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Newsletter
Volume 82
September 1, 2010
Speak Up for Atrazine!
Please take a moment to consider participating in a letter writing campaign regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) re-review of Atrazine. EPA's impromptu re-review of this important crop protection chemical departs from the normal regulatory process and sets a bad precedent for the entire industry. Take a moment and click here to speak up for Atrazine.
National Safety School 2010
National Safety School 2010
More than 125 safety professionals attended the 2010 National Agronomic Environmental Health and Safety School held in Bloomington, IL on August 17th and 18th. Participants were treated to an outstanding lineup of national speakers addressing the issues we face in our industry. Jay Vroom, President and CEO of CropLife America, was the keynote speaker. The renewed spirit and level of energy in the Safety School continues to build momentum. If you have responsibility for EHS issues at your facility, this 1-1/2 day meeting is the best source of information in the United States for this type of program. We encourage everyone to register and participate in the 2011 Safety School. The official website of the Safety School can be found at www.naehss.org.
Right: 2010 Safety School President Kip Landwehr, EHS Manager with Winfield Solutions, presents Jay Vroom with a special commemorative wall hanging.
NPDES "Fix" Introduced in The House & Senate
With the onerous National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit looming over our industry, efforts are underway to provide a legislative fix. Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK), introduced legislation (H.R. 6087) that would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) in order to clarify that additional permits are not required for pesticide applications made in accordance with FIFRA. Lucas's bill is companion legislation to S.3735, which was introduced earlier in the Senate by Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). The bills would clarify that pesticide applications made in compliance with FIFRA do not need additional permits like a Clean Water Act (CWA) NPDES permit. On June 4th, EPA issued its draft Pesticide General Permit (PGP) under the CWA. EPA is currently reviewing comments on the draft PGP. Several U.S. Senators sent a letter to the EPA expressing their opposition to the Court's decision and addressing concerns with EPA for moving forward with the final permit. The Senators cautioned EPA to ensure that its final PGP "address only the specific issues addressed in National Cotton Council, et al. v. EPA and not attempt to cover any additional activities." The rule will lead to extensive federal overreach and "heavier economic burdens on farmers and states." EPA is working to finalize the General Permit by December 2010; states and EPA must have permits in place by April 9, 2011. It's too early for a sigh of relief, but extending our appreciation to CropLife America and those contributing to fighting this ridiculous regulation is in order.
EPA Proposes SPCC Compliance Date Extension - Again
EPA proposed on August 3rd to amend the date by which certain facilities must prepare or amend their Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans. The proposed date, November 10, 2011, is one year from the current SPCC compliance date of November 10, 2010. EPA said an extension is appropriate due to ongoing uncertainty surrounding EPA's regulatory review and year long delay of final SPCC amendments that were first published in December 2008, but not made effective until January 2010. EPA is proposing to extend the compliance dates to provide owners or operators of facilities the opportunity to fully understand the regulatory amendments offered by revisions and to allow these facilities additional time to make any changes necessary to comply with the revised SPCC requirements. Troy Swackhammer, with EPA's Office of Oil Pollution Prevention, offered clarification for the extension, when he spoke at the Safety School last month. If the proposed rule is finalized, it will be the seventh deadline extension of the final SPCC rule since its original effective date on August 16, 2002.
DOT Revises Drug & Alcohol Testing Program
DOT released in the Federal Register on Monday, August 16th, the long-awaited changes to the drug and alcohol testing program. The Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs Final Rule includes the following changes:
  • Testing for MDMA (a.k.a. Ecstasy)
  • Lowering cutoff levels for cocaine and amphetamines
  • Conducting mandatory initial testing for heroin
  • Several amended or altered technical definitions
The Final Rule that becomes effective on October 1, 2010, also substantially changes the regulations governing the Medical Review Officer (MRO).
