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Newsletter
Volume 198
May 1, 2020

Taking Care of Business

What a year 2020 has been so far - chocked full of new challenges and experiences that no one could have anticipated.  Every one in every industry is facing the decision making process of continuing or re-opening business in different ways as we all prepare for the new normal caused by Covid-19.  Social distancing, diligent cleaning practices and additional PPE appear to be here to stay for a while.

We continue to work remotely here at Asmark for the time being, but we are keeping our eyes and ears open for the right time to safely re-open our office for our employees. Our team has worked diligently to stay connected and take care of our clients amidst all the chaos during these times.  Utilizing technology, talent and other tools to remain productive and connected has been a life saver in getting us through these trying times, quite literally.

We are continuing to get through this together. We want you to know Asmark is here to support and provide our clients with the services needed to help ensure they can continue to operate safely.  Wishing everyone continued health, safety and prosperity throughout the season!

An Uplifting Message from Jeff Nalley
A wonderful message from Jeff Nalley, the co-host of our Legacy Series videos, that's worth taking a minute to listen to.  He puts a great perspective and shines a light on the good that's happening in these unusual and hard times, that are affecting us all.  We hope you enjoy his message!


Redbird Catering Continues to Go Above and Beyond
Rick McCormick, owner and operator of Redbird Catering in Bloomington, IL and the official caterer of the Asmark Institute Agricenter and Applicator Training Center, has always been very involved in supporting his local community.  Consequently, no one was surprised when he stepped up to help during the Covid-19 relief efforts. Rick and his staff have been working around the clock to supply meals to the national guard troops, who are assisting the Covid-19 testing facility located at the Interstate Center, inside the fairgrounds in Bloomington, IL.

Although Rick has never served in the military, he has always been a huge supporter of our troops.  When asked how things were going with the relief efforts, he had only positive things to say about them.  "I'm very impressed with how professional and calm the troops have been.  They all have a phenomenal bedside manner. Many of the people being tested are elderly, and the troops are taking their time to reassure and explain the testing process to each individual."

Our grateful appreciation goes out to Rick, the Redbird Catering team and the National Guard for going above and beyond during these difficult times!

FWAA Announces New Executive Director
Congratulations to Margaret Jensen who has been announced as the new Executive Director of the Far West Agribusiness Association (FWAA).  She succeeds Jim Fitzgerald, who officially retired December 31, 2019, after serving over a decade with the organization. Jensen started her new position with FWAA on April 15, 2020.

She has nearly 30 years of experience in the vegetable and seed industry, working in research, market development, product development, sales and product management, before becoming a seed and agronomy recruiter with clients across the Pacific Northwest.  In addition to her highly-specialized knowledge, Jensen's international connections have further expanded her understanding of the diverse needs of the global agribusiness industry.

The Asmark Institute works to support the retail agricultural industry through a very special partnership with FWAA and we believe membership and participation in your state association is more important now than ever before.  We are proud to be affiliated with FWAA and we look forward to working with Margaret Jensen in the years to come!

EZ Update is Now Even EZ-er

Recently, we unveiled a new and improved version of our EZ Update feature on Snapshots.  EZ Update is one of the most popular and widely used features on our website because it's quick, easy and simple.  With the release of EZ Update 2.0, we have gone to further lengths to make it even easier on our clients to update and manage their account and employee information within our system.

Some of the changes include:
  • Selecting from a pre-populated drop down to select an employee, instead of keying in personal information that you might not be 100% confident in its accuracy.
  • Adding a Secondary Contact to your locations account.
  • The ability to update the location's Electronic Service Program (ESP)/ Primary Contact.
  • The ability to update an employee's name.
  • Adding a visual effect to show when you have submitted an update to the account or employee information; marking as "Pending" until the change has been made in our system.
If you have any questions or feedback you'd like to share, let our Customer Service Team know at customerservice@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext 506.

OSHA Expands Respirator Guidance to All Industries

OSHA has issued new enforcement guidance on the use of respiratory protection equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It applies to all workplaces covered by OSHA where there is required use of respirators.  OSHA field offices will exercise enforcement discretion concerning the annual fit-testing requirements, as long as employers have made good-faith efforts to comply with the requirements of the Respiratory Protection standard and to follow the steps outlined here.

