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Newsletter
Volume 200
July 1, 2020

Annual Lighthouse Executive Summary Headed Your Way!

It's that time of year again!  Each year in early July we prepare a personalized Lighthouse Executive Summary (LES-2020) for each manned facility.  Using logic to identify potential areas of concern, the summary serves as a mid-year check up on compliance efforts.  It highlights areas of compliance proactively where attention may be needed to address issues not otherwise identified.  It is designed to prompt action before an inspector or auditor shows up.  LES-2020 is being prepared and distributed electronically for ESP locations and by mail for non-ESP locations. 

Together, LES-2020 and MyScore are designed to effectively promote the continuous process of proactively identifying and tracking your risk management efforts to ensure a safe work environment and reduce your risk and liability.  Each page of the summary is dedicated to a specific topic and contains a brief explanation of the requirement and how to proceed in completing it.  We encourage you to review the summary and take action to address any areas of concern in a timely manner - then check MyScore to see your accomplishment!

Asmark Institute Welcomes Summer Intern

We are excited to welcome Alston Rasor to the Asmark Institute as a summer intern.  Alston is entering his senior year at Purdue University, majoring in Cybersecurity.  He will be working directly with Tyler Marlman, our Systems Administrator, to get a first-hand look at a behind the scenes, real world example of the protocols in place used to ensure the protection of internet-connected systems such as hardware, software and data from cyber-threats.  Welcome to the team Alston!

Reminder!  Driver File Annual Reviews Begin in July

Driver File annual review season is yet again upon us.  Every year during the months of July through October, the DQF team completes an annual review on every driver file at each facility.  This is typically the slowest time period for facilities and when the lowest number of drivers are employed.  Depending on when your facility's annual review was completed last year, you can expect to receive the Certification of Violations (CV) forms for each driver at your facility to sign and return sometime between July 6th and October 16th.

For those facilities that are ESP, electronic signatures are used to sign the forms making it a very efficient process, saving you time and money.  Per DOT regulations, an annual review must be done within 12 months of the previous year’s file review in order to keep the driver in compliance.  Please pay close attention to the deadline date for returning all forms to ensure your drivers remain in compliance and don’t become disqualified.

New this year...for clients who use the integrated system for third party administration (TPA) of the FMCSA Clearinghouse process, the "General Consent for Conducting Limited Queries" form will be included with the CVs for any driver with a CDL that does not currently have a signed consent form on file.  This form allows the TPA, Forward Edge & Associates, to conduct the limited annual query on behalf of the company.  Doing this process in conjunction with the annual review of the driver's file makes it efficient for all involved.

If you have any questions about the annual review process of driver files, please call our DQF Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 501.

OARA Announces New President & CEO

Congratulations to Jeffrey Hickman who has been announced as the new President and CEO for the Oklahoma Agribusiness Retailers Association (OARA).  He succeeds Joe Neal Hampton, OARA President and CEO for 48 years, who officially retired on June 30th.  Hickman is a fifth generation northwest Oklahoma farmer and former Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

"I'm honored and grateful to the board for the opportunity to lead this exceptional organization of member companies whose investments create jobs in Oklahoma and serve farmers, ranchers and other agriculturalists across our state," Hickman said.  "Oklahoma agriculture is one of the leading drivers of our state's economy and its impact reaches every Oklahoman and beyond with a significant role in feeding and clothing our nation and the world.  I'm excited about this opportunity to work with innovative Oklahoma agribusiness leaders to meet the challenges we face and ensure Oklahoma agriculture's best days are still ahead of us."

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

Fertilizer Industry Honors 4R Advocates

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) recently honored five retailer/farmer pairs through their 4R Advocates Program.  This program acknowledges forward-thinking individuals who serve as excellent examples of the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship - utilizing the right nutrient source at the right rate, the right time and in the right place.  Learn more about the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Program.