MDA Planning for Web-based Labels
The Minnesota Crop Production Retailers (MCPR) recently reported the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is planning towards a test of the system that would make the most current version of pesticide labeling available to users via the Internet. For certain pesticide products, parts of the labeling would no longer accompany the product container. After inputing certain information, a website would produce streamlined labeling for the user to download that would include only the information necessary for the particular use requested, thus reducing unrelated directions by a significant amount. EPA is seeking volunteers (persons who apply pesticides) to test the functionality of the web-distributed labeling website(s). Anyone in Minnesota that is interested in participating in (or having questions) the web-distributed labeling test project, should contact Michelle DeVaux at devaux.michelle@epa.gov or 703-308-5891 or John Sierk at john.sierk@state.mn.us or 651-201-6292 by September 17, 2010. Click here for more information on the web-based labeling initiative.
Kentucky Amends Over-Dimensional Permit Regulation
An emergency regulatory change has been filed to revise the rules for movement of over-dimensional or overweight equipment and loads, including self-propelled farm implements. Kentucky State Senator David Boswell helped secure the emergency amendment from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to allow self- propelled farm equipment to operate with a single trip or annual permit on fully-controlled access highways within the state. The permit will require that certain conditions be met, including the use of escort vehicles. In the past, this equipment was prohibited from these limited access highways, often forcing them to travel on narrow city streets and two lane roads to reach their farm field destinations. Tod Griffin and Gay Dwyer with the AgriBusiness Association of Kentucky worked with Senator Boswell on this issue. Click here for more information on the special overweight or over-dimensional permits.
IFCA/IDOA Anhydrous Ammonia Safety Schools Offered
The Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) is offering four anhydrous ammonia training classes this fall to help prepare their members for a busy fall ammonia season. Any person in Illinois making or breaking ammonia connections at a facility must attend a certified training class such as this IFCA/IDOA school. IFCA has posted a brochure on the classes at their website www.ifca.com, which can be downloaded. IFCA's classes are highly recommended based on a track record of high quality and cutting edge information. Kevin Runkle, Regulatory Affairs Manager for IFCA, conducts the classes. The dates and locations of this year's schools are:
  • September 28: Rockford, IL at the Best Western Clock Tower
  • September 29: Peoria, IL at the Holiday Inn City Center
  • September 30: Jacksonville, IL at Hamilton's Catering
  • October 1: Urbana, IL at the Holiday Inn Conference Center
RMP Documents Archived Online
Over the past few months, Dustin and Danielle have worked to scan the Risk Management Plan (RMP) files making them available to clients 24/7 on our website. This is just one of the improvements that will be rolled out this October with the new Snapshots Management Dashboard version 2.0. To quantify the project, 3,458 individual documents were scanned, containing more than 40,000 pages of information. For some clients, this project tracked all the way back to the initial 1999 submissions. Completion of the RMP scan project is one more step toward providing clients with a digital file cabinet that puts archived documents at their fingertips.
Indiana Fertilizer License Adopted
Newly adopted in Indiana are regulations governing the handling, transporting, applying and distributing of fertilizers. Adopted under Indiana Administrative Code, (355 IAC 7) was added to ensure the safe and effective use and distribution of fertilizers. The new regulations require that all persons who "use" (defined to mean applying, handling or transporting) or "distribute" (defined to mean offering for sale, selling, exchanging, bartering, supplying or offering to supply) fertilizer materials, must obtain a license. Compliance is mandated for all covered persons by January 1, 2012. There are some exceptions to the broad rule, including the exemption of employees who are supervised by someone who has a license, small users (less than ten cubic yards), certain domestic biosolid users and certain inorganic distributors. The process for obtaining a permit will vary based upon the nature of the fertilizer usage. To see the final rules, click here.
OSHA Threatens Criminal Penalties for Bin Entry Deaths
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced that it was sending warning letters to 3,300 grain industry employers, reminding them of their obligations under the OSHA Grain Handling Standard and warned that the agency will not tolerate violations.
