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Newsletter
Volume 195
February 3, 2020

Where Have I Heard This Guy Before?

Jeff Nalley, 37-year veteran of radio and farm broadcasting, began helping the Asmark Institute in 2017 as the host of the Legacy Series training videos along with Dr. Fred Whitford from Purdue University.  Most have seen him in the Asmark Institute training videos and likely even recognized his voice and wondered where you had heard him before. Jeff is past president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting and has received numerous awards for excellence in broadcast media from within the NAFB as well as other farm organizations, including Farm Broadcaster of the year in 2010.  Jeff has received distinguished service awards from Purdue University, the United Soybean Board, Kentucky Soybean Association, Kentucky Pork Producers and the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation.

His natural talent, engaging personality and background in agriculture has made him a perfect fit for several of Asmark's training videos, especially in sitting alongside Dr. Fred Whitford in the Legacy Series. In addition to the Legacy Series, Jeff has also starred in When A Crisis Strikes and the new DOT Drug and Alcohol Supervisory Training video.

Whether he is on-set shooting an Asmark training video or not, Jeff can be heard daily on the Cromwell Ag Radio Network, which serves farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Ohio.  He is also the voice of Rural King's (America's Farm and Home Store) advertising both on the radio and in-store.  Oftentimes he is recording his daily radio broadcast from Asmark's Legacy Studio in-between takes, as seen in the picture.  So, if you thought you recognized his voice but didn't know where it was from, there you have it!

Annual DVD Exchange Underway

Clients should have received their new DVD Number 6 as part of our annual update and exchange which shipped a few weeks ago.  If you haven't already, please follow the instructions to complete the exchange by the deadline.  DVD Number 6, includes an updated DOT Drug and Alcohol Training for Supervisors.  The video covers 60 minutes of training on alcohol misuse and 60 minutes of training on controlled substances use.  The training is to be used by supervisors of drivers to determine whether reasonable suspicion exists to require a driver to undergo drug and/or alcohol testing.  The training uses experts in the field of addiction medicine, as well as recovering addicts, to help supervisors recognize the physical, behavioral, speech, and performance indicators of probable alcohol misuse and use of controlled substances.  Although not a new requirement or topic in the Asmark Institute DVD set, we hope that you find the A.I. Productions newly shot and produced version to be a big improvement over the previous version. Watch a short preview of the new video!

Also, included is the third edition of the Legacy Series featuring Dr. Fred Whitford of Purdue University.  This is included by using a custom-made case that features room for a second DVD.  Dustin Warder and Brian Mason on our video team have been working with Dr. Whitford to preserve as many of his highly sought-out presentations as possible before he retires sometime down the road.  The preservation and addition of these new topics underscores our commitment to ensuring our clients have access to the best training in the industry.  The new Legacy Series DVD contains three new topics to help support your overall training program.  The topics include:

Don’t Leave It Behind
Helps agricultural professionals develop a plan for removing herbicide residues from agricultural application equipment.  Discusses how proper cleaning helps prevent crop damage and improves performance.  Shows how modern sprayers have many places where herbicide residues can remain trapped.  Produced by the Asmark Institute DVD team with host Jeff Nalley, Dr. Fred Whitford of Purdue University and special guest Gary Cornell at the Asmark Applicator Training Center. This is a 42 minute program.  To further enhance your training experience on this topic, click here to obtain a copy of Dr. Whitford’s publication “Removing Herbicide Residues from Agricultural Application Equipment” (PPP No. 108) from the Purdue Extension Publications Website. Watch a short preview of the new video!

It's A Pitting Shame
Explores the aspects of purchasing and using mild steel and stainless steel tanks for storing and transporting pesticides and fertilizers.  Provides important questions you should ask before you buy, offers tips to properly install tanks and establishes guidelines for inspection and testing.  Produced by the Asmark Institute DVD team with host Jeff Nalley, Dr. Fred Whitford of Purdue University and special guests Mike Titus of Co-Alliance LLP and Mark Miller of Murray Equipment, Inc.  This is a 39 minute program.  To further enhance your training experience on this topic, click here to obtain a copy of Dr. Whitford’s publication “Steel Tanks for Storing and Transporting Pesticides and Fertilizers” (PPP No. 105) from the Purdue Extension Publications Website. Watch a short preview of the new video!

Who's At Fault
Uses four real life-events to demonstrate some things you can learn from the mistakes that were made, the lives that were lost and the lawsuits that were filed.  Offers recommendations, best practices and strategies that will help keep you safer in case of a serious traffic collision or injury.  Produced by the Asmark Institute DVD team with host Jeff Nalley and Dr. Fred Whitford of Purdue University.  This is a 43 minute program.  To further enhance your training experience on this topic, click here to obtain a copy of Dr. Whitford’s publication “Learning from Truck and Equipment Collisions” (PPP No. 127) from the Purdue Extension Publications Website. Watch a short preview of the new video.

FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse Now Fully Operational

The FMCSA Clearinghouse encountered several glitches when it was launched in early January, but things seem to be running smoother now.  As an employer of CDL drivers, make sure you have registered in the Clearinghouse and have a process in place for conducting pre-employment queries prior to using a CDL driver. If a consortia or third-party administrator (C/TPA) is used to manage your drug and alcohol testing program and you also want to designate them to conduct Clearinghouse queries on your behalf, you will need to select them in your account. Employers must purchase a query plan to conduct queries to check if current and prospective employees are prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions due to an unresolved drug and alcohol program violation.  Although C/TPAs cannot purchase query plans, once registered themselves, they can conduct queries on behalf of the employers.  Queries are required to be ran initially when the driver is being offered employment and annually thereafter.  Pre-employment queries are "full" queries which the driver must provide consent to via the Clearinghouse website. Annual queries are "limited" queries which only require a written and signed consent form to be on file.  Asmark Institute includes a General Consent for Conducting Limited Queries in the driver file paperwork for tracking and filing in the driver qualification file. The form covers the requirement for the life-time of the driver's employment with your company.

While drivers are not required to register, a driver will need to be registered to provide electronic consent in the Clearinghouse if a prospective or current employer needs to conduct a full query of the driver’s Clearinghouse record.  The process for drivers who are already registered occurs much quicker than those who are not.  Registered drivers receive an email from the Clearinghouse immediately upon the request of a full query to provide consent. Drivers that are not registered are mailed a notification from the Clearinghouse directing them to create an account in order to provide consent, which takes several days. A driver must also be registered to electronically view the information in his or her own Clearinghouse record.  We highly recommend drivers register and confirm that all the information in the database is accurate.  When hiring a CDL driver, a good step to add in the hiring process is to ask if they are registered in the Clearinghouse. If they are not, help them create an account and get registered using a personal email address. Ultimately, this will speed up the overall request and consent process for both you and them.

For more detailed information about the CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, check out the Compliance Assistance Document posted in the Compliance Assistance Library on Snapshots under the Compliance Guidelines button. Have more questions?  Please give our customer service team a call at 270-926-4600 Ext 506.

OSHA Form 300A Deadlines

It's time to complete your 2019 injury and illness recordkeeping obligations by posting the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A). OSHA requires that the notice be displayed from February 1st to April 30th of each year in a conspicuous place where employee notices are customarily posted.  Businesses with no injuries or illnesses for the year must still post the form.  A company official must certify the information in Form 300A was examined and is believed to be correct and complete. Click here to access the form and instructions.

All establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation must electronically submit Form 300A no later than March 2nd, as well as establishments between 20-249 employees in certain industries, including "warehousing and storage."  Covered employers must now provide their Employer Identification Number (EIN).  OSHA began accepting submissions on January 2, 2020.

DOT Hits the Brakes on ELDT Rule

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued an interim final rule amending the "Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators" (ELDT final rule), by extending the compliance date for the rule from February 7, 2020, to February 7, 2022.  This will provide DOT additional time to complete development of the Training Provider Registry.  The registry will allow training providers to self-certify that they meet the training requirements and will provide the electronic interface that will receive and store entry-level driver training certification information from training providers and transmit that information to the State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs).

The extension also provides SDLAs with time to modify their information technology systems and procedures, as necessary, to accommodate their receipt of driver-specific ELDT data.  The 2-year extension applies to all requirements established in the ELDT final rule including the date by which drivers seeking a CDL or endorsement must complete the required training. Click here to read the official announcement.

Navigable Waters Protection Rule - A New Definition of WOTUS

EPA and the Department of the Army finalized the Navigable Waters Protection Rule to define “Waters of the United States” and establish federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act.  Congress, in the Clean Water Act, directed the Agencies to protect “navigable waters.”  The Navigable Waters Protection Rule regulates these waters and the core tributary systems that provide perennial or intermittent flow into them.  The revised definition identifies four clear categories of waters that are federally regulated under the Clean Water Act: the territorial seas and traditional navigable waters; perennial and intermittent tributaries; certain lakes, ponds, and impoundments; and wetlands that are adjacent to jurisdictional waters.

The final rule also details 12 categories of exclusions, features that are not “Waters of the United States,” such as features that only contain water in direct response to rainfall, groundwater, many ditches, prior converted cropland, and waste treatment systems.  The Navigable Waters Protection Rule adds much-needed clarity to WOTUS for agricultural retailers and their farmer customers. Click here for more information.

Another Feature Goes Electronic: Compliance Manual

A new digital format of the Compliance Manual has been created to help those that want to transition from the traditional paper-based system to an electronic system.  The electronic Compliance Manual allows facilities to personalize the manual to their scope of operations.  It also allows for the ability to upload and maintain electronic copies of documentation that require some type of completion whether it be signatures or other information.  Facilities that choose to use the electronic Compliance Manual should watch for an ESP Inbox posting with instructions for updating their manual.

