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Newsletter
Volume 76
March 1, 2010
March 1st Deadlines Pass
As a reminder worth mentioning, SARA Tier II submissions are due on March 1st. These are annual requirements that most retailers are familiar with, however, the penalties are quite severe for non-compliance. We believe it is prudent to remind our clients of the deadline, just in case the SARA Tier II reports are still sitting on someone's desk. Each of our clients required to submit a SARA Tier II Report received either a Master Report to be used by the facility personnel in reporting and certifying the data electronically as mandated by their state, or traditional hard copies to be signed/certified and submitted/mailed to their State Emergency Response Commission, Local Emergency Planning Commission and Fire Department. Don't forget to follow your state's instructions to pay any applicable fees.
Staff Directory Now Online
Over the past year we have had several requests to provide the names of our staff and their responsibilities, to make it easier to reach the correct person on the first try. The issue with printing anything was keeping it current - we rotate employees to cross-train so they have a better perspective of what goes on here - especially during busy season. We work much like a farm center where most everyone winds up doing most everything at one point or another. The solution wound up being to post the Staff Directory in the Contacts section of our website. This turned out to be a good idea as we have found a way to keep the information current that will be systematic and reviewed at least monthly.
Pesticide-Production Report (PPR) Update
The Asmark Institute submits and documents receipt by U.S. EPA of the Pesticide Production Report for each of our clients. All clients' reports were shipped last week to be received by U.S. EPA on Friday, February 26th. You will receive your file copy and documentation of delivery to U.S. EPA for your records in the next couple of weeks. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Nick Lawrence at nick@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Ext. 233.
Far West Agribusiness Association Marks Its 50th Year of Supporting the Ag Industry
Far West Agribusiness Association was recognized by the Washington State Legislature for its 50th year of providing safe, reliable products and services to farms and ranches across the Northwest on January 29, 2010. Senate Resolution 8669 sponsored by Senator Chris Marr and House Resolution 4658 sponsored by Representative John Driscoll, passed unanimously and honored the vital services provided by trade associations who, together with individual association members, have uniquely shaped and developed the full agricultural productivity in the Northwest. The resolutions further recognized that Far West provides industry knowledge and training to its members and to the public that protects and ensures a vital, abundant, safe, and affordable food supply, while making a meaningful and steadfast contribution to the economy of the State of Washington. Far West's regional footprint spans the states of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Nevada, while maintaining its primary office in Spokane, Washington. We join Jim Fitzgerald and his staff and members in their celebration of 50 successful years!
Sign CropLife America's Petition on Spray Drift by March 5th
CropLife America staff, in coordination with the American Farm Bureau, has developed an online petition to send to EPA letting them know the negative effects of their three recent notices in the Federal Register related to spray drift. In the Pesticide Registration Notice, EPA proposes adding statements such as "do not apply this product in a manner that results in spray [or dust] drift that could cause harm or adverse effects to people or any other non-target organism." The environmental activist petition, "Petition to Protect Children from Pesticide Drift," would impose unnecessary buffers that would reduce cropland available for American agriculture and essentially implement an unachievable, "no drift" policy. The third Federal Register Notice addresses worker safety precautions by proposing to apply an additional factor of 10 when assessing risks to agricultural workers and their children.
Please click this link and sign our online petition! Please forward this email to anyone who might be supportive of modern agriculture. We need and appreciate your support. To learn more about these issues: Go to www.regulations.gov and submit comments on three Federal Register Notices. (Search by docket number.)
