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Newsletter
Volume 79
June 1, 2010
Welcome!
The Asmark Institute welcomed Krista Lee Evans, Executive Director of the Montana Agricultural Business Association, Rob Poehnelt, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Crop Production Association and Daren Coppock, President & CEO of the Agricultural Retailers Association, to our office on May 19th for an orientation tour. All three executives are in their first year as the leader of their respective associations and came to Owensboro to learn more about our programs and services. The Asmark Institute has had a long relationship with each of these associations and we look forward to working with them in the future. Your state and national associations are the first line of defense in making sure that the agricultural retail industry is regulated in a fair and equitable manner. They need your support, both through membership dues and active participation in the association.
New Sign
Milestones
Congratulations to Ben Doornink of the Far West Agribusiness Association for successfully completing his first facility set-ups on his own. On April 8th & 9th, Ben traveled to the Pasco, Umatilla and Moses Lake facilities of Two Rivers Terminal, LLC to gather facility information, explain the Asmark Institute Lighthouse program and establish their accounts. Great job Ben!
Coming Soon to a Grinder Near You!
While the proper tongue and tool rest adjustments defined in 29 CFR 1910.215 for bench grinders may not be on the tip of your tongue, a new sign has been developed to serve as a constant reminder of these requirements when posted to be seen by employees using bench and pedestal grinders. Almost every OSHA inspection results in a violation stemming from one, or both of these settings. A $5.35 sign can save you about $700 if used properly. These signs are currently being printed and will be ready to ship in the next few weeks. Orders can be placed online now. Click here to order.
Most Noteworthy....a must read for retailers and their customers!
An editorial published in the May 3rd edition of the Wall Street Journal entitled The War on a Weed Killer...and Jay Vroom, President & CEO of CropLife America's letter to the editor. Both can be found printed at the end of this newsletter and deserve your attention. Thank you Mr. Vroom! To subscribe to the Wall Street Journal click here for a special offer.
Registration Begins for the 2010 Emergency Response Refresher Course
Invitations to the 2010 refresher courses were mailed on May 28th and classes are already beginning to fill up. Training will be provided at 32 remote locations around the country this year (up from 25 last year) for the one-day refresher course. Register today to ensure space is available for the class of your choice. Register online by clicking here.
National Safety School 2010 - Mark your calendars!
The National Agronomic Environmental Health and Safety School will be held on August 17th & 18th this year at the Doubletree Hotel in Bloomington, Illinois. There is a renewed spirit and level of energy in the Safety School and we encourage everyone to register and participate in this quality program. An outstanding lineup of topics and speakers for 2010 has been secured. Click here to view the agenda and to register. The Safety School program will benefit you and your staff! We ask that you seriously consider attending this year to see for yourself. The website address for the Safety School is: www.naehss.org.
Environmental Respect Award State & Regional Winners
The Environmental Respect Awards are the agricultural industry's highest recognition for environmental stewardship among U.S. agricultural retailers, those serving growers and with the nutrients, pest control, and agronomic information critical to effective crop production. A panel of industry experts gather each year to recognize achievement in environmental stewardship, professional excellence, and community involvement. These state winners have been chosen based on evidence of excellence in site design, in plant storage and handling procedures, emergency preparedness and response, proper application, and leadership in safety and stewardship among customers and employees. We congratulate the following State winners for stepping up and showing their environmental respect. Members of the Asmark Institute are denoted in red.
Harvey Lyman Company, Walnut Grove, CA
Crop Production Services, Fort Morgan, CO
Willard Agri-Service, Greenwood, DE
Land View Inc., Murtaugh, ID
Effingham Clay Service Company, Sullivan, IL
Crop Production Services, Attica, IN
Tyree Ag Inc., Kinsley, KS
Crop Production Services, Henderson, KY
Crop Production Services, Thibodaux, LA
Crop Production Services, Mapleton, ME
Crop Production Services, Melvin, MI
Crop Production Services, Cooter, MO
Ag Valley Coop, Edison, NE
Crop Production Services, Snow Hill, NC
Renville Elevator Company, Tolley, ND
Crop Production Services, Attica, OH
Custer Farmers Coop, Custer City, OK
Crop Production Services, Orangeburg, SC
Helena Chemical Company, Humboldt, TN
Helena Chemical Company, Burkburnett, TX
Crop Production Services, Haynesville, VA
Quincy Farm Chemicals, Quincy, WA
Landmark Services Company, Evansville, WI
Each state winner will receive the distinctive ERA personalized crystal sculpture, a statewide press campaign geared toward select print and broadcast media, and a public relations kit. The winning agribusinesses also competed for regional Environmental Respect Awards. Regional winners will receive a trophy during a special ceremony in Washington D.C. The national award winner will also be announced at this time. We congratulate the following Regional winners just announced.
Willard Agri-Service, Greenwood, DE
Crop Production Services, Fort Morgan, CO
Landmark Services Company, Evansville, WI
Crop Production Services, Snow Hill, NC
Quincy Farm Chemicals, Quincy, WA
Reminder: HazMat Annual Registration Expires on June 30th
If your company transports, or offers for transport, hazardous materials that require placarding by the DOT, they must be registered with the Department of Transportation (DOT). If your company registers with DOT annually, then your HazMat Registration expires on June 30th each year. If your company registers for a two or three year period, check your registration for the expiration year. A copy of the current registration must be carried in every company vehicle used to transport hazardous materials. You can register and pay the fee online at the DOT's website by clicking here. See the May edition of this newsletter for more information regarding the increase in registration fees.
