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Newsletter
Volume 95
October 1, 2011
mySPCC Tools Ready for the November 10, 2011 Deadline
U.S. EPA's Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Program will take effect on November 10, 2011. The SPCC rule requires locations with 1,320 gallons or more of oil products to prepare a SPCC plan. The November deadline is an expansion of the original SPCC rule and includes all agricultural facilities, including retailers and farms.
Oil Spill Prevention
mySPCC Suite of Guidance Materials is supported by U.S. EPA for use with agricultural facilities such as retailers and farms. U.S. EPA awarded a grant of $20,000 to the Asmark Institute for allowing the free use of the new mySPCC tools to the agricultural industry. Work actually began in December 2006 when the Asmark Institute was asked to partner with The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) to develop two state-of-the-art web-based tools to help facilities comply with the SPCC requirements. U.S. EPA provided input along the way and reviewed the tools before deciding to provide support. mySPCC includes two tools developed for:
  • Tier I: A facility with not more than 10,000 gallons total oil products on-site and no tank larger than 5,000 gallons. Allows the facility to utilize the self-certification feature.
  • Tier 2: A facility with not more than 10,000 gallons total oil products on-site with one tank that is larger than 5,000 gallons. Allows the facility to utilize the self-certification feature.
As a reminder, facilities with 10,001 gallons or more of oil products should already have a full SPCC plan prepared by a professional engineer (P.E.) and implemented.
The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) worked with U.S. EPA to develop a brochure providing an introduction to the SPCC program for agriculture. Click here for a copy of the brochure.
Imagine, Solve, Build, Collaborate and Lead...
The caption above reflects the mission of the Asmark Institute. The Institute's Board of Directors, advisors and management team participated in a strategic planning session in May of this year. The meeting kick-started the planning process of defining the long-term objectives for the Institute through the year 2016. Input was sought from clients, allies and our 23 affiliated State Associations. The process of planning for the future took several months and was truly an exercise in vision. Combined, the Board of Directors and advisors have more than 500 years of experience in the agricultural industry. The challenge was to forecast the future in preparation for developing the resources that will be required to deliver essential new services and products. One of the greatest benefits to strategic planning and updating the business plan has proven to be the development process itself. The countless hours of research and discussion are beneficial to a harmonized thought process of the management team. Priorities for the next five years include:
  • Expand educational/training opportunities for the retail industry.
  • Define and lead the industry in pro-active prevention.
  • Collaborate on industry-standard stewardship programs.
  • Continual development of new services and products beneficial to our industry.
  • Continual emphasis on beneficial new technologies.
In accordance with the outcome of the business plan, several new services will be launched in the next six weeks including, mySPCC Suite of Guidance Materials, LifeCycle Tank Management Program, Vehicle Maintenance Central and a reinvented Nurse Tank Inspection Program (NTIP). Coming soon to CropLife magazine will be a more visible presence designed to highlight featured Compass services and support our affiliation with the State Agribusiness Associations. Stay tuned - 2012 will be another exciting year!
Coming Soon...
New to the lineup of Asmark Institute's web-based tools for the 2011 compliance visits, we have several new tools to help make compliance as simple as possible.
  • LifeCycle is a new program to help retailers manage the life expectancy of their tanks, especially poly tanks. This feature will allow the facility to select their tanks from a pre-populated database containing dimensions, spec sheets and even pictures. Some basic information about when the tank was put in service must be entered. LifeCycle will track the status of each tank using the colorful stoplight feature and allow us to send notification reminders when a tank should be inspected or removed from service.
  • Vehicle Maintenance Central (VMC) is a new online module that allows facility personnel to manage the maintenance of all the vehicles typically found at a retail facility. Features include our colorful stoplight mechanism to notify you when maintenance items are coming due, as well as use of a SMART Card system to help streamline the documentation of the actual maintenance process. An added bonus to this feature will be the tracking of Anhydrous Ammonia nurse wagons. NTIP inspections will be incorporated as part of the new VMC module so the maintenance and inspection of all vehicles can be accessed from one convenient place.