In addition, OSHA has launched, or shortly will launch, special emphasis programs focusing on compliance with the Grain Handling Standard in several Midwestern and Great Plains states. Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, made the announcement during a teleconference in which he also announced a $721,000 proposed fine against Cooperative Plus Inc., Burlington, WI, related to a grain engulfment incident in February 2010.
"I am appalled at the outrageously reckless behavior of some grain facility operators," Michaels said. "We are putting the industry on notice that we will not tolerate noncompliance with the Grain Handling Standard. Unfortunately, this sort of incident is not rare. Although it has been known since the time of the Romans that there are serious hazards associated with entering into grain storage structures, every year workers die as a result of it. Purdue University has recorded 38 grain entrapments in 2009, and that number is going up, not down."
Michaels said OSHA will initiate special emphasis programs examining safety practices at grain handling facilities in Colorado, Wyoming, Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Missouri, Montana and South Dakota. OSHA inspectors in Region 5, which covers Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, also will be targeting grain handlers for scrutiny. Click here to read OSHA Director, David Michaels' letter to grain elevator operators regarding grain entrapment.
Attempts to Ease 1099 Reporting Requirement on Small Business
As the law stands now, businesses will be required to file a Form 1099 information report for each vendor to whom they pay more than $600 a year for goods or services. Senator Bill Nelson, (D-FL), has proposed to exempt companies that have fewer than 25 employees, increase the threshold for reporting from $600 to $5,000 and to exempt purchases made with a credit card. Nelson's amendment was made as an alternative to an earlier amendment by Senator Mike Johanns, (R-NE), that would fully repeal the Form 1099 requirement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The 1099 filing provision is designed to raise $19 billion over 10 years. Under the Johanns proposal, the lost revenue from the proposed repeal would be reclaimed through modifications to a number of foreign tax provisions affecting U.S. multinational corporations and a new 10-year minimum holding period for grantor-retained annuity trusts.
New API 653 Standards Affect Illinois Large Fertilizer Tank Permits
The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) is the first to alert their members who have a large fertilizer storage tank with a capacity of 100,000 gallons or more. The new API 653 tank inspection standards are resulting in some tanks being "de-rated" to a new, lower fill level. While the effects of the standard will have national implications, in Illinois if your large tank is up for a permit renewal, you will have to demonstrate a process or system to ensure that you do not fill the tanks above the new fill level. IFCA staff and several IFCA members met with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) to discuss possible methods to demonstrate compliance regarding overfill protection. Alternatives may include a mechanical alarm system or other suitable means to alert you when the tank nears the approved fill level and shuts down the system when the fill level is reached. Large tank owners or operators are advised to check with their contractor/specialist or contact IDOA at 217-785-2427 or contact Jean Payne, IFCA President, if you have questions.
CSA Myths! Separating Fact From Fiction by J.J. Keller & Associates
Myths, rumors and half-truths are always in abundant supply when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) comes up with new rules, programs, or procedures, and that's certainly the case with the new Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) 2010 program. Now known simply as "CSA," the new enforcement initiative "grades" motor carriers and drivers on seven safety-related categories known as the BASICs and results in enforcement action against the worst safety performers. As the program is slowly phased in, now is the time to make sure that drivers are aware of CSA, how it will affect them, and what they can do to make sure their grades are good. It's also a perfect time to dispel some of the many myths that are spreading about CSA, so drivers can separate fact from fiction.
Use the following information as a starting point for a discussion about CSA and the "truth" about the program.
Myth: CSA is dead!
Fact: CSA is alive and kicking. Though the FMCSA temporarily delayed portions of the program into 2011 and is periodically "tweaking" it, implementation is moving forward. There has been no indication from the agency that the program will be further delayed or suspended. In fact, beginning August 16, 2010, the FMCSA says carriers will be able to see their BASIC scores, a major step in the implementation process.
Myth: If a driver is overweight (has a high Body Mass Index) or has a large neck size, he or she could fail the new CSA Driver Fitness Standards and be pulled from the road.
