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Newsletter
Volume 210
May 3, 2021

Kevin Johnson Named IFCA Interim President

Congratulations to Kevin "KJ" Johnson on being named Interim President for the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA).  He succeeds Jean Payne, IFCA President for 17 years, who officially retired on March 31st.  KJ has served as IFCA's Director of Government & Industry Relations for the last 8 years, and was voted unanimously by the IFCA Board of Directors to serve as Interim President for the next 12 months.

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

International Roadcheck Set for May 4-6

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has set May 4-6 as the dates for this year’s International Roadcheck.  Over that 72-hour period, commercial motor vehicle inspectors in jurisdictions throughout Canada, Mexico and the US will conduct inspections on commercial motor vehicles and drivers.  This year's focus is lighting and hours of service.

During International Roadcheck, CVSA-certified inspectors will primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I Inspection, a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness.  Inspectors will ensure the vehicle’s brake systems, cargo securement, coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft components, driver’s seat, exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, lighting devices, steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels, rims, hubs and windshield wipers are compliant with regulations.

Also during an inspection, inspectors will check the driver’s operating credentials, hours-of-service documentation, seat belt usage, and for alcohol and/or drug impairment.  If no critical inspection item violations are found during a Level I Inspection, a CVSA decal will be applied to the vehicle.  If an inspector does identify critical inspection item violations, they may place the driver or vehicle out of service.  In consideration of COVID-19, law enforcement personnel will conduct inspections following their departments’ health and safety protocols.

TFI Releases 2020 State of the Fertilizer Industry Report

The Fertilizer Industry (TFI) recently released its 2020 State of the Fertilizer Industry Report.  Since 2013, TFI has collected data that provides insight into the industry's efforts to improve safety, security, sustainability, stewardship and efficiency, and serves as a valuable resource to not only those in the industry, but also for lawmakers and regulators in Washington, DC, and around the country.  Areas covered in the report include worker safety, the environment, energy use, water, agronomic professionals and enhanced efficiency fertilizers (EEFs).

TFI represents the nation's fertilizer industry by serving member organizations through legislative, educational, technical, economic information and public communication programs.  Read the full TFI report to see all of the good work being done by the fertilizer industry in regards to safety performance, reducing environmental impacts and increasing sustainable fertilizer use.

Tending to the Future

Cultivating what was started over 30 years ago, Amber Duke, President and CEO of the Asmark Institute, continues to provide clear direction on where the company is headed to best serve our clients and the agricultural industry.  Under her leadership, the company has continued to grow not only in size, but in service offerings that we're able to provide to our clients to assist in their compliance efforts.  Amber brings a lot of energy to her position, which is necessary to keep us all moving in the right direction to meet the company's five year goals as set before us.  She is one of those rare people who can get down in the weeds and work on the daily details, but focus on the big picture at the same time.

As a key member of the Asmark family, her forward-thinking vision has allowed her to grow the company, support our clients and provide them the services they need to hire people, train them and keep them safe.  She faced a year full of challenges with COVID-19, but even though the pandemic slowed many things down, it also brought unique opportunities to the forefront that would normally have taken much longer to get accomplished.  She guided our entire staff through working remotely from home, while still managing our daily tasks in order to service our clients' needs.   Amber is never afraid to get her hands dirty and dig in the trenches to ensure our clients have what they need, oftentimes before they even know they need it.  She is a forward-thinker and is a firm believer of working on things proactively, whether it be developing new features on our website, products or new services, she has always kept the Asmark Institute a step ahead.

Amber has been involved with the National Agronomic Environmental Health and Safety School (NAEHSS) since 2007 and currently serves on their Board of Directors.  She has also participated in the development of the Asmark training facilities in Owensboro, KY,  LaVergne, TN and Bloomington, IL, where the Asmark Signature Training Courses are held.  Throughout her tenure at Asmark, Amber has worn many hats, but as President and CEO, she has found her niche in leading and directing our organization to be the best it can be.