Employers should also assess their engineering controls, work practices and administrative controls on an ongoing basis to identify any changes they can make to decrease the need for N95s or other filtering facepiece respirators.  In some instances, an employer may also consider taking steps to temporarily suspend certain non-essential operations.  The memo will take effect immediately and remain in effect until further notice.  This guidance is intended to be time-limited to the current public health crisis.

TSA Extension of HazMat Endorsements

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is granting a temporary exemption of TSA security threat assessments (STAs) for Hazardous Material Endorsement (HME) holders.  This exemption becomes effective on April 2, 2020 and remains in effect through July 31, 2020.  During this time, a State may grant an extension of up to 180 days for an HME that expired between March 1, 2020 and the end date of this exemption, even if the individual was unable to complete the required STA before the expiration date.

If the state grants an extension, the individual with an expired HME must begin the process of renewing their STA for an HME no later than 60 days before the end of the State-granted extension.  TSA may extend this exemption again depending on the status of the COVID-19 crisis.  This exemption does not apply to new HMEs. Click here for more information.

COVID This...COVID That

These days there are so many voices saying COVID you may be tired of listening, but one worth hearing is that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued new guidance for employers of essential workers.  This guidance enables essential industries to continue to operate while still providing additional procedures and protections to employees to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.  Also, included is a quick reference of the Do's and Dont's for employers and employees related to COVID-19 exposures.  Employers should implement the recommendations in the interim guidance to help prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

Helpful Tools for Spring Season – NOA Forms & Shipping Docs

As season is ramping up, choose from more than 4,000 WPS products to create and produce personalized Notice of Application (NOA) recordkeeping forms or more than 5,000 products for Shipping Documents specific to your facility and inventory.

NOA forms are designed to satisfy EPA's Worker Protection Standard and Restricted-Use Pesticide requirements.  They are available in two sizes – 8 ½ x 11” which fits up to 36 products and 8 ½ x 14” for up to 60 products. A Master PDF can be printed and copied as needed or Asmark Institute can print professionally on 2 or 3 part NCR in padded sets from 250 up to 2,000.

Shipping Documents are designed to help you comply with the DOT requirements. Printing options are similar to the NOA forms.  An 8 ½ x 11” size will hold up 34 products and the 8 ½ x 14” size can accommodate up to 50 products. There are also standard shipping documents for Anhydrous Ammonia and Ammonium Nitrate. Both are 8 ½ x 11” and contain the Emergency Response Guidepage (ERG) number and information as well.

In response to Covid-19, DOT recently published an interpretation in regards to the requirement applicable to the exchange of shipping paper while social distancing. Under the Hazardous Materials Regulations, no physical contact between the shipper and carrier is required for the purpose of shipping papers. Shipping papers can be exchanged by physically attaching to a clipboard, placing it on a table or counter and stepping away while the paper is signed or sending the document via email.

The NOA and Shipping Document tools can be found on Snapshots under Forms in the Personalized section. If you have any questions regarding these handy documents, please reach out to our Customer Service Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 506 or customerservice@asmark.org.

Sources: DOT, PHMSA Published Interpretation provided on April 10, 2020 and 49 CFR 172.204.

Summer/Fall OSHA AG-30 Hour Courses Announced - Registration Open

The Summer and Fall OSHA AG-30 Hour Courses have been scheduled and registration is now open. The OSHA AG-30 Hour Course is the only ag specific OSHA training in the country and is designed for facility managers, assistant managers, safety and health coordinators, EHS staff and personnel with responsibilities for safety and health at the facility. The course is conducted at a retired agrichemical facility specifically designed and retrofitted for training purposes.

Lead instructor, Brian Miller, President of Miller Risk Management, has more than 35 years experience.  Brian holds a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) designation, is a Certified Professional EHS Auditor (CPEA) and is OSHA-authorized to provide this training.  Brian has a talent for turning what could potentially be a boring subject, into training that grabs your attention and keeps you engaged.

Understanding OSHA's requirements will save your company money - but more importantly, it will reduce the number of injuries and it may even save lives. Upon completion of the course, the participants will receive a 30 Hour General Industry Health and Safety OSHA card.  Classes are limited to 21 participants, so register today to ensure you get the class date most convenient for you.  If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext. 234.