Reminder: CVSA Re-Schedules Roadcheck for June 8th-10th
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has re-scheduled its annual Roadcheck event for June 8th-10th, a week later than previously announced. During the 72-hour period, thousands of inspectors will be examining over 75,000 vehicles. What they find (or don't find) can affect your CSA 2010 scores. Even violations not resulting in an out-of-service order will be tabulated into the CSA 2010 Safety Measurement System. During last year's Roadcheck event, a record 72,782 inspections were conducted. Of the vehicles inspected, 19.6% (over 14,000 vehicles) were placed out of service for mechanical problems.
Summary Report on Farm-Related (Seasonal) Restricted CDL Updated
Each year at this time we receive a wave of questions regarding the Farm-Related Restricted CDL, commonly referred to as the Seasonal Ag or Ag Restricted CDL. This class of CDL is very beneficial to our industry during peak seasons. The federal government allows states to issue this type of CDL but does not mandate their participation or support - which generates a fair amount of confusion. Joann McCarty and Samantha Potter have reviewed each state's rule and updated the summary report that includes information on all 50 states. This report is available on the homepage of our website under the Hot Button or by clicking here.
Agribusiness Security Working Group Submits Comments to DHS
CropLife America, the Agricultural Retailers Association and The Fertilizer Institute submitted comments to the Department of Homeland Security last week on behalf of the Agribusiness Security Working Group (ASWG) in response to the DHS-issued "Personnel Surety Program (PSP)" Information Collection Request. This collection request is part of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) regulations.
The Personnel Surety Program will require all CFATS facilities to submit information about facility personnel and, as appropriate, "unescorted visitors" with access to restricted areas or critical assets at those facilities. As defined by DHS regulations, this would likely cause all employees at agricultural retail facilities regulated by CFATS to have their names submitted to DHS for vetting by the Federal Government against the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB). The TSDB is a consolidated and integrated terrorist watch list maintained by the Federal Government to identify known or suspected terrorists (i.e., individuals with terrorist ties). ASWG identified the following are areas of issues that need to be addressed by DHS:
  • Conflicts with Congressional Intent
  • Redundant Reporting and Unnecessary Burden
  • Restricted Areas / Critical Assets and Determination of "Unescorted Visitors"
DHS Issues Advisory on Recognizing Suspicious Activity
Washington D.C. - Some commercially available fertilizers can be used in the manufacture of homemade explosives and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices. Terrorist use of fertilizer-based explosive devices is well-documented both in the United States and overseas. The use of this tactic warrants alertness to suspicious purchases of fertilizer.
Potential indicators of suspicious purchases of fertilizers: Although a single indicator may not be suspicious in itself, one or more, in combination, may signify a suspicious purchase:
  • Attempts to purchase quantities that are inconsistent with customer's stated use, business, or purchase history.
  • Insistence on paying in cash for bulk purchases or using someone else's credit card.
  • Insistence on in-store pickup instead of store delivery of bulk purchase.
  • Use of rented or out-of-state vehicle to transport a fertilizer purchase.
  • Use of vehicle without farm or commercial tags to transport large quantities.
  • Bulk purchases by individuals who do not own or operate farms, landscaping businesses, or other commercial enterprises that normally deal in large quantities of fertilizer.
  • Attempts to purchase materials during the off-season.
  • Inquiries about fertilizers containing high concentrations of nitrogen or ammonium nitrate.
  • Smaller purchases at different locations within a short period of time.
  • Displaying nervous behavior and evading or deflecting questions about intended use.
  • Refusal or reluctance to provide full contact information.
  • Exhibiting little or no knowledge of crops, soil composition, field size, application methods, or proper use of fertilizer.
  • Interest only in ammonium nitrate or urea-based fertilizers.
Recommended Actions: Suspicious purchases should be reported to local or state law enforcement. Retailers should:
  • Require valid ID from all new customers.
  • Keep full and accurate records of purchases.
  • Talk to customers, ask questions, and listen to their responses.
  • Watch for people and actions that are out of place.
  • Record suspicious statements, people, or vehicles to report to law enforcement.
Unified Carrier Registration Due by June 15, 2010
If you operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and you cross the state line, then Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) applies to you. UCR requires individuals and companies that operate commercial motor vehicles across state lines to register and pay an annual fee based on the size of their fleet. A CMV is defined as a self-propelled vehicle used on highways in commerce to transport passengers or cargo, if the vehicle: a) has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more; b) is designed to transport more than 10 passengers (including the driver); or c) is used to transport hazardous materials in quantities requiring placarding. Google "UCR" and your state for more information.
CSA 2010 Rollout Detailed: Heads up!
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) developed a revised schedule for the roll out of CSA 2010. The rollout schedule is designed to methodically step federal and state enforcement staff, as well as the motor carrier industry, into the program one stride at a time increasing understanding and accountability for good safety performance. The rollout timeline is outlined below:
  • April 12 - November 30, 2010 - Motor carriers can preview their own data by seeing their roadside inspections/violations and crash events organized by Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC).
  • June 30th - The Operational Model (Op-Model) Test will end.
  • July - The four "50/50" Op-Model Test states, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri and New Jersey, will join the five 100% Op-Model Test states in implementing the program.
  • August - Motor carriers will be able to see an assessment of their violations based on the new Carrier Safety Measurement System (CSMS) which will replace SafeStat later in 2010.
  • Fall/Winter 2010 - SafeStat will be replaced by the CSMS. CSMS will be available to the public, including shippers and insurance companies.
    -- FMCSA/States will prioritize enforcement using the CSMS.
    -- FMCSA will begin to issue Warning Letters to carriers with deficient BASICs.
    -- Roadside inspectors will use the CSMS results to identify carriers for inspection.
  • Winter 2010 - Safety Fitness Determination Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is scheduled to be released.