The 2020 Advocates are John Hundley and Eric Hopkins, Hundley Farms, Belle Glade, FL and Tim Stein, Wedgworth's Inc., Belle Glade, FL; Brian Ryberg, Ryberg Farms, Buffalo Lake, MN and Mike Welter, Central Region Cooperative, Buffalo Lake, MN; Jeff O'Bannon, Morgan-O'Bannon Family Farm, Madison, MO and Todd Ragsdal (Asmark client), Nutrien Ag Solutions, Paris, MO; Mike Kurek, Susquehanna Orchards, Delta, PA and Tim Hushon, The Mill, Red Lion, PA; and Jeremy Brown, Broadview Agriculture Inc., Lubbock, TX and Taylor Allison, Eco-Drip Irrigation, Abernathy, TX. Congratulations to each of these pairs for serving as a positive example of 4R in practice!

DOT Extends Waiver for CDL Drivers

DOT has extended the waiver for expiring Commercial Driver's Licenses (CDLs) and permits until September 30, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Many CDL holders have been unable to renew their licenses and are unable to provide medical certificates to their State Driver Licensing Agencies.  In addition, many medical providers have canceled regularly scheduled appointments and drivers have been unable to obtain appointments for physical examinations with medical examiners who comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

Drivers claiming relief under this waiver must continue to carry a paper copy of their expired medical certificate.  Asmark will continue to mark drivers that fall within the specified time-frame of the waiver as "Attention Needed" on both Snapshots and the monthly status reports.  If your physician is accepting appointments, please don't wait until the last minute to get your records updated.

EPA Releases Temporary Guidance on Respiratory Protection

EPA has provided temporary guidance regarding respiratory protection requirements for agricultural pesticide handlers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  The temporary guidance provides for the use of alternative NIOSH-approved respirators offering equivalent or greater respiratory protection than those required on the pesticide label.  It encourages hiring commercial applicator services with enough respirators and respiratory protection capabilities or opting to use agricultural pesticide products that do not require respirators.  Lastly, pesticide applications could be delayed until another compliant option is available.

If all of those options have been exhausted, EPA’s guidance provides additional options with strict terms and conditions.  These include the reuse and extended use of disposable N95 filter facepiece respirators, the use of "expired" respirators, the use of respirators certified in certain other countries or delaying the annual respirator "fit test."  EPA will, on a case-by-case basis, exercise its enforcement discretion for violations of respirator-related requirements provided that handlers and handler employers demonstrate that they have exhausted all available compliance options.

Feature Spotlight - Security Vulnerability Assessment

The Asmark Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA) is one of the first steps in developing your DOT security plan or enhancing security at your facility. It lists the materials you handle and identifies those with the potential for use as a weapon or target. It also provides for a full review of your current activities and operations from an operational and transportation security perspective.

The SVA was expanded in 2014 to provide more emphasis on DOT issues and additional layers of security, which are programmed into the model and accredited by the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS). Facilities that complete the assessment will receive a list of recommended countermeasures to help offset their vulnerabilities, along with site-specific information required in preparing their DOT Security Plan.  The countermeasures can be used to further hone security at the facility and for transportation of hazardous materials.

Facilities are prompted throughout the year regarding the status of their SVA in multiple ways:
  • Snapshots displays the facility's numerical score, indicating the level of risk and when the last SVA was completed.  For ESP facilities, the red light will come on when the SVA expires.
  • Lighthouse Executive Summary, provided as a mid-year checkup, will include information about the SVA if the facility does not have a current one on file.  Instructions are provided on how to complete an SVA.
  • Compliance Wizard used during the annual compliance "visit" will provide details about the facility's SVA, and whether a current one is on file or not.  If one needs to be completed or updated, it will be an action item on the facility's "To-Do" list.
A completed SVA that places the facility in a Low Risk status, should be reviewed every three years for updates; a Medium Risk status should be reviewed annually; and a High Risk status should be continually reviewed and countermeasures addressed until the facility is placed in at least a Medium Risk status.  If you have any questions or need help, you can contact our Customer Service Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 506.

OSHA Revises Guidance for Recording COVID

OSHA has issued a memo to update guidance for recording cases of COVID-19 as an occupational illness.  Under OSHA's recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness, and must be recorded if the case is a confirmed case of COVID-19, is work-related and involves one or more of the general recording criteria in the recordkeeping regulation.  Given the nature of the disease, in many instances it remains difficult to determine whether a COVID-19 illness is work-related, especially when an employee has experienced potential exposure both in and out of the workplace.

