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Newsletter
Volume 172
March 1, 2018

Spring "Busy Season" Is Upon Us!

As we enter the spring season, we want you to know that we have purposely tried to conclude as many of the paperwork requirements as we could to be outside of your busiest time of the year. We know there are plenty of rules and requirements that still apply but if we stop to consider for a moment, they all are in place for a reason. With that thought we want to extend our best wishes to you and your staff for a safe and prosperous 2018!

Ron Akin Steps Down as TAPA Executive Secretary

The Tennessee Agricultural Production Association (TAPA) will surely miss Ron Akin come February, as he steps down from his position as Executive Secretary.  “The greatest joy as Executive Secretary is connecting with some of the greatest folks in Tennessee agriculture,” said Akin, “but I feel strongly that fresh ideas and new faces are necessary in continuing TAPA’s growth.”  We appreciate all of the contributions Ron has made on behalf of the industry over the years and wish him a healthy and happy retirement.  Congratulations Ron!

SARA Reminder: March 1st Deadline

SARA Tier II submissions were due on March 1st. Penalties have become quite severe for non-compliance, so please make sure your report(s) were submitted to their State Emergency Response Commission, Local Emergency Planning Commission and Fire Department. Don't forget to follow your state's instructions to pay any applicable fees.

Pesticide-Production Report Update

Asmark Institute has submitted and documented receipt of the Pesticide Production Report by U.S. EPA for each of our clients on record with an EPA Establishment Number. All annual reports were received by U.S. EPA by the deadline. We have worked closely with U.S. EPA to develop the new electronic reporting system. One benefit is the ability to produce and send file copies along with the documentation showing EPA has received your submission much quicker. You may have already received your documentation, but if you haven't it won't be long.

Inspire Schedule of Events Published

One of our goals in launching the Asmark Institute Inspire program last year was to improve the opportunities for professional development for safety, health and environmental professionals.  We are pleased to publish our first schedule of events utilizing a line-up of nationally-recognized speakers.  The schedule covers the next twelve months.  We plan to add speakers to the list as pertinent topics arise throughout the coming year.  This unique program is designed to provide opportunities for professional training and access to get your questions answered.  We seek out the very best speakers that are true experts and professionals in their field of expertise and arrange these events to help our clients.  To see the exciting list of scheduled events, click here.

The Inspire program is designed to foster continuous improvement in risk management and safety culture for those in a position to make a difference.  Inspire stands for Innovative Safety Professionals Inspiring Regulatory Excellence and is designed exclusively for environmental, health and safety professionals utilizing the Lighthouse Retainer Program.

Dicamba Training Reminder

If you plan to use dicamba products this spring and you aren’t familiar with your state’s requirements, now would be a great time to take a look.  Make plans today to attend a dicamba training session in your area.  To get started, click on the state of your choice for more information: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota or Tennessee.

“Tradeshow Truck” Wrap Up - See You Next Year!

The Asmark Institute “Tradeshow Truck” collectible program wrapped up its first year debut, providing us with lots of opportunities to meet, greet and thank our clients.  The new program allowed us to meet up with our clients in each state and thank them while supporting the registration and meeting efforts of our state association partners.  Donna, Brian and Dustin traveled to 16 states, shook hands with hundreds of clients and ag industry folks and distributed the trucks.

Each year we will produce a special limited edition replica of a truck that will only be available to our Lighthouse retainer clients who register and attend the Tradeshow or Annual Meeting sponsored by their state association.  Once the 2018-2019 Tradeshow season starts up, we encourage you to watch for our special invitation and register for the meeting in your area, support your state agribusiness association and pick up your collectible.  See you next year!

National Labor Law Poster Program - New Feature

A new feature has been added to the National Labor Law Poster Program to make it easy for you to check for the latest Federal and/or State updates.  Lighthouse clients can login to the Snapshots Management Dashboard and access the National Labor Law Poster Program feature under Products.  When selected, a map has been added for you to click on your state to check for the most recent updates.  If a new Federal and/or State poster is needed, you may submit your order at this time.  A link will be provided in each monthly Risk Management Newsletter, to access this feature.  Click here to view and/or order the specific posters needed.

Reminder: Renew DOT Physicals Before Season

It’s a great time to renew DOT physicals before season starts.  Be sure to select a registered medical examiner that is listed on the National Registry.  It is suggested that you contact your healthcare professional directly to verify if they are certified and listed on the National Registry.  Each Certified Medical Examiner on the National Registry is provided a certificate from FMCSA confirming their approval to conduct Department of Transportation Examinations.  This certificate can be used to determine if the individual conducting your exam is approved to do so.  You can also search the National Registry by number by clicking here.

DOT Drug Tests Have Changed: Updated Your Policy?

Last month the DOT announced changes to the federal drug testing panel of substances tested.  These changes, which were made to address our nation’s growing opioid crisis, will provide for a more comprehensive drug screen by including synthetic opioids as part of the standard test. The changes serve as a reminder to review your current drug and alcohol testing policy to make sure that it is current.  We believe this to be a great time to check with your drug testing vendor to make sure your substance abuse policy is current and ready to go for the 2018 season.

Your Chance of High Blood Pressure Just Went Up!

High blood pressure is now considered to be 130/80 mm Hg, rather than 140/90 mm Hg, according to updated guidelines published by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC).  The last time these guidelines were revised was in 2003.  The new definition means that 46 percent of U.S. adults will be considered hypertensive.  Under the previous guidelines only 32 percent of U.S. adults had high blood pressure.  The more stringent blood pressure standards are expected to affect those under the age of 45 the most.  The AHA reports that those diagnosed with high blood pressure will triple for men and double for women in that age group.  It is unclear at this time if and when DOT may revise the driver medical qualification standards based on the new guidelines.

DOT vs. AHA-ACC Guidelines

Category Current DOT Guidelines New AHA-ACC Guidelines
Normal Less than 140 mm Hg systolic and less than 90 mm Hg diastolic Less than 120 mm Hg systolic and 80 mm Hg diastolic
Elevated N/A Systolic 120-129 mm Hg and diastolic less than 80 mm Hg
Stage 1 Systolic 140-159 mm Hg and/or diastolic 90-99 mm Hg Systolic 130-139 mm Hg or diastolic 80-89 mm Hg
Stage 2 Systolic 160-179 mm Hg and/or diastolic 100-109 mm Hg Systolic 140-180 mm Hg or diastolic 90-120 mm Hg
Stage 3 Systolic 180 mm Hg or greater and diastolic 110 mm Hg or greater N/A
Hypertensive Crisis (New) N/A Systolic over 180 mm Hg and/or diastolic over 120 mm Hg

New Form Checks on Driver Medications

If the thought of seeing your regular doctor and the physician that administers your DOT physical standing together talking at a cocktail party makes you cringe, this new form may be of particular interest to you.  DOT has issued an optional form that may be used by medical examiners responsible for issuing Medical Examiner’s Certificates to commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers.  The 391.41 CMV Driver Medication Form (MCSA-58955) can be used to request information from a driver’s other physicians or specialists.  The information gathered will then assist the medical examiner in determining if a driver is medically qualified to operate a CMV.  To see a copy of the form click here.