  • 2011 - Enforcement staff will be trained, and new interventions will be implemented State-by-State.
Certain DOT Violations Trigger Expedited Actions for New Entrants
New Entrant motor carriers are subject to "expedited action" if an inspector discovers any one of the following seven violations during a roadside inspection:
  • Using a driver not possessing a valid commercial driver's license to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Invalid license includes one that is falsified, revoked, suspended, expired, or missing a required endorsement.
  • Operating a vehicle placed out of service for violations without taking necessary corrective action.
  • Being involved in, through action or omission, a hazardous materials reportable incident involving: (1) A highway route controlled quantity of certain radioactive materials (Class 7);
  • (2) Any quantity of certain explosives (Class 1, Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3); or (3) Any quantity of certain poison inhalation hazard materials (Zone A or B).
  • Being involved in, through action or omission, any two or more hazardous materials reportable incidents, involving hazardous materials other than those listed above.
  • Using a driver who tests positive for controlled substances or alcohol or who refuses to submit to required controlled substances or alcohol tests and who has not completed the Return-to-Duty process.
  • Operating a commercial motor vehicle without the levels of financial responsibility required under 49 CFR Part 387.
  • Having a driver or vehicle out-of-service rate of 50 percent or more based upon at least three inspections occurring within a consecutive 90-day period.
There are two types of "expedited actions," depending on whether or not the New Entrant motor carrier has had a Safety Audit or a Compliance Review. When the New Entrant has not had either type of audit, FMCSA will schedule a Safety Audit as soon as practicable.
How Do You Dispose of Your Fluorescent Lights?
On April 30th, Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen signed into law a bill (SB 2403) that prohibits the landfill disposal of mercury-containing products, including lamps (fluorescent lights). It prohibits land disposal of "Mercury-added consumer product" by any covered generator. So what is a Covered Generator? - An entity that employs twelve (12) or more employees or owns or maintains a building, excluding private residences, of at least 3,000 square feet. Mercury-added consumer products would be defined as thermostats, thermometers, switches, medical or scientific instruments, electrical relays and other electrical devices, lamps, light bulbs with mercury and some batteries. In Tennessee, the Waste Management Company has a LampTracker Division that can help you.
OSHA Proposes Substantive Revisions to Walking-Working Surfaces & Fall Protection
According to OSHA, a potentially lethal workplace hazard lurks at the feet of millions of workers in the U.S. and they propose to overhaul and expand the existing rule in the 300+ page proposal. Slips, trips and falls, particularly falls from elevated heights, for decades have been a leading cause of workplace fatalities in the U.S., garnering attention from OSHA. On May 24, 2010, OSHA thus proposed a sweeping set of regulations intended to revise the walking-working surfaces standards and the personal protective equipment (PPE) standards in the OSHA regulations. 75 Federal Register 28552. Comments on the proposal are due August 23, 2010.
The May 24th proposal seeks to strengthen the standards and would revise 29 CFR Part 1910 Subpart D (existing standards for walking-working surfaces) in three ways:
  • Revise the standards to reflect current industry practices and national consensus standards;
  • Harmonize provisions, when possible, with other OSHA provisions; and
  • Use performance-oriented language rather than specification-oriented language.
The proposal would also revise Subpart I to 29 CFR Part 1910 to include new specific performance and use requirements for personal fall protection equipment. Existing regulations in Subpart I contain general requirements for all types of PPE, but it fails to contain criteria for fall protection PPE. OSHA's May 24 proposal seeks to address that shortcoming.
Not surprisingly, the scope of the proposed rule is extremely broad. If implemented, the proposed changes to the regulations would apply to all walking-working surfaces at all general industry workplaces, unless specifically excluded. The walking and working surfaces covered by the proposal are present in nearly every establishment. The standards revise or establish the general requirements for walking-working surfaces as well as the standards for ladders, step bolts, manhole steps, stairways, dockboards, and scaffolds. The proposal also establishes a duty to have fall protection and establishes criteria and practices for fall protection systems. Example wording from the proposal reflecting the general requirements for walking-working surfaces:
  • Surface Conditions -- All places of employment, passageways, storerooms, and service rooms must be kept clean and orderly, and in a sanitary condition. The floor of every workroom must be maintained in a clean and, so far as possible, dry condition. Where wet processes are used, drainage shall be maintained and false floors, platforms, mats, or other dry standing places shall be provided where practicable. Employers must ensure that all surfaces are designed, constructed, and maintained free of recognized hazards that can result in injury or death to employees.
  • Application of Loads -- Employers must ensure that walking-working surfaces are designed, constructed, and maintained to support their maximum intended load. Employers must also ensure that the surfaces are not loaded beyond their maximum intended load.
  • Access and Egress -- The employer must ensure employees are provided with and use a safe means of access to and egress from one walking-working surface to another.
  • Maintenance and Repair -- Employers must ensure regular inspection of walking-working surfaces to ensure that they are in a safe condition for employee use. The employer must also ensure that all hazardous conditions are promptly corrected or repaired. If the repair cannot be made immediately, the hazard must be guarded to prevent employee use. Where hazardous conditions may affect the structural integrity of the walking-working surface, a qualified person must perform or supervise the maintenance or repair of that surface.
States Challenge Health Care Overhaul in Court
At least 33 states are trying to block part of the new health care reform law, which despite securing the president's signature, is facing a tough road ahead. A suit filed in a U.S. District Court in Florida maintains that the bill's requirement that all Americans buy health insurance or pay a penalty is unconstitutional and infringes on states' rights. The suit was originally filed by Florida and 12 other states in March. An additional seven states are expected to join the lawsuit.
