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Newsletter
Volume 201
August 3, 2020

Asmark Institute Welcomes New Crop of Employees!
The month of July was a busy one here at Asmark as we welcomed a new crop of employees to our team.  Seated are Cassie Fleming and Alex Jewell, who are part of the Driver File Team.  Standing (L to R) are Taylor Rostron, who is working in the Training department, Chris Luttrell, who helps us fill out our regulatory team and Connie Russelburg, who completes our Customer Service team.  We are excited to have them in the Asmark family and look forward to their unique contributions.

New Streaming Service to Launch in October

Plans are underway to release Asmark's first app for streaming training videos during this year's annual compliance season.  The app, which will be available on both Roku and Fire TV platforms, will allow for electronic delivery of training videos at a higher image quality and will simplify the annual DVD update requirements for those who choose to enroll.  Instead of annually receiving an updated DVD to exchange within the set, the app will be updated on the fly with new content, ultimately reducing cost and saving time in the process.  Best of all, once a location enrolls in the new streaming service and successfully returns their set of DVDs, they will no longer be required to keep up with a set of DVDs valued at $6,000 if lost or stolen.

Beta testing for the new app will begin within the next few weeks.  If you are interested in being part of the beta test group, please contact Brian Mason at 270-926-4600 Ext 230 or brian@asmark.org.
 
Standing the Test of Time
It has been said that when something stands the test of time, it continues to prove its value over a long period and remains constant.  Eric Rasor, Manager of Website Development for the Asmark Institute, has stood such a test.  Prior to coming to work officially for the Asmark Institute in 2007, he started by setting up new Internet service for Asmark and updating the website as far back as the Fall of 1998.  From that moment moving forward, Eric has been in charge of website development, helping to ensure the client's website experience is as seamless as possible.

Back in 2010, when Snapshots was nothing more than a sketch and a concept, Eric was tasked with linking data from the various departments to interact with the website, allowing our clients access to their facility's most pertinent information.  Through countless hours and sleepless nights (no kidding), averaging 20+ hours a day for weeks on end, Eric was constantly working on the task at hand to ensure the data was readily accessible to the client to assist in their compliance efforts.  Snapshots would later undergo another face-lift, known as Version 2, which is what is recognized today as the Snapshots Management Dashboard.

While Snapshots is only one of many projects Eric has been involved with, he also spends his days on the back end of processes, maintaining the servers to keep all of our clients' data safe.  He monitors standards and rules for changes, as well as maintains firewalls, to ensure that the data is protected at all times.  Eric is always available and oversees any website issues that our clients' might encounter.

He has been married to his wife Kris for 32 years, and they have two children, Ashton and Alston.  Even as it is constantly evolving and improving, the Asmark Institute website also continues to stand the test of time through Eric's TLC, dedication and leadership.

4 Tips to improve your MyScore


Click here for a printable PDF.

CFATS Program Reauthorized for 3 Years

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program was set to expire on July 23rd but has been reauthorized for an additional 3 years.  The amendment makes no program changes, but extends the program through July 27, 2023.  The CFATS program continues to identify and regulate high-risk chemical facilities to ensure they have security measures in place to reduce the risks associated with those chemicals.

Are Your Grain Sump Holes Guarded? 

Safety Reminder!  When cleaning out grain bins, make sure all sump holes are guarded.  John Lee, lead instructor for Asmark Institute’s Safe Grain Handling Courses, cautions others after a recent amputation incident in a grain bin involving a sump/reclaim hole.  Two employees were shoveling grain away from a sweep auger on the second sump 7 feet away from the wall.  The commodity was soybeans.  One employee slipped on the beans and his foot went into the running reclaim auger.  His foot and part of his leg were amputated.  The victim was pulled from the sump and a tourniquet was secured around his leg while emergency services were on the way.  The victim survived and is recovering.

Unfortunately, this type of accident happens far too often.  It is critical that all sump holes, including the center sump, are guarded whenever employees are in the bin shoveling or sweeping grain into the sump holes with the unload auger running.  Even if the bin unload auger is not running and locked out, sump holes are considered by OSHA to be an unguarded floor opening that someone could step into causing serious injury and are required to be guarded.  The grate guards pictured are the best way to guard the sumps.  However, it is critical to note that the guard/grate openings must comply with the guard opening requirements found in Subpart O of OSHA's machine guarding standards and the guards must be securely fastened in place.  See the Sump Opening Guard Guidelines and Table O-10 for the guard opening requirements.  If your bins are empty, now would be an opportune time to measure your sump openings and have guards made to protect your employees.