Amber and her husband Kenny have been married for 21 years.  They have two sons, Cameron (20) and Nolan (12), and a Boston terrier named Zoey.  She is an avid reader, so when she has time you might find her reading a good book outside enjoying the sunshine.  She also loves to garden on the weekends, watching everything sprout from a small seed to a bounteous table of great food to eat.  She typically has 10-15 different varieties of fruits and vegetables in her garden at any one time.  Just as Amber enjoys tending to her garden, she finds as much enjoyment in growing the business to meet the ever evolving needs of our clients and the industry.  We are thankful to have her lead us into the future!

Driver's License Tracking System Expanded

Starting this week, Asmark will begin collecting and tracking Non-Traditional CDLs (Permit and Ag-Restricted/Seasonal), in addition to the Operator License/CDL that we already maintain.  This additional information will be collected through New Hire/Re-hire submissions and EZ Update's Change DOT Driver License under the Employee section.

Tracking this additional license type information will help Asmark's ability to more accurately maintain the driver qualification files for those who hold CDL Permits or Ag-Restricted/Seasonal CDLs, keeping them up-to-date and in compliance.  It will also add a layer of ease for our clients, so that they do not have to track these temporary CDLs, as it allows for logic to be applied to this tracking system that will automatically switch a driver's license type in our system without our Driver File Team having to be notified the day of the issue or expiration.  As usual, when a license type is changed to any type of CDL, we will continue to prompt for a DOT Federal Drug Screen and FMCSA Clearinghouse Pre-employment Query.

Aside from the traditional Operator License/CDL info that is already in our system, the additional license information for the Non-Traditional CDLs (Permits and Ag-Restricted/Seasonal) that we will collect includes:
  1. Type of CDL
  2. Issue Date*
  3. Expiration Date
  4. Copy of Documentation (can be uploaded through the Hub or emailed to dqf@asmark.org)
*A future date can be entered for a Non-Traditional CDL (Permit or Ag-Restricted/Seasonal CDL).  If a future issue date is entered, we will not prompt for the necessary DOT requirements that go along with holding a CDL, until just before the issue date is reached.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our Driver File Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 501 or dqf@asmark.org.

OSHA Turns 50

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) celebrates 50 years of protecting the American Workforce.  In its first five decades, OSHA has helped improve America's workplaces in many ways that have reduced workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses.  While every decade has presented its challenges, dedicated OSHA staff have worked alongside their federal, state and local partners to protect the safety and health of the American workers.

In 2020, a new decade began with unique challenges unlike any others faced by the American workforce as the coronavirus pandemic impacted workplace safety and health in unprecedented ways.  OSHA acted quickly to protect the nation's workers through outreach and education efforts, ensuring compliance with agency standards, and collaborations with federal, state and local authorities.

On December 29, 1970, President Richard M. Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which was enacted on April 28, 1971.  With the OSHA Act of 1970, Congress created OSHA to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards, and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.  With the improvements made to workplace safety over the first half century - and now facing the challenges of a global pandemic - OSHA's mission is as important as ever.  We encourage all of our clients to join OSHA in making a renewed commitment to keeping their workers safe and healthy in the workplace.

OSHA AG-30 Hour Courses Announced  - Registration Open!

A limited number of 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 an OSHA approved outreach training program.

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 24 participants, so register today.  If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext. 234.

Top 10 Most Cited OSHA Violations

OSHA’s Top 10 most frequently cited violations for fiscal year 2020 have been announced.  Federal OSHA publishes this list to alert employers about these commonly cited standards so they can take steps to find and fix recognized hazards addressed in these and other standards before OSHA shows up.  Fall protection continues to top the list with other standards swapping positions.
  1. Fall Protection - General Requirements (1926.501)
  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200)
  3. Respiratory Protection (1910.134)
  4. Scaffolding (1926.451)
  5. Ladders (1926.1053)
  6. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147)
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178)
  8. Fall Protection  - Training Requirements (1926.503)
  9. Eye and Face Protection (1926.102)
  10. Machine Guarding (1910.212)

ResponsibleAg - Committed. Compliant. Safe.