1) Federal Register Notice entitled "Petition to Protect Children from Pesticide Drift," [74 FR 57168, 11/4/2009, Docket No. EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0825]. Deadline is March 5, 2010
2) Federal Register Notice entitled "Draft Guidance for Pesticide Registrants on Pesticide Drift Labeling," [74 FR 57166, 11/4/2009, Docket No. EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0628]. Deadline is March 5, 2010
3) Federal Register Notice entitled "Revised Risk Assessment Methods for Workers, Children of Workers in Agricultural Fields, and Pesticides with No Food Uses," [74 FR 65121, 12/9/2009, Docket No. EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0889]. Deadline is April 12, 2010
Supreme Court Denies NPDES Pesticide Permit Case
CropLife America (CLA) expressed its disappointment with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision not to review a recent ruling from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals regarding National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. CLA had filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to review and reconsider the three-judge panel's decision which struck down the U.S. EPA's regulation that NPDES permits are not required when applying pesticides to, or near, water sources. Historically, agricultural pest management activities have been treated as non-point sources under the Clean Water Act and have not required NPDES permits.
"The panel's ruling creates another legal burden for our farmers, custom applicators and agricultural dealers, and leads to additional regulations which may well further prevent food growers from maximizing their output," said Jay Vroom, President and CEO of CLA. "We are disappointed that the 6th Circuit's decision could cause the U.S. government to continue to practice a precautionary policy which is detrimental not only for farmers, but could prevent the country from producing more food, fuel and fiber for a growing world population."
The final decision by the 6th Circuit is stayed until April 2011. Despite the Supreme Court's decision, CLA will continue to pursue additional avenues to contain the 6th Circuit's ruling. The organization will also continue to work with key stakeholders to ensure that the critical needs of agriculture are best preserved. "While we recognize that only a very small percentage of petitions are accepted for review," said Douglas Nelson, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of CLA, "we are also aware of decisions of other federal courts in NPDES cases which affirm the regulatory framework of EPA and Congress to treat pesticides as non-point source applications. Regardless, CLA will continue to work with EPA to minimize the burden placed on farmers and reduce the disruption this will cause across the crop protection industry."
CLA filed the petition with the U.S. Supreme Court on November 2, 2009, with support from a host of agricultural allies including: Agribusiness Association of Iowa, BASF Corporation, FMC Corporation, Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment, Southern Crop Production Association and Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. A separate petition challenging the 6th Circuit's decision was also filed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Forest & Paper Association and The National Cotton Council. Several amici briefs supporting CLA's petition were also filed by various state departments of agriculture and national trade associations. Additionally, over 30 members of Congress, including both Democrats and Republicans, also filed a brief requesting the Supreme Court accept the case.
"The Supreme Court's denial is unfair to agriculture and consumers," said Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. "The court's denial means agriculture will face yet another layer of bureaucracy and regulation, which will stifle job creation in rural America. Also, EPA will now have to process 5.6 million new pesticide applications per year, which will hinder farm operations and add significant costs to both producers and consumers of agriculture. I hope the Obama Administration will work with Congress as soon as possible on bipartisan legislation to address this issue."
U.S. EPA is already working on a draft federal permit for pesticide applicators, which may be in place as early as the Spring of 2011. Whether or not you know your legislator, now is the time to go meet with them. The NPDES requirements pose an unreasonable burden on the agricultural industry, especially in these tough economic times. We appreciate and support the effort led by CropLife America and the State Agribusiness Associations on this issue.
Our industry must continue to work with Congress to urge them to treat pesticide applications as non-point source applications and therefore not be subject to Clean Water Act programs such as the NPDES program.
Watch Your Mail for the 2010 Regulatory Posters
New 2010 colorful and expanded posters are expected to ship early this month, just in time for busy season. As a reminder, please be sure to replace all outdated 2009 posters with the updated 2010 posters. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Amber Duke at amber@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Ext. 213.
Reminder: Time to Post Your 300A
It's time to complete your 2009 injury and illness recordkeeping obligations by posting the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A). OSHA requires that the notice be displayed from February 1st to April 30th of each year in a conspicuous place where employee notices are customarily posted. A company official must certify the information in Form 300A was examined and is believed to be correct and complete. Click here to access the form and instructions.
