topics, and requiring that driver-trainees demonstrate their understanding of the material by achieving an overall minimum score of 80 percent on the theory assessment.
The rule does not require a minimum number of behind-the-wheel hours. The proficient completion of the behind-the-wheel portions of the various curricula is based solely on the training instructor's assessment of each driver-trainee's individual performance of the required elements of behind-the-wheel training on the range and public road. This final rule was published in the December 8, 2016 Federal Register with the effective date being February 6, 2017.
DOT Final Rule Establishes Repository of DOT Drug and Alcohol Violations
A national database will be established by January 6, 2020 to record drug and alcohol violations occurring under a motor carrier's DOT testing program, according to a final rule published on Monday, December 5, 2016. The repository is designed to help detect unresolved violations.
The final rule will establish a national drug and alcohol clearinghouse for CDL drivers that tested positive or refused a DOT-required test. Once this central repository is established, motor carrier employers will be required to:
  • Query the system for information on driver applicants, and
  • Search the database annually for current employees.
The clearinghouse will assist the motor carrier in determining whether a driver needs to begin or continue with the necessary steps in the DOT return-to-duty process (i.e., Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) program) in order to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Drivers that violate DOT testing rules under another motor carrier's program would be captured in the database. Examples include pre-employment tests in which the driver was not hired, previous employment, and concurrent employment, including those positions a driver may omit from the application.
Employers and service providers will be called upon to report DOT drug and alcohol testing program violations. Motor carriers, MROs, third-party administrators and SAPs must provide information when a driver:
  • Tests positive for drugs or alcohol,
  • Refuses drug and alcohol testing, and
  • Undergoes the return-to-duty drug and alcohol rehabilitation process.
Regarding privacy, before a motor carrier may gain access to the information in the clearinghouse, a driver must grant consent. Without this consent, DOT is unable to release the driver's data to the employer. A driver can review his or her report at no cost by registering with the clearinghouse.
OSHA's Agenda Reveals Plans for the Future
OSHA released their agenda of regulatory and deregulatory activities immediately following the 2016 election. OSHA's current intentions, as revealed in the 2016 Fall Agenda, includes a review of the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard and the initiation of a standard for combustible dust. Actions that would potentially affect retail farm centers are listed below.
Significant rulemakings at the development (pre-rule) stage include:
  • Preventing backover injuries and fatalities
  • Emergency response and preparedness
  • Powered Industrial Trucks
  • Lockout/Tagout update
Significant rulemakings at the proposed rule stage include:
  • Infectious diseases
  • Update to the Hazard Communication Standard
Significant rulemakings at the final rule stage include:
  • Walking Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems (Slips, Trips, and Fall Prevention)
  • Certification of Employer's Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain Accurate Records of Each Recordable Injury and Illness
  • Respirable Crystalline Silica
Click here to read the entire agenda.
Nebraska Company Fined More Than $500K for Worker's Fatal Engulfment
A 52-year-old maintenance employee in West Point, Nebraska was buried in grain after a wall of corn collapsed on him. He was rescued by emergency crews, but died of his injuries two days later. Investigators found multiple violations of OSHA standards for grain handling at the facility, including failure to issue confined space permits for grain bin entry, test atmospheric conditions in grain bins and pits, and provide training to employees on confined space entry. OSHA cited the feed facility for three willful, 15 serious and two other-than-serious violations. The agency has placed the business in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses on employers that repeatedly endanger workers. OSHA has proposed penalties of $526,633.
OSHA Says it has Jurisdiction Over Trucks Not Defined as CMVs
Walking-Working Surfaces rule
More wheel chocks will be needed when loading trucks starting in 2017, when OSHA's new "Walking-Working Surfaces" rule goes into effect. OSHA will expand its jurisdiction and require more use of wheel chocks to prevent trucks from moving during loading & unloading operations. Normally, only DOT has jurisdiction over Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV), and they don't require wheel chocks except in very limited cases. But OSHA says it has jurisdiction over trucks that are not defined as CMVs, which technically includes any CMV that is operated off highway, such as in a company yard that is closed to public travel. It also includes trucks that are too small to be regulated as CMVs (example under 10,001 pounds). Therefore, starting January 17, 2017, OSHA-regulated employers will have to make sure that "measures, such as wheel chocks or sand shoes, are used to prevent the transport vehicle (example a truck, semi-trailer, trailer, or rail car) on which a dockboard is placed, from moving while employees are on the dockboard." What's a dockboard? It's a device that spans a gap or compensates for a difference in elevation between a loading platform and a transport vehicle. They may also be known as bridge plates, dock plates, dock levelers, etc.