Over 2,500 facilities are registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program.  With more than 3,800 audits completed (most in the second or even third audit cycle) and 1,235 currently certified, it's a no-brainer to participate! We encourage you to visit responsibleag.org to learn more and see the list of participating members.  Missed the webinar hosted by ARA and TFI last month?  No worries.  Click here to hear industry leaders, Billy Pirkle and Brian Miller, explain the benefits; of being prepared for regulatory changes.

Transitioning from Traditional Fax to All-Digital Fax Solution

Here at Asmark, we have officially retired our traditional analog fax machines and moved to an all-digital (web based) fax solution.  For our clients, there will be no difference in how you are able to send us faxes  - you can continue the same way you always have.  However, the way we receive and send them from our end will be different.  When a client sends a fax to us, it will be delivered via email, and then run through a process our IT Team set up that forwards it on to the Hub for sorting.

As always, our goal is to make things work as efficiently and smoothly as possible, which is why we have adopted this change.  We encourage all of our clients to consider using the Hub to upload documents to us, whether you're an ESP client or not.  This ensures that your information is received, documented and tracked within our system.  If you have any questions or need more information, don't hesitate to give us a call at 270-926-4600.  We're always happy to help!

Applicator Training Course Registration - Now Open!

Now is the perfect time for new and limited experienced professional pesticide applicators to hone their skills by taking part in the beginning Applicator Training Course.  The course is designed specifically for individuals with zero to three years of experience, and helps with understanding professionalism and the many facets associated with their role.

The four-day Applicator Training classes are held at the Applicator Training Center in Bloomington, IL and are led by instructors Greg Yoder and Gary Cornell, who have a combined experience of 75 years as professional applicators.  The course offers many benefits, including how to start and assess a field, learning which resources to turn to for information on new chemistry, and understanding sprayer components and systems.

During the course, each participant will test their skills by taking part in a Ride-N-Drive exercise, where they can experience real-life challenges on the mile long all-weather track, which includes a bridge, railroad crossing and a power line hazard - all in a safe and controlled environment.  The Ride-N-Drive fleet includes a TerraGator, John Deere, Case, Hagie, and the brand new 2021 "1100C" series RoGator.

Registration is now open and classes are limited, so don't miss your opportunity to register today.  If you have questions or would like more information, please reach out to Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext 234.

STB Adopts Demurrage Billing Requirements

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has announced the adoption of a final rule in Demurrage Billing Requirements.  The final rule establishes certain minimum information requirements for demurrage bills from Class I railroads, including billing cycle, shipment details, the dates and times of original estimated car arrival time and actual car placement.  This increased transparency will allow rail users to review and verify the accuracy of demurrage charges and help in the resolution of disputes between railroads and their customers.  In addition, the final rule establishes a machine-readable data requirement to ensure that rail users have the option to access machine-readable data containing the minimum information.  The rule will become effective on October 6, 2021.

Microsoft Windows 10 Update Causes Issues

In April, Windows 10 users started encountering serious problems following the release of the latest round of Patch Tuesday updates.  A "patch" is a bunch of updates or modifications that have been made from the previous week and bundled together to be released at the same time - typically on Tuesdays, hence "Patch Tuesdays."  Within these newly pushed out updates was "KB5001330" for version 20H2/2004; this specific update was a mandatory download that was intended to fix the problems caused by a previous update.  Essentially, Microsoft tried to fix a current issue that was identified, but instead ended up bringing back older issues as well as some new problems.

Some of the issues that were identified were, starting the installation process for the updates and freezing part of the way through, receiving the all-to-familiar "blue screen of death," not being able to log back into the computer once the update finished, or not being able to install the updates at all.  If you have been experiencing any of the problems described above and use Windows 10, you can follow the below instructions to uninstall the specific update:
  1. Click on the Start button (Windows icon)
  2. Click the Settings button (gear icon)
  3. Click on Update & Security
  4. Click Windows Update
  5. Click View Update History
  6. Click Uninstall Updates
  7. Select KB5001330
  8. Restart computer
There have been a number of issues with Windows 10 updates in recent months, with issues occurring for almost every release of updates. Microsoft has not come out and confronted the problems, however, any issues you are experiencing can be easily fixed by rolling back the specific installed update. Patches are automatically sent to your computer, and are a good thing as they typically help with the speed and efficiency of your system, but every now and then there can be a not-so-good update in there that needs to be uninstalled.

