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Newsletter
Volume 185
April 1, 2019

Historic Midwest Flooding

Our thoughts and prayers are with our clients and their families, friends and customers who are experiencing the devastating affects of the record flooding occurring throughout the Midwest.  As the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and their tributaries continue to rise and new rainstorms bring even more precipitation, millions of acres of farmland remain underwater.  We pray that waters recede and the cleanup process can begin soon.

Spring Season is Here - But There's No Time to Stop and Smell The Roses

Spring season is here, which means New Hires are in full swing!  This time of year we have the highest volume of employees entered into our system than any other time of year.  To accommodate the facilities during this busy time we've made some new changes to our website that will make the new hire process even more efficient and simpler for the users.  Now when you go to enter a new hire, instead of having to pick your company from a list, it will take you straight to your company's new hire page based on the login used when entering the website.

With this "smart" programming, it eliminates a step or two from the process, shortening the time it takes to enter a new hire and removes any chance for accidentally clicking a wrong button.  The New Hire Kit system is designed to automate and streamline the process of hiring qualified employees.  Plan ahead to ensure each employee receives the proper training and qualifications upon being hired.

Second Asmark University Course a Success

The second Asmark University course wrapped up on March 14th to a full house of EH&S professionals.  Participants traveled to attend the course in Owensboro, KY from California, Texas, Maryland, Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, and we even had a repeat attendee from Washington state. The course is designed to provide a better understanding of how the system works so those risk management professionals tasked with responsibility for facilities will be better prepared to leverage their knowledge to support their locations.

Every Asmark Institute employee, known as a “professor,” presented their area of expertise during the class.  Participants had access to their own computer and were encouraged to follow along on the website as the class moved through the topics.  Alternating between the website and more than fifty databases, participants were walked through practically every tool offered by the Institute.  Feedback from the evaluations scored the professors high and indicated the participants enjoyed the variety of presenters and felt they benefited from meeting the staff members and seeing the processes.  Seeing how everything was related behind-the-scenes was another popular aspect of the course according to participants.  One participant commented, "Excellent way to not only learn the Asmark system more in-depth, but also a nice opportunity to meet and interact face-to-face with the staff."

Asmark recognizes how important it is for clients to gain a thorough understanding of how the Lighthouse system works. This knowledge leads to newfound synergies which, in turn, increase efficiency for clients. As an added bonus, anytime you get a group of professionals together like this new ideas emerge to make the next class even better.  Plans are to offer this unique course annually as needed.

DOT Launches Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Website

DOT launched a new website with information about the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.  The Clearinghouse will help employers identify drivers who are not legally permitted to operate commercial motor vehicles due to drug and alcohol program violations.  This secure online database will provide access to real-time information, ensuring that drivers committing these violations complete the necessary steps before getting back behind the wheel or performing any other safety-sensitive function.

Click here to learn more about how CDL drivers and their employers will be required to use the Clearinghouse beginning January 6, 2020.

Don't Shoot the Messenger

With busy season upon us, New Hire/Re-hire paperwork is at an all time high. During this time of year, it isn't uncommon to hear, "Asmark is requiring us to fill out all of this paperwork and we just don't have the time."  In which we explain - any paperwork sent related to the driver qualification file or training certificates in an employee's New Hire/Re-Hire kit are required documents by either DOT or OSHA.

We understand this time of year most people are out in the fields and not in the office, so when a stack of paperwork arrives - so does a feeling of frustration.  We have kept that in mind as we built the New Hire/Re-hire process by helping where we can, such as pre-filling information specific to the employer and employee so there are fewer boxes to fill in.  We also research the history of any employee who is a Re-hire who has been in our system previously and send only the paperwork that is necessary to bring the employee current on their training and driver file, if applicable:

New Hire Re-hire
Training Certificates: 8-20 Subjects 0-10 Subjects    *Varies on subjects not current
Driver File: 10 Forms 4 Forms
Your employees are without a doubt your company's greatest assets and the purpose of the New Hire/Re-hire paperwork is to help ensure that each employee receives the proper training and qualifications to complete their duties safely.  If you have questions regarding the paperwork you have received, please feel free to contact Customer Service at 270-926-4600, Ext 506 and we will be glad to assist you.