OSHA Finalizes Slip, Trip and Fall Rule After 26 Years of Proposals
OSHA's efforts to address slip, trip and fall hazards began in 1971 when it created Subpart D, "Walking-Working Surfaces." Since that time, efforts to revise these requirements have been ongoing, including proposed rules issued in 1973, 1990 and 2010. The most recent proposal has been finalized in 1,225 pages and impacts all general industry employers and affecting more than 100 million employees.
The changes to Subpart D are a significant overhaul of existing requirements and include new technology and industry methods intended to reduce the number of fall-related employee deaths and injuries. The majority of employees in general industry workplaces walk or work on surfaces where slips, trips and falls are common. This includes floors, aisles, stairs, ladders, platforms, roofs, etc. Click here to review a copy of the final rule.
OSHA believes that the new requirements give employers the necessary flexibility to decide which fall protection method or system works best for the work operation. Additionally, the rule increases consistency between construction and general industry standards by incorporating 1926 requirements for safety net systems and scaffolds into the newly revised 1910 standard.
The majority of the new requirements are effective January 17, 2017; however, for some of the new requirements in the final rule, OSHA is extending compliance dates to:
  • Give employers time to get familiar with the new requirements,
  • Evaluate changes they may need to make,
  • Purchase equipment necessary to comply with the final rule, and
  • Develop and present required training.
In addition, the extended compliance dates allow employers to upgrade their fall protection systems as part of the normal "business cycle" or "useful life" of equipment (i.e., cage, well, fixed ladder), which reduces compliance costs.
The following table specifies the amount of additional time OSHA is giving employers to certify anchorages, equip fixed ladders with fall protection and train workers:
Subpart D Section
Compliance Date
§1910.30(a) and (b) - Deadline by which employers must train employees on fall and equipment hazards.
May 17, 2017
§1910.27(b)(1) - Certification of anchorages.
November 20, 2017
§1910.28(b)(9)(i)(A) - Deadline by which employers must equip existing fixed ladders with a cage, well, ladder safety system or personal fall arrest system.
November 19, 2018
§1910.28(b)(9)(i)(B) - Deadline by which employers must begin equipping new fixed ladders with a ladder safety system or personal fall arrest system.
November 19, 2018
§1910.28(b)(9)(i)(D) - Deadline by which all fixed ladders must be equipped with a ladder safety system or personal fall arrest system.
November 18, 2036
NTSB Reveals its Most Wanted List
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently revealed its 10 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements for 2017-18. The list includes: eliminating distraction; reducing fatigue-related accidents; ending alcohol and drug impairment; requiring medical fitness; and increasing implementation of collision avoidance technology, ensuring the safe shipment of hazardous materials; strengthening occupant protection; expanding recorder use; improving rail transit safety oversight; and preventing the loss of control in flight in general aviation. According to the NTSB, the list reflects what the agency believes are the areas in transportation safety with the greatest opportunity for change and to save lives. Highway fatalities increased by 7.2% from 2014-2015, the largest increase since before the NTSB was founded in 1967. What's more, such traffic deaths rose another 10.4% in the first half of 2016. Look for more regulations in these areas.
EPA Releases Final Applicator Certification and Training Rule
EPA has released their final revised regulation on certification and training requirements for pesticide certified applicators. This is the last of two recent rule updates aimed at revising the existing rule for workers and pesticide applicators. The first being last year's revised Worker Protection Standard (WPS). Unlike the still controversial and much maligned new WPS, in finalizing the certification and training requirements rule, EPA made many of the adjustments that pesticide stakeholders recommended during public comment and ultimately released a much improved final regulation. The states will now begin to work with EPA to craft training materials and programs aimed at implementing the rule according to the phased-in enforcement timelines. Click here to review the final rule.