Compass Line of Services and Products Launched
Asmark Institute has reinvented the Compass line of services and products, featuring an expanded offering and better accessibility to the public. Non-retainer clients, such as farmers, will be able to order Asmark Institute products and services on an individual basis as well as a subscription basis. Access to the Compass line of services and products will also make it faster and more convenient for existing clients and State Associations to help their members. Credit cards will be accepted for quick and convenient checkout of the Compass line. A portion of the proceeds from the new Compass line will still continue to support our affiliated State Associations and agricultural industry. The new Compass line of services and products will include:
  • Driver Qualification Files
  • Hand-Plan Emergency Plan
  • Training Kits (28 subjects)
  • Vehicle Maintenance Module
  • Respiratory Qualification
  • WPS Recordkeeping Forms
  • Fire Prevention Plan
  • Written Programs (10)
  • DOT Shipping Documents
  • Compliance Assessment Tool
  • Wallet Cards
  • Safety Data Sheet Manual
  • Risk Management Plan
  • SARA Tier II Report
  • Pesticide-Production Report
  • Workplace Chemical List
  • Emergency Response Training
  • Applicator Manual
  • Professional Applicator Training
  • Ammonia Technician Training
  • Regulatory posters (3)
EPA Transitions to Voluntary Web-Distributed Labeling System
EPA's Web-Distributed Labeling Workgroup recently announced the agency has decided to reconsider the concept of web-distributed labeling. This change in direction will discontinue the effort to force all registrants to remove the printed labels from all pesticide containers and place them on a website for reference. The agricultural industry has expressed great concern to EPA over this issue in the past. EPA is now considering a transition to a voluntary web-distributed labeling system whereby products would retain the full printed labeling with the pesticide container in addition to a reference statement directing users to a central website where they could download enforceable labeling specific to their state and intended use site.
New Safety Chains Decal
New Safety Chains Decal Available Online
A new "Safety Chains" decal has been added to the Signs & Decals section of our Online Catalog. This 2" x 6" decal can be used on any piece of equipment where safety chains should be present and in good operating condition. The decals are $ .25 each. Click here to order.
New Drug Testing Form Required October 1, 2011
A new Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form (CCF) must be used for all mandatory drug tests beginning October 1, 2011. In order to accommodate the form's use within our transportation industry program, the DOT is making a few necessary regulation changes in order for collectors, laboratories, and Medical Review Officers to know how to use the new form. DOT-regulated employers and their service agents were authorized to begin use of the new CCF on October 1, 2010. However, DOT recognized there would be large supplies of old CCFs available after the start date. To avoid wasting the old forms, the Department permitted use of the old CCF until September 30, 2011. After that date, collectors and laboratories are not to use any of the old CCFs in the DOT testing program. Click here to review the full text version.
Underreporting of Workplace Injury/Illness Studied
Although studies indicate a drop in the number of nonfatal injuries in recent decades, there is evidence that nonfatal injury surveillance significantly underreports workplace injuries. Based on the potential underreporting, NIOSH proposes to conduct two studies to:
  • Assess worker reporting behavior;
  • Characterize the chronic aspects of work injuries or illnesses;
  • Estimate the prevalence of work-related chronic injuries and illnesses among workers treated in emergency departments;
  • Characterize worker/employment characteristics associated with non-reporting and incentives/ disincentives to reporting;
  • Examine incentives and disincentives for identifying work-relatedness to employers and medical professionals; and
  • Test if hospitals are properly distinguishing between work and non-work-related injuries.
Between 2,100 and 3,600 interviews will be completed in the study according to NIOSH officials.
Statistics Show OSHA is Serious About Injury, Illness Recordkeeping
To date, 582 citations have been issued for recordkeeping violations under a national emphasis program (NEP). On October 1, 2009, OSHA initiated the NEP, which assesses the accuracy of injury and illness data recorded by employers. According to data provided by OSHA, since that time there have been 301 federal jurisdiction inspections opened for the NEP through August 18, 2011. Of those, 169 inspections have resulted in citations for recordkeeping violations. In total, there have been 582 citations for recordkeeping issued with almost $900,000 in penalties.
Although the current NEP is set to expire in February 2012, employers should be aware that OSHA is diligently inspecting occupational injury and illness records prepared by businesses and appropriately enforcing regulatory requirements when employers are found to be under-recording injuries and illnesses. The inspections include a records review, employee interviews, and a limited safety and health inspection of the workplace. The NEP focuses on selected industries with high injury and illness rates.
OSHA Extends Comment Period on Illness, Injury Rulemaking
OSHA recently announced the comment period for recordkeeping requirements on illness and work-related injury reporting has been reopened. The comment period is now set to close on October 28, 2011. The revised OSHA proposal would require employers to report to the agency any work-related fatalities and all in-patient hospitalizations within eight hours, and any amputations within 24 hours. The agency also proposes to update Appendix A of the recordkeeping regulations that lists industries partially exempt from the requirements to maintain work-related injury or illness logs due to relatively low injury incidence.
