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Newsletter
Volume 212
July 1, 2021

Meet Patricia! Asmark's Redheaded Roadrunner 

Known for her quickness and ability to run circles around others, Patricia Howard, Executive Assistant to the President & CEO of Asmark (aka - Amber's right-hand gal) is always on the move.  It has been said that "there are no speed limits on the road to success" and Patricia is a perfect example of this  - get out of her way if she's behind you. She's an extremely hard worker and also the pleasant voice, with slight European accent, on the other end of the phone when folks call about Asmark's Signature Training Courses.  As the Lead Coordinator for Signature Training, she works directly with the instructors on schedules for all twelve courses and assists host facilities for our traveling HazWoper Refresher courses. With courses finally open and now on the calendar for 2021, Patricia's "get-it-done" attitude is keeping things hopping as preparations are underway all around - in the office, at the training centers and host facilities.

In addition to her Signature Training responsibilities, Patricia works directly with Dustin, our Manager of Regulatory Affairs, to review, revise, and publish the annual Compliance Manual.  She is heavily involved in printed materials and their publication, such as the annual SDS Manual, Applicator Manuals, and Regulatory Posters. During Annual Compliance Season, she takes care of the SARA Tier II production process. Patricia handles meeting and event coordination at Asmark's five training facilities across the Midwest.  She manages office supply inventory, birthday parties, and her biggest task - supporting Amber with special projects to "make-it-happen." Needless to say, Patricia is happiest when she's busy, busy, busy!  There is no task too big or too small for her to tackle, as she's always up for a new challenge and never disappoints upon completion.

Originally from England, Patricia moved to the United States after graduating from high school.  She joined the Asmark Institute family in November 2012 and became a US citizen in 2014.  She's our best resource for European chocolates and English tea. As Patricia is rapidly rolling up on 10 years at Asmark, she is always willing to take on new opportunities to expand her responsibilities and help wherever needed.  When she's not working, Patricia loves to hike and travel with friends and participate in various 5K events to support different charity organizations.  She has one daughter, Charlie, a son-in-law, Eric, and a sassy cat named Hydi.

Newly Formatted Executive Summary Coming Soon! 

We're more than halfway through 2021, which makes this a great time for a mid-year checkup of your facility's MyScore and compliance efforts. You'll notice some changes in the format of this year's report, which is now fully web-based and allows real-time data to be viewed the moment the report is created.

What's Changed Since Last Year?
  • Report is fully web based and created in real time when the button in the e-mail is selected.
  • New interactive format with links to data on Snapshots.
  • Report will document who created it and when.
  • Link to report will be e-mailed to all locations, saving money on postage.
  • PDF of report will be Archived in the eFile section of Snapshots after creation.
An email will be sent out to facility Primary Contacts on Tuesday, July 6th to create and view the annual Executive Summary (ES-2021) for their locations.  The email will provide instructions for creating the new interactive report which is generated with a summary of each compliance topic our system recognizes for your facility.  By hovering over various areas on the report, you are provided with additional information as well as clickable links on certain topics for easy access to Snapshots to review items that need your attention.

Together, your Executive Summary 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.  We encourage you to review the summary and take action to address any areas of concern in a timely manner - then check your MyScore to see your accomplishment!

Reminder!  Driver File Annual Reviews Begin in July

Driver File annual review season is upon us again.  Every year during the months of July through October, the DQF team completes an annual review on every driver at each facility.  We conduct the reviews this time of year because typically it's 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 somewhere between July 6th and October 15th.

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.

New!  Starting this year, all drivers will utilize electronic signatures to sign the annual review forms.  Once completed, the forms will automatically be sent back to Asmark; 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.  If you have any questions about the annual review process, please call the DQF Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 501.

Reminder:  HazMat Annual Registration Expired on June 30th

If your company transports, or offers for transport, hazardous materials that require placarding by DOT, they must be registered with DOT.  If your company registers with DOT annually, then your HazMat Registration expires on June 30th each year. The 2021-2022 registration year covers the period between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.  If your company registers for a two or three year period, check your registration for the expiration year.