2019 Regulatory Posters on the Way - Watch for Yours to Arrive Soon!

The 2019 regulatory posters have shipped and should hit your desk sometime this week.  The set of three posters includes information on DOT shipping descriptions, Worker Protection Standards and Restricted-Use Products.  Amber Duke heads up the ProFiles Database and printed materials such as the popular set of posters.  Amber can be contacted at 270-926-4600, Ext 213.

OSHA to Revisit PIT Standards

After almost 50 years since the origin, OSHA is requesting information to update the powered industrial trucks standards.  Powered industrial trucks include forklifts, fork trucks, tractors, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks and other specialized industrial trucks powered by an electrical motor or an internal combustion engine.  The standards became effective in 1971 and were based on industry consensus standards from 1969.  Since then, national consensus standards have been updated several times.

OSHA is requesting information on:
  • the types, age, and usage of powered industrial trucks;
  • maintenance and retro-fitting;
  • how to regulate older powered industrial trucks;
  • types of accidents and injuries associated with operating these machines;
  • costs and benefits of retrofitting the machines with safety features;
  • and other components of a safety program. 
OSHA will use the information received in response to this request to determine what action, if any, it may take.  Comments must be submitted by June 10, 2019.  Click here to see the Federal Register notice for submission details.

DRIVE Safe Act Reintroduced

A bill reintroduced in Congress could help address the driver shortage issue.  The Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE) Safe Act would lower the minimum age requirement for interstate drivers from 21 to 18.  The legislation calls for a 400-hour apprenticeship program where younger drivers would complete a probationary period while being accompanied by an experienced driver.

Trucks used in the training program must be equipped with active braking collision mitigation systems, forward facing video event capture and speeds must be governed to 65 mph.  While there seems to be strong support of this bipartisan legislation, don’t hang out your help wanted signs for 18 year old drivers just yet.

DOT & EPA AG-30 Hour Course - Summer Registration Now Open

Registration for the 2019 Summer DOT & EPA AG-30 Hour Course is now open.  The four day course, led by Dustin Warder, Manager of Regulatory Affairs for the Asmark Institute, provides a “facilitated training experience” using a combination of classroom lectures, scenarios and hands-on exercises.  Experience shows our clients simply have an easier time with compliance issues when they understand how the regulations came about and what the agency expects of them.

The training is conducted at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY, a retired agrichemical facility specifically designed and retro-fitted for training purposes.  The facility is one huge “prop,” used in the course to reinforce the learning process and help to familiarize the participants with the practical application of the DOT and EPA regulations.  Discover how the agencies work and what violations they pose that can adversely affect your company.  Participants learn to assess their organization's level of compliance and utilize safety-audit tools to significantly reduce, and potentially eliminate, accidents and violations.

Class is limited to 24 participants, so click here to register today!  For more information or questions, please contact Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext. 234.

Environmental Respect Awards 2019 - Deadline June 7

The Environmental Respect Awards are the industry’s highest recognition for environmental stewardship among U.S. agricultural retailers.  The awards are sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, Agricultural Division of DowDuPont, and presented by CropLife and AgriBusiness Global magazines each year.  The stewardship program, which began in 1990, is designed to honor outstanding work in preserving the environment through safe, responsible business practices. Winners are selected by a panel of industry experts that judge each applicant based on categories such as environmental stewardship, safety education for employees, professional excellence, leadership in compliance, innovative technology and community outreach.

New for this year, the awards have been broadened to include not only crop protection and seed retailers/agencies, but also service providers, integrated producers and public agencies.  The deadline to enter is June 7, 2019.  To learn more and to enter, click here.

It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg

More than 2,580 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, with close to 1,400 facilities already receiving their certification. We encourage you to register your facilities today! For more information and to register, go to: www.responsibleag.org

Stand Up for Grain Safety Week Kick-Off

The National Stand Up for Grain Safety Week officially kicked off in Bloomington, IL at the Asmark Institute Agricenter on March 25th.  Hosted by the Grain & Feed Association of Illinois, the event was attended by over 100 folks, including OSHA's Deputy Assistant Secretary, Loren Sweatt, Illinois Department of Agriculture Director, John Sullivan, as well as several other grain industry leaders.  During the kick-off event a proclamation from Illinois Governor, JB Pritzker, and Illinois Department of Labor Director, Micael Klenik, to officially name March 25 - 29 "Grain Safety" week in Illinois was accepted by Loren.  Click here to watch the live recording of the event.