NAICS Code Revision Final

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 2017 Revision is final and has created some new codes that were not in the last published edition in 2012.  It also revised, deleted or consolidated about 30 NAICS industry definitions and codes from NAICS 2012.  Unfortunately, efforts to create a new NAICS code for Farm Supply Retailers were not considered in this revision because of timing.  We applaud the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) for their efforts and encourage support of future efforts to establish a new NAICS code for farm supply retailers as federal agencies such as OSHA and EPA are using the NAICS code for regulatory applications.  While classifications are only reviewed every 5 years, ARA is already working on getting a definition included for retailers that accurately describes the distribution process to farmers as the process will begin next year to be included in the 2022 Revision.  Click here for a policy paper ARA has prepared on this issue.

White House Supports Strong Commitment to Worker Safety

President Trump’s fiscal year 2019 budget request for OSHA supports a continued effort to assure safe and healthy workplaces.  The President’s budget includes important reforms to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used to maximum effect.  OSHA’s 2019 budget request provides for an increase of $6.1 million for 42 new Compliance Safety and Health Officers to continue the agency’s commitment to enforcement; and another $5.1 million for 24 Compliance Assistance Specialists and 8 additional staff to allow the agency to expand its training, outreach, compliance assistance and cooperative programs.

Driver Shortage is Top Concern

Finding a driver over the past decade has become harder and harder for agribusinesses across the country.  There's the issue of finding a qualified driver who is in the right price range and willing to work the long seasonal hours - and then there is the issue of being able to retain them when the DOT rules constantly eliminate drivers from the pool of availability due to ever-increasing health issues, drugs, alcohol and traffic violations.  Historically, the agribusiness industry has pulled drivers from the farm families they service, typical employment ads and from the trucking industry when their drivers wanted to stay closer to home or be home every night.  A recent survey shows that agribusinesses aren’t the only ones facing this problem - and the problem is not likely to ever improve until the use of autonomous trucks becomes routine.  According to an American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) survey, driver shortage is the number one concern for the trucking industry too.  One interesting note is that driver shortage even tops concerns about the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate.  ATRI’s survey findings list the top 10 concerns for the trucking industry as:
  1. Driver Shortage
  2. ELD Mandate
  3. Hours-of-Service (HOS)
  4. Truck Parking
  5. Driver Retention
  6. Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)
  7. Cumulative Economic Impacts of Trucking Regulations
  8. Driver Distraction
  9. Transportation Infrastructure / Congestion / Funding
  10. Driver Health and Wellness
Using CDL Life magazine's statistics that hit closer to home, a surprising 21% of drivers said they had to quit driving because of health reasons - they didn't qualify for a commercial drivers license (CDL) for medical reasons.  According to the CDL Life survey, 24% of drivers said that heavy-handed regulations prompted their desire to work in a less regulated work environment.  One other surprising statistic is their survey showed that 7% of the drivers said they weren't actually leaving the occupation of being a driver - which for us downstream recipients of drivers from high profile trucking companies, beware of a driver who walks through your door and seems too good to be true - no matter how difficult a time you are having finding drivers.

Batteries on a SARA Tier II Report?

OSHA determined a long time ago that lead acid batteries are hazardous since there are chemical and physical hazards associated with them.  Lead acid batteries are comprised of lead and sulfuric acid.  They have the potential to emit hydrogen gas which, upon ignition, may result in a fire or explosion.  They do not fall under the article exemption because they have the potential to leak, spill or break during normal conditions of use, including foreseeable emergencies.  A lead acid battery is considered a mixture, containing both sulfuric acid, an extremely hazardous substance (EHS), and other hazardous chemicals such as lead, lead oxide and lead sulfate.

If you utilize electric forklifts, make a list of these batteries and note the manufacturer and weight of each.  Next, refer to the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) corresponding to each battery brand to determine the sulfuric acid and lead percent composition.  Then calculate the total pounds of each compound using the battery weight and composition percentages.  A typical electric forklift battery can weigh a ton as it also acts as a counterweight, and if so, it could contain about 360 pounds of sulfuric acid.  If the total amount of sulfuric acid present at the facility is 500 pounds or more, it is reportable on the SARA Tier II report.  The threshold for reporting lead is 10,000 pounds. 

Check MCS-150 Forms for Expiration Dates

DOT is directing companies to use updated forms when updating their U.S. DOT registration.  Expired paper versions of the MCS-150 will no longer be accepted.  A basic requirement of being a motor carrier in the U.S. is updating your MCS-150 Motor Carrier Profile every two years.  Not to be confused with another version of the form, DOT published the MCS-150B form designed specifically to identify motor carriers with Hazardous Materials Safety Permits.  Filling out and submitting the MCS-150B form rather than the MCS-150 form will throw you into the pool of carriers that transport tractor-trailer loads of materials, such as anhydrous ammonia, that require a HM Safety Permit.  As you might expect, the requirements for these carriers are more stringent.  With this information, we recommend that you pay very close attention in the future to ensure your update is submitted on the correct form.  Click here for a copy of the updated MSC-150 form.

Finally One Fee That Is Lower

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced lower Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) registration fees for 2018, 2019 and beyond.  If you operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and if the vehicle, freight or passengers cross states lines, then UCR fees apply to you. UCR requires registration and an annual fee based on fleet size.  A CMV is defined as a self-propelled vehicle used on highways in commerce to transport passengers or cargo, if the vehicle: a) has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more; b) is designed to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; c) is designed to transport more than 15 passengers (including the driver) not for compensation or d) is used to transport hazardous materials in quantities requiring placarding.

For the 2018 registration year, the fees are reduced by approximately 9.10 percent compared to previous years. For the 2019 registration year and beyond, the fees are reduced by approximately 4.55 percent.  The fee reductions are being adopted to help ensure the fee revenues in 2018, 2019 and future years do not exceed the statutory maximum allowed.  The previous fees compared to the new 2018 and 2019 fees are as follows:

Number of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) owned or operated by exempt or non-exempt motor carrier, motor private carrier, or freight forwarder 2017 and prior year fees per entity for exempt or non-exempt motor carrier, motor private carrier, or freight forwarder 2018 fees per entity for exempt or non-exempt motor carrier, motor private carrier, or freight forwarder 2019 fees per entity for exempt or non-exempt motor carrier, motor private carrier, or freight forwarder
0-2 $76 $69 $73
3-5 $227 $206 $217
6-20 $452 $410 $431
21-100 $1,576 $1,431 $1,503
101-1,000 $7,511 $6,820 $7,165
1,001 and above $73,346 $66,597 $69,971
Remember, 2018 UCR filings started January 5, 2018.  Carriers have 90 days, or until April 5, 2018, to file.