SARA Tier II File Copies Now Available on Snapshots

Annual Compliance Season has officially wrapped up and the 2020 SARA Tier II file copies have been archived on Snapshots.  As we entered year three of the Asmark + Encamp partnership, utilizing Encamp's submission technology, all SARA Tier II reports were filed with each State, LEPC and Fire Department on our clients' behalf prior to the March 1st deadline.

Once filed, Encamp sends a PDF of every file pertaining to a locations submission, including every SARA Tier II file copy, certified mail copies for the LEPCs and Fire Departments and any other invoices or receipts, depending on the state.  Once received in-house, Asmark goes through each set of files to ensure the facility names match the account information, as an additional layer of verification before final posting.  For states that have a fee structure, Encamp paid the fees when submitting and then passed them on to Asmark, which will be billed on each facility's monthly Asmark invoice as they are reconciled.

It is a tedious process ensuring that all SARA Tier IIs and additional file copies are posted to Snapshots for the correct location, and we appreciate our clients' patience throughout this process.  If you have questions or need more information, don't hesitate to reach out to us at 270-926-4600.  As always, we're happy to help!

Settlement Reached After Worker's Injury in Grain Bin

OSHA has reached a settlement agreement with a North Dakota company after an investigation into the circumstances of how an employee suffered multiple lacerations and the partial amputation of his leg when caught in an operating grain bin auger on August 20, 2020.  OSHA’s investigation determined the employee had slipped into an operating out-feed auger while clearing seeds from a grain bin.  The agency cited the company with seven willful violations, one repeat violation, four serious and two other-than-serious violations of the agency’s grain handling, confined space, machine safety and electrical safety regulations.

Inspectors also found that the company did not sufficiently train workers to recognize hazards and take proper safety measures.  The agreement requires the company to pay a penalty of $225,000, provide immediate and annual training to employees on grain bin entry procedures and hazards, and revise its permit required confined space and grain bin entry procedures company-wide. The company has already purchased atmospheric testing equipment.

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.

Kevin Johnson Named IFCA Interim President

Congratulations to Kevin "KJ" Johnson on being named Interim President for the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA).  He succeeds Jean Payne, IFCA President for 17 years, who officially retired on March 31st.  KJ has served as IFCA's Director of Government & Industry Relations for the last 8 years, and was voted unanimously by the IFCA Board of Directors to serve as Interim President for the next 12 months.

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

International Roadcheck Set for May 4-6

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has set May 4-6 as the dates for this year’s International Roadcheck.  Over that 72-hour period, commercial motor vehicle inspectors in jurisdictions throughout Canada, Mexico and the US will conduct inspections on commercial motor vehicles and drivers.  This year's focus is lighting and hours of service.

During International Roadcheck, CVSA-certified inspectors will primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I Inspection, a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness.  Inspectors will ensure the vehicle’s brake systems, cargo securement, coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft components, driver’s seat, exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, lighting devices, steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels, rims, hubs and windshield wipers are compliant with regulations.

Also during an inspection, inspectors will check the driver’s operating credentials, hours-of-service documentation, seat belt usage, and for alcohol and/or drug impairment.  If no critical inspection item violations are found during a Level I Inspection, a CVSA decal will be applied to the vehicle.  If an inspector does identify critical inspection item violations, they may place the driver or vehicle out of service.  In consideration of COVID-19, law enforcement personnel will conduct inspections following their departments’ health and safety protocols.

TFI Releases 2020 State of the Fertilizer Industry Report

The Fertilizer Industry (TFI) recently released its 2020 State of the Fertilizer Industry Report.  Since 2013, TFI has collected data that provides insight into the industry's efforts to improve safety, security, sustainability, stewardship and efficiency, and serves as a valuable resource to not only those in the industry, but also for lawmakers and regulators in Washington, DC, and around the country.  Areas covered in the report include worker safety, the environment, energy use, water, agronomic professionals and enhanced efficiency fertilizers (EEFs).