Grain handling and storage is a key issue for the grain industry.  Increased storage capacities combined with larger, faster handling and automated equipment contribute to the safety and health hazards.  Currently, the National Grain and Feed Association, OSHA, Grain Elevator and Processing Society, American Feed Industry Association and Grain Handling Safety Coalition are working together to raise awareness of industry and OSHA resources available to identify potential hazards at grain, feed and processing facilities through the Stand Up for Grain Safety Week.  Click here to learn more.

Purdue Reports Increase in Grain Dust Explosions

There were 12 grain dust explosions reported in the US in 2018, which is well above the 10 year average of 8.4 explosions, according to an annual report issued by Purdue University.  The dust explosions occurred in nine different states: two in Illinois and Iowa, and one each in Minnesota, Indiana, Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Kansas and Louisiana.  One fatality and four injuries were attributed to the 2018 explosions.

The explosions occurred in two feed mills, two ethanol plants and eight grain elevators.  The probable ignition sources were identified in three cases as hot bearings and sparks, and nine were unknowns.  Fuel sources were identified as three from grain dust and nine unknowns.  Click here to view the full report.

NTIP Summer Training Dates Announced

Registration is now open for the 2019 Summer Nurse Tank Inspection "CT" Courses scheduled for July.  This one day course, led by John Rebholz, is designed to help train Cargo Tank or "CT" inspectors understand their duties associated with the proper pressure (P), thickness (T) and visual (V) tests and 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 NTIP "CT" Course are also interested in participating in the Ammonia Technician Course. We have scheduled one NTIP "CT" Course to coincide with the Ammonia Technician Course in an effort to help reduce time and travel costs for the participants and their companies.

CT inspectors who are eligible to renew their Asmark Institute NTIP "CT" Training should 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.

NIOSH Noise App Updated

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has released an updated version of its free Sound Level Meter app, designed to measure sound levels in the workplace.  The app includes up-to-date informational screens on what noises are considered hazardous, how to conduct a noise measurement, how to properly select a hearing protector and guidelines for preventing hearing loss.  Along with sharing and reporting data, the app has the capability to calibrate an internal or external microphone.

Developed by experienced acoustics engineers and hearing loss experts, the NIOSH Sound Level Meter is available to download from the Apple App Store. For Android users, the agency states that because of the large number of available Android devices and models, “testing and verification of the accuracy and functionality of an Android-based app in our laboratory is not currently possible.”

Paraquat Dichloride Training Available

A new certified applicator training module for paraquat dichloride, also known as paraquat, is now available.  The training was developed by paraquat manufacturers and approved by EPA.  Paraquat is one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S. for the control of weeds in many agricultural and non-agricultural settings and is also used as a defoliant on crops such as cotton prior to harvest.  Paraquat is a restricted use pesticide for use only by a certified applicator.  The restriction applies to mixing, loading, and applying paraquat, as well as other pesticide handling activities.

Since 2000, 17 deaths have been caused by accidental ingestion of paraquat.  Many of these deaths resulted from people illegally transferring the pesticide to beverage containers and the victim later mistaking it for a drink.  A single sip can be fatal.  In addition to the deaths by accidental ingestion, since 2000, three more deaths and many severe injuries have been caused by the pesticide getting onto the skin or into the eyes of those working with it.

To help prevent these tragedies, certified applicators must now take paraquat-specific training before use, to emphasize that the chemical must not be transferred to or stored in improper containers.  The training also covers paraquat toxicity, new label requirements and restrictions, consequences of misuse, and other important information.  To view the EPA-approved training module click here.

A Bird? A Plane? It's an OSHA Drone

OSHA is now using drones to conduct safety inspections of facilities.  Did you just look out your window?  OSHA will obtain consent from the employer before using a drone on any inspection.  To ensure the safety and cooperation of individuals that may be affected by the aerial inspection, personnel on site must also be notified.

The drones can be used for areas that are inaccessible or pose a safety risk to inspection personnel.  Inspectors are to keep a visual line-of-sight with the drone, operate only during sunrise to sunset, and not operate the drone higher than 400 feet above the ground, amongst other operational requirements.

While OSHA’s use of drones seems somewhat limited right now, the future could reveal inspections of this nature being commonplace.