Added Point of Interest for the OSHA 300
OSHA Proposes to Require Recordkeeping of Workplace Ergonomic Injuries
If finalized, the proposal would require employers to place a check mark in the "MSD" column if the injury met the regulatory definition. MSD (musculoskeletal disorders) is defined as "disorders of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage and spinal discs, except those caused by slips, trips, falls, motor vehicle accidents or other similar accidents." The Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) voted unanimously on December 11, 2009 to add an "MSD" column to the OSHA 200 and 300A recordkeeping forms. It is likely that the information being obtained from the logs will help OSHA build a case for re-proposing ergonomic industry standards similar to the one that was strongly opposed by industry in 2001. Comments are due by March 15, 2010. OSHA's contact is Veneta Chapman in the Office of Communications: Chatmon.Veneta@dol.gov or 202-693-1999, or by fax to 202-693-1648. All comments must reference docket number OSHA-2009-0044 or Regulatory Information Number (RIN) 1218-AC45.
Tradeshow Season Comes to a Close
The Fall 2009/Winter 2010 tradeshow and conference season just wrapped up for most of our State Association affiliates. This season it was our privilege to attend a tradeshow or conference in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin. There was great attendance at all the shows and we want to thank the staffs of those associations for all the hard work they put in to making these meetings successful. We encourage all clients to support your state agribusiness association by actively participating in your membership and attending these great shows. This season we were able to take the large exhibit with the 1/8 scale replica Terra-Gator to many of the tradeshows, so the next time you see our booth in one of your states, stop and say hello. The Asmark Institute was represented at the various shows by Lloyd Burling, Keith Fricke, Dustin Warder and Randy Lawrence.
Tis the............New Hire Season
Spring is just around the corner and the hiring season has begun. Please remember all new hires and re-hires need to be submitted through the "New Hire Kit" section of the Asmark Institute website before they start to work for your company. Seasonal employees tend to be more susceptible to accidents because they may not be familiar with their new workplace. New Hire Kits are personalized to the new employees' responsibilities and may include Driver Qualification Files, DOT, OSHA or EPA training and certifications, and in some cases, even employment papers. For re-hires, we automatically search our databases to see if they have ever completed a Driver File or training. We use the results of this research to reduce the paperwork, making sure you only receive what is necessary to complete their files. Be sure to return the documents by the date on the bottom of the packing slip so that the person is qualified to work as soon as possible.
2010 Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents Course
Invitations for the first five courses in 2010 were mailed on January 14th and the classes filled up in record time. If you did not reserve your seat in time, there will still be plenty of opportunities for training this year. There will be another 12 weeks of training this year for the full four-day course provided at our new training facility in La Vergne, Tennessee. Look for the next set of classes scheduled for July and August to be announced in April. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Dustin Warder at dustin@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Ext. 203.
KARA Announces New Anhydrous Ammonia Regulations for Kansas
The Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association (KARA) announced this week the Kansas Department of Agriculture has amended K.A.R. 4-10-7 to allow people to pull double implements of husbandry. Here is the new language:
When pulling implements of husbandry on a public roadway, the following shall be met:
  • Any implement of husbandry with a capacity greater than 1,000 gallons shall be pulled as a single unit;
  • When pulling two implements of husbandry, the total capacity pulled shall be limited to not more than 2,000 gallons; and
  • No more than two implements of husbandry shall be pulled at the same time by the pulling vehicle.
The revised anhydrous ammonia regulations will be published in the KS Register on February 25th and will become effective March 12, 2010. Thanks to KARA for providing this information.
New Sample Bill Designed to Aid States in Banning Texting While Driving
DOT Secretary, Ray LaHood, unveiled sample legislation to be used as a starting point for states crafting new laws to prohibit texting while behind-the-wheel, the latest step in the campaign against distracted driving. The sample state law, prepared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a cross-section of safety and industry organizations, would authorize law enforcement officers to stop a vehicle and issue a citation to drivers who are texting while driving. Currently, nineteen states and the District of Columbia have texting laws covering all drivers. In 2009, more than 200 distracted driving bills were considered by State legislatures and legislative activity is expected to remain strong in 2010. Click here for a copy of the sample bill and the groups that participated in drafting it.