Fact: There are no new fitness standards under CSA. One of the seven categories on which carriers and drivers will be judged, the "Driver Fitness BASIC," simply tracks compliance with existing driver qualification rules. Of course, the FMCSA could adopt new qualification rules at any time, but that usually involves a lengthy rulemaking process. This myth may have formed because neck size and BMI relate to a person's propensity to develop sleep apnea, a condition whose safety effects are currently under review. This myth may also relate to the fact that roadside violations for the vehicle being overweight (usually reported as a violation of §392.2W), were included in early versions of the CSA scoring process for the Cargo-Related BASIC.
Myth: If I collect too many CSA "points," my CDL could be suspended.
Fact: The new scoring system for CSA relies on a severity rating (or "points" system) for each safety violation, but that has nothing to do with your license. The CSA scoring system and the CDL licensing system are separate systems. No matter how many severity points you collect, that in itself will not affect your CDL. Conversely, no matter how many points you accrue on your license, that in itself will not affect your CSA scores.
Myth: A moving violation will only appear in the CSA scoring system if it results in a conviction.
Fact: If a moving violation is noted on a roadside inspection report, then it will be used in the scoring system regardless of whether a ticket was issued.
Myth: The CSA program will mean a bunch of new safety rules and paperwork requirements.
Fact: CSA is used to track and enforce compliance with the existing regulations. If the current regulations don't require it, neither will CSA.
Myth: The FMCSA has dropped the idea of scoring drivers.
Fact: The CSA model indicates that drivers will be individually scored in the seven BASICs, based on the past 36 months of data, and may be subject to certain types of intervention from the FMCSA if their scores are bad enough. Driver scores will only be available to enforcement personnel, however, and driver interventions will only take place during a carrier audit.
Myth: We'll have a "fresh start" once CSA is turned on.
Fact: Once the CSA program is implemented, carriers and drivers will be scored based on data that is already on the books. Driver scores will be based on the past 36 months of data, and motor carrier scores will be based on the past 24 months of data.
Myth: All roadside tickets/warnings/convictions/violations of any kind will affect our CSA scores.
Fact: The CSA scoring system will use violations that are reported on roadside inspection reports by qualified officers. If it doesn't get reported into the FMCSA's data system (MCMIS) via a roadside inspection form, the violation will not affect your CSA scores.
Myth: Having access to CSA scoring information and the new Pre-employment Screening Program will mean that carriers will no longer have to get drivers' driving records or perform background checks.
Fact: The CSA program will not affect carriers' obligations under Part 391 for qualifying drivers. Motor carriers will still need to contact previous employers and obtain drivers' driving records.
Preview of CSA 2010 Data Now Live for All Carriers
On August 16, 2010, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) updated the Data Preview Website by providing all carriers, not just those in the pilot states, with an assessment of where they stand in each Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) based on roadside data and investigation findings. The Carrier Safety Measurement System (CSMS) includes the following seven BASICs:
  • Unsafe Driving
  • Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service)
  • Driver Fitness
  • Controlled Substances/Alcohol
  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Cargo-Related
  • Crash Indicator
The BASICs replace SafeStat's Safety Evaluation Areas (SEAs) in December 2010, and this early look gives motor carriers an opportunity to understand and address their safety compliance issues right away. The preview is also reflective of recent changes to the CSMS methodology, specifically:
  • The Unsafe Driving BASIC and Crash Indicator, including a combination of Power Units (PUs) and Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT), rather than just PUs as a normalizing factor (measure of exposure);
  • The Unsafe Driving BASIC now using number of inspections resulting in a violation of the BASIC as safety event groups (formerly called peer group);
  • The Crash Indicator using the number of crashes as a safety event group;
  • The Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC's measure of exposure switching to number of relevant inspections rather than PUs; and
  • Revisions made to the severity weight tables for roadside inspection violations.
The Agency has also indicated it is changing its approach in addressing motor carriers with a history of size and weight violations rather than counting these violations in the Cargo-Related BASIC; the new approach will include alerts to roadside inspectors when carriers have a history of size and weight violations.
