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Newsletter
Volume 182
January 2, 2019

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 2019! As we enter our 30th year, we are excited about what the new year holds and continuing the relationship that has been developed over all the years. We look forward to the opportunity to work with you in 2019!

Yesterday Once More

As Susan and I retire in 2019, we will start a new chapter in our life – one where we will take the company, the team, the memories and the incredible journey with us in our hearts.  A little over ten years ago we announced the decision to retire; kicking off what some called “the longest succession plan in human history.”  It seems like just yesterday that we started down the untraveled path of leveraging technology to build risk management solutions for our retail clients - and here we are thirty years later.

We retire with the comfort of knowing we leave the Asmark Institute in better hands than our own.  Amber is a most capable and caring leader who, we should note, won her battle with cancer while maintaining the most positive of attitudes.  Eric has always worked tirelessly to support us and everything that makes Asmark special.  Brian has developed a keen sense of business over the years, especially as it relates to our core client base and you can see Megan’s fingerprints in every database and process throughout the building.  But even more, they are all true believers in what we've built together and how much can still be done.

No one could be prouder of our team than we are.  Andrew Carnegie said, “teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.  ”Asmark’s team of 25 employees has helped so many people in so many ways - for so many years.  Some say it is helping to redefine the culture in our industry.  To this we say, “keep up the great work.”  There are no words, though, that can express how sincerely grateful we are for the privilege of working with our entire team of employees.  That we have gotten to spend this time with people so spectacularly talented and unstoppably optimistic is a blessing we hope you will continue to share.

We live in interesting times whereby this team can play a fundamental role in shaping the future.  In many ways it’s “yesterday once more,” but with new players, a new sense of excitement and no shortage of opportunities.  We believe Asmark’s brightest days are ahead of it!

Allen & Susan Summers

Special Delivery!

Tia and her husband Tony recently received a special visit from the stork.  They announced the birth of their beautiful baby girl, Savannah Elise, born on December 3, 2018 weighing in at 8 pounds and measuring 21 1/4 inches long.  Savannah is Tia and Tony's first born child.  Tia is responsible for all New Hires/Re-hires, handles Security Vulnerability Assessment submissions and has been with Asmark for close to five years. Congratulations on the new arrival!

CropLife America Names Kellie Bray Chief of Staff

CropLife America (CLA) recently announced that Kellie Bray has been promoted to a new position as Chief of Staff. Kellie was most recently the Senior Director of Government Affairs for CLA.  Over the last 10 years, she has played a dual role covering both federal and state government relations. Kellie has a unique perspective on the breadth of challenges facing our industry. She is also a  key leader in industry affairs' efforts overseeing CLA’s affiliation with youth organizations such as National FFA and Ag Future of America.  Congratulations to Kellie on her promotion!

AGCO 2018 Operator of the Year Announced

Jerry Born of Farmers Union Oil of Southern Valley, Fairmount, North Dakota, has been selected as the AGCO 2018 Operator of the Year.  The award recognizes the value of the Professional Applicators and the hard work they do caring for crops and customers across the country, along with their involvement with their communities. According to Jerry’s manager, he is looked at as an expert when it comes to equipment, technology and overall application practices. Jerry makes sure that everyone operating the machines knows how to operate them safely and is not scared to stop or slow down a job until the situation is safe for himself, coworkers and customers.

Jerry was presented with the new title and the grand prize, a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle, on November 28th during the 2018 Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) Conference & Expo, in Boca Raton, Florida.  Congratulations to Jerry Born for this top honor!

MyScore Benchmark Climbs to 80!

The last 30 years have been filled with creating the tools and services our clients have needed to comply with the ever-growing number of government rules and regulations. Earlier this year, MyScore was created and launched to give locations a report card-like score based on their compliance efforts using these tools. Shortly after its launch, Joann and Donna from the Customer Service department began making individual phone calls to locations with a score above 50, and for those locations with a score of less than 50 an on-site visit was scheduled with Brian Mason. At the end of the day, the purpose of these calls and on-site visits were to help location personnel work on a plan for improvement or in some cases simply a pat on the back for a job well done and tips for keeping their score as good as it can be.