CSA 2010 Driver Fact Sheet Now Available
A total of 3,067 stakeholders participated in the December 3rd and 10th Listening Sessions, submitting more than 1,150 questions! The CSA 2010 team analyzed the questions and is compiling answers to those that were asked most frequently. The question below represents one of those most frequently asked. Also, check out the new Driver Fact Sheet designed to inform CMV drivers about what affect CSA 2010 will have on them.
Question: Will CSA 2010 assign safety ratings to individual commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers? I heard that CSA 2010 is designed to rate CMV drivers and to put many of them out of work this summer.
Answer: No. Under CSA 2010, individual CMV drivers will not be assigned safety ratings or safety fitness determinations. Consistent with the current safety rating regulations (49 CFR part 385), individual drivers will continue to be rated, as they are today, following an onsite investigation at their place of business when they operate independently as a "motor carrier" (i.e. have their own USDOT number, operating authority, and insurance). CSA 2010 will provide enhanced tools for Safety Investigators to identify and address drivers with poor safety records as part of motor carrier investigations, in order to increase driver accountability for safe driving behavior. CSA 2010 is designed to meet one overriding objective: to increase safety on the Nation's roads. Therefore, it is, by design, a positive program for drivers and carriers with strong safety performance records. Also, it will send a strong message that drivers and carriers with poor safety performance histories need to improve.
Ag Groups Put EPA on Notice over Atrazine
Over 50 agricultural groups have sent a letter to EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, supporting the continued use of atrazine, a response to a recent press conference staged by the Land Stewardship Project and the Pesticide Action Network North America. The two activist groups continue to allege the use of atrazine is dangerous to human health and the environment and are urging Jackson to open a new review of the much-reviewed crop product. The ag groups reminded EPA its own review of atrazine over the last 30 years has shown it to be safe and effective, calling the activist action "an unfounded political attack not based on sound science."
BBB Cautions Citizens for the 2010 Census
If a U.S. Census worker knocks on your door, they will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag, and a confidentiality notice. Ask to see their identification and their badge before answering their questions. However, you should never invite anyone you don't know into your home. No matter what they ask, you really only need to tell them how many people live at your address. While the Census Bureau might ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, you don't have to answer anything at all about your financial situation. The Census Bureau will not ask for Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers, nor will employees solicit donations. Anyone asking for that information is NOT with the Census Bureau. And remember, the Census Bureau has decided not to work with ACORN on gathering this information. Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail, or in person at home. However, the Census Bureau will not contact you by email, so be on the lookout for email scams impersonating the Census. Never click on a link or open any attachments in an email that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau. Better Business Bureau
Tax Refund Possible for Businesses from New IRS "Carryback" Rule
Small-business owners caught by upside-down fertilizer prices or similar loss situations, can benefit this year from a Recovery Act extension that allows them to carry 2008 losses back five years. Businesses that amend their tax return for an earlier profitable year, can get a refund on previously paid taxes. Interested businesses should consult their tax preparer.
Performance Evaluation Results......THANKS!!!
Everyone knows the feeling you had as a kid when you were opening your Report Card. We have to admit that we flinch every time our performance evaluation is mailed, especially given our line of work. We've been known to send two people to the post office just to ensure it makes it there. Seriously, we feel very strongly the evaluation process is an important communication tool that helps our clients guide our services. Response was an impressive 59%, with 96.2% of the total respondents indicating they are Satisfied with our overall performance. More than 55% of the respondents identified themselves or their facility. This adds so much credibility to the comments, because we actively follow-up on both positive and negative comments, and many times ask for more information on ideas and suggestions. Some calls have already been made. Most of the calls will be made over the next two weeks before spring season hits. We received more than 500 comments that will be reviewed and used to provide direction and focus for our services. All we can say is Wow! and THANKS!! Click here to see a copy of the tabulated results for the past four Performance Evaluations.