The annual fee for small businesses and not-for-profit organizations is still $250 per year plus a $25 processing fee, while the fee for all others remains $2,575 per year plus a $25 processing fee.  A copy of the current registration must be carried in every company vehicle used to transport hazardous materials.  Past copies of the certificate of registration must be kept for three years at the office.  You can register and pay the fee online at DOT's website.
National Safety School Set for August 24th - Register Now!
The National Agronomic Environmental Health & Safety School will be held on August 24, 2021 in Bloomington, Illinois at the Asmark Institute Agricenter. The school provides EH&S professionals in the agricultural industry a unique opportunity to gain valuable insight into a host of regulatory topics facing our industry.  This year's Safety School is a one-day event and will have a reduced cost of $125.  Jean Payne, recently retired President & CEO of the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA), will be delivering the keynote address.  Other notable speakers will be:  Tom Bray with J.J. Keller & Associates, Brian Bothast with OSHA and Dr. Fred Whitford with Purdue Pesticide Programs.  Please visit naehss.org to learn more and to register.

The Safety School is held in conjunction with IFCA’s annual MAGIE Show, the industry’s premier outdoor equipment show in the United States.  This year MAGIE is celebrating 40 years!  We encourage you to consider attending while in Bloomington.  Go to ifca.com for more information.

New Grain Weevil Arrives on Scene

If you're wondering if this is a new type of grain-bin bug you need to worry about - it's not.  The Grain Weevil is an auger-driven robot designed to handle manual tasks inside the bin, so the farmer doesn't have to enter.  This 30-pound robot is able to level the grain, break crusts, do inspections and feed grain into the extraction augers and is able to dig itself out of up to five feet if it gets buried in the grain.  Statistics show that grain-bin deaths spiked in 2019 and remained high in 2020, so any way to keep farmers and farm workers from having to manually enter a bin will save lives.

Ben Johnson developed the Grain Weevil with his father, Chad, and his college roommate, Zane Zents, a computer engineering major.  They had been challenged by their good friend, Zach Hunnicutt, to "build me a robot so I never have to go into a grain bin again!"  According to Hunnicutt, "while the conversation started due to a half-joking request to make my work easier, it quickly evolved into discussing grain-bin safety and grain-quality management."

Although it is not commercially available yet, they are currently starting six on-farm trials to put the technology through hundreds of hours of tests to make sure it is ready for farmers to use safely.  Research and testing are demonstrating the ag robot's ability in helping manage the grain while farmers continue to work on loading, extracting and maintaining the grain while it's being stored.  Needless to say, this little robot is proving to be a big deal as it greatly reduces the risk of one of the most dangerous jobs on the farm.

New Training Report Now Available in Excel Format

Live now on the website, is a new training report feature that allows you to access your facility's training records for all of your employees in an Excel Workbook format.  Instead of having only a static PDF to view, Excel allows you to filter/sort the data in our system to determine what subjects your employees are current on and what training needs to be completed.  For example, Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is an annual requirement, so if you want to make sure the right people have been trained for WPS this year, you can easily filter for this information.  If there is training needed to bring an employee current, you can order a training kit on the website to fill in any missing gaps.

For companies with EHS support staff, this same feature is available under the EHS Territory View, allowing an EHS person to view all locations training records in one place for their territory.  This format enables an EHS person to filter/sort a variety of ways to search for training gaps or help identify where efforts need to be focused.

This new report format offers the convenience of having your data at your finger tips in a manner that allows for maximum ability to slice and dice based on your needs without having to reach out to us to create and compile.  The Excel Workbook is broken up into the following sections:
  • All Training
  • Safety & Regulatory Topics
  • Legacy Series
  • Signature Training
To access the new Excel format of the Training Report, first make sure your pop-up blocker is turned off, then go to your Training Information section on Snapshots and click on Detail -  Training Report -  Create Excel Workbook.  For the EHS Territory Report, go to the territory view and under the blue report button, select Training Summary (Excel Spreadsheet).  Depending on the size of the territory and the quantity of data being compiled, this process may take a few minutes so hold tight - it's worth the wait.