We are happy to report that after more than 1,600 phone calls, and more than 60 site visits in 16 states from coast to coast, the MyScore benchmark has increased from the lower 70’s to 80! When a location works to raise their MyScore, you aren’t just taking steps towards regulatory compliance. More importantly, you are creating a safer workplace for your employees and ensuring a more responsible presence within the community, all while reducing your overall liability as a business. As the year comes to an end, now is a great time to review your location’s MyScore to determine what work is needed to raise your score. If you have any questions regarding your current MyScore or ways to improve it, don’t hesitate to call Brian Mason at 270-926-4600 ext. 230.

It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg

More than 2,500 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, with 1,283 facilities already receiving their certification. We encourage you to register your facilities today! For more information and to register, go to: www.responsibleag.org

UPDATE!  DOT Grants Grace Period for Medical Examiner’s Certificate

DOT has reversed its decision on the use of the Medical Examiner’s Certificate with an expiration date of 8/31/18.  In October we notified you that the Medical Examination Report Form, MCSA-5875 and Medical Examiner’s Certificate, MCSA-5876, had been updated with a new expiration date of 9/30/19.  According to DOT, any forms with an expiration date of 8/31/18 would no longer be accepted unless they were signed by the medical examiner on or before 10/4/18.

DOT has now reversed its position on the use of the expired medical form and is “encouraging” use of the updated forms dated 9/30/19, but those dated 8/31/18 will still be accepted for now.  Our thanks to J.J. Keller & Associates for reaching out to DOT regarding the extension of the grace period. We also contacted Senator Mitch McConnell’s office when we learned of the issue to express our concerns of the affects of this on millions of drivers and motor carriers that couldn’t possibly comply with the knee-jerk reaction of no grace period. It appears that was a very effective contact in reversing the decision.

The new version of the Medical Examination Report Form and the Medical Examiner’s Certificate are available on the Asmark Institute website.  We’ll continue to keep you posted as information becomes available on any more changes to the medical examiner’s forms.  If you have any questions, please contact the Driver File Department at 270-926-4600, Ext 501.

New Ammonia Drawings for 2019

New for 2019! Participants attending the Ammonia Technician Course in 2019 will find a new set of drawings added to the course manual.  The new set of 12 drawings have been designed to help provide retailers with the basic options available to them.  The new drawings will help facilitate the discussion on options in class.  This is the first time the original drawings that were made when the course was launched in 2011 have been completely reviewed and re-drawn.

Marked clearly they are “Not For Construction” the new set of drawings are simpler by design and easier to read.  The drawings should prove beneficial to help existing facilities as well as help new installations start the discussion with their contractors.  The drawings are only available to participants of the course due to the classroom interaction and discussion required that supports the understanding of the new contents.  We encourage you to check out the Ammonia Technician Course and register today!

Ammonia Technician Course - 2019 Spring Dates Announced

We are pleased to offer the 2019 schedule for the Ammonia Technician Course.  The course is geared toward the personnel responsible for operating an ammonia installation and are required by EPA and OSHA to be trained to maintain the ongoing mechanical integrity of the equipment used in the process.  Training is the key to performing maintenance operations - safely!

Many individuals who register for the Ammonia Technician Course are also interested in participating in the NTIP “CT” Course.  New for 2019, we have scheduled one NTIP "CT" Course to coincide with the Ammonia Technician Course. This will help reduce time and costs for the participants and their companies.

This training is valid for three years and classes are limited to 22 participants, so register today to ensure you get the class date most convenient to you.  Click here to register. For more information or questions, please contact Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext. 234.

NTIP Spring Training Dates Announced

We are pleased to offer the new 2019 Spring schedule for the NTIP "CT" Course.  This one day course, led by John Rebholz, is designed to help train employees to understand their duties associated with the proper pressure, thickness and visual test/inspections for nurse tanks used for anhydrous ammonia, and will serve to provide the initial and three year refresher training.  Participants will receive a certificate valid for three years, which fulfills the training requirements for DOT's function-specific training for hazardous materials.

Many individuals who register for the "CT" Course are also interested in participating in the Ammonia Technician Course. New for 2019, we have scheduled one NTIP "CT" Course to coincide with the  Ammonia Technician Course. This will help reduce time and costs for the participants and their companies.