If your location chooses the traditional paper-based system, a printed Compliance Manual will be shipped to the facility for 2020 in the coming weeks.  Whether utilizing paper or electronic, the manual must be reviewed and certain programs covered with facility personnel and signatures of the review documented in some cases such as with the DOT Security Plan.  For more information about the new electronic feature, please utilize the instructions and video tutorial.  If you have additional questions, don't hesitate to call our Customer Service Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 506.

USPS and UPS 2020 Rates Change

The Postal Service implemented a postage rate increase on Sunday, January 26, 2020. There are a number of products and services affected by the rate increase, but the most commonly used services in our industry are listed below:
  • First-Class Mail Letter rate remained the same at $0.55 for a 1 oz. envelope, and $0.15 for each additional ounce remained the same.
  • First Class Mail Flat Envelope rate remained the same at $1.00 for a 1 oz. envelope, but the rate for each additional ounce has increased to $0.20, up from $0.15.
  • First Class Mail Postcard rate remained the same at $0.35.
  • Priority Mail Regular Flat-Rate envelopes has increased to $7.75, up from $7.35.
While there weren't significant changes in the First Class Mail prices, the U.S. Postal Service did increase Priority Mail rates by 4.1% and Flat Rate Products from 4.9% to 6.2%.

As usual, the United Parcel Service increased its prices by 4.9% at the end of 2019.  UPS is known for increasing their rates about this much on an annual basis.

With the North American paper industry in rapid decline, and the cost of mailing and shipping rates increasing every year, there is no better time than now to sign up for the Electronic Service Program (ESP).  Click here to review the ESP program and sign up today!

Homeland Security Urges Users to Update Firefox

On January 10, 2020, the US Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a rare warning urging anyone using the web browser, Mozilla Firefox, to update it to the latest version immediately.  This warning comes after Mozilla released two critical security updates that addressed vulnerabilities in versions of Firefox and Firefox ESR, that could allow an attacker to take control of a user's entire operating system.  Mozilla is already aware of "targeted attacks" occurring due to this flaw.

To upgrade your Firefox browser:
  • On a PC: launch Firefox and go under either Options > Firefox Updates or Options > Advanced > Update to update Firefox.
  • On a Mac: launch Firefox and click About > Firefox and click the “Restart to update Firefox” button.
The safe version to run is Firefox 72.0.1 and Firefox ESR 68.4.1 or higher.

IL Removes License Plates on Fertilizer Trailers and Floaters

As of January 1, 2020, Illinois no longer requires registration and display of FT or FS license plates on any fertilizer trailers or self-propelled spreaders/sprayers.  Last year, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) initiated legislation (HB 2669) to remove the registration requirement that has been in effect for decades.  KJ Johnson, IFCA’s Director of Government & Industry Relations, successfully managed the legislation through the process, securing unanimous support in both the House and Senate, and Governor Pritzker signed the bill.  It is now Public Act 101-0481.  There are some parameters that must be followed so click here for more information.  To read IFCA's news release from earlier this week, please click here.

Feature Focus: myPPE Hazard Assessment Program

The myPPE Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Hazard Assessment Program is a comprehensive solution for managing and tracking your PPE program that orginally debuted in 2012.  OSHA developed regulations regarding PPE to ensure employees are adequately protected while on the job.  Employers must periodically assess the hazards that are present and could pose harm to their employees.  For each task, the employer needs to choose personal protective gear that will properly protect the employee from the hazards identified in the hazard assessment.

The myPPE Hazard Assessment tool helps define, organize and document the personal protective equipment required for an individual, category of employees or worksite.  This unique tool leads you through the process of identifying hazards, selecting the appropriate PPE and documenting the exercise.  Once completed, your Hazard Assessment will populate as Snapshots updates hourly, creating an electronic copy for easy access and for periodic review and updates.  In addition to the electronic copy, the person completing the assessment should print off and sign the file copy and file in the facility's Compliance Filing System binder.  NOTE:  If at any time the scope of assessment is changed (i.e. worksite to individual), the previous data is removed and the assessment must be completed again in its entirety.  Be cautious when changing the scope.

If you haven't already, join the over 2,000 facilities that have completed their myPPE Hazard Assessment today!

2020 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 have reviewed the lists and identified upcoming regulatory and deregulatory actions that could impact our clients.  All in all, there are plenty of proposals on the horizon for 2020.