2010 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.
March 1st Deadlines Pass
As a reminder worth mentioning, SARA Tier II submissions are due on March 1st. These are annual requirements that most retailers are familiar with, however, the penalties are quite severe for non-compliance. We believe it is prudent to remind our clients of the deadline, just in case the SARA Tier II reports are still sitting on someone's desk. Each of our clients required to submit a SARA Tier II Report received either a Master Report to be used by the facility personnel in reporting and certifying the data electronically as mandated by their state, or traditional hard copies to be signed/certified and submitted/mailed to their State Emergency Response Commission, Local Emergency Planning Commission and Fire Department. Don't forget to follow your state's instructions to pay any applicable fees.
Staff Directory Now Online
Over the past year we have had several requests to provide the names of our staff and their responsibilities, to make it easier to reach the correct person on the first try. The issue with printing anything was keeping it current - we rotate employees to cross-train so they have a better perspective of what goes on here - especially during busy season. We work much like a farm center where most everyone winds up doing most everything at one point or another. The solution wound up being to post the Staff Directory in the Contacts section of our website. This turned out to be a good idea as we have found a way to keep the information current that will be systematic and reviewed at least monthly.
Pesticide-Production Report (PPR) Update
The Asmark Institute submits and documents receipt by U.S. EPA of the Pesticide Production Report for each of our clients. All clients' reports were shipped last week to be received by U.S. EPA on Friday, February 26th. You will receive your file copy and documentation of delivery to U.S. EPA for your records in the next couple of weeks. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Nick Lawrence at nick@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Ext. 233.
Far West Agribusiness Association Marks Its 50th Year of Supporting the Ag Industry
Far West Agribusiness Association was recognized by the Washington State Legislature for its 50th year of providing safe, reliable products and services to farms and ranches across the Northwest on January 29, 2010. Senate Resolution 8669 sponsored by Senator Chris Marr and House Resolution 4658 sponsored by Representative John Driscoll, passed unanimously and honored the vital services provided by trade associations who, together with individual association members, have uniquely shaped and developed the full agricultural productivity in the Northwest. The resolutions further recognized that Far West provides industry knowledge and training to its members and to the public that protects and ensures a vital, abundant, safe, and affordable food supply, while making a meaningful and steadfast contribution to the economy of the State of Washington. Far West's regional footprint spans the states of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Nevada, while maintaining its primary office in Spokane, Washington. We join Jim Fitzgerald and his staff and members in their celebration of 50 successful years!
Sign CropLife America's Petition on Spray Drift by March 5th
CropLife America staff, in coordination with the American Farm Bureau, has developed an online petition to send to EPA letting them know the negative effects of their three recent notices in the Federal Register related to spray drift. In the Pesticide Registration Notice, EPA proposes adding statements such as "do not apply this product in a manner that results in spray [or dust] drift that could cause harm or adverse effects to people or any other non-target organism." The environmental activist petition, "Petition to Protect Children from Pesticide Drift," would impose unnecessary buffers that would reduce cropland available for American agriculture and essentially implement an unachievable, "no drift" policy. The third Federal Register Notice addresses worker safety precautions by proposing to apply an additional factor of 10 when assessing risks to agricultural workers and their children.
Please click this link and sign our online petition! Please forward this email to anyone who might be supportive of modern agriculture. We need and appreciate your support. To learn more about these issues: Go to www.regulations.gov and submit comments on three Federal Register Notices. (Search by docket number.)