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.

Taking Care of Business

What a year 2020 has been so far - chocked full of new challenges and experiences that no one could have anticipated.  Every one in every industry is facing the decision making process of continuing or re-opening business in different ways as we all prepare for the new normal caused by Covid-19.  Social distancing, diligent cleaning practices and additional PPE appear to be here to stay for a while.

We continue to work remotely here at Asmark for the time being, but we are keeping our eyes and ears open for the right time to safely re-open our office for our employees. Our team has worked diligently to stay connected and take care of our clients amidst all the chaos during these times.  Utilizing technology, talent and other tools to remain productive and connected has been a life saver in getting us through these trying times, quite literally.

We are continuing to get through this together. We want you to know Asmark is here to support and provide our clients with the services needed to help ensure they can continue to operate safely.  Wishing everyone continued health, safety and prosperity throughout the season!

An Uplifting Message from Jeff Nalley
A wonderful message from Jeff Nalley, the co-host of our Legacy Series videos, that's worth taking a minute to listen to.  He puts a great perspective and shines a light on the good that's happening in these unusual and hard times, that are affecting us all.  We hope you enjoy his message!


Redbird Catering Continues to Go Above and Beyond
Rick McCormick, owner and operator of Redbird Catering in Bloomington, IL and the official caterer of the Asmark Institute Agricenter and Applicator Training Center, has always been very involved in supporting his local community.  Consequently, no one was surprised when he stepped up to help during the Covid-19 relief efforts. Rick and his staff have been working around the clock to supply meals to the national guard troops, who are assisting the Covid-19 testing facility located at the Interstate Center, inside the fairgrounds in Bloomington, IL.

Although Rick has never served in the military, he has always been a huge supporter of our troops.  When asked how things were going with the relief efforts, he had only positive things to say about them.  "I'm very impressed with how professional and calm the troops have been.  They all have a phenomenal bedside manner. Many of the people being tested are elderly, and the troops are taking their time to reassure and explain the testing process to each individual."

Our grateful appreciation goes out to Rick, the Redbird Catering team and the National Guard for going above and beyond during these difficult times!

FWAA Announces New Executive Director
Congratulations to Margaret Jensen who has been announced as the new Executive Director of the Far West Agribusiness Association (FWAA).  She succeeds Jim Fitzgerald, who officially retired December 31, 2019, after serving over a decade with the organization. Jensen started her new position with FWAA on April 15, 2020.

She has nearly 30 years of experience in the vegetable and seed industry, working in research, market development, product development, sales and product management, before becoming a seed and agronomy recruiter with clients across the Pacific Northwest.  In addition to her highly-specialized knowledge, Jensen's international connections have further expanded her understanding of the diverse needs of the global agribusiness industry.

The Asmark Institute works to support the retail agricultural industry through a very special partnership with FWAA and we believe membership and participation in your state association is more important now than ever before.  We are proud to be affiliated with FWAA and we look forward to working with Margaret Jensen in the years to come!

EZ Update is Now Even EZ-er

Recently, we unveiled a new and improved version of our EZ Update feature on Snapshots.  EZ Update is one of the most popular and widely used features on our website because it's quick, easy and simple.  With the release of EZ Update 2.0, we have gone to further lengths to make it even easier on our clients to update and manage their account and employee information within our system.

Some of the changes include:
  • Selecting from a pre-populated drop down to select an employee, instead of keying in personal information that you might not be 100% confident in its accuracy.
  • Adding a Secondary Contact to your locations account.
  • The ability to update the location's Electronic Service Program (ESP)/ Primary Contact.
  • The ability to update an employee's name.
  • Adding a visual effect to show when you have submitted an update to the account or employee information; marking as "Pending" until the change has been made in our system.
If you have any questions or feedback you'd like to share, let our Customer Service Team know at customerservice@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext 506.

OSHA Expands Respirator Guidance to All Industries

OSHA has issued new enforcement guidance on the use of respiratory protection equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It applies to all workplaces covered by OSHA where there is required use of respirators.  OSHA field offices will exercise enforcement discretion concerning the annual fit-testing requirements, as long as employers have made good-faith efforts to comply with the requirements of the Respiratory Protection standard and to follow the steps outlined here.