DOT Date Stage
Record of Violations 11/2019 Proposal
Fees for the Unified Carrier Registration Plan and Agreement 12/2019 Final Rule
Rulemaking Procedures Update 12/2019 Final Rule
Controlled Substances and Alcohol Testing: State Driver's Licensing Agency Downgrade of Commercial Driver's License 1/2020 Proposal
Driver Qualifications; Revising the Vision Standard 1/2020 Proposal
Extension of Compliance Date for Entry Level Driver Training 1/2020 Interim
Final Rule
Extension of Compliance Date for States' Query of the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse 1/2020 Proposal
Hazardous Materials: Modal Regulatory Reform Initiatives 3/2020 Proposal
Preservation of Records 4/2020 Proposal
Hazardous Materials Safety Permits 2020; NA Standard Out-of-Service Criteria 6/2020 Proposal
Hazardous Materials: Adoption of Miscellaneous Petitions to Reduce Regulatory Burdens 8/2020 Final Rule
Hazardous Materials: Petition to Reduce Regulatory Burden for Cylinder Requalification Requirements 8/2020 Final Rule
General Technical Amendments 9/2020 Proposal
Hours of Service of Drivers TBD Final Rule


EPA Date Stage
Risk Management Programs Under the Clean Air Act: Reconsideration of Amendments 11/2019 Final Rule
Adding Aerosol Cans to the Universal Waste Regulations 11/2019 Final Rule
Revised Definition of "Waters of the United States" (Step 2) 1/2020 Final Rule
Worker Protection Standard; Revision of the Application Exclusion Zone Requirements 1/2020 Proposal
Pesticides: Modification to the Minimum Risk Pesticide Listing Program 2/2020 Pre-proposal
Modernizing Ignitable Liquids Determinations 3/2020 Final Rule
Pesticides: Administrative Corrections and Removal of Obsolete Information 3/2020 Proposal
Expansion of Crop Grouping Program 4/2020 Proposal
Microorganisms: General Exemptions from Reporting Requirements 5/2020 Proposal
Control of Air Pollution from New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-Duty Engine Standards 6/2020 Proposal
Financial Responsibility Requirements Under CERCLA Section 108(b) for the Chemical Manufacturing Industry 12/2022 Proposal

 

OSHA Date Stage
Technical Corrections to 27 OSHA Standards and Regulations 12/2019 Final Rule
Lock-Out/Tag-Out Update 12/2019 Pre-proposal
Powered Industrial Trucks Design Standard Update 1/2020 Proposal
Update to the Hazard Communication Standard 1/2020 Proposal
Walking Working Surfaces 4/2020 Proposal

It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg

Nearly 2,600 facilities are participating in the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, with more than 1,320 facilities already receiving their certification and many of those being re-certified after completing their second audit cycle. We encourage you to register your facilities today! For more information and to register, go to responsibleag.org.

Windows 7 - End of Life

After years of talking about it, the day has finally come. Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows 7. As of January 14, 2020, Microsoft cut ties with the old operating system version and will not be offering any patches or security updates going forward.  What that means is, if you have Windows 7 on your computer and you have any issues with it from this point on, there is no fix for it.  This doesn't mean your computer has to be replaced, it simply means you need to upgrade your operating system to Windows 10.  To upgrade for free, use the Windows Media Creation Tool and select to upgrade from there. Enter your Windows 7 (or Windows 8) license key to upgrade and you'll be running on a fully supported and updated operating system once installed.

Something else worth mentioning - the same day support for Windows 7 ended, the National Security Agency (NSA) released a statement encouraging anyone already running Windows 10 on their computer to run updates immediately.  The statement came from a security vulnerability found that could enable an attacker to use fake security certificates to install malware, disguised as valid software.  This is the first time NSA has publicly taken credit for the discovery of a software vulnerability.  Once discovered, it was taken to Microsoft to start working on a fix, which they did.

Bottom line - make sure you are running updates regularly on your computer to ensure it remains secure.

EPA Takes Action on Pesticides for Hemp and Atrazine

EPA has made a combined announcement on the management of hemp production and the future of atrazine use.  The agency has approved the use of 10 pesticide products on hemp in time for the 2020 growing season.  Nine of the products are biopesticides and one is a conventional pesticide.  These approvals were made possible by the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed hemp-derived products from Schedule I status under the Controlled Substances Act.  “I’m pleased to hear of the EPA’s approval of 10 pesticides for use on industrial hemp. Since the Farm Bill was signed into law last year, Kentucky hemp farmers have been asking for safe and effective crop protection agents that meet the demands of the booming hemp industry,” said Senator Rand Paul (KY). “These approvals will allow for the use of 10 different pesticides for the 2020 growing season, which will be of great benefit for Kentucky hemp farmers. We know the value of hemp in Kentucky, and I will continue to fight for and support all efforts to keep this industry moving forward.”

EPA also proposed new, stronger protections to reduce exposure to atrazine.  These include lower use rates and new label requirements, as part of the agency's re-registration review of the chemical.  EPA’s proposed decision is based on the 2016 draft ecological risk assessment and the 2018 human health draft risk assessment for atrazine. The agency is also proposing updates to the requirements for propazine and simazine, which are chemically related to atrazine.  Click here for more information or to provide comments.