Have You Conducted Your Annual Queries in the Clearinghouse Yet?

Per 49 CFR 382.701, employers of CDL drivers must conduct a query of the Clearinghouse at least once per year for each CDL driver they employ.  The annual query requirement is tracked on a rolling 12-month basis, and the one-year time frame resets with each query conducted on a driver. A limited query satisfies the annual query requirement.  Employers must obtain a general consent from CDL drivers they employ before conducting limited queries in the Clearinghouse.

With the Driver File Annual Reviews underway, if your company uses the integrated system for third party administration (TPA), a General Consent for Conducting Limited Queries form will be included with the Certification of Violations forms for any of your CDL drivers that do not currently have one on file.  Once the annual review is complete on all drivers at your facility, the information on CDL drivers will be passed along to Forward Edge & Associates, the integrated TPA, to conduct the annual queries.

Learn more about the Clearinghouse by checking out the Compliance Assistance Library to ensure you stay  on top of the requirements for both the Pre-Employment and Limited Queries for your CDL drivers.  If you have any questions, please reach out to our Customer Service Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 506 or customerservice@asmark.org.

Navigable Waters Protection Rule Stands

A federal judge in California has ruled the Navigable Waters Protection Rule stands after an attempt to halt its implementation by a coalition of 17 states.  After a hearing on the motions, he concluded there was not enough evidence to warrant a preliminary injunction or a delay in the rule's implementation.  The Navigable Waters Protection Rule replaces the 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule and defines federal water jurisdiction.  This has allowed the final rule to go into effect but stay tuned as the decision is likely to be appealed.

Large Penalties for Untimely Spill Reporting

Recent enforcement actions by EPA remind companies of the need to immediately report releases that exceed reportable quantities or reach navigable waters.  One six figure penalty was issued to a company that failed to report when a product ran into the river in 2017.  The company did not provide the required notification to federal, state and local emergency response officials.  

EPA alleged that the company did not notify the National Response Center (NRC) for more than 4 hours after learning of the release.  Another similar penalty came in Ohio to a chemical production company.  Remember, EPA regulations require immediate reporting of hazardous material spills over reportable quantities to the NRC.  While the term "immediate" is not defined by law, legislative history authorizes EPA to enforce for failure to report within 15 minutes.

ResponsibleAg - Committed. Compliant. Safe.

Over 2,560 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program.  1,320 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.

Heads Up Kit - Great Resource for New Primary Contacts

As the Asmark Institute is notified of a new Primary Contact change for a facility, a Heads Up Kit is prepared and shipped to the new contact to help them transition into their new role as fast and smoothly as possible.  Inside the kit is a handy, multi-colored flip chart that Joann prints and prepares specifically for each new contact.

The Heads Up Kit includes great tips on practically all the information needed for a fast start to ensure the regulatory requirements for the facility are completed in a timely manner and they know what to expect. We recommend the new contact review it closely and hang it up in a convenient place for future reference. As they utilize the Asmark system in the facility's compliance efforts, they can also always reach out to our Customer Service Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 506 or customerservice@asmark.org for further assistance.

Prop 65 Labels Not Required on Glyphosate

A US District Court Judge has issued a decision preventing the State of California from requiring Proposition 65 labels on glyphosate products.  Prop 65 warning labels are required for chemicals known to the state to cause cancer.  The ruling supports the First Amendment claim and grants a permanent injunction.  This could open the door to more challenges of Prop 65 warning requirements in the future.

DOT to Exercise Discretion for Random Testing

DOT may exercise discretion to determine not to enforce the minimum annual percentage random testing rates for drugs and alcohol and the requirement that each employer ensure that the dates for administering random drug and alcohol tests are spread reasonably throughout the calendar year due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.  However, employers capable of meeting these requirements must continue to do so.

Employers must continue to select drivers at the required rate of 50 percent of their average number of driver positions for controlled substances, and 10 percent for random alcohol testing during the calendar year 2020.  If a test is unable to be completed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the motor carrier must maintain written documentation of the specific reasons for non-compliance.  For example, employers should document closures or restricted use of testing facilities or the unavailability of testing personnel. Additionally, employers should document actions taken to identify alternative testing sites or other testing resources.

Likewise, employers who are unable to ensure that the dates for administering random controlled substances and alcohol tests are spread reasonably throughout the calendar year should document the specific reasons why they did not meet this requirement.  For example, in addition to the lack of available testing facilities or personnel, there may be other factors such as prolonged or intermittent driver furloughs due to the impacts of COVID-19.