Employers should also assess their engineering controls, work practices and administrative controls on an ongoing basis to identify any changes they can make to decrease the need for N95s or other filtering facepiece respirators.  In some instances, an employer may also consider taking steps to temporarily suspend certain non-essential operations.  The memo will take effect immediately and remain in effect until further notice.  This guidance is intended to be time-limited to the current public health crisis.

TSA Extension of HazMat Endorsements

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is granting a temporary exemption of TSA security threat assessments (STAs) for Hazardous Material Endorsement (HME) holders.  This exemption becomes effective on April 2, 2020 and remains in effect through July 31, 2020.  During this time, a State may grant an extension of up to 180 days for an HME that expired between March 1, 2020 and the end date of this exemption, even if the individual was unable to complete the required STA before the expiration date.

If the state grants an extension, the individual with an expired HME must begin the process of renewing their STA for an HME no later than 60 days before the end of the State-granted extension.  TSA may extend this exemption again depending on the status of the COVID-19 crisis.  This exemption does not apply to new HMEs. Click here for more information.

COVID This...COVID That

These days there are so many voices saying COVID you may be tired of listening, but one worth hearing is that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued new guidance for employers of essential workers.  This guidance enables essential industries to continue to operate while still providing additional procedures and protections to employees to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.  Also, included is a quick reference of the Do's and Dont's for employers and employees related to COVID-19 exposures.  Employers should implement the recommendations in the interim guidance to help prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

Helpful Tools for Spring Season – NOA Forms & Shipping Docs

As season is ramping up, choose from more than 4,000 WPS products to create and produce personalized Notice of Application (NOA) recordkeeping forms or more than 5,000 products for Shipping Documents specific to your facility and inventory.

NOA forms are designed to satisfy EPA's Worker Protection Standard and Restricted-Use Pesticide requirements.  They are available in two sizes – 8 ½ x 11” which fits up to 36 products and 8 ½ x 14” for up to 60 products. A Master PDF can be printed and copied as needed or Asmark Institute can print professionally on 2 or 3 part NCR in padded sets from 250 up to 2,000.

Shipping Documents are designed to help you comply with the DOT requirements. Printing options are similar to the NOA forms.  An 8 ½ x 11” size will hold up 34 products and the 8 ½ x 14” size can accommodate up to 50 products. There are also standard shipping documents for Anhydrous Ammonia and Ammonium Nitrate. Both are 8 ½ x 11” and contain the Emergency Response Guidepage (ERG) number and information as well.

In response to Covid-19, DOT recently published an interpretation in regards to the requirement applicable to the exchange of shipping paper while social distancing. Under the Hazardous Materials Regulations, no physical contact between the shipper and carrier is required for the purpose of shipping papers. Shipping papers can be exchanged by physically attaching to a clipboard, placing it on a table or counter and stepping away while the paper is signed or sending the document via email.

The NOA and Shipping Document tools can be found on Snapshots under Forms in the Personalized section. If you have any questions regarding these handy documents, please reach out to our Customer Service Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 506 or customerservice@asmark.org.

Sources: DOT, PHMSA Published Interpretation provided on April 10, 2020 and 49 CFR 172.204.

Summer/Fall OSHA AG-30 Hour Courses Announced - Registration Open

The Summer and Fall OSHA AG-30 Hour Courses have been scheduled and registration is now open. The OSHA AG-30 Hour Course is the only ag specific OSHA training in the country and is designed for facility managers, assistant managers, safety and health coordinators, EHS staff and personnel with responsibilities for safety and health at the facility. The course is conducted at a retired agrichemical facility specifically designed and retrofitted for training purposes.

Lead instructor, Brian Miller, President of Miller Risk Management, has more than 35 years experience.  Brian holds a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) designation, is a Certified Professional EHS Auditor (CPEA) and is OSHA-authorized to provide this training.  Brian has a talent for turning what could potentially be a boring subject, into training that grabs your attention and keeps you engaged.

Understanding OSHA's requirements will save your company money - but more importantly, it will reduce the number of injuries and it may even save lives. Upon completion of the course, the participants will receive a 30 Hour General Industry Health and Safety OSHA card.  Classes are limited to 21 participants, so register today to ensure you get the class date most convenient for you.  If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext. 234.

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.