Employers must make a reasonable investigation to determine if the illness is work related.  COVID-19 illnesses are likely work-related when several cases develop among workers who work closely together and there is no alternative explanation.  An employee's COVID-19 illness is likely not work-related if he is the only worker to contract COVID-19 in his vicinity and his job duties do not include having frequent contact with the general public, regardless of the rate of community spread.  If, after the reasonable and good faith inquiry described in the guidance, the employer cannot determine whether it is more likely than not that exposure in the workplace played a causal role with respect to a particular case of COVID-19, the employer does not need to record that COVID-19 illness.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and should be coded as such on the OSHA Form 300. Because this is an illness, if an employee voluntarily requests that his or her name not be entered on the log, the employer must comply.  The guidance is intended to be limited to the current COVID-19 public health crisis.

DOT Issues Pre-Employment Testing Guidance

On June 5th, DOT granted a 3-month waiver to relieve employers of commercial motor vehicle drivers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  The waiver extends the period under which drivers would qualify for a pre-employment drug testing exception from 30 days to 90 days.  This relief allows employers to forego pre-employment testing for drivers who have participated in a controlled substances testing program that meets certain requirements within the previous 90 days of hire or rehire.  The waiver is subject to certain terms, conditions and restrictions but continues until September 30, 2020.

KS Ammonia Facilities Pay Over $50,000 in Penalties

EPA has reached settlements with two agricultural storage and supply businesses in Kansas to resolve alleged violations of Risk Management Program regulations.  EPA inspected both companies in response to accidental releases of anhydrous ammonia that resulted in injuries to their employees. During the inspections, EPA determined that the companies failed to design their processes for handling anhydrous ammonia in compliance with good engineering practices and failed to meet other requirements intended to ensure adequate measures are in place to prevent and respond to an accidental release.  In addition to the civil penalties, one company also agreed to purchase emergency response and preparedness equipment for three local fire departments at an estimated cost of over $25,000.

ResponsibleAg - Committed. Compliant. Safe. 

Over 2,560 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program.  1,395 are currently certified, many of which are in their second cycle becoming re-certified. We encourage you to visit responsibleag.org to learn more and see the list of participating members.  Click here to read why your peers are in the program. If you aren't registered, don't delay - register today!

ResponsibleAg is an industry-led initiative committed to helping agribusinesses properly store and handle farm input supplies. The program helps members ensure they are compliant with environmental, health, safety and security regulations to keep employees, customers and our communities safe.

EPA Issues Cancellation Order for Dicamba Products

Following the order of the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, EPA has issued a final cancellation order for the three dicamba products - Xtendimax, FeXapan and Engenia.  The order allows growers and commercial applicators to use existing stocks that were in their possession on June 3, 2020, consistent with the products' previously-approved labels, until July 31, 2020.  All use is prohibited after July 31, 2020. Many states have issued additional guidance so please check with your state association.

DOT Expands Remote Carrier Compliance Reviews

DOT has announced plans to immediately expand the use of remote motor carrier safety compliance reviews during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The agency intends to leverage all available technology to access information and records to limit the exposure risk for both the regulated community and safety investigators.  Motor carriers may access and transmit their information through a portal directly and upload documents in a secure environment.  Motor carriers may also fax or email documents to FMCSA if they choose to, or if they cannot access the portal.

DOT may also use email, telephone and video calls as a substitute for in-person interaction with motor carrier officials during the compliance review or to review the findings of the compliance review with company officials during the closing meeting.  The guidance remains in effect until the revocation of the Presidentially declared COVID-19 national emergency.

EPA Proposes More Transparent Guidance

EPA has issued a proposed rulemaking regarding the procedures for developing and issuing guidance documents and establishes a petition process for public requests to modify or withdraw those that are active.  EPA will use an online portal to clearly identify which ones are active guidance documents.  This is consistent with Executive Order 13891 that directed Federal agencies to finalize regulations that set processes and procedures for issuing guidance documents.  A central principle of the Executive Order is that these documents should clarify existing obligations only.  They should not be a vehicle for implementing new, binding requirements on the public.