Medical Examiner's Certification Integration Delayed Again

DOT has delayed the compliance date for several provisions of the 2015 Medical Examiner’s Certification Integration final rule again.  The regulation's compliance date is extended from June 22, 2021 to June 23, 2025.  This final rule will provide DOT time to complete certain information technology system development tasks for its National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners and to provide the state driver’s licensing agencies sufficient time to make the necessary IT programming changes when the new National Registry system is completed and available.

The existing process of submitting medical certifications to the state remains intact for four more years. Drivers need to continue to provide state driver’s licensing agencies a copy of their Medical Examiner's Certificate and carry proof of the medical certification for 15 days.  The motor carrier needs to continue verifying that drivers were certified by a certified Medical Examiner listed on the National Registry and obtain a Motor Vehicle Record within 15 days of the exam that shows the most recent medical exam.

WOTUS To Be Redefined Again

EPA and Department of the Army have announced their intent to revise the definition of "waters of the United States" (WOTUS).  Upon review of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, the agencies have determined that the rule is significantly reducing clean water protections. The lack of protections is particularly significant in arid states, like New Mexico and Arizona, where nearly every one of over 1,500 streams assessed has been found to be non-jurisdictional.

The agencies are also aware of 333 projects that would have required Section 404 permitting prior to the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, but no longer do.  Further details of the agencies’ plans, including the opportunity for public participation, will be available at https://www.epa.gov/wotus.

DOT Cautions Drivers About CBD Products

More than 75,000 drug and alcohol program violations have been reported to DOT through the Clearinghouse since January 6, 2020.  Positive drug tests account for over 80% of these violations, and marijuana has been detected in over half of all drug tests that have been filed in the Clearinghouse.  It is important for all employees who perform safety-sensitive functions, including CDL drivers, to know the labeling of many CBD products may be misleading because the products could contain higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than what’s stated on the product label.

DOT’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation does not authorize the use of Schedule I drugs, including marijuana, for any reason.  CBD use is not a legitimate medical explanation for a laboratory-confirmed marijuana positive result.  Therefore, Medical Review Officers will verify a drug test confirmed at the appropriate cutoffs as positive, even if an employee claims they only used a CBD product.  Since the use of CBD products could lead to a positive drug test result, DOT-regulated safety-sensitive employees should exercise extreme caution when considering using CBD products.

Meet Patricia! Asmark's Redheaded Roadrunner 

Known for her quickness and ability to run circles around others, Patricia Howard, Executive Assistant to the President & CEO of Asmark (aka - Amber's right-hand gal) is always on the move.  It has been said that "there are no speed limits on the road to success" and Patricia is a perfect example of this  - get out of her way if she's behind you. She's an extremely hard worker and also the pleasant voice, with slight European accent, on the other end of the phone when folks call about Asmark's Signature Training Courses.  As the Lead Coordinator for Signature Training, she works directly with the instructors on schedules for all twelve courses and assists host facilities for our traveling HazWoper Refresher courses. With courses finally open and now on the calendar for 2021, Patricia's "get-it-done" attitude is keeping things hopping as preparations are underway all around - in the office, at the training centers and host facilities.

In addition to her Signature Training responsibilities, Patricia works directly with Dustin, our Manager of Regulatory Affairs, to review, revise, and publish the annual Compliance Manual.  She is heavily involved in printed materials and their publication, such as the annual SDS Manual, Applicator Manuals, and Regulatory Posters. During Annual Compliance Season, she takes care of the SARA Tier II production process. Patricia handles meeting and event coordination at Asmark's five training facilities across the Midwest.  She manages office supply inventory, birthday parties, and her biggest task - supporting Amber with special projects to "make-it-happen." Needless to say, Patricia is happiest when she's busy, busy, busy!  There is no task too big or too small for her to tackle, as she's always up for a new challenge and never disappoints upon completion.

Originally from England, Patricia moved to the United States after graduating from high school.  She joined the Asmark Institute family in November 2012 and became a US citizen in 2014.  She's our best resource for European chocolates and English tea. As Patricia is rapidly rolling up on 10 years at Asmark, she is always willing to take on new opportunities to expand her responsibilities and help wherever needed.  When she's not working, Patricia loves to hike and travel with friends and participate in various 5K events to support different charity organizations.  She has one daughter, Charlie, a son-in-law, Eric, and a sassy cat named Hydi.

Newly Formatted Executive Summary Coming Soon! 