CT inspectors who are eligible to renew their Asmark Institute "CT" Training - watch your mail for your personalized invitation.

Classes are limited to 22 participants, so register today to ensure you get the class date most convenient for you. Click here to register. For more information or questions, please contact Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext. 234.

2019 Outlook for 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 2019.

DOT Date Stage
Hazmat: Harmonization With International Standards 10/2018 Proposal
Hazmat: Reduce Burden for Cylinder Requalification Requirements 10/2018 Proposal
Application for Employment 11/2018 Pre-proposal
Definition of Tank Vehicle Used for Determining the CDL Endorsement 11/2018 Final Rule
ELDT; Class B to Class A CDL Upgrade 11/2018 Review Comments
Limits on the Issuance of CDL With a Hazardous Materials Endorsement 11/2018 Final Rule
Drug and Alcohol Testing: State Agency Downgrade of CDL 12/2018 Proposal
Hours of Service of Drivers 12/2018 Review Comments
Preservation of Records 12/2018 Proposal
Record of Violations 12/2018 Proposal
Fees for the Unified Carrier Plan and Agreement 1/2019 Final Action
Third Party Commercial License Testers 1/2019 Proposal
Hazmat: Incorporation of ASME Code Section XII and the National Board Inspection Code 2/2019 Final Rule
Hazmat: Misc. Amendments Pertaining to DOT-Specification Cylinders 2/2019 Final Rule
Hazmat: Editorial Corrections and Clarifications 3/2019 Final Rule
Hours of Service of Drivers of CMVs; Transport of Ag Commodities 3/2019 Pre-proposal
Out of State Knowledge Test 6/2019 Proposal
Driver Qualifications; Revising the Vision Standard 7/2019 Proposal
Hazardous Materials: Modal Regulatory Reform Initiatives 9/2019 Proposal

 

EPA Date Stage
Modernizing Ignitable Liquids Determinations 11/2018 Proposal
NPDES Specific Provisions Affecting Application and Program Updates Rule 12/2018 Final Rule
Agricultural Worker Protection Standard; Reconsider Several Requirements 1/2019 Proposal
Certification of Pesticide Applicators Rule; Reconsider the Minimum Age Requirements 1/2019 Proposal
Reconsider Accidental Release Prevention Requirements (RMP) 1/2019 Final Rule
Toxic Release Inventory (TRI); Response to Petition From the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) to Add 25 Chemicals 1/2019 Proposal
EPA Freedom of Information Act Regulations Update 2/2019 Final Rule
Parent Company Definition for Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Reporting 2/2019 Proposal
Definition of "Waters of the United States"--Recodification of Pre-existing Rule 3/2019 Final Rule
Exemption for Air Emissions from Animal Waste at Farms from the Emergency Release Notification Requirements 5/2019 Final Rule
Increasing Consistency and Transparency in Considering Costs and Benefits in the Rulemaking Process 5/2019 Proposal
Revised Definition of "Waters of the United States" 9/2019 Final Rule

 

OSHA Date Stage
Emergency Response and Preparedness 10/2018 Begin Panel
Lock-Out/Tag-Out Update 10/2018 Info Request
Powered Industrial Trucks 10/2018 Info Request
Mechanical Power Presses Update 12/2018 Info Request
Standards Improvement Project IV 12/2018 Final Rule
Quantitative Fit Testing Protocol: Amend Final Rule on Respiratory Protection 12/2018 Final Rule
Blood Lead Level for Medical Removal 3/2019 Pre-proposal
Update to the Hazard Communication Standard 3/2019 Proposal
OSHA Access to Employee Medical Records 6/2019 Final Rule
Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses 6/2019 Final Rule

It's a Wrap! Driver File Team Completes Another Annual Review Season

As Compliance Visit Season is in full-swing, the driver file team is celebrating once again as another Annual Review season wraps-up. The driver file department, made up of Ashley, Morgan and Kendal, review all U.S. and Canadian files between the months of July and December every year to ensure your drivers stay qualified and active on the road.  This year surpasses last year’s numbers as the most driver files reviewed to date. While the number of driver files increased by over 1,300 from last year, the steadfast ladies in the driver file department have remained the same. 