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.

Annual Lighthouse Executive Summary Headed Your Way!

It's that time of year again!  Each year in early July we prepare a personalized Lighthouse Executive Summary (LES-2020) for each manned facility.  Using logic to identify potential areas of concern, the summary serves as a mid-year check up on compliance efforts.  It highlights areas of compliance proactively where attention may be needed to address issues not otherwise identified.  It is designed to prompt action before an inspector or auditor shows up.  LES-2020 is being prepared and distributed electronically for ESP locations and by mail for non-ESP locations. 

Together, LES-2020 and MyScore are designed to effectively promote the continuous process of proactively identifying and tracking your risk management efforts to ensure a safe work environment and reduce your risk and liability.  Each page of the summary is dedicated to a specific topic and contains a brief explanation of the requirement and how to proceed in completing it.  We encourage you to review the summary and take action to address any areas of concern in a timely manner - then check MyScore to see your accomplishment!

Asmark Institute Welcomes Summer Intern

We are excited to welcome Alston Rasor to the Asmark Institute as a summer intern.  Alston is entering his senior year at Purdue University, majoring in Cybersecurity.  He will be working directly with Tyler Marlman, our Systems Administrator, to get a first-hand look at a behind the scenes, real world example of the protocols in place used to ensure the protection of internet-connected systems such as hardware, software and data from cyber-threats.  Welcome to the team Alston!

Reminder!  Driver File Annual Reviews Begin in July

Driver File annual review season is yet again upon us.  Every year during the months of July through October, the DQF team completes an annual review on every driver file at each facility.  This is typically the slowest time period for facilities and when the lowest number of drivers are employed.  Depending on when your facility's annual review was completed last year, you can expect to receive the Certification of Violations (CV) forms for each driver at your facility to sign and return sometime between July 6th and October 16th.

For those facilities that are ESP, electronic signatures are used to sign the forms making it a very efficient process, saving you time and money.  Per DOT regulations, an annual review must be done within 12 months of the previous year’s file review in order to keep the driver in compliance.  Please pay close attention to the deadline date for returning all forms to ensure your drivers remain in compliance and don’t become disqualified.

New this year...for clients who use the integrated system for third party administration (TPA) of the FMCSA Clearinghouse process, the "General Consent for Conducting Limited Queries" form will be included with the CVs for any driver with a CDL that does not currently have a signed consent form on file.  This form allows the TPA, Forward Edge & Associates, to conduct the limited annual query on behalf of the company.  Doing this process in conjunction with the annual review of the driver's file makes it efficient for all involved.

If you have any questions about the annual review process of driver files, please call our DQF Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 501.

OARA Announces New President & CEO

Congratulations to Jeffrey Hickman who has been announced as the new President and CEO for the Oklahoma Agribusiness Retailers Association (OARA).  He succeeds Joe Neal Hampton, OARA President and CEO for 48 years, who officially retired on June 30th.  Hickman is a fifth generation northwest Oklahoma farmer and former Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

"I'm honored and grateful to the board for the opportunity to lead this exceptional organization of member companies whose investments create jobs in Oklahoma and serve farmers, ranchers and other agriculturalists across our state," Hickman said.  "Oklahoma agriculture is one of the leading drivers of our state's economy and its impact reaches every Oklahoman and beyond with a significant role in feeding and clothing our nation and the world.  I'm excited about this opportunity to work with innovative Oklahoma agribusiness leaders to meet the challenges we face and ensure Oklahoma agriculture's best days are still ahead of us."

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

Fertilizer Industry Honors 4R Advocates

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) recently honored five retailer/farmer pairs through their 4R Advocates Program.  This program acknowledges forward-thinking individuals who serve as excellent examples of the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship - utilizing the right nutrient source at the right rate, the right time and in the right place.  Learn more about the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Program.