Heads Up! Test Your Seed Mix

CropLife Magazine reports Scientists from the Weed Science Society of America say some native seed mixes planted to foster habitats for honeybees and other pollinators have been found to be contaminated with Palmer amaranth or “pigweed” – a weed ranked by experts as the most troublesome in the U.S.
Recent infestations show the weed is being spread in some native seed mixes – even those labeled as zero percent weed seed.  That’s the case in Iowa, Minnesota and other Midwest states, where there has been a concerted effort by farmers and other landowners to plant native wildflowers that can serve as a pollinator habitat.  If you purchase seed mixes containing pigweed or other Amaranthus species, be sure they have been tested to verify they are free of Palmer amaranth.

New Interagency Working Group Formed

EPA has formed a working group to evaluate and improve the Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultation process for pesticide registration.  The working group which includes representatives from the EPA, Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service is referred to collectively as “the Services.”  For years, both the EPA and the Services have disagreed on the best way to evaluate ESA consultations for crop protection products because each agency has different areas of expertise.
The agreement recognizes the unique skills each agency brings to the protection of threatened species and directs the group to: (1) outline a legal and regulatory framework by analyzing the relevant statutes, regulations and case law, (2) review past pesticide consultation practices to learn from those experiences, (3) develop scientific and policy approaches that will increase the accuracy and timeliness of the pesticide consultation process, and (4) document the proposed approach through a memorandum of understanding, revised regulations or another legal mechanism.  This announcement comes at a critical time as EPA has 700 pesticide registrations to complete by 2022.

Look for the Gold Lock

Here at the Asmark Institute, securing our clients' data is one of our highest priorities. One of the ways we protect your data is with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. In the address bar of your browser, you may have noticed a gold lock icon.  This icon indicates the website has a valid SSL certificate verified by a reputable certificate authority. Asmark Institute’s SSL certificate is verified by Symantec, who verifies the SSL certificates of 90% of Fortune 500 companies.

What that lock means to you, is that any information you share with the Asmark Institute website is secure.  Having an SSL certificate prevents intruders from tampering with communications between our website and your browser.  This could include malicious attackers that would try to gather sensitive information or install malware, or intrusive companies that try to inject advertisements into websites.  It also prevents “man-in-the-middle” attacks by ensuring that the website you are visiting is the legitimate version and not a copycat that tries to trick you into giving up sensitive information.  Finally, it proves that all data transmitted is encrypted so that it can’t be read by hackers or other snooping parties if they ever did gain access to it.

So the next time you visit the Asmark Institute website, look for the lock icon in your address bar and rest easy knowing your data is secure.

What’s Ahead at DOT, EPA and OSHA

DOT, EPA and OSHA have all published regulatory agendas with target dates through the end of the fiscal year.  We reviewed the lists and identified the topics that could impact our clients.  All in all there are plenty of final rules on the drawing board for 2018.
 
DOT Date Stage
Broker and Freight Forwarder Financial Responsibility 3/2018 Preproposal
Amendment to Agency Rules of Practice 1/2018 Proposal
Certification of Safety Auditors, Safety Investigators and Safety Inspectors 1/2018 Proposal
Hazmat: Reduce Regulatory Burden for Cylinder Requalification Requirements 1/2018 Proposal
ELDT; Class B to Class A CDL Upgrade 3/2018 Proposal
Hazmat: Harmonization With International Standards 7/2018 Proposal
Controlled Substances and Alcohol Testing: State Driver's Licensing Agency Downgrade of CDL 9/2018 Proposal
Definition of Tank Vehicle Used for Determining the CDL Endorsement 11/2017 Final Rule
Fees for the Unified Carrier Plan and Agreement 12/2017 Final Rule
Limitations on the Issuance of CDL With a Hazardous Materials Endorsement 12/2017 Final Rule
Process for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Physicians to be Added to the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners 12/2017 Final Rule
Hazmat: Response to Petitions From Industry to Modify, Clarify or Eliminate Regulations 2/2018 Final Rule
Qualifications of Drivers; Diabetes Standard 2/2018 Final Rule
Commercial Learner's Permit Validity 3/2018 Final Rule
Hazmat: Incorporation of ASME Code Section XII and the National Board Inspection Code 4/2018 Final Rule
Hazmat: Miscellaneous Amendments Pertaining to DOT-Specification Cylinders 4/2018 Final Rule
Technical, Organizational, Conforming and Correcting Amendments to FMCSRs 9/2018 Final Rule

EPA Date Stage
Increasing Consistency, Reliability, and Transparency in the Rulemaking Process 2/2018 Preproposal
Interpretation of "Used Routine Agricultural Operations" under EPCRA 3/2018 Proposal
Revisions to 40 CFR Part 2, Subpart b (Confidentiality of Business Information) 3/2018 Proposal
Accidental Release Prevention Requirements: RMP Reconsideration of Amendments 4/2018 Proposal
EPA Freedom of Information Act Regulations Update 4/2018 Proposal
Increasing Recycling: Adding Aerosol Cans to the Universal Waste Regulations 4/2018 Proposal
Pesticides; Procedural Rule Amendment; Requirement for Certain Pesticide Actions to Publish Notices in the Federal Register 4/2018 Proposal
Toxic Release Inventory (TRI); Response to Petition From the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) to Add 25 Chemicals 4/2018 Proposal
Second Action: Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ 5/2018 Proposal
Clean Water Act Hazardous Substances Spill Prevention 6/2018 Proposal
Parent Company Definition for Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Reporting 6/2018 Proposal
Modernizing Ignitable Liquids Determinations 8/2018 Proposal
Pesticides; Agricultural Worker Protection Standard; Reconsideration of Several Requirements 9/2018 Proposal
Pesticides; Certification of Pesticide Applicators Rule; Reconsideration of the Minimum Age Requirements 9/2018 Proposal
Definition of Waters of the United States--Addition of Applicability Date 2/2018 Final Action
Community Right-to-Know; Adopting 2017 NAICS Codes for TRI Reporting 12/2017 Final Rule
User Fees for the Electronic Hazardous Waste Manifest System and Amendments to Manifest Regulations 12/2017 Final Rule
Procedural Rule to Remove Obsolete Information 1/2018 Final Rule
Definition of "Waters of the United States"--Recodification of Pre-existing Rule 4/2018 Final Rule
CERCLA/EPCRA Reporting Requirements for Air Releases of Hazardous Substances From Animal Waste at Farms 6/2018 Final Rule
Pesticides; Technical Amendment to Data Requirements for Antimicrobial Pesticides 6/2018 Final Rule