By the Numbers - 2018 Annual Reviews
22,450 Signatures
11,225 Active Driver Files
10,184 Motor Vehicle Reports
1,764 Locations
114 Days
47 Pots of Coffee
22 Red Pens
3 Driver File Gals

The driver file gals appreciate the timely response from each facility in completing the necessary paperwork to make this another successful review season.

EPA Releases Revised WOTUS Definition

EPA announced a new “waters of the United States” definition under the Clean Water Act designed to clarify what waters are and are not regulated by the federal government.  The new proposed definition separates regulated waters into six categories:
  • Traditional navigable waters;
  • Tributaries to traditional navigable waters;
  • Certain ditches;
  • Certain lakes and ponds;
  • Impoundments; and
  • Wetlands adjacent to any of the above.
The proposed definition specifically excludes any waters that are not included in the six regulated categories above.  It also explicitly excludes groundwater, prior converted cropland, stormwater control features and waste treatment systems.  EPA plans to publish the proposed rule immediately for a 60-day public comment period.  Click here for more information.

Dispensing Propane Safely Training Now Only Available on USB

Do you have employees required to take the Dispensing Propane Safely training?  Dispensing Propane Safely is an employee training program funded by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) that details the many tasks associated with the safe and effective dispensing of propane into several types of propane cylinders and tanks. The program is organized into modules that allow you to select what material is covered based on an employees job responsibilities.

To help our clients track the Dispensing Propane Safely training in our system, we created a SMART certificate to be used when completing training.  Previously, we directed locations who needed this training to get the Dispensing Propane Safely video from the PERC website.  We recently learned they no longer offer the training video in DVD or downloadable format; it is now only available on a USB flash drive. If you do not currently have a copy of the DVD or a downloaded version, you will need to go to propanecouncil.org and purchase the new USB in order to complete the training. As of now, PERC has confirmed that the content and video has not changed, only the format it is offered in.

If you have any questions, please contact the Training Department at 270-926-4600, Ext 502.

IRS Issues Standard Mileage Rates for 2019

Beginning on January 1, 2019, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
  • 58 cents per mile driven for business use, up 3.5 cents from the rate for 2018,
  • 20 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, up 2 cents from the rate for 2018, and
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations, unchanged from 2018.
It is important to note that under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, taxpayers cannot claim a miscellaneous itemized deduction for unreimbursed employee travel expenses. Taxpayers also cannot claim a deduction for moving expenses, except members of the Armed Forces on active duty moving under orders to a permanent change of station. The standard mileage rate for business use 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. Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

Emergency Response Refresher Training Heads Southwest

For our clients located in the Southwest that have already completed the 4-day Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents Course - Registration is now open for the 8-hour Refresher Course.  Watch your mail for your personalized invitation. New for 2019, we have an additional training location in Hamburg, Louisiana. This new venue makes a total of 12 courses to be offered this year in the Southwestern states of Arizona, California, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.  Classes are limited to 30 participants, so register today to make sure you are confirmed for the location of your choice.

This course has been a great success since beginning in 2001 when there were only 17 of these classes offered throughout the U.S. Today more than 1,700 people are trained annually with just over 70 choices of Refresher Training locations. For more information or questions, please contact Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext. 234.

Process Streamlined for Drivers with Diabetes

DOT has streamlined the process to allow drivers with insulin-treated diabetes to be qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle.  In the past, requesting an exemption could take 2 or 3 months after being automatically disqualified for having the condition.  Now, the driver’s treating physician can provide a medical assessment form to a certified medical examiner to decide whether the driver is qualified to get behind the wheel.  If their diabetes is under control, the medical examiner can then grant the driver a Medical Examiner’s Certificate for up to 12 months.

DOT estimates this will provide relief for nearly 5,000 drivers that have used the exemption program in the past.  Click here for a copy of the assessment form.

National Labor Law Poster Updates

Considering the magnitude of state and federal agencies in existence today, it’s no surprise that labor laws are constantly changing.  The Federal Wage and Labor Law Institute (FWLLI) tracks these updates for us and we provide results for you.  Wondering if you need a poster update?  Click here to check for the latest Federal and/or State updates to the labor law posters.