We're more than halfway through 2021, which makes this a great time for a mid-year checkup of your facility's MyScore and compliance efforts. You'll notice some changes in the format of this year's report, which is now fully web-based and allows real-time data to be viewed the moment the report is created.

What's Changed Since Last Year?
  • Report is fully web based and created in real time when the button in the e-mail is selected.
  • New interactive format with links to data on Snapshots.
  • Report will document who created it and when.
  • Link to report will be e-mailed to all locations, saving money on postage.
  • PDF of report will be Archived in the eFile section of Snapshots after creation.
An email will be sent out to facility Primary Contacts on Tuesday, July 6th to create and view the annual Executive Summary (ES-2021) for their locations.  The email will provide instructions for creating the new interactive report which is generated with a summary of each compliance topic our system recognizes for your facility.  By hovering over various areas on the report, you are provided with additional information as well as clickable links on certain topics for easy access to Snapshots to review items that need your attention.

Together, your Executive Summary 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.  We encourage you to review the summary and take action to address any areas of concern in a timely manner - then check your MyScore to see your accomplishment!

Reminder!  Driver File Annual Reviews Begin in July

Driver File annual review season is upon us again.  Every year during the months of July through October, the DQF team completes an annual review on every driver at each facility.  We conduct the reviews this time of year because typically it's 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 somewhere between July 6th and October 15th.

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.

New!  Starting this year, all drivers will utilize electronic signatures to sign the annual review forms.  Once completed, the forms will automatically be sent back to Asmark; 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.  If you have any questions about the annual review process, please call the DQF Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 501.

Reminder:  HazMat Annual Registration Expired on June 30th

If your company transports, or offers for transport, hazardous materials that require placarding by DOT, they must be registered with DOT.  If your company registers with DOT annually, then your HazMat Registration expires on June 30th each year. The 2021-2022 registration year covers the period between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.  If your company registers for a two or three year period, check your registration for the expiration year.

The annual fee for small businesses and not-for-profit organizations is still $250 per year plus a $25 processing fee, while the fee for all others remains $2,575 per year plus a $25 processing fee.  A copy of the current registration must be carried in every company vehicle used to transport hazardous materials.  Past copies of the certificate of registration must be kept for three years at the office.  You can register and pay the fee online at DOT's website.
National Safety School Set for August 24th - Register Now!
The National Agronomic Environmental Health & Safety School will be held on August 24, 2021 in Bloomington, Illinois at the Asmark Institute Agricenter. The school provides EH&S professionals in the agricultural industry a unique opportunity to gain valuable insight into a host of regulatory topics facing our industry.  This year's Safety School is a one-day event and will have a reduced cost of $125.  Jean Payne, recently retired President & CEO of the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA), will be delivering the keynote address.  Other notable speakers will be:  Tom Bray with J.J. Keller & Associates, Brian Bothast with OSHA and Dr. Fred Whitford with Purdue Pesticide Programs.  Please visit naehss.org to learn more and to register.

The Safety School is held in conjunction with IFCA’s annual MAGIE Show, the industry’s premier outdoor equipment show in the United States.  This year MAGIE is celebrating 40 years!  We encourage you to consider attending while in Bloomington.  Go to ifca.com for more information.

New Grain Weevil Arrives on Scene

If you're wondering if this is a new type of grain-bin bug you need to worry about - it's not.  The Grain Weevil is an auger-driven robot designed to handle manual tasks inside the bin, so the farmer doesn't have to enter.  This 30-pound robot is able to level the grain, break crusts, do inspections and feed grain into the extraction augers and is able to dig itself out of up to five feet if it gets buried in the grain.  Statistics show that grain-bin deaths spiked in 2019 and remained high in 2020, so any way to keep farmers and farm workers from having to manually enter a bin will save lives.

Ben Johnson developed the Grain Weevil with his father, Chad, and his college roommate, Zane Zents, a computer engineering major.  They had been challenged by their good friend, Zach Hunnicutt, to "build me a robot so I never have to go into a grain bin again!"  According to Hunnicutt, "while the conversation started due to a half-joking request to make my work easier, it quickly evolved into discussing grain-bin safety and grain-quality management."