EPA Adds Thousands of Chemicals, Facilities to Public Database
EPA has added more than 6,300 chemicals and 3,800 chemical facilities regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to a public database called Envirofacts. As part of the agency's policy to increase public access to information on chemicals, the Envirofacts database offers a single point of access on the Internet for information about environmental activities that may impact air, water and land in the U.S. It also provides tools for analyzing the data. The database also provides detailed information about chemical facilities including facility name and address information, aerial image of the facility and surrounding area, map location of the facility, and links to other EPA information on the facility, such as the agency's inspection and compliance reports that are available through the Enforcement Compliance History Online (ECHO) database. EPA is also adding historic facility information for another 2,500 facilities.
In April, the EPA proposed to add 16 more chemicals to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) list of reportable chemicals based on studies that show these chemicals could cause cancer in people. In addition, several pharmaceutical companies - Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Aventis, and Merck - have provided the EPA with more than 100 drugs that will help the agency further validate its ToxCast screening tool. These drugs never entered the marketplace because they demonstrated different types and levels of toxicity when the pharmaceutical companies conducted the early stage clinical trials required by the Food and Drug Administration, says the EPA.
EPA researchers will screen the drugs and then compare those results with the clinical trial results. Assessment of the similarities and differences in the results will improve the agency's ability to screen chemicals for toxicity. Currently, ToxCast includes 500 automated chemical screening tests that have assessed more than 300 environmental chemicals.
The War on a Weed Killer....The EPA opens a re-re-evaulation of a safe chemical.
(A re-print from the May 3, 2010 Wall Street Journal)
With the headlines full of oil spills and immigration, the Obama Administration's regulatory agenda is getting little attention. That's a mistake. Consider the Environmental Protection Agency's effort to revive an assault on atrazine, one of the oldest, most well-established agricultural chemicals on the market. Just this past week, the EPA held its third "re-evaluation" hearing on atrazine.
Atrazine is the nation's second-most common herbicide. For 50 years it has been the farm industry's primary crop protector. In the U.S., the weed killer is used in the production of 60% of corn, 75% of sorghum and 90% of sugarcane.
Since atrazine's debut in 1959, 10 Administrations have endorsed its use. The EPA in 2006 completed a 12-year review involving 6,000 studies and 80,000 public comments. In re-registering the product, the agency concluded the cumulative risks posed "no harm that would result to the general U.S. population, infant, children or other . . . consumers." The World Health Organization has found no health concerns. None of this has stopped the most politicized environmental groups, which oppose both chemicals and the idea of industrial farming itself. Organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council have spent years ginning up claims that atrazine in groundwater causes cancer, birth defects and other maladies. Manufacturers such as Syngenta have been required to conduct millions of dollars worth of studies investigating these alarmist claims. EPA staff routinely review the studies in atrazine's favor. But now the Obama Administration has begun to fill such agencies with hires who are either sympathetic to, or even hail from, these activist groups. Consider the EPA's new head for toxic substances, Stephen Owens. As director of Arizona's Department of Environmental Quality, he so aggressively imposed an activist's climate agenda that the state legislature voted to strip his department of authority to enact greenhouse gas rules.
In August, the NRDC and the Pesticide Action Network began a new campaign against atrazine. In October, the EPA announced it would begin a re-re-evaluation of atrazine with a series of scientific panel meeting, and those are underway. The goal seems to be to lay the groundwork to ban atrazine. Among the environmental lobby's new lines of attack is that some U.S. water systems occasionally show "spikes" in the chemical. This ignores that the EPA's drinking water standard for atrazine-three parts per billion-has a built-in, 1,000-fold safety factor. It ignores EPA findings that atrazine isn't likely to be carcinogenic to humans.
Also re-energized by the EPA's sudden interest in atrazine is, you guessed it, the plaintiffs bar. Tort kingpin Stephen Tillery, joined by Baron & Budd, filed a class action in 2004 against atrazine makers in tort-friendly Madison County, Illinois, but they've struggled even there. The EPA's re-re-evaluation is already helping the lawyers sign up more water-district plaintiffs-Mr. Tillery has filed a new federal class action-and it surely will provide ammunition in court.
There is an agenda here far more ambitious than getting one chemical. The environmental lobby wants more farmland retired to "nature," and one way to do that is to make farming more expensive. The EPA notes that eliminating atrazine would cost $2 billion annually in lost crop yields and substituting more expensive herbicides. Some farmers would go out of business or ask the federal government for more subsidies.
The environmental lobby also figures that if it can take down atrazine with its long record of clean health, it can get the EPA to prohibit anything. Sounds plausible. Between this and its determination to regulate greenhouse gases, the Obama EPA is proving itself a regulatory fundamentalist, with scant regard for good science or economics.
Letter to the Editor by Jay Vroom, President & CEO, CropLife America
Your editorial "The War on a Weed Killer" highlights the environmental lobby's sustained efforts to reinvestigate proven safe and effective crop protection products-a tactic that amounts to a poor stewardship of our lands, our food supply and our taxpayer dollars. This activist-driven retread wastes valuable government resources which could more appropriately be allocated to pressing environmental needs.
As I noted in testimony last week before the Environmental Protection Agency, crop protection companies work with the EPA, other government agencies and independent parties to ensure the highest standards of safety. Over the course of four decades, we have strongly supported the congressional mandates that put our products under regular review to assure that we meet current scientific and regulatory standards.
Today's farmers are working to double agricultural output to feed a world population expected to grow to nine billion by 2050 from six billion people today-the equivalent of feeding two more Chinas. And they do it safely, while making the most of every available acre of land and drop of fresh water.
Jay Vroom
President & CEO
CropLife America
Washington
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.