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 Welcomes New Crop of Employees!
The month of July was a busy one here at Asmark as we welcomed a new crop of employees to our team.  Seated are Cassie Fleming and Alex Jewell, who are part of the Driver File Team.  Standing (L to R) are Taylor Rostron, who is working in the Training department, Chris Luttrell, who helps us fill out our regulatory team and Connie Russelburg, who completes our Customer Service team.  We are excited to have them in the Asmark family and look forward to their unique contributions.

New Streaming Service to Launch in October

Plans are underway to release Asmark's first app for streaming training videos during this year's annual compliance season.  The app, which will be available on both Roku and Fire TV platforms, will allow for electronic delivery of training videos at a higher image quality and will simplify the annual DVD update requirements for those who choose to enroll.  Instead of annually receiving an updated DVD to exchange within the set, the app will be updated on the fly with new content, ultimately reducing cost and saving time in the process.  Best of all, once a location enrolls in the new streaming service and successfully returns their set of DVDs, they will no longer be required to keep up with a set of DVDs valued at $6,000 if lost or stolen.

Beta testing for the new app will begin within the next few weeks.  If you are interested in being part of the beta test group, please contact Brian Mason at 270-926-4600 Ext 230 or brian@asmark.org.
 
Standing the Test of Time
It has been said that when something stands the test of time, it continues to prove its value over a long period and remains constant.  Eric Rasor, Manager of Website Development for the Asmark Institute, has stood such a test.  Prior to coming to work officially for the Asmark Institute in 2007, he started by setting up new Internet service for Asmark and updating the website as far back as the Fall of 1998.  From that moment moving forward, Eric has been in charge of website development, helping to ensure the client's website experience is as seamless as possible.

Back in 2010, when Snapshots was nothing more than a sketch and a concept, Eric was tasked with linking data from the various departments to interact with the website, allowing our clients access to their facility's most pertinent information.  Through countless hours and sleepless nights (no kidding), averaging 20+ hours a day for weeks on end, Eric was constantly working on the task at hand to ensure the data was readily accessible to the client to assist in their compliance efforts.  Snapshots would later undergo another face-lift, known as Version 2, which is what is recognized today as the Snapshots Management Dashboard.

While Snapshots is only one of many projects Eric has been involved with, he also spends his days on the back end of processes, maintaining the servers to keep all of our clients' data safe.  He monitors standards and rules for changes, as well as maintains firewalls, to ensure that the data is protected at all times.  Eric is always available and oversees any website issues that our clients' might encounter.

He has been married to his wife Kris for 32 years, and they have two children, Ashton and Alston.  Even as it is constantly evolving and improving, the Asmark Institute website also continues to stand the test of time through Eric's TLC, dedication and leadership.

4 Tips to improve your MyScore


Click here for a printable PDF.

CFATS Program Reauthorized for 3 Years

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program was set to expire on July 23rd but has been reauthorized for an additional 3 years.  The amendment makes no program changes, but extends the program through July 27, 2023.  The CFATS program continues to identify and regulate high-risk chemical facilities to ensure they have security measures in place to reduce the risks associated with those chemicals.

Are Your Grain Sump Holes Guarded? 

Safety Reminder!  When cleaning out grain bins, make sure all sump holes are guarded.  John Lee, lead instructor for Asmark Institute’s Safe Grain Handling Courses, cautions others after a recent amputation incident in a grain bin involving a sump/reclaim hole.  Two employees were shoveling grain away from a sweep auger on the second sump 7 feet away from the wall.  The commodity was soybeans.  One employee slipped on the beans and his foot went into the running reclaim auger.  His foot and part of his leg were amputated.  The victim was pulled from the sump and a tourniquet was secured around his leg while emergency services were on the way.  The victim survived and is recovering.

Unfortunately, this type of accident happens far too often.  It is critical that all sump holes, including the center sump, are guarded whenever employees are in the bin shoveling or sweeping grain into the sump holes with the unload auger running.  Even if the bin unload auger is not running and locked out, sump holes are considered by OSHA to be an unguarded floor opening that someone could step into causing serious injury and are required to be guarded.  The grate guards pictured are the best way to guard the sumps.  However, it is critical to note that the guard/grate openings must comply with the guard opening requirements found in Subpart O of OSHA's machine guarding standards and the guards must be securely fastened in place.  See the Sump Opening Guard Guidelines and Table O-10 for the guard opening requirements.  If your bins are empty, now would be an opportune time to measure your sump openings and have guards made to protect your employees.