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.
Speak Up for Atrazine!
Please take a moment to consider participating in a letter writing campaign regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) re-review of Atrazine. EPA's impromptu re-review of this important crop protection chemical departs from the normal regulatory process and sets a bad precedent for the entire industry. Take a moment and click here to speak up for Atrazine.
National Safety School 2010
National Safety School 2010
More than 125 safety professionals attended the 2010 National Agronomic Environmental Health and Safety School held in Bloomington, IL on August 17th and 18th. Participants were treated to an outstanding lineup of national speakers addressing the issues we face in our industry. Jay Vroom, President and CEO of CropLife America, was the keynote speaker. The renewed spirit and level of energy in the Safety School continues to build momentum. If you have responsibility for EHS issues at your facility, this 1-1/2 day meeting is the best source of information in the United States for this type of program. We encourage everyone to register and participate in the 2011 Safety School. The official website of the Safety School can be found at www.naehss.org.
Right: 2010 Safety School President Kip Landwehr, EHS Manager with Winfield Solutions, presents Jay Vroom with a special commemorative wall hanging.
NPDES "Fix" Introduced in The House & Senate
With the onerous National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit looming over our industry, efforts are underway to provide a legislative fix. Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK), introduced legislation (H.R. 6087) that would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) in order to clarify that additional permits are not required for pesticide applications made in accordance with FIFRA. Lucas's bill is companion legislation to S.3735, which was introduced earlier in the Senate by Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). The bills would clarify that pesticide applications made in compliance with FIFRA do not need additional permits like a Clean Water Act (CWA) NPDES permit. On June 4th, EPA issued its draft Pesticide General Permit (PGP) under the CWA. EPA is currently reviewing comments on the draft PGP. Several U.S. Senators sent a letter to the EPA expressing their opposition to the Court's decision and addressing concerns with EPA for moving forward with the final permit. The Senators cautioned EPA to ensure that its final PGP "address only the specific issues addressed in National Cotton Council, et al. v. EPA and not attempt to cover any additional activities." The rule will lead to extensive federal overreach and "heavier economic burdens on farmers and states." EPA is working to finalize the General Permit by December 2010; states and EPA must have permits in place by April 9, 2011. It's too early for a sigh of relief, but extending our appreciation to CropLife America and those contributing to fighting this ridiculous regulation is in order.
EPA Proposes SPCC Compliance Date Extension - Again
EPA proposed on August 3rd to amend the date by which certain facilities must prepare or amend their Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans. The proposed date, November 10, 2011, is one year from the current SPCC compliance date of November 10, 2010. EPA said an extension is appropriate due to ongoing uncertainty surrounding EPA's regulatory review and year long delay of final SPCC amendments that were first published in December 2008, but not made effective until January 2010. EPA is proposing to extend the compliance dates to provide owners or operators of facilities the opportunity to fully understand the regulatory amendments offered by revisions and to allow these facilities additional time to make any changes necessary to comply with the revised SPCC requirements. Troy Swackhammer, with EPA's Office of Oil Pollution Prevention, offered clarification for the extension, when he spoke at the Safety School last month. If the proposed rule is finalized, it will be the seventh deadline extension of the final SPCC rule since its original effective date on August 16, 2002.
DOT Revises Drug & Alcohol Testing Program
DOT released in the Federal Register on Monday, August 16th, the long-awaited changes to the drug and alcohol testing program. The Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs Final Rule includes the following changes:
  • Testing for MDMA (a.k.a. Ecstasy)
  • Lowering cutoff levels for cocaine and amphetamines
  • Conducting mandatory initial testing for heroin
  • Several amended or altered technical definitions
The Final Rule that becomes effective on October 1, 2010, also substantially changes the regulations governing the Medical Review Officer (MRO).