Welcome!
The Asmark Institute welcomed Krista Lee Evans, Executive Director of the Montana Agricultural Business Association, Rob Poehnelt, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Crop Production Association and Daren Coppock, President & CEO of the Agricultural Retailers Association, to our office on May 19th for an orientation tour. All three executives are in their first year as the leader of their respective associations and came to Owensboro to learn more about our programs and services. The Asmark Institute has had a long relationship with each of these associations and we look forward to working with them in the future. Your state and national associations are the first line of defense in making sure that the agricultural retail industry is regulated in a fair and equitable manner. They need your support, both through membership dues and active participation in the association.
New Sign
Milestones
Congratulations to Ben Doornink of the Far West Agribusiness Association for successfully completing his first facility set-ups on his own. On April 8th & 9th, Ben traveled to the Pasco, Umatilla and Moses Lake facilities of Two Rivers Terminal, LLC to gather facility information, explain the Asmark Institute Lighthouse program and establish their accounts. Great job Ben!
Coming Soon to a Grinder Near You!
While the proper tongue and tool rest adjustments defined in 29 CFR 1910.215 for bench grinders may not be on the tip of your tongue, a new sign has been developed to serve as a constant reminder of these requirements when posted to be seen by employees using bench and pedestal grinders. Almost every OSHA inspection results in a violation stemming from one, or both of these settings. A $5.35 sign can save you about $700 if used properly. These signs are currently being printed and will be ready to ship in the next few weeks. Orders can be placed online now. Click here to order.
Most Noteworthy....a must read for retailers and their customers!
An editorial published in the May 3rd edition of the Wall Street Journal entitled The War on a Weed Killer...and Jay Vroom, President & CEO of CropLife America's letter to the editor. Both can be found printed at the end of this newsletter and deserve your attention. Thank you Mr. Vroom! To subscribe to the Wall Street Journal click here for a special offer.
Registration Begins for the 2010 Emergency Response Refresher Course
Invitations to the 2010 refresher courses were mailed on May 28th and classes are already beginning to fill up. Training will be provided at 32 remote locations around the country this year (up from 25 last year) for the one-day refresher course. Register today to ensure space is available for the class of your choice. Register online by clicking here.
National Safety School 2010 - Mark your calendars!
The National Agronomic Environmental Health and Safety School will be held on August 17th & 18th this year at the Doubletree Hotel in Bloomington, Illinois. There is a renewed spirit and level of energy in the Safety School and we encourage everyone to register and participate in this quality program. An outstanding lineup of topics and speakers for 2010 has been secured. Click here to view the agenda and to register. The Safety School program will benefit you and your staff! We ask that you seriously consider attending this year to see for yourself. The website address for the Safety School is: www.naehss.org.
Environmental Respect Award State & Regional Winners
The Environmental Respect Awards are the agricultural industry's highest recognition for environmental stewardship among U.S. agricultural retailers, those serving growers and with the nutrients, pest control, and agronomic information critical to effective crop production. A panel of industry experts gather each year to recognize achievement in environmental stewardship, professional excellence, and community involvement. These state winners have been chosen based on evidence of excellence in site design, in plant storage and handling procedures, emergency preparedness and response, proper application, and leadership in safety and stewardship among customers and employees. We congratulate the following State winners for stepping up and showing their environmental respect. Members of the Asmark Institute are denoted in red.
Harvey Lyman Company, Walnut Grove, CA
Crop Production Services, Fort Morgan, CO
Willard Agri-Service, Greenwood, DE
Land View Inc., Murtaugh, ID
Effingham Clay Service Company, Sullivan, IL
Crop Production Services, Attica, IN
Tyree Ag Inc., Kinsley, KS
Crop Production Services, Henderson, KY
Crop Production Services, Thibodaux, LA
Crop Production Services, Mapleton, ME
Crop Production Services, Melvin, MI
Crop Production Services, Cooter, MO
Ag Valley Coop, Edison, NE
Crop Production Services, Snow Hill, NC
Renville Elevator Company, Tolley, ND
Crop Production Services, Attica, OH
Custer Farmers Coop, Custer City, OK
Crop Production Services, Orangeburg, SC
Helena Chemical Company, Humboldt, TN
Helena Chemical Company, Burkburnett, TX
Crop Production Services, Haynesville, VA
Quincy Farm Chemicals, Quincy, WA
Landmark Services Company, Evansville, WI
Each state winner will receive the distinctive ERA personalized crystal sculpture, a statewide press campaign geared toward select print and broadcast media, and a public relations kit. The winning agribusinesses also competed for regional Environmental Respect Awards. Regional winners will receive a trophy during a special ceremony in Washington D.C. The national award winner will also be announced at this time. We congratulate the following Regional winners just announced.
Willard Agri-Service, Greenwood, DE
Crop Production Services, Fort Morgan, CO
Landmark Services Company, Evansville, WI
Crop Production Services, Snow Hill, NC
Quincy Farm Chemicals, Quincy, WA
Reminder: HazMat Annual Registration Expires on June 30th
If your company transports, or offers for transport, hazardous materials that require placarding by the DOT, they must be registered with the Department of Transportation (DOT). If your company registers with DOT annually, then your HazMat Registration expires on June 30th each year. If your company registers for a two or three year period, check your registration for the expiration year. A copy of the current registration must be carried in every company vehicle used to transport hazardous materials. You can register and pay the fee online at the DOT's website by clicking here. See the May edition of this newsletter for more information regarding the increase in registration fees.