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.

Where Have I Heard This Guy Before?

Jeff Nalley, 37-year veteran of radio and farm broadcasting, began helping the Asmark Institute in 2017 as the host of the Legacy Series training videos along with Dr. Fred Whitford from Purdue University.  Most have seen him in the Asmark Institute training videos and likely even recognized his voice and wondered where you had heard him before. Jeff is past president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting and has received numerous awards for excellence in broadcast media from within the NAFB as well as other farm organizations, including Farm Broadcaster of the year in 2010.  Jeff has received distinguished service awards from Purdue University, the United Soybean Board, Kentucky Soybean Association, Kentucky Pork Producers and the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation.

His natural talent, engaging personality and background in agriculture has made him a perfect fit for several of Asmark's training videos, especially in sitting alongside Dr. Fred Whitford in the Legacy Series. In addition to the Legacy Series, Jeff has also starred in When A Crisis Strikes and the new DOT Drug and Alcohol Supervisory Training video.

Whether he is on-set shooting an Asmark training video or not, Jeff can be heard daily on the Cromwell Ag Radio Network, which serves farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Ohio.  He is also the voice of Rural King's (America's Farm and Home Store) advertising both on the radio and in-store.  Oftentimes he is recording his daily radio broadcast from Asmark's Legacy Studio in-between takes, as seen in the picture.  So, if you thought you recognized his voice but didn't know where it was from, there you have it!

Annual DVD Exchange Underway

Clients should have received their new DVD Number 6 as part of our annual update and exchange which shipped a few weeks ago.  If you haven't already, please follow the instructions to complete the exchange by the deadline.  DVD Number 6, includes an updated DOT Drug and Alcohol Training for Supervisors.  The video covers 60 minutes of training on alcohol misuse and 60 minutes of training on controlled substances use.  The training is to be used by supervisors of drivers to determine whether reasonable suspicion exists to require a driver to undergo drug and/or alcohol testing.  The training uses experts in the field of addiction medicine, as well as recovering addicts, to help supervisors recognize the physical, behavioral, speech, and performance indicators of probable alcohol misuse and use of controlled substances.  Although not a new requirement or topic in the Asmark Institute DVD set, we hope that you find the A.I. Productions newly shot and produced version to be a big improvement over the previous version. Watch a short preview of the new video!

Also, included is the third edition of the Legacy Series featuring Dr. Fred Whitford of Purdue University.  This is included by using a custom-made case that features room for a second DVD.  Dustin Warder and Brian Mason on our video team have been working with Dr. Whitford to preserve as many of his highly sought-out presentations as possible before he retires sometime down the road.  The preservation and addition of these new topics underscores our commitment to ensuring our clients have access to the best training in the industry.  The new Legacy Series DVD contains three new topics to help support your overall training program.  The topics include:

Don’t Leave It Behind
Helps agricultural professionals develop a plan for removing herbicide residues from agricultural application equipment.  Discusses how proper cleaning helps prevent crop damage and improves performance.  Shows how modern sprayers have many places where herbicide residues can remain trapped.  Produced by the Asmark Institute DVD team with host Jeff Nalley, Dr. Fred Whitford of Purdue University and special guest Gary Cornell at the Asmark Applicator Training Center. This is a 42 minute program.  To further enhance your training experience on this topic, click here to obtain a copy of Dr. Whitford’s publication “Removing Herbicide Residues from Agricultural Application Equipment” (PPP No. 108) from the Purdue Extension Publications Website. Watch a short preview of the new video!

It's A Pitting Shame
Explores the aspects of purchasing and using mild steel and stainless steel tanks for storing and transporting pesticides and fertilizers.  Provides important questions you should ask before you buy, offers tips to properly install tanks and establishes guidelines for inspection and testing.  Produced by the Asmark Institute DVD team with host Jeff Nalley, Dr. Fred Whitford of Purdue University and special guests Mike Titus of Co-Alliance LLP and Mark Miller of Murray Equipment, Inc.  This is a 39 minute program.  To further enhance your training experience on this topic, click here to obtain a copy of Dr. Whitford’s publication “Steel Tanks for Storing and Transporting Pesticides and Fertilizers” (PPP No. 105) from the Purdue Extension Publications Website. Watch a short preview of the new video!

Who's At Fault
Uses four real life-events to demonstrate some things you can learn from the mistakes that were made, the lives that were lost and the lawsuits that were filed.  Offers recommendations, best practices and strategies that will help keep you safer in case of a serious traffic collision or injury.  Produced by the Asmark Institute DVD team with host Jeff Nalley and Dr. Fred Whitford of Purdue University.  This is a 43 minute program.  To further enhance your training experience on this topic, click here to obtain a copy of Dr. Whitford’s publication “Learning from Truck and Equipment Collisions” (PPP No. 127) from the Purdue Extension Publications Website. Watch a short preview of the new video.

FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse Now Fully Operational

The FMCSA Clearinghouse encountered several glitches when it was launched in early January, but things seem to be running smoother now.  As an employer of CDL drivers, make sure you have registered in the Clearinghouse and have a process in place for conducting pre-employment queries prior to using a CDL driver. If a consortia or third-party administrator (C/TPA) is used to manage your drug and alcohol testing program and you also want to designate them to conduct Clearinghouse queries on your behalf, you will need to select them in your account. Employers must purchase a query plan to conduct queries to check if current and prospective employees are prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions due to an unresolved drug and alcohol program violation.  Although C/TPAs cannot purchase query plans, once registered themselves, they can conduct queries on behalf of the employers.  Queries are required to be ran initially when the driver is being offered employment and annually thereafter.  Pre-employment queries are "full" queries which the driver must provide consent to via the Clearinghouse website. Annual queries are "limited" queries which only require a written and signed consent form to be on file.  Asmark Institute includes a General Consent for Conducting Limited Queries in the driver file paperwork for tracking and filing in the driver qualification file. The form covers the requirement for the life-time of the driver's employment with your company.

While drivers are not required to register, a driver will need to be registered to provide electronic consent in the Clearinghouse if a prospective or current employer needs to conduct a full query of the driver’s Clearinghouse record.  The process for drivers who are already registered occurs much quicker than those who are not.  Registered drivers receive an email from the Clearinghouse immediately upon the request of a full query to provide consent. Drivers that are not registered are mailed a notification from the Clearinghouse directing them to create an account in order to provide consent, which takes several days. A driver must also be registered to electronically view the information in his or her own Clearinghouse record.  We highly recommend drivers register and confirm that all the information in the database is accurate.  When hiring a CDL driver, a good step to add in the hiring process is to ask if they are registered in the Clearinghouse. If they are not, help them create an account and get registered using a personal email address. Ultimately, this will speed up the overall request and consent process for both you and them.

For more detailed information about the CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, check out the Compliance Assistance Document posted in the Compliance Assistance Library on Snapshots under the Compliance Guidelines button. Have more questions?  Please give our customer service team a call at 270-926-4600 Ext 506.

OSHA Form 300A Deadlines

It's time to complete your 2019 injury and illness recordkeeping obligations by posting the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A). OSHA requires that the notice be displayed from February 1st to April 30th of each year in a conspicuous place where employee notices are customarily posted.  Businesses with no injuries or illnesses for the year must still post the form.  A company official must certify the information in Form 300A was examined and is believed to be correct and complete. Click here to access the form and instructions.

All establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation must electronically submit Form 300A no later than March 2nd, as well as establishments between 20-249 employees in certain industries, including "warehousing and storage."  Covered employers must now provide their Employer Identification Number (EIN).  OSHA began accepting submissions on January 2, 2020.

DOT Hits the Brakes on ELDT Rule

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued an interim final rule amending the "Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators" (ELDT final rule), by extending the compliance date for the rule from February 7, 2020, to February 7, 2022.  This will provide DOT additional time to complete development of the Training Provider Registry.  The registry will allow training providers to self-certify that they meet the training requirements and will provide the electronic interface that will receive and store entry-level driver training certification information from training providers and transmit that information to the State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs).

The extension also provides SDLAs with time to modify their information technology systems and procedures, as necessary, to accommodate their receipt of driver-specific ELDT data.  The 2-year extension applies to all requirements established in the ELDT final rule including the date by which drivers seeking a CDL or endorsement must complete the required training. Click here to read the official announcement.

Navigable Waters Protection Rule - A New Definition of WOTUS

EPA and the Department of the Army finalized the Navigable Waters Protection Rule to define “Waters of the United States” and establish federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act.  Congress, in the Clean Water Act, directed the Agencies to protect “navigable waters.”  The Navigable Waters Protection Rule regulates these waters and the core tributary systems that provide perennial or intermittent flow into them.  The revised definition identifies four clear categories of waters that are federally regulated under the Clean Water Act: the territorial seas and traditional navigable waters; perennial and intermittent tributaries; certain lakes, ponds, and impoundments; and wetlands that are adjacent to jurisdictional waters.

The final rule also details 12 categories of exclusions, features that are not “Waters of the United States,” such as features that only contain water in direct response to rainfall, groundwater, many ditches, prior converted cropland, and waste treatment systems.  The Navigable Waters Protection Rule adds much-needed clarity to WOTUS for agricultural retailers and their farmer customers. Click here for more information.

Another Feature Goes Electronic: Compliance Manual

A new digital format of the Compliance Manual has been created to help those that want to transition from the traditional paper-based system to an electronic system.  The electronic Compliance Manual allows facilities to personalize the manual to their scope of operations.  It also allows for the ability to upload and maintain electronic copies of documentation that require some type of completion whether it be signatures or other information.  Facilities that choose to use the electronic Compliance Manual should watch for an ESP Inbox posting with instructions for updating their manual.