Although it is not commercially available yet, they are currently starting six on-farm trials to put the technology through hundreds of hours of tests to make sure it is ready for farmers to use safely.  Research and testing are demonstrating the ag robot's ability in helping manage the grain while farmers continue to work on loading, extracting and maintaining the grain while it's being stored.  Needless to say, this little robot is proving to be a big deal as it greatly reduces the risk of one of the most dangerous jobs on the farm.

New Training Report Now Available in Excel Format

Live now on the website, is a new training report feature that allows you to access your facility's training records for all of your employees in an Excel Workbook format.  Instead of having only a static PDF to view, Excel allows you to filter/sort the data in our system to determine what subjects your employees are current on and what training needs to be completed.  For example, Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is an annual requirement, so if you want to make sure the right people have been trained for WPS this year, you can easily filter for this information.  If there is training needed to bring an employee current, you can order a training kit on the website to fill in any missing gaps.

For companies with EHS support staff, this same feature is available under the EHS Territory View, allowing an EHS person to view all locations training records in one place for their territory.  This format enables an EHS person to filter/sort a variety of ways to search for training gaps or help identify where efforts need to be focused.

This new report format offers the convenience of having your data at your finger tips in a manner that allows for maximum ability to slice and dice based on your needs without having to reach out to us to create and compile.  The Excel Workbook is broken up into the following sections:
  • All Training
  • Safety & Regulatory Topics
  • Legacy Series
  • Signature Training
To access the new Excel format of the Training Report, first make sure your pop-up blocker is turned off, then go to your Training Information section on Snapshots and click on Detail -  Training Report -  Create Excel Workbook.  For the EHS Territory Report, go to the territory view and under the blue report button, select Training Summary (Excel Spreadsheet).  Depending on the size of the territory and the quantity of data being compiled, this process may take a few minutes so hold tight - it's worth the wait.

Medical Examiner's Certification Integration Delayed Again

DOT has delayed the compliance date for several provisions of the 2015 Medical Examiner’s Certification Integration final rule again.  The regulation's compliance date is extended from June 22, 2021 to June 23, 2025.  This final rule will provide DOT time to complete certain information technology system development tasks for its National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners and to provide the state driver’s licensing agencies sufficient time to make the necessary IT programming changes when the new National Registry system is completed and available.

The existing process of submitting medical certifications to the state remains intact for four more years. Drivers need to continue to provide state driver’s licensing agencies a copy of their Medical Examiner's Certificate and carry proof of the medical certification for 15 days.  The motor carrier needs to continue verifying that drivers were certified by a certified Medical Examiner listed on the National Registry and obtain a Motor Vehicle Record within 15 days of the exam that shows the most recent medical exam.

WOTUS To Be Redefined Again

EPA and Department of the Army have announced their intent to revise the definition of "waters of the United States" (WOTUS).  Upon review of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, the agencies have determined that the rule is significantly reducing clean water protections. The lack of protections is particularly significant in arid states, like New Mexico and Arizona, where nearly every one of over 1,500 streams assessed has been found to be non-jurisdictional.

The agencies are also aware of 333 projects that would have required Section 404 permitting prior to the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, but no longer do.  Further details of the agencies’ plans, including the opportunity for public participation, will be available at https://www.epa.gov/wotus.

DOT Cautions Drivers About CBD Products

More than 75,000 drug and alcohol program violations have been reported to DOT through the Clearinghouse since January 6, 2020.  Positive drug tests account for over 80% of these violations, and marijuana has been detected in over half of all drug tests that have been filed in the Clearinghouse.  It is important for all employees who perform safety-sensitive functions, including CDL drivers, to know the labeling of many CBD products may be misleading because the products could contain higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than what’s stated on the product label.

DOT’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation does not authorize the use of Schedule I drugs, including marijuana, for any reason.  CBD use is not a legitimate medical explanation for a laboratory-confirmed marijuana positive result.  Therefore, Medical Review Officers will verify a drug test confirmed at the appropriate cutoffs as positive, even if an employee claims they only used a CBD product.  Since the use of CBD products could lead to a positive drug test result, DOT-regulated safety-sensitive employees should exercise extreme caution when considering using CBD products.
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.