Reminder: CVSA Re-Schedules Roadcheck for June 8th-10th
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has re-scheduled its annual Roadcheck event for June 8th-10th, a week later than previously announced. During the 72-hour period, thousands of inspectors will be examining over 75,000 vehicles. What they find (or don't find) can affect your CSA 2010 scores. Even violations not resulting in an out-of-service order will be tabulated into the CSA 2010 Safety Measurement System. During last year's Roadcheck event, a record 72,782 inspections were conducted. Of the vehicles inspected, 19.6% (over 14,000 vehicles) were placed out of service for mechanical problems.
Summary Report on Farm-Related (Seasonal) Restricted CDL Updated
Each year at this time we receive a wave of questions regarding the Farm-Related Restricted CDL, commonly referred to as the Seasonal Ag or Ag Restricted CDL. This class of CDL is very beneficial to our industry during peak seasons. The federal government allows states to issue this type of CDL but does not mandate their participation or support - which generates a fair amount of confusion. Joann McCarty and Samantha Potter have reviewed each state's rule and updated the summary report that includes information on all 50 states. This report is available on the homepage of our website under the Hot Button or by clicking here.
Agribusiness Security Working Group Submits Comments to DHS
CropLife America, the Agricultural Retailers Association and The Fertilizer Institute submitted comments to the Department of Homeland Security last week on behalf of the Agribusiness Security Working Group (ASWG) in response to the DHS-issued "Personnel Surety Program (PSP)" Information Collection Request. This collection request is part of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) regulations.
The Personnel Surety Program will require all CFATS facilities to submit information about facility personnel and, as appropriate, "unescorted visitors" with access to restricted areas or critical assets at those facilities. As defined by DHS regulations, this would likely cause all employees at agricultural retail facilities regulated by CFATS to have their names submitted to DHS for vetting by the Federal Government against the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB). The TSDB is a consolidated and integrated terrorist watch list maintained by the Federal Government to identify known or suspected terrorists (i.e., individuals with terrorist ties). ASWG identified the following are areas of issues that need to be addressed by DHS:
  • Conflicts with Congressional Intent
  • Redundant Reporting and Unnecessary Burden
  • Restricted Areas / Critical Assets and Determination of "Unescorted Visitors"
DHS Issues Advisory on Recognizing Suspicious Activity
Washington D.C. - Some commercially available fertilizers can be used in the manufacture of homemade explosives and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices. Terrorist use of fertilizer-based explosive devices is well-documented both in the United States and overseas. The use of this tactic warrants alertness to suspicious purchases of fertilizer.
Potential indicators of suspicious purchases of fertilizers: Although a single indicator may not be suspicious in itself, one or more, in combination, may signify a suspicious purchase:
  • Attempts to purchase quantities that are inconsistent with customer's stated use, business, or purchase history.
  • Insistence on paying in cash for bulk purchases or using someone else's credit card.
  • Insistence on in-store pickup instead of store delivery of bulk purchase.
  • Use of rented or out-of-state vehicle to transport a fertilizer purchase.
  • Use of vehicle without farm or commercial tags to transport large quantities.
  • Bulk purchases by individuals who do not own or operate farms, landscaping businesses, or other commercial enterprises that normally deal in large quantities of fertilizer.
  • Attempts to purchase materials during the off-season.
  • Inquiries about fertilizers containing high concentrations of nitrogen or ammonium nitrate.
  • Smaller purchases at different locations within a short period of time.
  • Displaying nervous behavior and evading or deflecting questions about intended use.
  • Refusal or reluctance to provide full contact information.
  • Exhibiting little or no knowledge of crops, soil composition, field size, application methods, or proper use of fertilizer.
  • Interest only in ammonium nitrate or urea-based fertilizers.
Recommended Actions: Suspicious purchases should be reported to local or state law enforcement. Retailers should:
  • Require valid ID from all new customers.
  • Keep full and accurate records of purchases.
  • Talk to customers, ask questions, and listen to their responses.
  • Watch for people and actions that are out of place.
  • Record suspicious statements, people, or vehicles to report to law enforcement.
Unified Carrier Registration Due by June 15, 2010
If you operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and you cross the state line, then Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) applies to you. UCR requires individuals and companies that operate commercial motor vehicles across state lines to register and pay an annual fee based on the size of their fleet. A CMV is defined as a self-propelled vehicle used on highways in commerce to transport passengers or cargo, if the vehicle: a) has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more; b) is designed to transport more than 10 passengers (including the driver); or c) is used to transport hazardous materials in quantities requiring placarding. Google "UCR" and your state for more information.
CSA 2010 Rollout Detailed: Heads up!
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) developed a revised schedule for the roll out of CSA 2010. The rollout schedule is designed to methodically step federal and state enforcement staff, as well as the motor carrier industry, into the program one stride at a time increasing understanding and accountability for good safety performance. The rollout timeline is outlined below:
  • April 12 - November 30, 2010 - Motor carriers can preview their own data by seeing their roadside inspections/violations and crash events organized by Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC).
  • June 30th - The Operational Model (Op-Model) Test will end.
  • July - The four "50/50" Op-Model Test states, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri and New Jersey, will join the five 100% Op-Model Test states in implementing the program.
  • August - Motor carriers will be able to see an assessment of their violations based on the new Carrier Safety Measurement System (CSMS) which will replace SafeStat later in 2010.
  • Fall/Winter 2010 - SafeStat will be replaced by the CSMS. CSMS will be available to the public, including shippers and insurance companies.
    -- FMCSA/States will prioritize enforcement using the CSMS.
    -- FMCSA will begin to issue Warning Letters to carriers with deficient BASICs.
    -- Roadside inspectors will use the CSMS results to identify carriers for inspection.
  • Winter 2010 - Safety Fitness Determination Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is scheduled to be released.