OSHA Date Stage
Powered Industrial Trucks 1/2018 Info Request
Mechanical Power Presses Update 3/2018 Info Request
Lock-Out/Tag-Out Update 5/2018 Info Request
Blood Lead Level for Medical Removal 7/2018 Preproposal
Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses 12/2017 Proposal
Standards Improvement Project IV 2/2018 Final Rule
Technical Corrections to 16 OSHA Standards 2/2018 Final Rule
OSHA Access to Employee Medical Records 6/2018 Final Rule
Quantitative Fit Testing Protocol: Amendment to the Final Rule on Respiratory Protection 9/2018 Final Rule

“Major Source” or “Area Source”

EPA has issued a guidance memo withdrawing the “once in always in” policy for the classification of major sources of hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act.  With the new guidance, sources of hazardous air pollutants previously classified as “major sources” may be reclassified as “area” sources when the facility limits its potential to emit below major source thresholds.  The Clean Air Act defines a “major source” as one that emits, or has the potential to emit, 10 tons per year of any hazardous air pollutant, or 25 tons per year or more of any combination of hazardous air pollutants.  Sources with emissions below this threshold are classified as “area sources.”  Different control standards apply to the source depending on whether or not it is classified as a “major source” or an “area source.”

In a 1995 memo, EPA established a “once in always in” policy that determined that any facility subject to major source standards would always remain subject to those standards, even if production processes changed or controls were implemented that eliminated or permanently reduced that facility’s potential to emit hazardous air pollutants.  The new memo finds that EPA had no statutory authority under the Clean Air Act to place a time limit on when a facility may be determined to be an area source, and that a plain language reading of the Act must allow facilities to be reclassified as area sources once their potential to emit hazardous air pollutants falls below the levels that define major sources.

EPA anticipates that it will soon publish a Federal Register notice to take comment on adding regulatory text that will reflect EPA’s plain language reading of the statute.  For more information click here.

Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents Course: 4,000 & Counting

What’s the only thing worse than watching your chemical warehouse burn?  Watching it burn and being excluded from the decision-making process of the response!  Retail facilities were rarely trained in emergency response and hazardous waste clean up in the early 1990’s when the industry was struck by several fires.  The fires resulted in chemical spills that produced hazardous waste and contaminated runoff.  The staff at the retail facilities had to rely on emergency responders to dictate how the clean up would be handled - and this resulted in huge cleanup costs.

What happens in the first moments of a spill determines whether the incident will be a simple and inexpensive cleanup or a full-blown problem costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Ag retail companies, such as Crop Production Services (CPS), realized they not only needed to train their staff on emergency response activities but also to work with the regulators to participate in the decision-making process on future clean up efforts.  Until 1996, all the courses available from EPA were considered general-industry and suited for large commercial facilities and did not apply to the agriculture industry.

The importance of an ag-specific course was quickly realized and work set out to develop a curriculum, with emphasis on ag chemical spills and accidents, reportable quantities and reporting the appropriate incidents to the National Response Center.  The Asmark Institute and leaders from the ag industry such as Denny Doonan, Brian Miller, Joe Zoglmann and Marney Nunnally teamed up and created the Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents (HazWoper) course.  The result was the first Signature Training Course designed to support and fill a need in the agricultural industry.  The initial HazWoper course took place in Owensboro, KY on July 9-12, 1996.

Since its inception 21 years ago, there have been two lead instructors, William "Bill" St. Peters and Bill Basham, Sr.  William St. Peters instructed the course in the early years and up until his death.  In 2008, Bill Basham became the lead instructor and remains so today with help from his son Billy.  Bill brings over 40 years experience in dealing with hazardous substances.  Bill was a Commanding Officer with the Explosive Ordinance Disposal section of the Marine Corps and formed his own safety company.  This constant stability of instructors who strive for excellence, has helped drive the popularity of the course, with over 4,000 participants successfully completing the HazWoper training to date.

The popularity of the HazWoper course prompted the decision in 2010 to relocate the course from Owensboro, KY to LaVergne, TN for its close proximity to the Nashville International airport.  The training facility property used today is leased from Tennessee Farmers Cooperative and has been retrofitted to accommodate the HazWoper course.  The training facility houses a classroom, computer lab and a large outside area where equipment has been built to recreate numerous hands-on scenarios patterned after real incidents.

Due to its success, the HazWoper course has paved the way for all of the Institute’s Signature Training courses.

Drone Pilots: Think it Can’t Happen to You?

By now, the majority of agribusinesses have had the opportunity to see just how valuable a drone can be to their operations.  According to the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA), the number of UAVs registered with the FAA topped 1,000,000 in mid-January.  The technology packed into these revolutionary devices allows for the average Joe to become a so-called “pilot” overnight, with literally no required training.  Drones not only pose an extreme risk to the aviation community and the public, they also bring with them an added element of liability to their owners when not operated properly.

One pilot learned this the hard way while operating his drone on a recreational flight in Brooklyn, NY. Not only was he flying his drone in a temporarily restricted area he was also flying it farther than he could see it, a cardinal sin in the drone world.  Many drones on the market today have an auto-return-home function built in, which should send the drone back if it loses connection with the controller.  That function didn’t operate as designed and instead the drone found itself crashing into one of the propeller blades of a Black Hawk military helicopter.  Unaware of the accident, the pilot waited 30 minutes for the drone to return to base and when it didn’t he returned home empty handed.  The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated the accident and was able to track down the pilot - much to his surprise - using a serial number from a piece of the drone that was wedged into a cooling fan in the helicopter.

Let this serve as a lesson to our industry as drone usage is on the rise.  Although these devices can prove to be a valuable asset to business operations, drone pilots should know and understand the regulations surrounding these devices and exercise safe operating practices while in use.

Handi-Plan Hooray! 

An emergency can strike at any time, so we developed this very concise, colorful and extremely handy emergency plan, designed specifically for your facilities – all 2,520 of them.  All orders are out the door and have been shipped.  Hooray! This year alone, 13,672 Handi-Plans were printed and assembled in 48 days using 10 printers, 1 collating machine and a team of 4 made up of Morgan, Ewa, Patricia and Joann.

Underestimating the importance of emergency preparedness can have devastating effects on a business, which is why we take extra care when creating Handi-Plans for every facility.  Assembly of each Handi-Plan order requires the process of printing, collating, binding, crimping and packaging with proper paperwork, with various proofing processes in between to ensure product quality.