MDA Planning for Web-based Labels
The Minnesota Crop Production Retailers (MCPR) recently reported the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is planning towards a test of the system that would make the most current version of pesticide labeling available to users via the Internet. For certain pesticide products, parts of the labeling would no longer accompany the product container. After inputing certain information, a website would produce streamlined labeling for the user to download that would include only the information necessary for the particular use requested, thus reducing unrelated directions by a significant amount. EPA is seeking volunteers (persons who apply pesticides) to test the functionality of the web-distributed labeling website(s). Anyone in Minnesota that is interested in participating in (or having questions) the web-distributed labeling test project, should contact Michelle DeVaux at devaux.michelle@epa.gov or 703-308-5891 or John Sierk at john.sierk@state.mn.us or 651-201-6292 by September 17, 2010. Click here for more information on the web-based labeling initiative.
Kentucky Amends Over-Dimensional Permit Regulation
An emergency regulatory change has been filed to revise the rules for movement of over-dimensional or overweight equipment and loads, including self-propelled farm implements. Kentucky State Senator David Boswell helped secure the emergency amendment from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to allow self- propelled farm equipment to operate with a single trip or annual permit on fully-controlled access highways within the state. The permit will require that certain conditions be met, including the use of escort vehicles. In the past, this equipment was prohibited from these limited access highways, often forcing them to travel on narrow city streets and two lane roads to reach their farm field destinations. Tod Griffin and Gay Dwyer with the AgriBusiness Association of Kentucky worked with Senator Boswell on this issue. Click here for more information on the special overweight or over-dimensional permits.
IFCA/IDOA Anhydrous Ammonia Safety Schools Offered
The Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) is offering four anhydrous ammonia training classes this fall to help prepare their members for a busy fall ammonia season. Any person in Illinois making or breaking ammonia connections at a facility must attend a certified training class such as this IFCA/IDOA school. IFCA has posted a brochure on the classes at their website www.ifca.com, which can be downloaded. IFCA's classes are highly recommended based on a track record of high quality and cutting edge information. Kevin Runkle, Regulatory Affairs Manager for IFCA, conducts the classes. The dates and locations of this year's schools are:
  • September 28: Rockford, IL at the Best Western Clock Tower
  • September 29: Peoria, IL at the Holiday Inn City Center
  • September 30: Jacksonville, IL at Hamilton's Catering
  • October 1: Urbana, IL at the Holiday Inn Conference Center
RMP Documents Archived Online
Over the past few months, Dustin and Danielle have worked to scan the Risk Management Plan (RMP) files making them available to clients 24/7 on our website. This is just one of the improvements that will be rolled out this October with the new Snapshots Management Dashboard version 2.0. To quantify the project, 3,458 individual documents were scanned, containing more than 40,000 pages of information. For some clients, this project tracked all the way back to the initial 1999 submissions. Completion of the RMP scan project is one more step toward providing clients with a digital file cabinet that puts archived documents at their fingertips.
Indiana Fertilizer License Adopted
Newly adopted in Indiana are regulations governing the handling, transporting, applying and distributing of fertilizers. Adopted under Indiana Administrative Code, (355 IAC 7) was added to ensure the safe and effective use and distribution of fertilizers. The new regulations require that all persons who "use" (defined to mean applying, handling or transporting) or "distribute" (defined to mean offering for sale, selling, exchanging, bartering, supplying or offering to supply) fertilizer materials, must obtain a license. Compliance is mandated for all covered persons by January 1, 2012. There are some exceptions to the broad rule, including the exemption of employees who are supervised by someone who has a license, small users (less than ten cubic yards), certain domestic biosolid users and certain inorganic distributors. The process for obtaining a permit will vary based upon the nature of the fertilizer usage. To see the final rules, click here.
OSHA Threatens Criminal Penalties for Bin Entry Deaths
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced that it was sending warning letters to 3,300 grain industry employers, reminding them of their obligations under the OSHA Grain Handling Standard and warned that the agency will not tolerate violations.