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 2019! As we enter our 30th year, we are excited about what the new year holds and continuing the relationship that has been developed over all the years. We look forward to the opportunity to work with you in 2019!

Yesterday Once More

As Susan and I retire in 2019, we will start a new chapter in our life – one where we will take the company, the team, the memories and the incredible journey with us in our hearts.  A little over ten years ago we announced the decision to retire; kicking off what some called “the longest succession plan in human history.”  It seems like just yesterday that we started down the untraveled path of leveraging technology to build risk management solutions for our retail clients - and here we are thirty years later.

We retire with the comfort of knowing we leave the Asmark Institute in better hands than our own.  Amber is a most capable and caring leader who, we should note, won her battle with cancer while maintaining the most positive of attitudes.  Eric has always worked tirelessly to support us and everything that makes Asmark special.  Brian has developed a keen sense of business over the years, especially as it relates to our core client base and you can see Megan’s fingerprints in every database and process throughout the building.  But even more, they are all true believers in what we've built together and how much can still be done.

No one could be prouder of our team than we are.  Andrew Carnegie said, “teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.  ”Asmark’s team of 25 employees has helped so many people in so many ways - for so many years.  Some say it is helping to redefine the culture in our industry.  To this we say, “keep up the great work.”  There are no words, though, that can express how sincerely grateful we are for the privilege of working with our entire team of employees.  That we have gotten to spend this time with people so spectacularly talented and unstoppably optimistic is a blessing we hope you will continue to share.

We live in interesting times whereby this team can play a fundamental role in shaping the future.  In many ways it’s “yesterday once more,” but with new players, a new sense of excitement and no shortage of opportunities.  We believe Asmark’s brightest days are ahead of it!

Allen & Susan Summers

Special Delivery!

Tia and her husband Tony recently received a special visit from the stork.  They announced the birth of their beautiful baby girl, Savannah Elise, born on December 3, 2018 weighing in at 8 pounds and measuring 21 1/4 inches long.  Savannah is Tia and Tony's first born child.  Tia is responsible for all New Hires/Re-hires, handles Security Vulnerability Assessment submissions and has been with Asmark for close to five years. Congratulations on the new arrival!

CropLife America Names Kellie Bray Chief of Staff

CropLife America (CLA) recently announced that Kellie Bray has been promoted to a new position as Chief of Staff. Kellie was most recently the Senior Director of Government Affairs for CLA.  Over the last 10 years, she has played a dual role covering both federal and state government relations. Kellie has a unique perspective on the breadth of challenges facing our industry. She is also a  key leader in industry affairs' efforts overseeing CLA’s affiliation with youth organizations such as National FFA and Ag Future of America.  Congratulations to Kellie on her promotion!

AGCO 2018 Operator of the Year Announced

Jerry Born of Farmers Union Oil of Southern Valley, Fairmount, North Dakota, has been selected as the AGCO 2018 Operator of the Year.  The award recognizes the value of the Professional Applicators and the hard work they do caring for crops and customers across the country, along with their involvement with their communities. According to Jerry’s manager, he is looked at as an expert when it comes to equipment, technology and overall application practices. Jerry makes sure that everyone operating the machines knows how to operate them safely and is not scared to stop or slow down a job until the situation is safe for himself, coworkers and customers.

Jerry was presented with the new title and the grand prize, a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle, on November 28th during the 2018 Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) Conference & Expo, in Boca Raton, Florida.  Congratulations to Jerry Born for this top honor!

MyScore Benchmark Climbs to 80!

The last 30 years have been filled with creating the tools and services our clients have needed to comply with the ever-growing number of government rules and regulations. Earlier this year, MyScore was created and launched to give locations a report card-like score based on their compliance efforts using these tools. Shortly after its launch, Joann and Donna from the Customer Service department began making individual phone calls to locations with a score above 50, and for those locations with a score of less than 50 an on-site visit was scheduled with Brian Mason. At the end of the day, the purpose of these calls and on-site visits were to help location personnel work on a plan for improvement or in some cases simply a pat on the back for a job well done and tips for keeping their score as good as it can be.