  • 2011 - Enforcement staff will be trained, and new interventions will be implemented State-by-State.
Certain DOT Violations Trigger Expedited Actions for New Entrants
New Entrant motor carriers are subject to "expedited action" if an inspector discovers any one of the following seven violations during a roadside inspection:
  • Using a driver not possessing a valid commercial driver's license to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Invalid license includes one that is falsified, revoked, suspended, expired, or missing a required endorsement.
  • Operating a vehicle placed out of service for violations without taking necessary corrective action.
  • Being involved in, through action or omission, a hazardous materials reportable incident involving: (1) A highway route controlled quantity of certain radioactive materials (Class 7);
  • (2) Any quantity of certain explosives (Class 1, Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3); or (3) Any quantity of certain poison inhalation hazard materials (Zone A or B).
  • Being involved in, through action or omission, any two or more hazardous materials reportable incidents, involving hazardous materials other than those listed above.
  • Using a driver who tests positive for controlled substances or alcohol or who refuses to submit to required controlled substances or alcohol tests and who has not completed the Return-to-Duty process.
  • Operating a commercial motor vehicle without the levels of financial responsibility required under 49 CFR Part 387.
  • Having a driver or vehicle out-of-service rate of 50 percent or more based upon at least three inspections occurring within a consecutive 90-day period.
There are two types of "expedited actions," depending on whether or not the New Entrant motor carrier has had a Safety Audit or a Compliance Review. When the New Entrant has not had either type of audit, FMCSA will schedule a Safety Audit as soon as practicable.
How Do You Dispose of Your Fluorescent Lights?
On April 30th, Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen signed into law a bill (SB 2403) that prohibits the landfill disposal of mercury-containing products, including lamps (fluorescent lights). It prohibits land disposal of "Mercury-added consumer product" by any covered generator. So what is a Covered Generator? - An entity that employs twelve (12) or more employees or owns or maintains a building, excluding private residences, of at least 3,000 square feet. Mercury-added consumer products would be defined as thermostats, thermometers, switches, medical or scientific instruments, electrical relays and other electrical devices, lamps, light bulbs with mercury and some batteries. In Tennessee, the Waste Management Company has a LampTracker Division that can help you.
OSHA Proposes Substantive Revisions to Walking-Working Surfaces & Fall Protection
According to OSHA, a potentially lethal workplace hazard lurks at the feet of millions of workers in the U.S. and they propose to overhaul and expand the existing rule in the 300+ page proposal. Slips, trips and falls, particularly falls from elevated heights, for decades have been a leading cause of workplace fatalities in the U.S., garnering attention from OSHA. On May 24, 2010, OSHA thus proposed a sweeping set of regulations intended to revise the walking-working surfaces standards and the personal protective equipment (PPE) standards in the OSHA regulations. 75 Federal Register 28552. Comments on the proposal are due August 23, 2010.
The May 24th proposal seeks to strengthen the standards and would revise 29 CFR Part 1910 Subpart D (existing standards for walking-working surfaces) in three ways:
  • Revise the standards to reflect current industry practices and national consensus standards;
  • Harmonize provisions, when possible, with other OSHA provisions; and
  • Use performance-oriented language rather than specification-oriented language.
The proposal would also revise Subpart I to 29 CFR Part 1910 to include new specific performance and use requirements for personal fall protection equipment. Existing regulations in Subpart I contain general requirements for all types of PPE, but it fails to contain criteria for fall protection PPE. OSHA's May 24 proposal seeks to address that shortcoming.
Not surprisingly, the scope of the proposed rule is extremely broad. If implemented, the proposed changes to the regulations would apply to all walking-working surfaces at all general industry workplaces, unless specifically excluded. The walking and working surfaces covered by the proposal are present in nearly every establishment. The standards revise or establish the general requirements for walking-working surfaces as well as the standards for ladders, step bolts, manhole steps, stairways, dockboards, and scaffolds. The proposal also establishes a duty to have fall protection and establishes criteria and practices for fall protection systems. Example wording from the proposal reflecting the general requirements for walking-working surfaces:
  • Surface Conditions -- All places of employment, passageways, storerooms, and service rooms must be kept clean and orderly, and in a sanitary condition. The floor of every workroom must be maintained in a clean and, so far as possible, dry condition. Where wet processes are used, drainage shall be maintained and false floors, platforms, mats, or other dry standing places shall be provided where practicable. Employers must ensure that all surfaces are designed, constructed, and maintained free of recognized hazards that can result in injury or death to employees.
  • Application of Loads -- Employers must ensure that walking-working surfaces are designed, constructed, and maintained to support their maximum intended load. Employers must also ensure that the surfaces are not loaded beyond their maximum intended load.
  • Access and Egress -- The employer must ensure employees are provided with and use a safe means of access to and egress from one walking-working surface to another.
  • Maintenance and Repair -- Employers must ensure regular inspection of walking-working surfaces to ensure that they are in a safe condition for employee use. The employer must also ensure that all hazardous conditions are promptly corrected or repaired. If the repair cannot be made immediately, the hazard must be guarded to prevent employee use. Where hazardous conditions may affect the structural integrity of the walking-working surface, a qualified person must perform or supervise the maintenance or repair of that surface.
States Challenge Health Care Overhaul in Court
At least 33 states are trying to block part of the new health care reform law, which despite securing the president's signature, is facing a tough road ahead. A suit filed in a U.S. District Court in Florida maintains that the bill's requirement that all Americans buy health insurance or pay a penalty is unconstitutional and infringes on states' rights. The suit was originally filed by Florida and 12 other states in March. An additional seven states are expected to join the lawsuit.