TFI represents the nation's fertilizer industry by serving member organizations through legislative, educational, technical, economic information and public communication programs.  Read the full TFI report to see all of the good work being done by the fertilizer industry in regards to safety performance, reducing environmental impacts and increasing sustainable fertilizer use.

Tending to the Future

Cultivating what was started over 30 years ago, Amber Duke, President and CEO of the Asmark Institute, continues to provide clear direction on where the company is headed to best serve our clients and the agricultural industry.  Under her leadership, the company has continued to grow not only in size, but in service offerings that we're able to provide to our clients to assist in their compliance efforts.  Amber brings a lot of energy to her position, which is necessary to keep us all moving in the right direction to meet the company's five year goals as set before us.  She is one of those rare people who can get down in the weeds and work on the daily details, but focus on the big picture at the same time.

As a key member of the Asmark family, her forward-thinking vision has allowed her to grow the company, support our clients and provide them the services they need to hire people, train them and keep them safe.  She faced a year full of challenges with COVID-19, but even though the pandemic slowed many things down, it also brought unique opportunities to the forefront that would normally have taken much longer to get accomplished.  She guided our entire staff through working remotely from home, while still managing our daily tasks in order to service our clients' needs.   Amber is never afraid to get her hands dirty and dig in the trenches to ensure our clients have what they need, oftentimes before they even know they need it.  She is a forward-thinker and is a firm believer of working on things proactively, whether it be developing new features on our website, products or new services, she has always kept the Asmark Institute a step ahead.

Amber has been involved with the National Agronomic Environmental Health and Safety School (NAEHSS) since 2007 and currently serves on their Board of Directors.  She has also participated in the development of the Asmark training facilities in Owensboro, KY,  LaVergne, TN and Bloomington, IL, where the Asmark Signature Training Courses are held.  Throughout her tenure at Asmark, Amber has worn many hats, but as President and CEO, she has found her niche in leading and directing our organization to be the best it can be.

Amber and her husband Kenny have been married for 21 years.  They have two sons, Cameron (20) and Nolan (12), and a Boston terrier named Zoey.  She is an avid reader, so when she has time you might find her reading a good book outside enjoying the sunshine.  She also loves to garden on the weekends, watching everything sprout from a small seed to a bounteous table of great food to eat.  She typically has 10-15 different varieties of fruits and vegetables in her garden at any one time.  Just as Amber enjoys tending to her garden, she finds as much enjoyment in growing the business to meet the ever evolving needs of our clients and the industry.  We are thankful to have her lead us into the future!

Driver's License Tracking System Expanded

Starting this week, Asmark will begin collecting and tracking Non-Traditional CDLs (Permit and Ag-Restricted/Seasonal), in addition to the Operator License/CDL that we already maintain.  This additional information will be collected through New Hire/Re-hire submissions and EZ Update's Change DOT Driver License under the Employee section.

Tracking this additional license type information will help Asmark's ability to more accurately maintain the driver qualification files for those who hold CDL Permits or Ag-Restricted/Seasonal CDLs, keeping them up-to-date and in compliance.  It will also add a layer of ease for our clients, so that they do not have to track these temporary CDLs, as it allows for logic to be applied to this tracking system that will automatically switch a driver's license type in our system without our Driver File Team having to be notified the day of the issue or expiration.  As usual, when a license type is changed to any type of CDL, we will continue to prompt for a DOT Federal Drug Screen and FMCSA Clearinghouse Pre-employment Query.

Aside from the traditional Operator License/CDL info that is already in our system, the additional license information for the Non-Traditional CDLs (Permits and Ag-Restricted/Seasonal) that we will collect includes:
  1. Type of CDL
  2. Issue Date*
  3. Expiration Date
  4. Copy of Documentation (can be uploaded through the Hub or emailed to dqf@asmark.org)
*A future date can be entered for a Non-Traditional CDL (Permit or Ag-Restricted/Seasonal CDL).  If a future issue date is entered, we will not prompt for the necessary DOT requirements that go along with holding a CDL, until just before the issue date is reached.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our Driver File Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 501 or dqf@asmark.org.