1) Federal Register Notice entitled "Petition to Protect Children from Pesticide Drift," [74 FR 57168, 11/4/2009, Docket No. EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0825]. Deadline is March 5, 2010
2) Federal Register Notice entitled "Draft Guidance for Pesticide Registrants on Pesticide Drift Labeling," [74 FR 57166, 11/4/2009, Docket No. EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0628]. Deadline is March 5, 2010
3) Federal Register Notice entitled "Revised Risk Assessment Methods for Workers, Children of Workers in Agricultural Fields, and Pesticides with No Food Uses," [74 FR 65121, 12/9/2009, Docket No. EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0889]. Deadline is April 12, 2010
Supreme Court Denies NPDES Pesticide Permit Case
CropLife America (CLA) expressed its disappointment with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision not to review a recent ruling from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals regarding National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. CLA had filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to review and reconsider the three-judge panel's decision which struck down the U.S. EPA's regulation that NPDES permits are not required when applying pesticides to, or near, water sources. Historically, agricultural pest management activities have been treated as non-point sources under the Clean Water Act and have not required NPDES permits.
"The panel's ruling creates another legal burden for our farmers, custom applicators and agricultural dealers, and leads to additional regulations which may well further prevent food growers from maximizing their output," said Jay Vroom, President and CEO of CLA. "We are disappointed that the 6th Circuit's decision could cause the U.S. government to continue to practice a precautionary policy which is detrimental not only for farmers, but could prevent the country from producing more food, fuel and fiber for a growing world population."
The final decision by the 6th Circuit is stayed until April 2011. Despite the Supreme Court's decision, CLA will continue to pursue additional avenues to contain the 6th Circuit's ruling. The organization will also continue to work with key stakeholders to ensure that the critical needs of agriculture are best preserved. "While we recognize that only a very small percentage of petitions are accepted for review," said Douglas Nelson, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of CLA, "we are also aware of decisions of other federal courts in NPDES cases which affirm the regulatory framework of EPA and Congress to treat pesticides as non-point source applications. Regardless, CLA will continue to work with EPA to minimize the burden placed on farmers and reduce the disruption this will cause across the crop protection industry."
CLA filed the petition with the U.S. Supreme Court on November 2, 2009, with support from a host of agricultural allies including: Agribusiness Association of Iowa, BASF Corporation, FMC Corporation, Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment, Southern Crop Production Association and Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. A separate petition challenging the 6th Circuit's decision was also filed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Forest & Paper Association and The National Cotton Council. Several amici briefs supporting CLA's petition were also filed by various state departments of agriculture and national trade associations. Additionally, over 30 members of Congress, including both Democrats and Republicans, also filed a brief requesting the Supreme Court accept the case.
"The Supreme Court's denial is unfair to agriculture and consumers," said Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. "The court's denial means agriculture will face yet another layer of bureaucracy and regulation, which will stifle job creation in rural America. Also, EPA will now have to process 5.6 million new pesticide applications per year, which will hinder farm operations and add significant costs to both producers and consumers of agriculture. I hope the Obama Administration will work with Congress as soon as possible on bipartisan legislation to address this issue."
U.S. EPA is already working on a draft federal permit for pesticide applicators, which may be in place as early as the Spring of 2011. Whether or not you know your legislator, now is the time to go meet with them. The NPDES requirements pose an unreasonable burden on the agricultural industry, especially in these tough economic times. We appreciate and support the effort led by CropLife America and the State Agribusiness Associations on this issue.
Our industry must continue to work with Congress to urge them to treat pesticide applications as non-point source applications and therefore not be subject to Clean Water Act programs such as the NPDES program.
Watch Your Mail for the 2010 Regulatory Posters
New 2010 colorful and expanded posters are expected to ship early this month, just in time for busy season. As a reminder, please be sure to replace all outdated 2009 posters with the updated 2010 posters. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Amber Duke at amber@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Ext. 213.
Reminder: Time to Post Your 300A
It's time to complete your 2009 injury and illness recordkeeping obligations by posting the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A). OSHA requires that the notice be displayed from February 1st to April 30th of each year in a conspicuous place where employee notices are customarily posted. A company official must certify the information in Form 300A was examined and is believed to be correct and complete. Click here to access the form and instructions.