The 2020 Advocates are John Hundley and Eric Hopkins, Hundley Farms, Belle Glade, FL and Tim Stein, Wedgworth's Inc., Belle Glade, FL; Brian Ryberg, Ryberg Farms, Buffalo Lake, MN and Mike Welter, Central Region Cooperative, Buffalo Lake, MN; Jeff O'Bannon, Morgan-O'Bannon Family Farm, Madison, MO and Todd Ragsdal (Asmark client), Nutrien Ag Solutions, Paris, MO; Mike Kurek, Susquehanna Orchards, Delta, PA and Tim Hushon, The Mill, Red Lion, PA; and Jeremy Brown, Broadview Agriculture Inc., Lubbock, TX and Taylor Allison, Eco-Drip Irrigation, Abernathy, TX. Congratulations to each of these pairs for serving as a positive example of 4R in practice!

DOT Extends Waiver for CDL Drivers

DOT has extended the waiver for expiring Commercial Driver's Licenses (CDLs) and permits until September 30, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Many CDL holders have been unable to renew their licenses and are unable to provide medical certificates to their State Driver Licensing Agencies.  In addition, many medical providers have canceled regularly scheduled appointments and drivers have been unable to obtain appointments for physical examinations with medical examiners who comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

Drivers claiming relief under this waiver must continue to carry a paper copy of their expired medical certificate.  Asmark will continue to mark drivers that fall within the specified time-frame of the waiver as "Attention Needed" on both Snapshots and the monthly status reports.  If your physician is accepting appointments, please don't wait until the last minute to get your records updated.

EPA Releases Temporary Guidance on Respiratory Protection

EPA has provided temporary guidance regarding respiratory protection requirements for agricultural pesticide handlers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  The temporary guidance provides for the use of alternative NIOSH-approved respirators offering equivalent or greater respiratory protection than those required on the pesticide label.  It encourages hiring commercial applicator services with enough respirators and respiratory protection capabilities or opting to use agricultural pesticide products that do not require respirators.  Lastly, pesticide applications could be delayed until another compliant option is available.

If all of those options have been exhausted, EPA’s guidance provides additional options with strict terms and conditions.  These include the reuse and extended use of disposable N95 filter facepiece respirators, the use of "expired" respirators, the use of respirators certified in certain other countries or delaying the annual respirator "fit test."  EPA will, on a case-by-case basis, exercise its enforcement discretion for violations of respirator-related requirements provided that handlers and handler employers demonstrate that they have exhausted all available compliance options.

Feature Spotlight - Security Vulnerability Assessment

The Asmark Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA) is one of the first steps in developing your DOT security plan or enhancing security at your facility. It lists the materials you handle and identifies those with the potential for use as a weapon or target. It also provides for a full review of your current activities and operations from an operational and transportation security perspective.

The SVA was expanded in 2014 to provide more emphasis on DOT issues and additional layers of security, which are programmed into the model and accredited by the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS). Facilities that complete the assessment will receive a list of recommended countermeasures to help offset their vulnerabilities, along with site-specific information required in preparing their DOT Security Plan.  The countermeasures can be used to further hone security at the facility and for transportation of hazardous materials.

Facilities are prompted throughout the year regarding the status of their SVA in multiple ways:
  • Snapshots displays the facility's numerical score, indicating the level of risk and when the last SVA was completed.  For ESP facilities, the red light will come on when the SVA expires.
  • Lighthouse Executive Summary, provided as a mid-year checkup, will include information about the SVA if the facility does not have a current one on file.  Instructions are provided on how to complete an SVA.
  • Compliance Wizard used during the annual compliance "visit" will provide details about the facility's SVA, and whether a current one is on file or not.  If one needs to be completed or updated, it will be an action item on the facility's "To-Do" list.
A completed SVA that places the facility in a Low Risk status, should be reviewed every three years for updates; a Medium Risk status should be reviewed annually; and a High Risk status should be continually reviewed and countermeasures addressed until the facility is placed in at least a Medium Risk status.  If you have any questions or need help, you can contact our Customer Service Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 506.

OSHA Revises Guidance for Recording COVID

OSHA has issued a memo to update guidance for recording cases of COVID-19 as an occupational illness.  Under OSHA's recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness, and must be recorded if the case is a confirmed case of COVID-19, is work-related and involves one or more of the general recording criteria in the recordkeeping regulation.  Given the nature of the disease, in many instances it remains difficult to determine whether a COVID-19 illness is work-related, especially when an employee has experienced potential exposure both in and out of the workplace.