Spring "Busy Season" Is Upon Us!

As we enter the spring season, we want you to know that we have purposely tried to conclude as many of the paperwork requirements as we could to be outside of your busiest time of the year. We know there are plenty of rules and requirements that still apply but if we stop to consider for a moment, they all are in place for a reason. With that thought we want to extend our best wishes to you and your staff for a safe and prosperous 2018!

Ron Akin Steps Down as TAPA Executive Secretary

The Tennessee Agricultural Production Association (TAPA) will surely miss Ron Akin come February, as he steps down from his position as Executive Secretary.  “The greatest joy as Executive Secretary is connecting with some of the greatest folks in Tennessee agriculture,” said Akin, “but I feel strongly that fresh ideas and new faces are necessary in continuing TAPA’s growth.”  We appreciate all of the contributions Ron has made on behalf of the industry over the years and wish him a healthy and happy retirement.  Congratulations Ron!

SARA Reminder: March 1st Deadline

SARA Tier II submissions were due on March 1st. Penalties have become quite severe for non-compliance, so please make sure your report(s) were submitted to their State Emergency Response Commission, Local Emergency Planning Commission and Fire Department. Don't forget to follow your state's instructions to pay any applicable fees.

Pesticide-Production Report Update

Asmark Institute has submitted and documented receipt of the Pesticide Production Report by U.S. EPA for each of our clients on record with an EPA Establishment Number. All annual reports were received by U.S. EPA by the deadline. We have worked closely with U.S. EPA to develop the new electronic reporting system. One benefit is the ability to produce and send file copies along with the documentation showing EPA has received your submission much quicker. You may have already received your documentation, but if you haven't it won't be long.

Inspire Schedule of Events Published

One of our goals in launching the Asmark Institute Inspire program last year was to improve the opportunities for professional development for safety, health and environmental professionals.  We are pleased to publish our first schedule of events utilizing a line-up of nationally-recognized speakers.  The schedule covers the next twelve months.  We plan to add speakers to the list as pertinent topics arise throughout the coming year.  This unique program is designed to provide opportunities for professional training and access to get your questions answered.  We seek out the very best speakers that are true experts and professionals in their field of expertise and arrange these events to help our clients.  To see the exciting list of scheduled events, click here.

The Inspire program is designed to foster continuous improvement in risk management and safety culture for those in a position to make a difference.  Inspire stands for Innovative Safety Professionals Inspiring Regulatory Excellence and is designed exclusively for environmental, health and safety professionals utilizing the Lighthouse Retainer Program.

Dicamba Training Reminder

If you plan to use dicamba products this spring and you aren’t familiar with your state’s requirements, now would be a great time to take a look.  Make plans today to attend a dicamba training session in your area.  To get started, click on the state of your choice for more information: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota or Tennessee.

“Tradeshow Truck” Wrap Up - See You Next Year!

The Asmark Institute “Tradeshow Truck” collectible program wrapped up its first year debut, providing us with lots of opportunities to meet, greet and thank our clients.  The new program allowed us to meet up with our clients in each state and thank them while supporting the registration and meeting efforts of our state association partners.  Donna, Brian and Dustin traveled to 16 states, shook hands with hundreds of clients and ag industry folks and distributed the trucks.

Each year we will produce a special limited edition replica of a truck that will only be available to our Lighthouse retainer clients who register and attend the Tradeshow or Annual Meeting sponsored by their state association.  Once the 2018-2019 Tradeshow season starts up, we encourage you to watch for our special invitation and register for the meeting in your area, support your state agribusiness association and pick up your collectible.  See you next year!

National Labor Law Poster Program - New Feature

A new feature has been added to the National Labor Law Poster Program to make it easy for you to check for the latest Federal and/or State updates.  Lighthouse clients can login to the Snapshots Management Dashboard and access the National Labor Law Poster Program feature under Products.  When selected, a map has been added for you to click on your state to check for the most recent updates.  If a new Federal and/or State poster is needed, you may submit your order at this time.  A link will be provided in each monthly Risk Management Newsletter, to access this feature.  Click here to view and/or order the specific posters needed.

Reminder: Renew DOT Physicals Before Season

It’s a great time to renew DOT physicals before season starts.  Be sure to select a registered medical examiner that is listed on the National Registry.  It is suggested that you contact your healthcare professional directly to verify if they are certified and listed on the National Registry.  Each Certified Medical Examiner on the National Registry is provided a certificate from FMCSA confirming their approval to conduct Department of Transportation Examinations.  This certificate can be used to determine if the individual conducting your exam is approved to do so.  You can also search the National Registry by number by clicking here.

DOT Drug Tests Have Changed: Updated Your Policy?

Last month the DOT announced changes to the federal drug testing panel of substances tested.  These changes, which were made to address our nation’s growing opioid crisis, will provide for a more comprehensive drug screen by including synthetic opioids as part of the standard test. The changes serve as a reminder to review your current drug and alcohol testing policy to make sure that it is current.  We believe this to be a great time to check with your drug testing vendor to make sure your substance abuse policy is current and ready to go for the 2018 season.

Your Chance of High Blood Pressure Just Went Up!

High blood pressure is now considered to be 130/80 mm Hg, rather than 140/90 mm Hg, according to updated guidelines published by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC).  The last time these guidelines were revised was in 2003.  The new definition means that 46 percent of U.S. adults will be considered hypertensive.  Under the previous guidelines only 32 percent of U.S. adults had high blood pressure.  The more stringent blood pressure standards are expected to affect those under the age of 45 the most.  The AHA reports that those diagnosed with high blood pressure will triple for men and double for women in that age group.  It is unclear at this time if and when DOT may revise the driver medical qualification standards based on the new guidelines.

DOT vs. AHA-ACC Guidelines

Category Current DOT Guidelines New AHA-ACC Guidelines
Normal Less than 140 mm Hg systolic and less than 90 mm Hg diastolic Less than 120 mm Hg systolic and 80 mm Hg diastolic
Elevated N/A Systolic 120-129 mm Hg and diastolic less than 80 mm Hg
Stage 1 Systolic 140-159 mm Hg and/or diastolic 90-99 mm Hg Systolic 130-139 mm Hg or diastolic 80-89 mm Hg
Stage 2 Systolic 160-179 mm Hg and/or diastolic 100-109 mm Hg Systolic 140-180 mm Hg or diastolic 90-120 mm Hg
Stage 3 Systolic 180 mm Hg or greater and diastolic 110 mm Hg or greater N/A
Hypertensive Crisis (New) N/A Systolic over 180 mm Hg and/or diastolic over 120 mm Hg

New Form Checks on Driver Medications

If the thought of seeing your regular doctor and the physician that administers your DOT physical standing together talking at a cocktail party makes you cringe, this new form may be of particular interest to you.  DOT has issued an optional form that may be used by medical examiners responsible for issuing Medical Examiner’s Certificates to commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers.  The 391.41 CMV Driver Medication Form (MCSA-58955) can be used to request information from a driver’s other physicians or specialists.  The information gathered will then assist the medical examiner in determining if a driver is medically qualified to operate a CMV.  To see a copy of the form click here.