EPA Adds Thousands of Chemicals, Facilities to Public Database
EPA has added more than 6,300 chemicals and 3,800 chemical facilities regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to a public database called Envirofacts. As part of the agency's policy to increase public access to information on chemicals, the Envirofacts database offers a single point of access on the Internet for information about environmental activities that may impact air, water and land in the U.S. It also provides tools for analyzing the data. The database also provides detailed information about chemical facilities including facility name and address information, aerial image of the facility and surrounding area, map location of the facility, and links to other EPA information on the facility, such as the agency's inspection and compliance reports that are available through the Enforcement Compliance History Online (ECHO) database. EPA is also adding historic facility information for another 2,500 facilities.
In April, the EPA proposed to add 16 more chemicals to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) list of reportable chemicals based on studies that show these chemicals could cause cancer in people. In addition, several pharmaceutical companies - Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Aventis, and Merck - have provided the EPA with more than 100 drugs that will help the agency further validate its ToxCast screening tool. These drugs never entered the marketplace because they demonstrated different types and levels of toxicity when the pharmaceutical companies conducted the early stage clinical trials required by the Food and Drug Administration, says the EPA.
EPA researchers will screen the drugs and then compare those results with the clinical trial results. Assessment of the similarities and differences in the results will improve the agency's ability to screen chemicals for toxicity. Currently, ToxCast includes 500 automated chemical screening tests that have assessed more than 300 environmental chemicals.
The War on a Weed Killer....The EPA opens a re-re-evaulation of a safe chemical.
(A re-print from the May 3, 2010 Wall Street Journal)
With the headlines full of oil spills and immigration, the Obama Administration's regulatory agenda is getting little attention. That's a mistake. Consider the Environmental Protection Agency's effort to revive an assault on atrazine, one of the oldest, most well-established agricultural chemicals on the market. Just this past week, the EPA held its third "re-evaluation" hearing on atrazine.
Atrazine is the nation's second-most common herbicide. For 50 years it has been the farm industry's primary crop protector. In the U.S., the weed killer is used in the production of 60% of corn, 75% of sorghum and 90% of sugarcane.
Since atrazine's debut in 1959, 10 Administrations have endorsed its use. The EPA in 2006 completed a 12-year review involving 6,000 studies and 80,000 public comments. In re-registering the product, the agency concluded the cumulative risks posed "no harm that would result to the general U.S. population, infant, children or other . . . consumers." The World Health Organization has found no health concerns. None of this has stopped the most politicized environmental groups, which oppose both chemicals and the idea of industrial farming itself. Organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council have spent years ginning up claims that atrazine in groundwater causes cancer, birth defects and other maladies. Manufacturers such as Syngenta have been required to conduct millions of dollars worth of studies investigating these alarmist claims. EPA staff routinely review the studies in atrazine's favor. But now the Obama Administration has begun to fill such agencies with hires who are either sympathetic to, or even hail from, these activist groups. Consider the EPA's new head for toxic substances, Stephen Owens. As director of Arizona's Department of Environmental Quality, he so aggressively imposed an activist's climate agenda that the state legislature voted to strip his department of authority to enact greenhouse gas rules.
In August, the NRDC and the Pesticide Action Network began a new campaign against atrazine. In October, the EPA announced it would begin a re-re-evaluation of atrazine with a series of scientific panel meeting, and those are underway. The goal seems to be to lay the groundwork to ban atrazine. Among the environmental lobby's new lines of attack is that some U.S. water systems occasionally show "spikes" in the chemical. This ignores that the EPA's drinking water standard for atrazine-three parts per billion-has a built-in, 1,000-fold safety factor. It ignores EPA findings that atrazine isn't likely to be carcinogenic to humans.
Also re-energized by the EPA's sudden interest in atrazine is, you guessed it, the plaintiffs bar. Tort kingpin Stephen Tillery, joined by Baron & Budd, filed a class action in 2004 against atrazine makers in tort-friendly Madison County, Illinois, but they've struggled even there. The EPA's re-re-evaluation is already helping the lawyers sign up more water-district plaintiffs-Mr. Tillery has filed a new federal class action-and it surely will provide ammunition in court.
There is an agenda here far more ambitious than getting one chemical. The environmental lobby wants more farmland retired to "nature," and one way to do that is to make farming more expensive. The EPA notes that eliminating atrazine would cost $2 billion annually in lost crop yields and substituting more expensive herbicides. Some farmers would go out of business or ask the federal government for more subsidies.
The environmental lobby also figures that if it can take down atrazine with its long record of clean health, it can get the EPA to prohibit anything. Sounds plausible. Between this and its determination to regulate greenhouse gases, the Obama EPA is proving itself a regulatory fundamentalist, with scant regard for good science or economics.
Letter to the Editor by Jay Vroom, President & CEO, CropLife America
Your editorial "The War on a Weed Killer" highlights the environmental lobby's sustained efforts to reinvestigate proven safe and effective crop protection products-a tactic that amounts to a poor stewardship of our lands, our food supply and our taxpayer dollars. This activist-driven retread wastes valuable government resources which could more appropriately be allocated to pressing environmental needs.
As I noted in testimony last week before the Environmental Protection Agency, crop protection companies work with the EPA, other government agencies and independent parties to ensure the highest standards of safety. Over the course of four decades, we have strongly supported the congressional mandates that put our products under regular review to assure that we meet current scientific and regulatory standards.
Today's farmers are working to double agricultural output to feed a world population expected to grow to nine billion by 2050 from six billion people today-the equivalent of feeding two more Chinas. And they do it safely, while making the most of every available acre of land and drop of fresh water.
Jay Vroom
President & CEO
CropLife America
Washington
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.