In addition, OSHA has launched, or shortly will launch, special emphasis programs focusing on compliance with the Grain Handling Standard in several Midwestern and Great Plains states. Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, made the announcement during a teleconference in which he also announced a $721,000 proposed fine against Cooperative Plus Inc., Burlington, WI, related to a grain engulfment incident in February 2010.
"I am appalled at the outrageously reckless behavior of some grain facility operators," Michaels said. "We are putting the industry on notice that we will not tolerate noncompliance with the Grain Handling Standard. Unfortunately, this sort of incident is not rare. Although it has been known since the time of the Romans that there are serious hazards associated with entering into grain storage structures, every year workers die as a result of it. Purdue University has recorded 38 grain entrapments in 2009, and that number is going up, not down."
Michaels said OSHA will initiate special emphasis programs examining safety practices at grain handling facilities in Colorado, Wyoming, Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Missouri, Montana and South Dakota. OSHA inspectors in Region 5, which covers Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, also will be targeting grain handlers for scrutiny. Click here to read OSHA Director, David Michaels' letter to grain elevator operators regarding grain entrapment.
Attempts to Ease 1099 Reporting Requirement on Small Business
As the law stands now, businesses will be required to file a Form 1099 information report for each vendor to whom they pay more than $600 a year for goods or services. Senator Bill Nelson, (D-FL), has proposed to exempt companies that have fewer than 25 employees, increase the threshold for reporting from $600 to $5,000 and to exempt purchases made with a credit card. Nelson's amendment was made as an alternative to an earlier amendment by Senator Mike Johanns, (R-NE), that would fully repeal the Form 1099 requirement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The 1099 filing provision is designed to raise $19 billion over 10 years. Under the Johanns proposal, the lost revenue from the proposed repeal would be reclaimed through modifications to a number of foreign tax provisions affecting U.S. multinational corporations and a new 10-year minimum holding period for grantor-retained annuity trusts.
New API 653 Standards Affect Illinois Large Fertilizer Tank Permits
The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) is the first to alert their members who have a large fertilizer storage tank with a capacity of 100,000 gallons or more. The new API 653 tank inspection standards are resulting in some tanks being "de-rated" to a new, lower fill level. While the effects of the standard will have national implications, in Illinois if your large tank is up for a permit renewal, you will have to demonstrate a process or system to ensure that you do not fill the tanks above the new fill level. IFCA staff and several IFCA members met with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) to discuss possible methods to demonstrate compliance regarding overfill protection. Alternatives may include a mechanical alarm system or other suitable means to alert you when the tank nears the approved fill level and shuts down the system when the fill level is reached. Large tank owners or operators are advised to check with their contractor/specialist or contact IDOA at 217-785-2427 or contact Jean Payne, IFCA President, if you have questions.
CSA Myths! Separating Fact From Fiction by J.J. Keller & Associates
Myths, rumors and half-truths are always in abundant supply when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) comes up with new rules, programs, or procedures, and that's certainly the case with the new Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) 2010 program. Now known simply as "CSA," the new enforcement initiative "grades" motor carriers and drivers on seven safety-related categories known as the BASICs and results in enforcement action against the worst safety performers. As the program is slowly phased in, now is the time to make sure that drivers are aware of CSA, how it will affect them, and what they can do to make sure their grades are good. It's also a perfect time to dispel some of the many myths that are spreading about CSA, so drivers can separate fact from fiction.
Use the following information as a starting point for a discussion about CSA and the "truth" about the program.
Myth: CSA is dead!
Fact: CSA is alive and kicking. Though the FMCSA temporarily delayed portions of the program into 2011 and is periodically "tweaking" it, implementation is moving forward. There has been no indication from the agency that the program will be further delayed or suspended. In fact, beginning August 16, 2010, the FMCSA says carriers will be able to see their BASIC scores, a major step in the implementation process.
Myth: If a driver is overweight (has a high Body Mass Index) or has a large neck size, he or she could fail the new CSA Driver Fitness Standards and be pulled from the road.