NAICS Code Revision Final

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 2017 Revision is final and has created some new codes that were not in the last published edition in 2012.  It also revised, deleted or consolidated about 30 NAICS industry definitions and codes from NAICS 2012.  Unfortunately, efforts to create a new NAICS code for Farm Supply Retailers were not considered in this revision because of timing.  We applaud the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) for their efforts and encourage support of future efforts to establish a new NAICS code for farm supply retailers as federal agencies such as OSHA and EPA are using the NAICS code for regulatory applications.  While classifications are only reviewed every 5 years, ARA is already working on getting a definition included for retailers that accurately describes the distribution process to farmers as the process will begin next year to be included in the 2022 Revision.  Click here for a policy paper ARA has prepared on this issue.

White House Supports Strong Commitment to Worker Safety

President Trump’s fiscal year 2019 budget request for OSHA supports a continued effort to assure safe and healthy workplaces.  The President’s budget includes important reforms to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used to maximum effect.  OSHA’s 2019 budget request provides for an increase of $6.1 million for 42 new Compliance Safety and Health Officers to continue the agency’s commitment to enforcement; and another $5.1 million for 24 Compliance Assistance Specialists and 8 additional staff to allow the agency to expand its training, outreach, compliance assistance and cooperative programs.

Driver Shortage is Top Concern

Finding a driver over the past decade has become harder and harder for agribusinesses across the country.  There's the issue of finding a qualified driver who is in the right price range and willing to work the long seasonal hours - and then there is the issue of being able to retain them when the DOT rules constantly eliminate drivers from the pool of availability due to ever-increasing health issues, drugs, alcohol and traffic violations.  Historically, the agribusiness industry has pulled drivers from the farm families they service, typical employment ads and from the trucking industry when their drivers wanted to stay closer to home or be home every night.  A recent survey shows that agribusinesses aren’t the only ones facing this problem - and the problem is not likely to ever improve until the use of autonomous trucks becomes routine.  According to an American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) survey, driver shortage is the number one concern for the trucking industry too.  One interesting note is that driver shortage even tops concerns about the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate.  ATRI’s survey findings list the top 10 concerns for the trucking industry as:
  1. Driver Shortage
  2. ELD Mandate
  3. Hours-of-Service (HOS)
  4. Truck Parking
  5. Driver Retention
  6. Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)
  7. Cumulative Economic Impacts of Trucking Regulations
  8. Driver Distraction
  9. Transportation Infrastructure / Congestion / Funding
  10. Driver Health and Wellness
Using CDL Life magazine's statistics that hit closer to home, a surprising 21% of drivers said they had to quit driving because of health reasons - they didn't qualify for a commercial drivers license (CDL) for medical reasons.  According to the CDL Life survey, 24% of drivers said that heavy-handed regulations prompted their desire to work in a less regulated work environment.  One other surprising statistic is their survey showed that 7% of the drivers said they weren't actually leaving the occupation of being a driver - which for us downstream recipients of drivers from high profile trucking companies, beware of a driver who walks through your door and seems too good to be true - no matter how difficult a time you are having finding drivers.

Batteries on a SARA Tier II Report?

OSHA determined a long time ago that lead acid batteries are hazardous since there are chemical and physical hazards associated with them.  Lead acid batteries are comprised of lead and sulfuric acid.  They have the potential to emit hydrogen gas which, upon ignition, may result in a fire or explosion.  They do not fall under the article exemption because they have the potential to leak, spill or break during normal conditions of use, including foreseeable emergencies.  A lead acid battery is considered a mixture, containing both sulfuric acid, an extremely hazardous substance (EHS), and other hazardous chemicals such as lead, lead oxide and lead sulfate.

If you utilize electric forklifts, make a list of these batteries and note the manufacturer and weight of each.  Next, refer to the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) corresponding to each battery brand to determine the sulfuric acid and lead percent composition.  Then calculate the total pounds of each compound using the battery weight and composition percentages.  A typical electric forklift battery can weigh a ton as it also acts as a counterweight, and if so, it could contain about 360 pounds of sulfuric acid.  If the total amount of sulfuric acid present at the facility is 500 pounds or more, it is reportable on the SARA Tier II report.  The threshold for reporting lead is 10,000 pounds. 

Check MCS-150 Forms for Expiration Dates

DOT is directing companies to use updated forms when updating their U.S. DOT registration.  Expired paper versions of the MCS-150 will no longer be accepted.  A basic requirement of being a motor carrier in the U.S. is updating your MCS-150 Motor Carrier Profile every two years.  Not to be confused with another version of the form, DOT published the MCS-150B form designed specifically to identify motor carriers with Hazardous Materials Safety Permits.  Filling out and submitting the MCS-150B form rather than the MCS-150 form will throw you into the pool of carriers that transport tractor-trailer loads of materials, such as anhydrous ammonia, that require a HM Safety Permit.  As you might expect, the requirements for these carriers are more stringent.  With this information, we recommend that you pay very close attention in the future to ensure your update is submitted on the correct form.  Click here for a copy of the updated MSC-150 form.

Finally One Fee That Is Lower

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced lower Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) registration fees for 2018, 2019 and beyond.  If you operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and if the vehicle, freight or passengers cross states lines, then UCR fees apply to you. UCR requires registration and an annual fee based on fleet size.  A CMV is defined as a self-propelled vehicle used on highways in commerce to transport passengers or cargo, if the vehicle: a) has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more; b) is designed to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; c) is designed to transport more than 15 passengers (including the driver) not for compensation or d) is used to transport hazardous materials in quantities requiring placarding.

For the 2018 registration year, the fees are reduced by approximately 9.10 percent compared to previous years. For the 2019 registration year and beyond, the fees are reduced by approximately 4.55 percent.  The fee reductions are being adopted to help ensure the fee revenues in 2018, 2019 and future years do not exceed the statutory maximum allowed.  The previous fees compared to the new 2018 and 2019 fees are as follows:

Number of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) owned or operated by exempt or non-exempt motor carrier, motor private carrier, or freight forwarder 2017 and prior year fees per entity for exempt or non-exempt motor carrier, motor private carrier, or freight forwarder 2018 fees per entity for exempt or non-exempt motor carrier, motor private carrier, or freight forwarder 2019 fees per entity for exempt or non-exempt motor carrier, motor private carrier, or freight forwarder
0-2 $76 $69 $73
3-5 $227 $206 $217
6-20 $452 $410 $431
21-100 $1,576 $1,431 $1,503
101-1,000 $7,511 $6,820 $7,165
1,001 and above $73,346 $66,597 $69,971
Remember, 2018 UCR filings started January 5, 2018.  Carriers have 90 days, or until April 5, 2018, to file.