If your location chooses the traditional paper-based system, a printed Compliance Manual will be shipped to the facility for 2020 in the coming weeks.  Whether utilizing paper or electronic, the manual must be reviewed and certain programs covered with facility personnel and signatures of the review documented in some cases such as with the DOT Security Plan.  For more information about the new electronic feature, please utilize the instructions and video tutorial.  If you have additional questions, don't hesitate to call our Customer Service Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 506.

USPS and UPS 2020 Rates Change

The Postal Service implemented a postage rate increase on Sunday, January 26, 2020. There are a number of products and services affected by the rate increase, but the most commonly used services in our industry are listed below:
  • First-Class Mail Letter rate remained the same at $0.55 for a 1 oz. envelope, and $0.15 for each additional ounce remained the same.
  • First Class Mail Flat Envelope rate remained the same at $1.00 for a 1 oz. envelope, but the rate for each additional ounce has increased to $0.20, up from $0.15.
  • First Class Mail Postcard rate remained the same at $0.35.
  • Priority Mail Regular Flat-Rate envelopes has increased to $7.75, up from $7.35.
While there weren't significant changes in the First Class Mail prices, the U.S. Postal Service did increase Priority Mail rates by 4.1% and Flat Rate Products from 4.9% to 6.2%.

As usual, the United Parcel Service increased its prices by 4.9% at the end of 2019.  UPS is known for increasing their rates about this much on an annual basis.

With the North American paper industry in rapid decline, and the cost of mailing and shipping rates increasing every year, there is no better time than now to sign up for the Electronic Service Program (ESP).  Click here to review the ESP program and sign up today!

Homeland Security Urges Users to Update Firefox

On January 10, 2020, the US Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a rare warning urging anyone using the web browser, Mozilla Firefox, to update it to the latest version immediately.  This warning comes after Mozilla released two critical security updates that addressed vulnerabilities in versions of Firefox and Firefox ESR, that could allow an attacker to take control of a user's entire operating system.  Mozilla is already aware of "targeted attacks" occurring due to this flaw.

To upgrade your Firefox browser:
  • On a PC: launch Firefox and go under either Options > Firefox Updates or Options > Advanced > Update to update Firefox.
  • On a Mac: launch Firefox and click About > Firefox and click the “Restart to update Firefox” button.
The safe version to run is Firefox 72.0.1 and Firefox ESR 68.4.1 or higher.

IL Removes License Plates on Fertilizer Trailers and Floaters

As of January 1, 2020, Illinois no longer requires registration and display of FT or FS license plates on any fertilizer trailers or self-propelled spreaders/sprayers.  Last year, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) initiated legislation (HB 2669) to remove the registration requirement that has been in effect for decades.  KJ Johnson, IFCA’s Director of Government & Industry Relations, successfully managed the legislation through the process, securing unanimous support in both the House and Senate, and Governor Pritzker signed the bill.  It is now Public Act 101-0481.  There are some parameters that must be followed so click here for more information.  To read IFCA's news release from earlier this week, please click here.

Feature Focus: myPPE Hazard Assessment Program

The myPPE Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Hazard Assessment Program is a comprehensive solution for managing and tracking your PPE program that orginally debuted in 2012.  OSHA developed regulations regarding PPE to ensure employees are adequately protected while on the job.  Employers must periodically assess the hazards that are present and could pose harm to their employees.  For each task, the employer needs to choose personal protective gear that will properly protect the employee from the hazards identified in the hazard assessment.

The myPPE Hazard Assessment tool helps define, organize and document the personal protective equipment required for an individual, category of employees or worksite.  This unique tool leads you through the process of identifying hazards, selecting the appropriate PPE and documenting the exercise.  Once completed, your Hazard Assessment will populate as Snapshots updates hourly, creating an electronic copy for easy access and for periodic review and updates.  In addition to the electronic copy, the person completing the assessment should print off and sign the file copy and file in the facility's Compliance Filing System binder.  NOTE:  If at any time the scope of assessment is changed (i.e. worksite to individual), the previous data is removed and the assessment must be completed again in its entirety.  Be cautious when changing the scope.

If you haven't already, join the over 2,000 facilities that have completed their myPPE Hazard Assessment today!

2020 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 have reviewed the lists and identified upcoming regulatory and deregulatory actions that could impact our clients.  All in all, there are plenty of proposals on the horizon for 2020.