Employers must make a reasonable investigation to determine if the illness is work related.  COVID-19 illnesses are likely work-related when several cases develop among workers who work closely together and there is no alternative explanation.  An employee's COVID-19 illness is likely not work-related if he is the only worker to contract COVID-19 in his vicinity and his job duties do not include having frequent contact with the general public, regardless of the rate of community spread.  If, after the reasonable and good faith inquiry described in the guidance, the employer cannot determine whether it is more likely than not that exposure in the workplace played a causal role with respect to a particular case of COVID-19, the employer does not need to record that COVID-19 illness.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and should be coded as such on the OSHA Form 300. Because this is an illness, if an employee voluntarily requests that his or her name not be entered on the log, the employer must comply.  The guidance is intended to be limited to the current COVID-19 public health crisis.

DOT Issues Pre-Employment Testing Guidance

On June 5th, DOT granted a 3-month waiver to relieve employers of commercial motor vehicle drivers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  The waiver extends the period under which drivers would qualify for a pre-employment drug testing exception from 30 days to 90 days.  This relief allows employers to forego pre-employment testing for drivers who have participated in a controlled substances testing program that meets certain requirements within the previous 90 days of hire or rehire.  The waiver is subject to certain terms, conditions and restrictions but continues until September 30, 2020.

KS Ammonia Facilities Pay Over $50,000 in Penalties

EPA has reached settlements with two agricultural storage and supply businesses in Kansas to resolve alleged violations of Risk Management Program regulations.  EPA inspected both companies in response to accidental releases of anhydrous ammonia that resulted in injuries to their employees. During the inspections, EPA determined that the companies failed to design their processes for handling anhydrous ammonia in compliance with good engineering practices and failed to meet other requirements intended to ensure adequate measures are in place to prevent and respond to an accidental release.  In addition to the civil penalties, one company also agreed to purchase emergency response and preparedness equipment for three local fire departments at an estimated cost of over $25,000.

ResponsibleAg - Committed. Compliant. Safe. 

Over 2,560 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program.  1,395 are currently certified, many of which are in their second cycle becoming re-certified. We encourage you to visit responsibleag.org to learn more and see the list of participating members.  Click here to read why your peers are in the program. If you aren't registered, don't delay - register today!

ResponsibleAg is an industry-led initiative committed to helping agribusinesses properly store and handle farm input supplies. The program helps members ensure they are compliant with environmental, health, safety and security regulations to keep employees, customers and our communities safe.

EPA Issues Cancellation Order for Dicamba Products

Following the order of the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, EPA has issued a final cancellation order for the three dicamba products - Xtendimax, FeXapan and Engenia.  The order allows growers and commercial applicators to use existing stocks that were in their possession on June 3, 2020, consistent with the products' previously-approved labels, until July 31, 2020.  All use is prohibited after July 31, 2020. Many states have issued additional guidance so please check with your state association.

DOT Expands Remote Carrier Compliance Reviews

DOT has announced plans to immediately expand the use of remote motor carrier safety compliance reviews during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The agency intends to leverage all available technology to access information and records to limit the exposure risk for both the regulated community and safety investigators.  Motor carriers may access and transmit their information through a portal directly and upload documents in a secure environment.  Motor carriers may also fax or email documents to FMCSA if they choose to, or if they cannot access the portal.

DOT may also use email, telephone and video calls as a substitute for in-person interaction with motor carrier officials during the compliance review or to review the findings of the compliance review with company officials during the closing meeting.  The guidance remains in effect until the revocation of the Presidentially declared COVID-19 national emergency.

EPA Proposes More Transparent Guidance

EPA has issued a proposed rulemaking regarding the procedures for developing and issuing guidance documents and establishes a petition process for public requests to modify or withdraw those that are active.  EPA will use an online portal to clearly identify which ones are active guidance documents.  This is consistent with Executive Order 13891 that directed Federal agencies to finalize regulations that set processes and procedures for issuing guidance documents.  A central principle of the Executive Order is that these documents should clarify existing obligations only.  They should not be a vehicle for implementing new, binding requirements on the public.

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.