OSHA Turns 50

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) celebrates 50 years of protecting the American Workforce.  In its first five decades, OSHA has helped improve America's workplaces in many ways that have reduced workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses.  While every decade has presented its challenges, dedicated OSHA staff have worked alongside their federal, state and local partners to protect the safety and health of the American workers.

In 2020, a new decade began with unique challenges unlike any others faced by the American workforce as the coronavirus pandemic impacted workplace safety and health in unprecedented ways.  OSHA acted quickly to protect the nation's workers through outreach and education efforts, ensuring compliance with agency standards, and collaborations with federal, state and local authorities.

On December 29, 1970, President Richard M. Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which was enacted on April 28, 1971.  With the OSHA Act of 1970, Congress created OSHA to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards, and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.  With the improvements made to workplace safety over the first half century - and now facing the challenges of a global pandemic - OSHA's mission is as important as ever.  We encourage all of our clients to join OSHA in making a renewed commitment to keeping their workers safe and healthy in the workplace.

OSHA AG-30 Hour Courses Announced  - Registration Open!

A limited number of 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 an OSHA approved outreach training program.

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 24 participants, so register today.  If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext. 234.

Top 10 Most Cited OSHA Violations

OSHA’s Top 10 most frequently cited violations for fiscal year 2020 have been announced.  Federal OSHA publishes this list to alert employers about these commonly cited standards so they can take steps to find and fix recognized hazards addressed in these and other standards before OSHA shows up.  Fall protection continues to top the list with other standards swapping positions.
  1. Fall Protection - General Requirements (1926.501)
  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200)
  3. Respiratory Protection (1910.134)
  4. Scaffolding (1926.451)
  5. Ladders (1926.1053)
  6. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147)
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178)
  8. Fall Protection  - Training Requirements (1926.503)
  9. Eye and Face Protection (1926.102)
  10. Machine Guarding (1910.212)

ResponsibleAg - Committed. Compliant. Safe.

Over 2,500 facilities are registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program.  With more than 3,800 audits completed (most in the second or even third audit cycle) and 1,235 currently certified, it's a no-brainer to participate! We encourage you to visit responsibleag.org to learn more and see the list of participating members.  Missed the webinar hosted by ARA and TFI last month?  No worries.  Click here to hear industry leaders, Billy Pirkle and Brian Miller, explain the benefits; of being prepared for regulatory changes.

Transitioning from Traditional Fax to All-Digital Fax Solution

Here at Asmark, we have officially retired our traditional analog fax machines and moved to an all-digital (web based) fax solution.  For our clients, there will be no difference in how you are able to send us faxes  - you can continue the same way you always have.  However, the way we receive and send them from our end will be different.  When a client sends a fax to us, it will be delivered via email, and then run through a process our IT Team set up that forwards it on to the Hub for sorting.

As always, our goal is to make things work as efficiently and smoothly as possible, which is why we have adopted this change.  We encourage all of our clients to consider using the Hub to upload documents to us, whether you're an ESP client or not.  This ensures that your information is received, documented and tracked within our system.  If you have any questions or need more information, don't hesitate to give us a call at 270-926-4600.  We're always happy to help!

Applicator Training Course Registration - Now Open!

Now is the perfect time for new and limited experienced professional pesticide applicators to hone their skills by taking part in the beginning Applicator Training Course.  The course is designed specifically for individuals with zero to three years of experience, and helps with understanding professionalism and the many facets associated with their role.

The four-day Applicator Training classes are held at the Applicator Training Center in Bloomington, IL and are led by instructors Greg Yoder and Gary Cornell, who have a combined experience of 75 years as professional applicators.  The course offers many benefits, including how to start and assess a field, learning which resources to turn to for information on new chemistry, and understanding sprayer components and systems.

During the course, each participant will test their skills by taking part in a Ride-N-Drive exercise, where they can experience real-life challenges on the mile long all-weather track, which includes a bridge, railroad crossing and a power line hazard - all in a safe and controlled environment.  The Ride-N-Drive fleet includes a TerraGator, John Deere, Case, Hagie, and the brand new 2021 "1100C" series RoGator.

Registration is now open and classes are limited, so don't miss your opportunity to register today.  If you have questions or would like more information, please reach out to Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext 234.