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.

Historic Midwest Flooding

Our thoughts and prayers are with our clients and their families, friends and customers who are experiencing the devastating affects of the record flooding occurring throughout the Midwest.  As the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and their tributaries continue to rise and new rainstorms bring even more precipitation, millions of acres of farmland remain underwater.  We pray that waters recede and the cleanup process can begin soon.

Spring Season is Here - But There's No Time to Stop and Smell The Roses

Spring season is here, which means New Hires are in full swing!  This time of year we have the highest volume of employees entered into our system than any other time of year.  To accommodate the facilities during this busy time we've made some new changes to our website that will make the new hire process even more efficient and simpler for the users.  Now when you go to enter a new hire, instead of having to pick your company from a list, it will take you straight to your company's new hire page based on the login used when entering the website.

With this "smart" programming, it eliminates a step or two from the process, shortening the time it takes to enter a new hire and removes any chance for accidentally clicking a wrong button.  The New Hire Kit system is designed to automate and streamline the process of hiring qualified employees.  Plan ahead to ensure each employee receives the proper training and qualifications upon being hired.

Second Asmark University Course a Success

The second Asmark University course wrapped up on March 14th to a full house of EH&S professionals.  Participants traveled to attend the course in Owensboro, KY from California, Texas, Maryland, Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, and we even had a repeat attendee from Washington state. The course is designed to provide a better understanding of how the system works so those risk management professionals tasked with responsibility for facilities will be better prepared to leverage their knowledge to support their locations.

Every Asmark Institute employee, known as a “professor,” presented their area of expertise during the class.  Participants had access to their own computer and were encouraged to follow along on the website as the class moved through the topics.  Alternating between the website and more than fifty databases, participants were walked through practically every tool offered by the Institute.  Feedback from the evaluations scored the professors high and indicated the participants enjoyed the variety of presenters and felt they benefited from meeting the staff members and seeing the processes.  Seeing how everything was related behind-the-scenes was another popular aspect of the course according to participants.  One participant commented, "Excellent way to not only learn the Asmark system more in-depth, but also a nice opportunity to meet and interact face-to-face with the staff."

Asmark recognizes how important it is for clients to gain a thorough understanding of how the Lighthouse system works. This knowledge leads to newfound synergies which, in turn, increase efficiency for clients. As an added bonus, anytime you get a group of professionals together like this new ideas emerge to make the next class even better.  Plans are to offer this unique course annually as needed.

DOT Launches Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Website

DOT launched a new website with information about the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.  The Clearinghouse will help employers identify drivers who are not legally permitted to operate commercial motor vehicles due to drug and alcohol program violations.  This secure online database will provide access to real-time information, ensuring that drivers committing these violations complete the necessary steps before getting back behind the wheel or performing any other safety-sensitive function.

Click here to learn more about how CDL drivers and their employers will be required to use the Clearinghouse beginning January 6, 2020.

Don't Shoot the Messenger

With busy season upon us, New Hire/Re-hire paperwork is at an all time high. During this time of year, it isn't uncommon to hear, "Asmark is requiring us to fill out all of this paperwork and we just don't have the time."  In which we explain - any paperwork sent related to the driver qualification file or training certificates in an employee's New Hire/Re-Hire kit are required documents by either DOT or OSHA.

We understand this time of year most people are out in the fields and not in the office, so when a stack of paperwork arrives - so does a feeling of frustration.  We have kept that in mind as we built the New Hire/Re-hire process by helping where we can, such as pre-filling information specific to the employer and employee so there are fewer boxes to fill in.  We also research the history of any employee who is a Re-hire who has been in our system previously and send only the paperwork that is necessary to bring the employee current on their training and driver file, if applicable:

New Hire Re-hire
Training Certificates: 8-20 Subjects 0-10 Subjects    *Varies on subjects not current
Driver File: 10 Forms 4 Forms
Your employees are without a doubt your company's greatest assets and the purpose of the New Hire/Re-hire paperwork is to help ensure that each employee receives the proper training and qualifications to complete their duties safely.  If you have questions regarding the paperwork you have received, please feel free to contact Customer Service at 270-926-4600, Ext 506 and we will be glad to assist you.