Heads Up! Test Your Seed Mix

CropLife Magazine reports Scientists from the Weed Science Society of America say some native seed mixes planted to foster habitats for honeybees and other pollinators have been found to be contaminated with Palmer amaranth or “pigweed” – a weed ranked by experts as the most troublesome in the U.S.
Recent infestations show the weed is being spread in some native seed mixes – even those labeled as zero percent weed seed.  That’s the case in Iowa, Minnesota and other Midwest states, where there has been a concerted effort by farmers and other landowners to plant native wildflowers that can serve as a pollinator habitat.  If you purchase seed mixes containing pigweed or other Amaranthus species, be sure they have been tested to verify they are free of Palmer amaranth.

New Interagency Working Group Formed

EPA has formed a working group to evaluate and improve the Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultation process for pesticide registration.  The working group which includes representatives from the EPA, Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service is referred to collectively as “the Services.”  For years, both the EPA and the Services have disagreed on the best way to evaluate ESA consultations for crop protection products because each agency has different areas of expertise.
The agreement recognizes the unique skills each agency brings to the protection of threatened species and directs the group to: (1) outline a legal and regulatory framework by analyzing the relevant statutes, regulations and case law, (2) review past pesticide consultation practices to learn from those experiences, (3) develop scientific and policy approaches that will increase the accuracy and timeliness of the pesticide consultation process, and (4) document the proposed approach through a memorandum of understanding, revised regulations or another legal mechanism.  This announcement comes at a critical time as EPA has 700 pesticide registrations to complete by 2022.

Look for the Gold Lock

Here at the Asmark Institute, securing our clients' data is one of our highest priorities. One of the ways we protect your data is with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. In the address bar of your browser, you may have noticed a gold lock icon.  This icon indicates the website has a valid SSL certificate verified by a reputable certificate authority. Asmark Institute’s SSL certificate is verified by Symantec, who verifies the SSL certificates of 90% of Fortune 500 companies.

What that lock means to you, is that any information you share with the Asmark Institute website is secure.  Having an SSL certificate prevents intruders from tampering with communications between our website and your browser.  This could include malicious attackers that would try to gather sensitive information or install malware, or intrusive companies that try to inject advertisements into websites.  It also prevents “man-in-the-middle” attacks by ensuring that the website you are visiting is the legitimate version and not a copycat that tries to trick you into giving up sensitive information.  Finally, it proves that all data transmitted is encrypted so that it can’t be read by hackers or other snooping parties if they ever did gain access to it.

So the next time you visit the Asmark Institute website, look for the lock icon in your address bar and rest easy knowing your data is secure.

What’s Ahead at DOT, EPA and OSHA

DOT, EPA and OSHA have all published regulatory agendas with target dates through the end of the fiscal year.  We reviewed the lists and identified the topics that could impact our clients.  All in all there are plenty of final rules on the drawing board for 2018.
 
DOT Date Stage
Broker and Freight Forwarder Financial Responsibility 3/2018 Preproposal
Amendment to Agency Rules of Practice 1/2018 Proposal
Certification of Safety Auditors, Safety Investigators and Safety Inspectors 1/2018 Proposal
Hazmat: Reduce Regulatory Burden for Cylinder Requalification Requirements 1/2018 Proposal
ELDT; Class B to Class A CDL Upgrade 3/2018 Proposal
Hazmat: Harmonization With International Standards 7/2018 Proposal
Controlled Substances and Alcohol Testing: State Driver's Licensing Agency Downgrade of CDL 9/2018 Proposal
Definition of Tank Vehicle Used for Determining the CDL Endorsement 11/2017 Final Rule
Fees for the Unified Carrier Plan and Agreement 12/2017 Final Rule
Limitations on the Issuance of CDL With a Hazardous Materials Endorsement 12/2017 Final Rule
Process for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Physicians to be Added to the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners 12/2017 Final Rule
Hazmat: Response to Petitions From Industry to Modify, Clarify or Eliminate Regulations 2/2018 Final Rule
Qualifications of Drivers; Diabetes Standard 2/2018 Final Rule
Commercial Learner's Permit Validity 3/2018 Final Rule
Hazmat: Incorporation of ASME Code Section XII and the National Board Inspection Code 4/2018 Final Rule
Hazmat: Miscellaneous Amendments Pertaining to DOT-Specification Cylinders 4/2018 Final Rule
Technical, Organizational, Conforming and Correcting Amendments to FMCSRs 9/2018 Final Rule

EPA Date Stage
Increasing Consistency, Reliability, and Transparency in the Rulemaking Process 2/2018 Preproposal
Interpretation of "Used Routine Agricultural Operations" under EPCRA 3/2018 Proposal
Revisions to 40 CFR Part 2, Subpart b (Confidentiality of Business Information) 3/2018 Proposal
Accidental Release Prevention Requirements: RMP Reconsideration of Amendments 4/2018 Proposal
EPA Freedom of Information Act Regulations Update 4/2018 Proposal
Increasing Recycling: Adding Aerosol Cans to the Universal Waste Regulations 4/2018 Proposal
Pesticides; Procedural Rule Amendment; Requirement for Certain Pesticide Actions to Publish Notices in the Federal Register 4/2018 Proposal
Toxic Release Inventory (TRI); Response to Petition From the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) to Add 25 Chemicals 4/2018 Proposal
Second Action: Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ 5/2018 Proposal
Clean Water Act Hazardous Substances Spill Prevention 6/2018 Proposal
Parent Company Definition for Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Reporting 6/2018 Proposal
Modernizing Ignitable Liquids Determinations 8/2018 Proposal
Pesticides; Agricultural Worker Protection Standard; Reconsideration of Several Requirements 9/2018 Proposal
Pesticides; Certification of Pesticide Applicators Rule; Reconsideration of the Minimum Age Requirements 9/2018 Proposal
Definition of Waters of the United States--Addition of Applicability Date 2/2018 Final Action
Community Right-to-Know; Adopting 2017 NAICS Codes for TRI Reporting 12/2017 Final Rule
User Fees for the Electronic Hazardous Waste Manifest System and Amendments to Manifest Regulations 12/2017 Final Rule
Procedural Rule to Remove Obsolete Information 1/2018 Final Rule
Definition of "Waters of the United States"--Recodification of Pre-existing Rule 4/2018 Final Rule
CERCLA/EPCRA Reporting Requirements for Air Releases of Hazardous Substances From Animal Waste at Farms 6/2018 Final Rule
Pesticides; Technical Amendment to Data Requirements for Antimicrobial Pesticides 6/2018 Final Rule