STB Adopts Demurrage Billing Requirements

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has announced the adoption of a final rule in Demurrage Billing Requirements.  The final rule establishes certain minimum information requirements for demurrage bills from Class I railroads, including billing cycle, shipment details, the dates and times of original estimated car arrival time and actual car placement.  This increased transparency will allow rail users to review and verify the accuracy of demurrage charges and help in the resolution of disputes between railroads and their customers.  In addition, the final rule establishes a machine-readable data requirement to ensure that rail users have the option to access machine-readable data containing the minimum information.  The rule will become effective on October 6, 2021.

Microsoft Windows 10 Update Causes Issues

In April, Windows 10 users started encountering serious problems following the release of the latest round of Patch Tuesday updates.  A "patch" is a bunch of updates or modifications that have been made from the previous week and bundled together to be released at the same time - typically on Tuesdays, hence "Patch Tuesdays."  Within these newly pushed out updates was "KB5001330" for version 20H2/2004; this specific update was a mandatory download that was intended to fix the problems caused by a previous update.  Essentially, Microsoft tried to fix a current issue that was identified, but instead ended up bringing back older issues as well as some new problems.

Some of the issues that were identified were, starting the installation process for the updates and freezing part of the way through, receiving the all-to-familiar "blue screen of death," not being able to log back into the computer once the update finished, or not being able to install the updates at all.  If you have been experiencing any of the problems described above and use Windows 10, you can follow the below instructions to uninstall the specific update:
  1. Click on the Start button (Windows icon)
  2. Click the Settings button (gear icon)
  3. Click on Update & Security
  4. Click Windows Update
  5. Click View Update History
  6. Click Uninstall Updates
  7. Select KB5001330
  8. Restart computer
There have been a number of issues with Windows 10 updates in recent months, with issues occurring for almost every release of updates. Microsoft has not come out and confronted the problems, however, any issues you are experiencing can be easily fixed by rolling back the specific installed update. Patches are automatically sent to your computer, and are a good thing as they typically help with the speed and efficiency of your system, but every now and then there can be a not-so-good update in there that needs to be uninstalled.

SARA Tier II File Copies Now Available on Snapshots

Annual Compliance Season has officially wrapped up and the 2020 SARA Tier II file copies have been archived on Snapshots.  As we entered year three of the Asmark + Encamp partnership, utilizing Encamp's submission technology, all SARA Tier II reports were filed with each State, LEPC and Fire Department on our clients' behalf prior to the March 1st deadline.

Once filed, Encamp sends a PDF of every file pertaining to a locations submission, including every SARA Tier II file copy, certified mail copies for the LEPCs and Fire Departments and any other invoices or receipts, depending on the state.  Once received in-house, Asmark goes through each set of files to ensure the facility names match the account information, as an additional layer of verification before final posting.  For states that have a fee structure, Encamp paid the fees when submitting and then passed them on to Asmark, which will be billed on each facility's monthly Asmark invoice as they are reconciled.

It is a tedious process ensuring that all SARA Tier IIs and additional file copies are posted to Snapshots for the correct location, and we appreciate our clients' patience throughout this process.  If you have questions or need more information, don't hesitate to reach out to us at 270-926-4600.  As always, we're happy to help!

Settlement Reached After Worker's Injury in Grain Bin

OSHA has reached a settlement agreement with a North Dakota company after an investigation into the circumstances of how an employee suffered multiple lacerations and the partial amputation of his leg when caught in an operating grain bin auger on August 20, 2020.  OSHA’s investigation determined the employee had slipped into an operating out-feed auger while clearing seeds from a grain bin.  The agency cited the company with seven willful violations, one repeat violation, four serious and two other-than-serious violations of the agency’s grain handling, confined space, machine safety and electrical safety regulations.

Inspectors also found that the company did not sufficiently train workers to recognize hazards and take proper safety measures.  The agreement requires the company to pay a penalty of $225,000, provide immediate and annual training to employees on grain bin entry procedures and hazards, and revise its permit required confined space and grain bin entry procedures company-wide. The company has already purchased atmospheric testing equipment.

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.