2019 Regulatory Posters on the Way - Watch for Yours to Arrive Soon!

The 2019 regulatory posters have shipped and should hit your desk sometime this week.  The set of three posters includes information on DOT shipping descriptions, Worker Protection Standards and Restricted-Use Products.  Amber Duke heads up the ProFiles Database and printed materials such as the popular set of posters.  Amber can be contacted at 270-926-4600, Ext 213.

OSHA to Revisit PIT Standards

After almost 50 years since the origin, OSHA is requesting information to update the powered industrial trucks standards.  Powered industrial trucks include forklifts, fork trucks, tractors, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks and other specialized industrial trucks powered by an electrical motor or an internal combustion engine.  The standards became effective in 1971 and were based on industry consensus standards from 1969.  Since then, national consensus standards have been updated several times.

OSHA is requesting information on:
  • the types, age, and usage of powered industrial trucks;
  • maintenance and retro-fitting;
  • how to regulate older powered industrial trucks;
  • types of accidents and injuries associated with operating these machines;
  • costs and benefits of retrofitting the machines with safety features;
  • and other components of a safety program. 
OSHA will use the information received in response to this request to determine what action, if any, it may take.  Comments must be submitted by June 10, 2019.  Click here to see the Federal Register notice for submission details.

DRIVE Safe Act Reintroduced

A bill reintroduced in Congress could help address the driver shortage issue.  The Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE) Safe Act would lower the minimum age requirement for interstate drivers from 21 to 18.  The legislation calls for a 400-hour apprenticeship program where younger drivers would complete a probationary period while being accompanied by an experienced driver.

Trucks used in the training program must be equipped with active braking collision mitigation systems, forward facing video event capture and speeds must be governed to 65 mph.  While there seems to be strong support of this bipartisan legislation, don’t hang out your help wanted signs for 18 year old drivers just yet.

DOT & EPA AG-30 Hour Course - Summer Registration Now Open

Registration for the 2019 Summer DOT & EPA AG-30 Hour Course is now open.  The four day course, led by Dustin Warder, Manager of Regulatory Affairs for the Asmark Institute, provides a “facilitated training experience” using a combination of classroom lectures, scenarios and hands-on exercises.  Experience shows our clients simply have an easier time with compliance issues when they understand how the regulations came about and what the agency expects of them.

The training is conducted at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY, a retired agrichemical facility specifically designed and retro-fitted for training purposes.  The facility is one huge “prop,” used in the course to reinforce the learning process and help to familiarize the participants with the practical application of the DOT and EPA regulations.  Discover how the agencies work and what violations they pose that can adversely affect your company.  Participants learn to assess their organization's level of compliance and utilize safety-audit tools to significantly reduce, and potentially eliminate, accidents and violations.

Class is limited to 24 participants, so click here to register today!  For more information or questions, please contact Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext. 234.

Environmental Respect Awards 2019 - Deadline June 7

The Environmental Respect Awards are the industry’s highest recognition for environmental stewardship among U.S. agricultural retailers.  The awards are sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, Agricultural Division of DowDuPont, and presented by CropLife and AgriBusiness Global magazines each year.  The stewardship program, which began in 1990, is designed to honor outstanding work in preserving the environment through safe, responsible business practices. Winners are selected by a panel of industry experts that judge each applicant based on categories such as environmental stewardship, safety education for employees, professional excellence, leadership in compliance, innovative technology and community outreach.

New for this year, the awards have been broadened to include not only crop protection and seed retailers/agencies, but also service providers, integrated producers and public agencies.  The deadline to enter is June 7, 2019.  To learn more and to enter, click here.

It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg

More than 2,580 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, with close to 1,400 facilities already receiving their certification. We encourage you to register your facilities today! For more information and to register, go to: www.responsibleag.org

Stand Up for Grain Safety Week Kick-Off

The National Stand Up for Grain Safety Week officially kicked off in Bloomington, IL at the Asmark Institute Agricenter on March 25th.  Hosted by the Grain & Feed Association of Illinois, the event was attended by over 100 folks, including OSHA's Deputy Assistant Secretary, Loren Sweatt, Illinois Department of Agriculture Director, John Sullivan, as well as several other grain industry leaders.  During the kick-off event a proclamation from Illinois Governor, JB Pritzker, and Illinois Department of Labor Director, Micael Klenik, to officially name March 25 - 29 "Grain Safety" week in Illinois was accepted by Loren.  Click here to watch the live recording of the event.