Lies, Propaganda, Fake News and You: The Next Crisis Management Challenge
First, it was simply called "lying," then "propaganda," then "disinformation." Now, it's called "fake news." Whatever you call it, it's bad news for organizations whose reputation is under attack. It's challenging enough for organizations dealing with angry social media troll posts, but what do you do when false news about your company begins spreading like a virus across the web? Click here to review the complete article.
2017 Standard Mileage Rates Announced
The IRS has issued the 2017 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. Beginning on January 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
  • 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 54 cents for 2016
  • 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 19 cents for 2016
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations
The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.
2017 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.
Best Wishes for a Safe, Healthy & Prosperous New Year!
One of the real joys of ringing in a New Year is the opportunity to say "Thank You" and to wish you the very best for a safe, healthy and prosperous 2017! The new year promises to be another interesting one given the change in administration and the uncertainty surrounding some of the regulatory issues. We appreciate the relationship that has developed over all the years and the opportunity to work with you in 2017!
PSM Guidance: Stay Tuned
On the eve of the presidential election, OSHA petitioned the court for a re-hearing on the subject. The Court responded just prior to Christmas denying OSHA's request. While some reports say this is the end of PSM for at least a few years, others say it isn't. If you are in the 60% of our clients that elected to proceed with PSM, then please continue on your journey. If you are in the 40% that is awaiting more information, then please sit tight until we can see how all this wrangling is going to turn out.
It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg
More than 2,300 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, with 476 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 160 people have already participated in the training, with more than 89 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. Reserve your space in the February 2017 class - only four seats left so hurry! Click here to register.
New DVD Number 3 Ships Soon
Watch for UPS to deliver your new DVD Number 3 in the next few days. Please be prepared to open your package as soon as you receive it and follow the instructions to complete the exchange. DVD Number 3 contains a variety of subjects that support your overall training program. Shot completely with new footage, this is the fourth DVD in the set of six that has been updated and released. This continuous process of improvement underscores our commitment to ensuring our clients have the best training in the industry. Our thanks to Dustin Warder, Brian Mason and Nick Clements for their work on this project.
New OSHA Ag-30 Course - 2017 Summer Courses Posted
Understanding OSHA's requirements will save your company money - but more importantly, it will reduce the number of injuries and it may even save lives. This highly successful training has been developed specifically for 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. Sign up today to reserve the class of your choice. Click here for more information or to register.
EPA Set to Publish New Updated RMP Rules
On December 21st, EPA released a pre-publication copy of the Risk Management Program (RMP) final rule. EPA's release stems from their initial July 2014 Request For Information (RFI) back in the wake of the West, Texas tragedy. The rule will be effective 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. EPA did not say for sure when the final rule would be published. Industry experts believe there is a chance that it may not be published before January 20, 2017 due to the incoming Trump administration.
The highlights of the new requirements that may affect retailers are as follows:
Accident Prevention:
  • A Root Cause Analysis will be required following a catastrophic release.
  • For facilities that have accidental releases, an independent third-party audit must be conducted following a RMP accident. While EPA dropped the requirement for the auditor to be a Professional Engineer (PE), a team of individuals may be used provided one person is an independent, third party not affiliated with the facility. Audits must be available for inspection onsite.
Emergency Response:
  • Retailers will have to coordinate annually with their Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) to discuss chemical risks, chemical stored on-site and chemical processes.
  • Facilities that have onsite resources to respond to releases of ammonia must conduct field exercises with LEPCs every 10 years; tabletop exercises every three years.
Enhanced Availability of Information:
  • Public meetings will be required within 90 days of an RMP accident.
Covered Chemicals:
  • Ammonium Nitrate was not added to RMP chemical list as broadly anticipated.
Compliance Dates:
  • 1 year from the effective date for Emergency Response requirements.
  • 4 years from the effective date for Accident Prevention and Enhanced Availability of Information Requirements.
  • 5 years from the effective date for facilities to update existing RMPs.
If this final rule is published before January 20th, there will be the question as to whether the Trump administration will withdraw the rule. This rule has already been nominated by The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and other groups as a candidate for the incoming Congress to consider to rescind the rule using a Congressional Review Act petition. Click here to review the rule.
Kentucky Native Picked to Head Trump's EPA
Scott Pruitt
President-elect Donald Trump recently announced he has selected Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who grew up in Kentucky, to serve as head of EPA.