OSHA Date Stage
Powered Industrial Trucks 1/2018 Info Request
Mechanical Power Presses Update 3/2018 Info Request
Lock-Out/Tag-Out Update 5/2018 Info Request
Blood Lead Level for Medical Removal 7/2018 Preproposal
Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses 12/2017 Proposal
Standards Improvement Project IV 2/2018 Final Rule
Technical Corrections to 16 OSHA Standards 2/2018 Final Rule
OSHA Access to Employee Medical Records 6/2018 Final Rule
Quantitative Fit Testing Protocol: Amendment to the Final Rule on Respiratory Protection 9/2018 Final Rule

“Major Source” or “Area Source”

EPA has issued a guidance memo withdrawing the “once in always in” policy for the classification of major sources of hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act.  With the new guidance, sources of hazardous air pollutants previously classified as “major sources” may be reclassified as “area” sources when the facility limits its potential to emit below major source thresholds.  The Clean Air Act defines a “major source” as one that emits, or has the potential to emit, 10 tons per year of any hazardous air pollutant, or 25 tons per year or more of any combination of hazardous air pollutants.  Sources with emissions below this threshold are classified as “area sources.”  Different control standards apply to the source depending on whether or not it is classified as a “major source” or an “area source.”

In a 1995 memo, EPA established a “once in always in” policy that determined that any facility subject to major source standards would always remain subject to those standards, even if production processes changed or controls were implemented that eliminated or permanently reduced that facility’s potential to emit hazardous air pollutants.  The new memo finds that EPA had no statutory authority under the Clean Air Act to place a time limit on when a facility may be determined to be an area source, and that a plain language reading of the Act must allow facilities to be reclassified as area sources once their potential to emit hazardous air pollutants falls below the levels that define major sources.

EPA anticipates that it will soon publish a Federal Register notice to take comment on adding regulatory text that will reflect EPA’s plain language reading of the statute.  For more information click here.

Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents Course: 4,000 & Counting

What’s the only thing worse than watching your chemical warehouse burn?  Watching it burn and being excluded from the decision-making process of the response!  Retail facilities were rarely trained in emergency response and hazardous waste clean up in the early 1990’s when the industry was struck by several fires.  The fires resulted in chemical spills that produced hazardous waste and contaminated runoff.  The staff at the retail facilities had to rely on emergency responders to dictate how the clean up would be handled - and this resulted in huge cleanup costs.

What happens in the first moments of a spill determines whether the incident will be a simple and inexpensive cleanup or a full-blown problem costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Ag retail companies, such as Crop Production Services (CPS), realized they not only needed to train their staff on emergency response activities but also to work with the regulators to participate in the decision-making process on future clean up efforts.  Until 1996, all the courses available from EPA were considered general-industry and suited for large commercial facilities and did not apply to the agriculture industry.

The importance of an ag-specific course was quickly realized and work set out to develop a curriculum, with emphasis on ag chemical spills and accidents, reportable quantities and reporting the appropriate incidents to the National Response Center.  The Asmark Institute and leaders from the ag industry such as Denny Doonan, Brian Miller, Joe Zoglmann and Marney Nunnally teamed up and created the Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents (HazWoper) course.  The result was the first Signature Training Course designed to support and fill a need in the agricultural industry.  The initial HazWoper course took place in Owensboro, KY on July 9-12, 1996.

Since its inception 21 years ago, there have been two lead instructors, William "Bill" St. Peters and Bill Basham, Sr.  William St. Peters instructed the course in the early years and up until his death.  In 2008, Bill Basham became the lead instructor and remains so today with help from his son Billy.  Bill brings over 40 years experience in dealing with hazardous substances.  Bill was a Commanding Officer with the Explosive Ordinance Disposal section of the Marine Corps and formed his own safety company.  This constant stability of instructors who strive for excellence, has helped drive the popularity of the course, with over 4,000 participants successfully completing the HazWoper training to date.

The popularity of the HazWoper course prompted the decision in 2010 to relocate the course from Owensboro, KY to LaVergne, TN for its close proximity to the Nashville International airport.  The training facility property used today is leased from Tennessee Farmers Cooperative and has been retrofitted to accommodate the HazWoper course.  The training facility houses a classroom, computer lab and a large outside area where equipment has been built to recreate numerous hands-on scenarios patterned after real incidents.

Due to its success, the HazWoper course has paved the way for all of the Institute’s Signature Training courses.

Drone Pilots: Think it Can’t Happen to You?

By now, the majority of agribusinesses have had the opportunity to see just how valuable a drone can be to their operations.  According to the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA), the number of UAVs registered with the FAA topped 1,000,000 in mid-January.  The technology packed into these revolutionary devices allows for the average Joe to become a so-called “pilot” overnight, with literally no required training.  Drones not only pose an extreme risk to the aviation community and the public, they also bring with them an added element of liability to their owners when not operated properly.

One pilot learned this the hard way while operating his drone on a recreational flight in Brooklyn, NY. Not only was he flying his drone in a temporarily restricted area he was also flying it farther than he could see it, a cardinal sin in the drone world.  Many drones on the market today have an auto-return-home function built in, which should send the drone back if it loses connection with the controller.  That function didn’t operate as designed and instead the drone found itself crashing into one of the propeller blades of a Black Hawk military helicopter.  Unaware of the accident, the pilot waited 30 minutes for the drone to return to base and when it didn’t he returned home empty handed.  The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated the accident and was able to track down the pilot - much to his surprise - using a serial number from a piece of the drone that was wedged into a cooling fan in the helicopter.

Let this serve as a lesson to our industry as drone usage is on the rise.  Although these devices can prove to be a valuable asset to business operations, drone pilots should know and understand the regulations surrounding these devices and exercise safe operating practices while in use.

Handi-Plan Hooray! 

An emergency can strike at any time, so we developed this very concise, colorful and extremely handy emergency plan, designed specifically for your facilities – all 2,520 of them.  All orders are out the door and have been shipped.  Hooray! This year alone, 13,672 Handi-Plans were printed and assembled in 48 days using 10 printers, 1 collating machine and a team of 4 made up of Morgan, Ewa, Patricia and Joann.

Underestimating the importance of emergency preparedness can have devastating effects on a business, which is why we take extra care when creating Handi-Plans for every facility.  Assembly of each Handi-Plan order requires the process of printing, collating, binding, crimping and packaging with proper paperwork, with various proofing processes in between to ensure product quality.

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.