Added Point of Interest for the OSHA 300
OSHA Proposes to Require Recordkeeping of Workplace Ergonomic Injuries
If finalized, the proposal would require employers to place a check mark in the "MSD" column if the injury met the regulatory definition. MSD (musculoskeletal disorders) is defined as "disorders of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage and spinal discs, except those caused by slips, trips, falls, motor vehicle accidents or other similar accidents." The Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) voted unanimously on December 11, 2009 to add an "MSD" column to the OSHA 200 and 300A recordkeeping forms. It is likely that the information being obtained from the logs will help OSHA build a case for re-proposing ergonomic industry standards similar to the one that was strongly opposed by industry in 2001. Comments are due by March 15, 2010. OSHA's contact is Veneta Chapman in the Office of Communications: Chatmon.Veneta@dol.gov or 202-693-1999, or by fax to 202-693-1648. All comments must reference docket number OSHA-2009-0044 or Regulatory Information Number (RIN) 1218-AC45.
Tradeshow Season Comes to a Close
The Fall 2009/Winter 2010 tradeshow and conference season just wrapped up for most of our State Association affiliates. This season it was our privilege to attend a tradeshow or conference in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin. There was great attendance at all the shows and we want to thank the staffs of those associations for all the hard work they put in to making these meetings successful. We encourage all clients to support your state agribusiness association by actively participating in your membership and attending these great shows. This season we were able to take the large exhibit with the 1/8 scale replica Terra-Gator to many of the tradeshows, so the next time you see our booth in one of your states, stop and say hello. The Asmark Institute was represented at the various shows by Lloyd Burling, Keith Fricke, Dustin Warder and Randy Lawrence.
Tis the............New Hire Season
Spring is just around the corner and the hiring season has begun. Please remember all new hires and re-hires need to be submitted through the "New Hire Kit" section of the Asmark Institute website before they start to work for your company. Seasonal employees tend to be more susceptible to accidents because they may not be familiar with their new workplace. New Hire Kits are personalized to the new employees' responsibilities and may include Driver Qualification Files, DOT, OSHA or EPA training and certifications, and in some cases, even employment papers. For re-hires, we automatically search our databases to see if they have ever completed a Driver File or training. We use the results of this research to reduce the paperwork, making sure you only receive what is necessary to complete their files. Be sure to return the documents by the date on the bottom of the packing slip so that the person is qualified to work as soon as possible.
2010 Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents Course
Invitations for the first five courses in 2010 were mailed on January 14th and the classes filled up in record time. If you did not reserve your seat in time, there will still be plenty of opportunities for training this year. There will be another 12 weeks of training this year for the full four-day course provided at our new training facility in La Vergne, Tennessee. Look for the next set of classes scheduled for July and August to be announced in April. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Dustin Warder at dustin@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Ext. 203.
KARA Announces New Anhydrous Ammonia Regulations for Kansas
The Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association (KARA) announced this week the Kansas Department of Agriculture has amended K.A.R. 4-10-7 to allow people to pull double implements of husbandry. Here is the new language:
When pulling implements of husbandry on a public roadway, the following shall be met:
  • Any implement of husbandry with a capacity greater than 1,000 gallons shall be pulled as a single unit;
  • When pulling two implements of husbandry, the total capacity pulled shall be limited to not more than 2,000 gallons; and
  • No more than two implements of husbandry shall be pulled at the same time by the pulling vehicle.
The revised anhydrous ammonia regulations will be published in the KS Register on February 25th and will become effective March 12, 2010. Thanks to KARA for providing this information.
New Sample Bill Designed to Aid States in Banning Texting While Driving
DOT Secretary, Ray LaHood, unveiled sample legislation to be used as a starting point for states crafting new laws to prohibit texting while behind-the-wheel, the latest step in the campaign against distracted driving. The sample state law, prepared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a cross-section of safety and industry organizations, would authorize law enforcement officers to stop a vehicle and issue a citation to drivers who are texting while driving. Currently, nineteen states and the District of Columbia have texting laws covering all drivers. In 2009, more than 200 distracted driving bills were considered by State legislatures and legislative activity is expected to remain strong in 2010. Click here for a copy of the sample bill and the groups that participated in drafting it.