We are happy to report that after more than 1,600 phone calls, and more than 60 site visits in 16 states from coast to coast, the MyScore benchmark has increased from the lower 70’s to 80! When a location works to raise their MyScore, you aren’t just taking steps towards regulatory compliance. More importantly, you are creating a safer workplace for your employees and ensuring a more responsible presence within the community, all while reducing your overall liability as a business. As the year comes to an end, now is a great time to review your location’s MyScore to determine what work is needed to raise your score. If you have any questions regarding your current MyScore or ways to improve it, don’t hesitate to call Brian Mason at 270-926-4600 ext. 230.

It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg

More than 2,500 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, with 1,283 facilities already receiving their certification. We encourage you to register your facilities today! For more information and to register, go to: www.responsibleag.org

UPDATE!  DOT Grants Grace Period for Medical Examiner’s Certificate

DOT has reversed its decision on the use of the Medical Examiner’s Certificate with an expiration date of 8/31/18.  In October we notified you that the Medical Examination Report Form, MCSA-5875 and Medical Examiner’s Certificate, MCSA-5876, had been updated with a new expiration date of 9/30/19.  According to DOT, any forms with an expiration date of 8/31/18 would no longer be accepted unless they were signed by the medical examiner on or before 10/4/18.

DOT has now reversed its position on the use of the expired medical form and is “encouraging” use of the updated forms dated 9/30/19, but those dated 8/31/18 will still be accepted for now.  Our thanks to J.J. Keller & Associates for reaching out to DOT regarding the extension of the grace period. We also contacted Senator Mitch McConnell’s office when we learned of the issue to express our concerns of the affects of this on millions of drivers and motor carriers that couldn’t possibly comply with the knee-jerk reaction of no grace period. It appears that was a very effective contact in reversing the decision.

The new version of the Medical Examination Report Form and the Medical Examiner’s Certificate are available on the Asmark Institute website.  We’ll continue to keep you posted as information becomes available on any more changes to the medical examiner’s forms.  If you have any questions, please contact the Driver File Department at 270-926-4600, Ext 501.

New Ammonia Drawings for 2019

New for 2019! Participants attending the Ammonia Technician Course in 2019 will find a new set of drawings added to the course manual.  The new set of 12 drawings have been designed to help provide retailers with the basic options available to them.  The new drawings will help facilitate the discussion on options in class.  This is the first time the original drawings that were made when the course was launched in 2011 have been completely reviewed and re-drawn.

Marked clearly they are “Not For Construction” the new set of drawings are simpler by design and easier to read.  The drawings should prove beneficial to help existing facilities as well as help new installations start the discussion with their contractors.  The drawings are only available to participants of the course due to the classroom interaction and discussion required that supports the understanding of the new contents.  We encourage you to check out the Ammonia Technician Course and register today!

Ammonia Technician Course - 2019 Spring Dates Announced

We are pleased to offer the 2019 schedule for the Ammonia Technician Course.  The course is geared toward the personnel responsible for operating an ammonia installation and are required by EPA and OSHA to be trained to maintain the ongoing mechanical integrity of the equipment used in the process.  Training is the key to performing maintenance operations - safely!

Many individuals who register for the Ammonia Technician Course are also interested in participating in the NTIP “CT” Course.  New for 2019, we have scheduled one NTIP "CT" Course to coincide with the Ammonia Technician Course. This will help reduce time and costs for the participants and their companies.

This training is valid for three years and classes are limited to 22 participants, so register today to ensure you get the class date most convenient to you.  Click here to register. For more information or questions, please contact Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext. 234.

NTIP Spring Training Dates Announced

We are pleased to offer the new 2019 Spring schedule for the NTIP "CT" Course.  This one day course, led by John Rebholz, is designed to help train employees to understand their duties associated with the proper pressure, thickness and visual test/inspections for nurse tanks used for anhydrous ammonia, and will serve to provide the initial and three year refresher training.  Participants will receive a certificate valid for three years, which fulfills the training requirements for DOT's function-specific training for hazardous materials.

Many individuals who register for the "CT" Course are also interested in participating in the Ammonia Technician Course. New for 2019, we have scheduled one NTIP "CT" Course to coincide with the  Ammonia Technician Course. This will help reduce time and costs for the participants and their companies.