Have You Conducted Your Annual Queries in the Clearinghouse Yet?

Per 49 CFR 382.701, employers of CDL drivers must conduct a query of the Clearinghouse at least once per year for each CDL driver they employ.  The annual query requirement is tracked on a rolling 12-month basis, and the one-year time frame resets with each query conducted on a driver. A limited query satisfies the annual query requirement.  Employers must obtain a general consent from CDL drivers they employ before conducting limited queries in the Clearinghouse.

With the Driver File Annual Reviews underway, if your company uses the integrated system for third party administration (TPA), a General Consent for Conducting Limited Queries form will be included with the Certification of Violations forms for any of your CDL drivers that do not currently have one on file.  Once the annual review is complete on all drivers at your facility, the information on CDL drivers will be passed along to Forward Edge & Associates, the integrated TPA, to conduct the annual queries.

Learn more about the Clearinghouse by checking out the Compliance Assistance Library to ensure you stay  on top of the requirements for both the Pre-Employment and Limited Queries for your CDL drivers.  If you have any questions, please reach out to our Customer Service Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 506 or customerservice@asmark.org.

Navigable Waters Protection Rule Stands

A federal judge in California has ruled the Navigable Waters Protection Rule stands after an attempt to halt its implementation by a coalition of 17 states.  After a hearing on the motions, he concluded there was not enough evidence to warrant a preliminary injunction or a delay in the rule's implementation.  The Navigable Waters Protection Rule replaces the 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule and defines federal water jurisdiction.  This has allowed the final rule to go into effect but stay tuned as the decision is likely to be appealed.

Large Penalties for Untimely Spill Reporting

Recent enforcement actions by EPA remind companies of the need to immediately report releases that exceed reportable quantities or reach navigable waters.  One six figure penalty was issued to a company that failed to report when a product ran into the river in 2017.  The company did not provide the required notification to federal, state and local emergency response officials.  

EPA alleged that the company did not notify the National Response Center (NRC) for more than 4 hours after learning of the release.  Another similar penalty came in Ohio to a chemical production company.  Remember, EPA regulations require immediate reporting of hazardous material spills over reportable quantities to the NRC.  While the term "immediate" is not defined by law, legislative history authorizes EPA to enforce for failure to report within 15 minutes.

ResponsibleAg - Committed. Compliant. Safe.

Over 2,560 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program.  1,320 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.

Heads Up Kit - Great Resource for New Primary Contacts

As the Asmark Institute is notified of a new Primary Contact change for a facility, a Heads Up Kit is prepared and shipped to the new contact to help them transition into their new role as fast and smoothly as possible.  Inside the kit is a handy, multi-colored flip chart that Joann prints and prepares specifically for each new contact.

The Heads Up Kit includes great tips on practically all the information needed for a fast start to ensure the regulatory requirements for the facility are completed in a timely manner and they know what to expect. We recommend the new contact review it closely and hang it up in a convenient place for future reference. As they utilize the Asmark system in the facility's compliance efforts, they can also always reach out to our Customer Service Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 506 or customerservice@asmark.org for further assistance.

Prop 65 Labels Not Required on Glyphosate

A US District Court Judge has issued a decision preventing the State of California from requiring Proposition 65 labels on glyphosate products.  Prop 65 warning labels are required for chemicals known to the state to cause cancer.  The ruling supports the First Amendment claim and grants a permanent injunction.  This could open the door to more challenges of Prop 65 warning requirements in the future.

DOT to Exercise Discretion for Random Testing

DOT may exercise discretion to determine not to enforce the minimum annual percentage random testing rates for drugs and alcohol and the requirement that each employer ensure that the dates for administering random drug and alcohol tests are spread reasonably throughout the calendar year due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.  However, employers capable of meeting these requirements must continue to do so.

Employers must continue to select drivers at the required rate of 50 percent of their average number of driver positions for controlled substances, and 10 percent for random alcohol testing during the calendar year 2020.  If a test is unable to be completed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the motor carrier must maintain written documentation of the specific reasons for non-compliance.  For example, employers should document closures or restricted use of testing facilities or the unavailability of testing personnel. Additionally, employers should document actions taken to identify alternative testing sites or other testing resources.

Likewise, employers who are unable to ensure that the dates for administering random controlled substances and alcohol tests are spread reasonably throughout the calendar year should document the specific reasons why they did not meet this requirement.  For example, in addition to the lack of available testing facilities or personnel, there may be other factors such as prolonged or intermittent driver furloughs due to the impacts of COVID-19.

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.