DOT Date Stage
Record of Violations 11/2019 Proposal
Fees for the Unified Carrier Registration Plan and Agreement 12/2019 Final Rule
Rulemaking Procedures Update 12/2019 Final Rule
Controlled Substances and Alcohol Testing: State Driver's Licensing Agency Downgrade of Commercial Driver's License 1/2020 Proposal
Driver Qualifications; Revising the Vision Standard 1/2020 Proposal
Extension of Compliance Date for Entry Level Driver Training 1/2020 Interim
Final Rule
Extension of Compliance Date for States' Query of the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse 1/2020 Proposal
Hazardous Materials: Modal Regulatory Reform Initiatives 3/2020 Proposal
Preservation of Records 4/2020 Proposal
Hazardous Materials Safety Permits 2020; NA Standard Out-of-Service Criteria 6/2020 Proposal
Hazardous Materials: Adoption of Miscellaneous Petitions to Reduce Regulatory Burdens 8/2020 Final Rule
Hazardous Materials: Petition to Reduce Regulatory Burden for Cylinder Requalification Requirements 8/2020 Final Rule
General Technical Amendments 9/2020 Proposal
Hours of Service of Drivers TBD Final Rule


EPA Date Stage
Risk Management Programs Under the Clean Air Act: Reconsideration of Amendments 11/2019 Final Rule
Adding Aerosol Cans to the Universal Waste Regulations 11/2019 Final Rule
Revised Definition of "Waters of the United States" (Step 2) 1/2020 Final Rule
Worker Protection Standard; Revision of the Application Exclusion Zone Requirements 1/2020 Proposal
Pesticides: Modification to the Minimum Risk Pesticide Listing Program 2/2020 Pre-proposal
Modernizing Ignitable Liquids Determinations 3/2020 Final Rule
Pesticides: Administrative Corrections and Removal of Obsolete Information 3/2020 Proposal
Expansion of Crop Grouping Program 4/2020 Proposal
Microorganisms: General Exemptions from Reporting Requirements 5/2020 Proposal
Control of Air Pollution from New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-Duty Engine Standards 6/2020 Proposal
Financial Responsibility Requirements Under CERCLA Section 108(b) for the Chemical Manufacturing Industry 12/2022 Proposal

 

OSHA Date Stage
Technical Corrections to 27 OSHA Standards and Regulations 12/2019 Final Rule
Lock-Out/Tag-Out Update 12/2019 Pre-proposal
Powered Industrial Trucks Design Standard Update 1/2020 Proposal
Update to the Hazard Communication Standard 1/2020 Proposal
Walking Working Surfaces 4/2020 Proposal

It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg

Nearly 2,600 facilities are participating in the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, with more than 1,320 facilities already receiving their certification and many of those being re-certified after completing their second audit cycle. We encourage you to register your facilities today! For more information and to register, go to responsibleag.org.

Windows 7 - End of Life

After years of talking about it, the day has finally come. Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows 7. As of January 14, 2020, Microsoft cut ties with the old operating system version and will not be offering any patches or security updates going forward.  What that means is, if you have Windows 7 on your computer and you have any issues with it from this point on, there is no fix for it.  This doesn't mean your computer has to be replaced, it simply means you need to upgrade your operating system to Windows 10.  To upgrade for free, use the Windows Media Creation Tool and select to upgrade from there. Enter your Windows 7 (or Windows 8) license key to upgrade and you'll be running on a fully supported and updated operating system once installed.

Something else worth mentioning - the same day support for Windows 7 ended, the National Security Agency (NSA) released a statement encouraging anyone already running Windows 10 on their computer to run updates immediately.  The statement came from a security vulnerability found that could enable an attacker to use fake security certificates to install malware, disguised as valid software.  This is the first time NSA has publicly taken credit for the discovery of a software vulnerability.  Once discovered, it was taken to Microsoft to start working on a fix, which they did.

Bottom line - make sure you are running updates regularly on your computer to ensure it remains secure.

EPA Takes Action on Pesticides for Hemp and Atrazine

EPA has made a combined announcement on the management of hemp production and the future of atrazine use.  The agency has approved the use of 10 pesticide products on hemp in time for the 2020 growing season.  Nine of the products are biopesticides and one is a conventional pesticide.  These approvals were made possible by the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed hemp-derived products from Schedule I status under the Controlled Substances Act.  “I’m pleased to hear of the EPA’s approval of 10 pesticides for use on industrial hemp. Since the Farm Bill was signed into law last year, Kentucky hemp farmers have been asking for safe and effective crop protection agents that meet the demands of the booming hemp industry,” said Senator Rand Paul (KY). “These approvals will allow for the use of 10 different pesticides for the 2020 growing season, which will be of great benefit for Kentucky hemp farmers. We know the value of hemp in Kentucky, and I will continue to fight for and support all efforts to keep this industry moving forward.”

EPA also proposed new, stronger protections to reduce exposure to atrazine.  These include lower use rates and new label requirements, as part of the agency's re-registration review of the chemical.  EPA’s proposed decision is based on the 2016 draft ecological risk assessment and the 2018 human health draft risk assessment for atrazine. The agency is also proposing updates to the requirements for propazine and simazine, which are chemically related to atrazine.  Click here for more information or to provide comments.

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.