CT inspectors who are eligible to renew their Asmark Institute "CT" Training - watch your mail for your personalized invitation.

Classes are limited to 22 participants, so register today to ensure you get the class date most convenient for you. Click here to register. For more information or questions, please contact Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext. 234.

2019 Outlook for 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 2019.

DOT Date Stage
Hazmat: Harmonization With International Standards 10/2018 Proposal
Hazmat: Reduce Burden for Cylinder Requalification Requirements 10/2018 Proposal
Application for Employment 11/2018 Pre-proposal
Definition of Tank Vehicle Used for Determining the CDL Endorsement 11/2018 Final Rule
ELDT; Class B to Class A CDL Upgrade 11/2018 Review Comments
Limits on the Issuance of CDL With a Hazardous Materials Endorsement 11/2018 Final Rule
Drug and Alcohol Testing: State Agency Downgrade of CDL 12/2018 Proposal
Hours of Service of Drivers 12/2018 Review Comments
Preservation of Records 12/2018 Proposal
Record of Violations 12/2018 Proposal
Fees for the Unified Carrier Plan and Agreement 1/2019 Final Action
Third Party Commercial License Testers 1/2019 Proposal
Hazmat: Incorporation of ASME Code Section XII and the National Board Inspection Code 2/2019 Final Rule
Hazmat: Misc. Amendments Pertaining to DOT-Specification Cylinders 2/2019 Final Rule
Hazmat: Editorial Corrections and Clarifications 3/2019 Final Rule
Hours of Service of Drivers of CMVs; Transport of Ag Commodities 3/2019 Pre-proposal
Out of State Knowledge Test 6/2019 Proposal
Driver Qualifications; Revising the Vision Standard 7/2019 Proposal
Hazardous Materials: Modal Regulatory Reform Initiatives 9/2019 Proposal

 

EPA Date Stage
Modernizing Ignitable Liquids Determinations 11/2018 Proposal
NPDES Specific Provisions Affecting Application and Program Updates Rule 12/2018 Final Rule
Agricultural Worker Protection Standard; Reconsider Several Requirements 1/2019 Proposal
Certification of Pesticide Applicators Rule; Reconsider the Minimum Age Requirements 1/2019 Proposal
Reconsider Accidental Release Prevention Requirements (RMP) 1/2019 Final Rule
Toxic Release Inventory (TRI); Response to Petition From the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) to Add 25 Chemicals 1/2019 Proposal
EPA Freedom of Information Act Regulations Update 2/2019 Final Rule
Parent Company Definition for Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Reporting 2/2019 Proposal
Definition of "Waters of the United States"--Recodification of Pre-existing Rule 3/2019 Final Rule
Exemption for Air Emissions from Animal Waste at Farms from the Emergency Release Notification Requirements 5/2019 Final Rule
Increasing Consistency and Transparency in Considering Costs and Benefits in the Rulemaking Process 5/2019 Proposal
Revised Definition of "Waters of the United States" 9/2019 Final Rule

 

OSHA Date Stage
Emergency Response and Preparedness 10/2018 Begin Panel
Lock-Out/Tag-Out Update 10/2018 Info Request
Powered Industrial Trucks 10/2018 Info Request
Mechanical Power Presses Update 12/2018 Info Request
Standards Improvement Project IV 12/2018 Final Rule
Quantitative Fit Testing Protocol: Amend Final Rule on Respiratory Protection 12/2018 Final Rule
Blood Lead Level for Medical Removal 3/2019 Pre-proposal
Update to the Hazard Communication Standard 3/2019 Proposal
OSHA Access to Employee Medical Records 6/2019 Final Rule
Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses 6/2019 Final Rule

It's a Wrap! Driver File Team Completes Another Annual Review Season

As Compliance Visit Season is in full-swing, the driver file team is celebrating once again as another Annual Review season wraps-up. The driver file department, made up of Ashley, Morgan and Kendal, review all U.S. and Canadian files between the months of July and December every year to ensure your drivers stay qualified and active on the road.  This year surpasses last year’s numbers as the most driver files reviewed to date. While the number of driver files increased by over 1,300 from last year, the steadfast ladies in the driver file department have remained the same. 