Pruitt is well-known nationally for his legal battles against regulations being passed down from the EPA currently under the Obama administration. Specifically, he has led the fight against the Clean Power Plan and Waters of the U.S. rule.
"The American people are tired of seeing billions of dollars drained from our economy due to unnecessary EPA regulations, and I intend to run this agency in a way that fosters both responsible protection of the environment and freedom for American businesses," Pruitt said following the announcement.
The new EPA head is a Kentucky native who attended Lafayette High School in Lexington, the University of Kentucky and Georgetown College. Pruitt was born in Danville, but grew up in Lexington where he was a standout football and baseball player at Lafayette, earning a baseball scholarship to UK. After a year, he transferred to Georgetown College, where he earned degrees in political science and communications. He moved to Oklahoma to attend the University of Tulsa College of Law, and ended up staying there.
Call 811 Before You Dig -- APPLIES TO SOIL PROBING in Montana
Our affiliate in Montana, the Montana Agricultural Business Association (MABA), recently confirmed that all soil testing is required, by Federal Law, to be called in to 811 prior to conducting the sampling. As of October 1st, the Federal government has taken over the enforcement of these provisions because the State statutes don't meet or exceed federal law. There is a coalition of folks that have been working on redoing Montana's statutes so that the state will be the enforcing entity. MABA Staff became involved in these discussions as soon as they were made aware of their existence. Our thanks to Krista Lee Evans, Executive Director of MABA, for her work on this issue.
DOT has provided notice in the form of a letter to excavators (including soil probing) regarding their enforcement of the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Act. The fines are significant. Excavators who fail to comply with these requirements may be subject to civil penalties not to exceed $205,638 for each violation for each day the violation continues, except that the maximum administrative penalty may not exceed $2,056,380 for any related series of violations (49 CFR 190.223). Click here to review the letter.
AGCO 2016 Operator of the Year Announced
AGCO developed a program to recognize the Operator of the Year Award more than ten years ago because it understands the value the operators bring to the equation of custom application. Continuing this tradition, Tony Kornder with Genesis Growing Solutions in Le Sueur, Minnesota has been named the 11th annual Operator of the Year. With 19 years of application experience, Kornder applies on about 35,000 acres each year. Genesis Growing Solutions credits Kornder's knowledge and work ethic with improving client retention and gaining new customers. He always keeps equipment ready to go and continuously looks to gain efficiency in road time, routing or loading. He is widely respected for his efficiency and ability to train new applicators. Kornder is also a member of his company's safety committee and recently led a training session for all custom applicators. As a fifth-generation family farmer, Kornder personally understands the challenges his customers face. He is president of the Scott County Farm Bureau and has testified at the state capitol on agricultural issues. Congratulations to Tony on receiving this top honor.
Environmental Respect Award Call for Entries
Join the hundreds of ag retailers worldwide who have been honored for their commitment to environmental safety and security. Click here for more information.
Entry-level Driver Training Rule Released
As of February 2020, all entry-level drivers will be required to meet specific training requirements in order to obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL). The final rule establishes minimum training standards for interstate and intrastate drivers applying for their initial CDL, upgrading their current CDL, or obtaining a hazardous materials, passenger or school bus endorsement for the first time.
Individuals subject to the entry-level driver training requirements must successfully complete a prescribed program of instruction provided by an entity listed on DOT's Training Provider Registry (TPR).
The prescribed training includes both theory (knowledge) and behind-the-wheel (range and public road) instruction. There are no minimum number of hours that driver-trainees must spend on the theory (knowledge) instruction. The rule prescribes specific topics for each of the five theory curricula, requiring the training provider to cover all topics, and requiring that driver-trainees demonstrate their understanding of the material by achieving an overall minimum score of 80 percent on the theory assessment.
The rule does not require a minimum number of behind-the-wheel hours. The proficient completion of the behind-the-wheel portions of the various curricula is based solely on the training instructor's assessment of each driver-trainee's individual performance of the required elements of behind-the-wheel training on the range and public road. This final rule was published in the December 8, 2016 Federal Register with the effective date being February 6, 2017.