Grain handling and storage is a key issue for the grain industry.  Increased storage capacities combined with larger, faster handling and automated equipment contribute to the safety and health hazards.  Currently, the National Grain and Feed Association, OSHA, Grain Elevator and Processing Society, American Feed Industry Association and Grain Handling Safety Coalition are working together to raise awareness of industry and OSHA resources available to identify potential hazards at grain, feed and processing facilities through the Stand Up for Grain Safety Week.  Click here to learn more.

Purdue Reports Increase in Grain Dust Explosions

There were 12 grain dust explosions reported in the US in 2018, which is well above the 10 year average of 8.4 explosions, according to an annual report issued by Purdue University.  The dust explosions occurred in nine different states: two in Illinois and Iowa, and one each in Minnesota, Indiana, Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Kansas and Louisiana.  One fatality and four injuries were attributed to the 2018 explosions.

The explosions occurred in two feed mills, two ethanol plants and eight grain elevators.  The probable ignition sources were identified in three cases as hot bearings and sparks, and nine were unknowns.  Fuel sources were identified as three from grain dust and nine unknowns.  Click here to view the full report.

NTIP Summer Training Dates Announced

Registration is now open for the 2019 Summer Nurse Tank Inspection "CT" Courses scheduled for July.  This one day course, led by John Rebholz, is designed to help train Cargo Tank or "CT" inspectors understand their duties associated with the proper pressure (P), thickness (T) and visual (V) tests and 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 NTIP "CT" Course are also interested in participating in the Ammonia Technician Course. We have scheduled one NTIP "CT" Course to coincide with the Ammonia Technician Course in an effort to help reduce time and travel costs for the participants and their companies.

CT inspectors who are eligible to renew their Asmark Institute NTIP "CT" Training should 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.

NIOSH Noise App Updated

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has released an updated version of its free Sound Level Meter app, designed to measure sound levels in the workplace.  The app includes up-to-date informational screens on what noises are considered hazardous, how to conduct a noise measurement, how to properly select a hearing protector and guidelines for preventing hearing loss.  Along with sharing and reporting data, the app has the capability to calibrate an internal or external microphone.

Developed by experienced acoustics engineers and hearing loss experts, the NIOSH Sound Level Meter is available to download from the Apple App Store. For Android users, the agency states that because of the large number of available Android devices and models, “testing and verification of the accuracy and functionality of an Android-based app in our laboratory is not currently possible.”

Paraquat Dichloride Training Available

A new certified applicator training module for paraquat dichloride, also known as paraquat, is now available.  The training was developed by paraquat manufacturers and approved by EPA.  Paraquat is one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S. for the control of weeds in many agricultural and non-agricultural settings and is also used as a defoliant on crops such as cotton prior to harvest.  Paraquat is a restricted use pesticide for use only by a certified applicator.  The restriction applies to mixing, loading, and applying paraquat, as well as other pesticide handling activities.

Since 2000, 17 deaths have been caused by accidental ingestion of paraquat.  Many of these deaths resulted from people illegally transferring the pesticide to beverage containers and the victim later mistaking it for a drink.  A single sip can be fatal.  In addition to the deaths by accidental ingestion, since 2000, three more deaths and many severe injuries have been caused by the pesticide getting onto the skin or into the eyes of those working with it.

To help prevent these tragedies, certified applicators must now take paraquat-specific training before use, to emphasize that the chemical must not be transferred to or stored in improper containers.  The training also covers paraquat toxicity, new label requirements and restrictions, consequences of misuse, and other important information.  To view the EPA-approved training module click here.

A Bird? A Plane? It's an OSHA Drone

OSHA is now using drones to conduct safety inspections of facilities.  Did you just look out your window?  OSHA will obtain consent from the employer before using a drone on any inspection.  To ensure the safety and cooperation of individuals that may be affected by the aerial inspection, personnel on site must also be notified.

The drones can be used for areas that are inaccessible or pose a safety risk to inspection personnel.  Inspectors are to keep a visual line-of-sight with the drone, operate only during sunrise to sunset, and not operate the drone higher than 400 feet above the ground, amongst other operational requirements.

While OSHA’s use of drones seems somewhat limited right now, the future could reveal inspections of this nature being commonplace.

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.