By the Numbers - 2018 Annual Reviews
22,450 Signatures
11,225 Active Driver Files
10,184 Motor Vehicle Reports
1,764 Locations
114 Days
47 Pots of Coffee
22 Red Pens
3 Driver File Gals

The driver file gals appreciate the timely response from each facility in completing the necessary paperwork to make this another successful review season.

EPA Releases Revised WOTUS Definition

EPA announced a new “waters of the United States” definition under the Clean Water Act designed to clarify what waters are and are not regulated by the federal government.  The new proposed definition separates regulated waters into six categories:
  • Traditional navigable waters;
  • Tributaries to traditional navigable waters;
  • Certain ditches;
  • Certain lakes and ponds;
  • Impoundments; and
  • Wetlands adjacent to any of the above.
The proposed definition specifically excludes any waters that are not included in the six regulated categories above.  It also explicitly excludes groundwater, prior converted cropland, stormwater control features and waste treatment systems.  EPA plans to publish the proposed rule immediately for a 60-day public comment period.  Click here for more information.

Dispensing Propane Safely Training Now Only Available on USB

Do you have employees required to take the Dispensing Propane Safely training?  Dispensing Propane Safely is an employee training program funded by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) that details the many tasks associated with the safe and effective dispensing of propane into several types of propane cylinders and tanks. The program is organized into modules that allow you to select what material is covered based on an employees job responsibilities.

To help our clients track the Dispensing Propane Safely training in our system, we created a SMART certificate to be used when completing training.  Previously, we directed locations who needed this training to get the Dispensing Propane Safely video from the PERC website.  We recently learned they no longer offer the training video in DVD or downloadable format; it is now only available on a USB flash drive. If you do not currently have a copy of the DVD or a downloaded version, you will need to go to propanecouncil.org and purchase the new USB in order to complete the training. As of now, PERC has confirmed that the content and video has not changed, only the format it is offered in.

If you have any questions, please contact the Training Department at 270-926-4600, Ext 502.

IRS Issues Standard Mileage Rates for 2019

Beginning on January 1, 2019, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
  • 58 cents per mile driven for business use, up 3.5 cents from the rate for 2018,
  • 20 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, up 2 cents from the rate for 2018, and
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations, unchanged from 2018.
It is important to note that under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, taxpayers cannot claim a miscellaneous itemized deduction for unreimbursed employee travel expenses. Taxpayers also cannot claim a deduction for moving expenses, except members of the Armed Forces on active duty moving under orders to a permanent change of station. The standard mileage rate for business use 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. Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

Emergency Response Refresher Training Heads Southwest

For our clients located in the Southwest that have already completed the 4-day Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents Course - Registration is now open for the 8-hour Refresher Course.  Watch your mail for your personalized invitation. New for 2019, we have an additional training location in Hamburg, Louisiana. This new venue makes a total of 12 courses to be offered this year in the Southwestern states of Arizona, California, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.  Classes are limited to 30 participants, so register today to make sure you are confirmed for the location of your choice.

This course has been a great success since beginning in 2001 when there were only 17 of these classes offered throughout the U.S. Today more than 1,700 people are trained annually with just over 70 choices of Refresher Training locations. For more information or questions, please contact Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext. 234.

Process Streamlined for Drivers with Diabetes

DOT has streamlined the process to allow drivers with insulin-treated diabetes to be qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle.  In the past, requesting an exemption could take 2 or 3 months after being automatically disqualified for having the condition.  Now, the driver’s treating physician can provide a medical assessment form to a certified medical examiner to decide whether the driver is qualified to get behind the wheel.  If their diabetes is under control, the medical examiner can then grant the driver a Medical Examiner’s Certificate for up to 12 months.

DOT estimates this will provide relief for nearly 5,000 drivers that have used the exemption program in the past.  Click here for a copy of the assessment form.

National Labor Law Poster Updates

Considering the magnitude of state and federal agencies in existence today, it’s no surprise that labor laws are constantly changing.  The Federal Wage and Labor Law Institute (FWLLI) tracks these updates for us and we provide results for you.  Wondering if you need a poster update?  Click here to check for the latest Federal and/or State updates to the labor law posters.
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.