DOT Final Rule Establishes Repository of DOT Drug and Alcohol Violations
A national database will be established by January 6, 2020 to record drug and alcohol violations occurring under a motor carrier's DOT testing program, according to a final rule published on Monday, December 5, 2016. The repository is designed to help detect unresolved violations.
The final rule will establish a national drug and alcohol clearinghouse for CDL drivers that tested positive or refused a DOT-required test. Once this central repository is established, motor carrier employers will be required to:
  • Query the system for information on driver applicants, and
  • Search the database annually for current employees.
The clearinghouse will assist the motor carrier in determining whether a driver needs to begin or continue with the necessary steps in the DOT return-to-duty process (i.e., Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) program) in order to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Drivers that violate DOT testing rules under another motor carrier's program would be captured in the database. Examples include pre-employment tests in which the driver was not hired, previous employment, and concurrent employment, including those positions a driver may omit from the application.
Employers and service providers will be called upon to report DOT drug and alcohol testing program violations. Motor carriers, MROs, third-party administrators and SAPs must provide information when a driver:
  • Tests positive for drugs or alcohol,
  • Refuses drug and alcohol testing, and
  • Undergoes the return-to-duty drug and alcohol rehabilitation process.
Regarding privacy, before a motor carrier may gain access to the information in the clearinghouse, a driver must grant consent. Without this consent, DOT is unable to release the driver's data to the employer. A driver can review his or her report at no cost by registering with the clearinghouse.
OSHA's Agenda Reveals Plans for the Future
OSHA released their agenda of regulatory and deregulatory activities immediately following the 2016 election. OSHA's current intentions, as revealed in the 2016 Fall Agenda, includes a review of the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard and the initiation of a standard for combustible dust. Actions that would potentially affect retail farm centers are listed below.
Significant rulemakings at the development (pre-rule) stage include:
  • Preventing backover injuries and fatalities
  • Emergency response and preparedness
  • Powered Industrial Trucks
  • Lockout/Tagout update
Significant rulemakings at the proposed rule stage include:
  • Infectious diseases
  • Update to the Hazard Communication Standard
Significant rulemakings at the final rule stage include:
  • Walking Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems (Slips, Trips, and Fall Prevention)
  • Certification of Employer's Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain Accurate Records of Each Recordable Injury and Illness
  • Respirable Crystalline Silica
Click here to read the entire agenda.
Nebraska Company Fined More Than $500K for Worker's Fatal Engulfment
A 52-year-old maintenance employee in West Point, Nebraska was buried in grain after a wall of corn collapsed on him. He was rescued by emergency crews, but died of his injuries two days later. Investigators found multiple violations of OSHA standards for grain handling at the facility, including failure to issue confined space permits for grain bin entry, test atmospheric conditions in grain bins and pits, and provide training to employees on confined space entry. OSHA cited the feed facility for three willful, 15 serious and two other-than-serious violations. The agency has placed the business in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses on employers that repeatedly endanger workers. OSHA has proposed penalties of $526,633.
OSHA Says it has Jurisdiction Over Trucks Not Defined as CMVs
Walking-Working Surfaces rule
More wheel chocks will be needed when loading trucks starting in 2017, when OSHA's new "Walking-Working Surfaces" rule goes into effect. OSHA will expand its jurisdiction and require more use of wheel chocks to prevent trucks from moving during loading & unloading operations. Normally, only DOT has jurisdiction over Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV), and they don't require wheel chocks except in very limited cases. But OSHA says it has jurisdiction over trucks that are not defined as CMVs, which technically includes any CMV that is operated off highway, such as in a company yard that is closed to public travel. It also includes trucks that are too small to be regulated as CMVs (example under 10,001 pounds). Therefore, starting January 17, 2017, OSHA-regulated employers will have to make sure that "measures, such as wheel chocks or sand shoes, are used to prevent the transport vehicle (example a truck, semi-trailer, trailer, or rail car) on which a dockboard is placed, from moving while employees are on the dockboard." What's a dockboard? It's a device that spans a gap or compensates for a difference in elevation between a loading platform and a transport vehicle. They may also be known as bridge plates, dock plates, dock levelers, etc.