CSA 2010 Driver Fact Sheet Now Available
A total of 3,067 stakeholders participated in the December 3rd and 10th Listening Sessions, submitting more than 1,150 questions! The CSA 2010 team analyzed the questions and is compiling answers to those that were asked most frequently. The question below represents one of those most frequently asked. Also, check out the new Driver Fact Sheet designed to inform CMV drivers about what affect CSA 2010 will have on them.
Question: Will CSA 2010 assign safety ratings to individual commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers? I heard that CSA 2010 is designed to rate CMV drivers and to put many of them out of work this summer.
Answer: No. Under CSA 2010, individual CMV drivers will not be assigned safety ratings or safety fitness determinations. Consistent with the current safety rating regulations (49 CFR part 385), individual drivers will continue to be rated, as they are today, following an onsite investigation at their place of business when they operate independently as a "motor carrier" (i.e. have their own USDOT number, operating authority, and insurance). CSA 2010 will provide enhanced tools for Safety Investigators to identify and address drivers with poor safety records as part of motor carrier investigations, in order to increase driver accountability for safe driving behavior. CSA 2010 is designed to meet one overriding objective: to increase safety on the Nation's roads. Therefore, it is, by design, a positive program for drivers and carriers with strong safety performance records. Also, it will send a strong message that drivers and carriers with poor safety performance histories need to improve.
Ag Groups Put EPA on Notice over Atrazine
Over 50 agricultural groups have sent a letter to EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, supporting the continued use of atrazine, a response to a recent press conference staged by the Land Stewardship Project and the Pesticide Action Network North America. The two activist groups continue to allege the use of atrazine is dangerous to human health and the environment and are urging Jackson to open a new review of the much-reviewed crop product. The ag groups reminded EPA its own review of atrazine over the last 30 years has shown it to be safe and effective, calling the activist action "an unfounded political attack not based on sound science."
BBB Cautions Citizens for the 2010 Census
If a U.S. Census worker knocks on your door, they will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag, and a confidentiality notice. Ask to see their identification and their badge before answering their questions. However, you should never invite anyone you don't know into your home. No matter what they ask, you really only need to tell them how many people live at your address. While the Census Bureau might ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, you don't have to answer anything at all about your financial situation. The Census Bureau will not ask for Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers, nor will employees solicit donations. Anyone asking for that information is NOT with the Census Bureau. And remember, the Census Bureau has decided not to work with ACORN on gathering this information. Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail, or in person at home. However, the Census Bureau will not contact you by email, so be on the lookout for email scams impersonating the Census. Never click on a link or open any attachments in an email that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau. Better Business Bureau
Tax Refund Possible for Businesses from New IRS "Carryback" Rule
Small-business owners caught by upside-down fertilizer prices or similar loss situations, can benefit this year from a Recovery Act extension that allows them to carry 2008 losses back five years. Businesses that amend their tax return for an earlier profitable year, can get a refund on previously paid taxes. Interested businesses should consult their tax preparer.
Performance Evaluation Results......THANKS!!!
Everyone knows the feeling you had as a kid when you were opening your Report Card. We have to admit that we flinch every time our performance evaluation is mailed, especially given our line of work. We've been known to send two people to the post office just to ensure it makes it there. Seriously, we feel very strongly the evaluation process is an important communication tool that helps our clients guide our services. Response was an impressive 59%, with 96.2% of the total respondents indicating they are Satisfied with our overall performance. More than 55% of the respondents identified themselves or their facility. This adds so much credibility to the comments, because we actively follow-up on both positive and negative comments, and many times ask for more information on ideas and suggestions. Some calls have already been made. Most of the calls will be made over the next two weeks before spring season hits. We received more than 500 comments that will be reviewed and used to provide direction and focus for our services. All we can say is Wow! and THANKS!! Click here to see a copy of the tabulated results for the past four Performance Evaluations.
2010 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.