Fact: There are no new fitness standards under CSA. One of the seven categories on which carriers and drivers will be judged, the "Driver Fitness BASIC," simply tracks compliance with existing driver qualification rules. Of course, the FMCSA could adopt new qualification rules at any time, but that usually involves a lengthy rulemaking process. This myth may have formed because neck size and BMI relate to a person's propensity to develop sleep apnea, a condition whose safety effects are currently under review. This myth may also relate to the fact that roadside violations for the vehicle being overweight (usually reported as a violation of §392.2W), were included in early versions of the CSA scoring process for the Cargo-Related BASIC.
Myth: If I collect too many CSA "points," my CDL could be suspended.
Fact: The new scoring system for CSA relies on a severity rating (or "points" system) for each safety violation, but that has nothing to do with your license. The CSA scoring system and the CDL licensing system are separate systems. No matter how many severity points you collect, that in itself will not affect your CDL. Conversely, no matter how many points you accrue on your license, that in itself will not affect your CSA scores.
Myth: A moving violation will only appear in the CSA scoring system if it results in a conviction.
Fact: If a moving violation is noted on a roadside inspection report, then it will be used in the scoring system regardless of whether a ticket was issued.
Myth: The CSA program will mean a bunch of new safety rules and paperwork requirements.
Fact: CSA is used to track and enforce compliance with the existing regulations. If the current regulations don't require it, neither will CSA.
Myth: The FMCSA has dropped the idea of scoring drivers.
Fact: The CSA model indicates that drivers will be individually scored in the seven BASICs, based on the past 36 months of data, and may be subject to certain types of intervention from the FMCSA if their scores are bad enough. Driver scores will only be available to enforcement personnel, however, and driver interventions will only take place during a carrier audit.
Myth: We'll have a "fresh start" once CSA is turned on.
Fact: Once the CSA program is implemented, carriers and drivers will be scored based on data that is already on the books. Driver scores will be based on the past 36 months of data, and motor carrier scores will be based on the past 24 months of data.
Myth: All roadside tickets/warnings/convictions/violations of any kind will affect our CSA scores.
Fact: The CSA scoring system will use violations that are reported on roadside inspection reports by qualified officers. If it doesn't get reported into the FMCSA's data system (MCMIS) via a roadside inspection form, the violation will not affect your CSA scores.
Myth: Having access to CSA scoring information and the new Pre-employment Screening Program will mean that carriers will no longer have to get drivers' driving records or perform background checks.
Fact: The CSA program will not affect carriers' obligations under Part 391 for qualifying drivers. Motor carriers will still need to contact previous employers and obtain drivers' driving records.
Preview of CSA 2010 Data Now Live for All Carriers
On August 16, 2010, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) updated the Data Preview Website by providing all carriers, not just those in the pilot states, with an assessment of where they stand in each Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) based on roadside data and investigation findings. The Carrier Safety Measurement System (CSMS) includes the following seven BASICs:
  • Unsafe Driving
  • Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service)
  • Driver Fitness
  • Controlled Substances/Alcohol
  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Cargo-Related
  • Crash Indicator
The BASICs replace SafeStat's Safety Evaluation Areas (SEAs) in December 2010, and this early look gives motor carriers an opportunity to understand and address their safety compliance issues right away. The preview is also reflective of recent changes to the CSMS methodology, specifically:
  • The Unsafe Driving BASIC and Crash Indicator, including a combination of Power Units (PUs) and Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT), rather than just PUs as a normalizing factor (measure of exposure);
  • The Unsafe Driving BASIC now using number of inspections resulting in a violation of the BASIC as safety event groups (formerly called peer group);
  • The Crash Indicator using the number of crashes as a safety event group;
  • The Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC's measure of exposure switching to number of relevant inspections rather than PUs; and
  • Revisions made to the severity weight tables for roadside inspection violations.
The Agency has also indicated it is changing its approach in addressing motor carriers with a history of size and weight violations rather than counting these violations in the Cargo-Related BASIC; the new approach will include alerts to roadside inspectors when carriers have a history of size and weight violations.
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.