OSHA Finalizes Slip, Trip and Fall Rule After 26 Years of Proposals
OSHA's efforts to address slip, trip and fall hazards began in 1971 when it created Subpart D, "Walking-Working Surfaces." Since that time, efforts to revise these requirements have been ongoing, including proposed rules issued in 1973, 1990 and 2010. The most recent proposal has been finalized in 1,225 pages and impacts all general industry employers and affecting more than 100 million employees.
The changes to Subpart D are a significant overhaul of existing requirements and include new technology and industry methods intended to reduce the number of fall-related employee deaths and injuries. The majority of employees in general industry workplaces walk or work on surfaces where slips, trips and falls are common. This includes floors, aisles, stairs, ladders, platforms, roofs, etc. Click here to review a copy of the final rule.
OSHA believes that the new requirements give employers the necessary flexibility to decide which fall protection method or system works best for the work operation. Additionally, the rule increases consistency between construction and general industry standards by incorporating 1926 requirements for safety net systems and scaffolds into the newly revised 1910 standard.
The majority of the new requirements are effective January 17, 2017; however, for some of the new requirements in the final rule, OSHA is extending compliance dates to:
  • Give employers time to get familiar with the new requirements,
  • Evaluate changes they may need to make,
  • Purchase equipment necessary to comply with the final rule, and
  • Develop and present required training.
In addition, the extended compliance dates allow employers to upgrade their fall protection systems as part of the normal "business cycle" or "useful life" of equipment (i.e., cage, well, fixed ladder), which reduces compliance costs.
The following table specifies the amount of additional time OSHA is giving employers to certify anchorages, equip fixed ladders with fall protection and train workers:
Subpart D Section
Compliance Date
§1910.30(a) and (b) - Deadline by which employers must train employees on fall and equipment hazards.
May 17, 2017
§1910.27(b)(1) - Certification of anchorages.
November 20, 2017
§1910.28(b)(9)(i)(A) - Deadline by which employers must equip existing fixed ladders with a cage, well, ladder safety system or personal fall arrest system.
November 19, 2018
§1910.28(b)(9)(i)(B) - Deadline by which employers must begin equipping new fixed ladders with a ladder safety system or personal fall arrest system.
November 19, 2018
§1910.28(b)(9)(i)(D) - Deadline by which all fixed ladders must be equipped with a ladder safety system or personal fall arrest system.
November 18, 2036
NTSB Reveals its Most Wanted List
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently revealed its 10 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements for 2017-18. The list includes: eliminating distraction; reducing fatigue-related accidents; ending alcohol and drug impairment; requiring medical fitness; and increasing implementation of collision avoidance technology, ensuring the safe shipment of hazardous materials; strengthening occupant protection; expanding recorder use; improving rail transit safety oversight; and preventing the loss of control in flight in general aviation. According to the NTSB, the list reflects what the agency believes are the areas in transportation safety with the greatest opportunity for change and to save lives. Highway fatalities increased by 7.2% from 2014-2015, the largest increase since before the NTSB was founded in 1967. What's more, such traffic deaths rose another 10.4% in the first half of 2016. Look for more regulations in these areas.
EPA Releases Final Applicator Certification and Training Rule
EPA has released their final revised regulation on certification and training requirements for pesticide certified applicators. This is the last of two recent rule updates aimed at revising the existing rule for workers and pesticide applicators. The first being last year's revised Worker Protection Standard (WPS). Unlike the still controversial and much maligned new WPS, in finalizing the certification and training requirements rule, EPA made many of the adjustments that pesticide stakeholders recommended during public comment and ultimately released a much improved final regulation. The states will now begin to work with EPA to craft training materials and programs aimed at implementing the rule according to the phased-in enforcement timelines. Click here to review the final rule.
Lies, Propaganda, Fake News and You: The Next Crisis Management Challenge
First, it was simply called "lying," then "propaganda," then "disinformation." Now, it's called "fake news." Whatever you call it, it's bad news for organizations whose reputation is under attack. It's challenging enough for organizations dealing with angry social media troll posts, but what do you do when false news about your company begins spreading like a virus across the web? Click here to review the complete article.
2017 Standard Mileage Rates Announced
The IRS has issued the 2017 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. Beginning on January 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
  • 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 54 cents for 2016
  • 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 19 cents for 2016
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations
The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.
2017 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.