CFATS Program Update From DHS
DHS recently issued the following update on facilities covered under the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program.
  • DHS received an estimated 40,000 Top-Screens to date.
  • DHS issued preliminary tier notification to an estimated 7,000 facilities, out of the 40,000 Top-Screens received and analyzed.
  • CFATS covers 4,569 facilities to date.
Tier
Final Tiered Facilities (3,951)
Facilities Awaiting Final Tier (618)
1
99
3
2
502
37
3
1,155
135
4
2,195
443
Of particular note, nearly 1,300 facilities have ceased handling the chemical(s) of interest entirely that required them to initially submit a Top-Screen. An additional estimated 600 facilities no longer inventory the quantity of the chemical(s) of interest that meets the threshold to require submission of a Top-Screen.
Congress Addressing GPS vs. LightSquared Battle
The dispute between LightSquared, Inc. and global positioning system device manufacturers recently shifted back to Congress, where several House Armed Services Committee members criticized the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for "advocating" for LightSquared at the expense of critical GPS operations. The FCC has withheld final approval until the interference issues are resolved.
U.S. Chamber Sues NLRB to Block Union Notification Rule
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit recently against the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) challenging the Board's new rule requiring businesses to post notices explaining employees' rights to unionize. The Chamber's lawsuit alleges that the misguided NLRB rule violates federal labor and regulatory laws as well as the First Amendment. The case, Chamber of Commerce, et al. v. National Labor Relations Board, et al. is in the U.S. District Court of South Carolina.
EPA Inspector General Says Agency Took Short Cut on Climate Change Science Review
EPA's Inspector General, the agency's internal watchdog, reported that while EPA met all requirements for greenhouse gas emissions rule-writing and determining if supporting information was qualified, the agency should have conducted its own peer review of the supporting science rather than relying on reviews done by other organizations. The report was done after Senator Jim Inhofe (R, OK), ranking member of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, said the agency's so-called "endangerment finding" - that greenhouse gasses are a threat to human and animal health - was done in violation of EPA's science review process. EPA said, "...we disagree strongly with the Inspector General's finding and followed all appropriate guidance in preparing the (endangerment) finding." Inhofe said the report confirms the EPA action was "rushed, biased and flawed," and called on Senator Barbara Boxer (D, CA), Chair of his committee, to hold immediate hearings on the Inspector General's report. EPA said "the report does not question or even address the science used or the conclusion reached...that greenhouse gas pollution poses a threat to the health of the American people. Instead, the report is focused on questions of process and procedure."
KIC by 2025 - New Nutrient Stewardship Effort
Illinois agriculture organizations have formed a new, collaborative program to promote, implement and track the rate of adoption of enhanced nutrient stewardship practices by Illinois agricultural producers. "Keep it for the Crop by 2025" will focus on the 4R's of Nutrient Stewardship: Right Source, Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) has identified six priority watersheds for nutrient reductions including Lake Bloomington, Lake Vermilion, Lake Decatur, Vermilion River (Illinois Basin), Salt Fork Vermilion River (Wabash Basin) and Lake Mauvaisse Terra. "The lakes and rivers in these watersheds have water quality problems due to too much nitrogen or phosphorus, or both," said Marcia Wilhite, IEPA's Bureau of Water Chief. "Illinois EPA strongly endorses efforts to promote voluntary action by producers to adopt nutrient stewardship practices in their watersheds. If everyone does their part, we can assure clean water for future generations."
The Illinois Council on Best Management Practices (CBMP) will implement the KIC by 2025 program. CBMP's members include the Illinois Corn Growers Association, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association, Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Pork Producers and Syngenta Crop Protection. "Farmers are very concerned about good stewardship and water quality," said Gary Hudson, a corn grower and President of CBMP. "That is why we developed the KIC program and we encourage everyone to help us in our efforts to educate not only growers, but our communities as well as this program goes forward."
KIC by 2025 lays out a framework to continually promote, implement and measure adoption of the 4R system by producers and agricultural retailers who provide custom nutrient application. According to Jean Payne, President of the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA), the industry is also working to secure dedicated funding from the ag sector for KIC by 2025 with state legislation that creates the Illinois Nutrient Research & Education Council. In the meantime, start-up funding for the program is being provided by the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, the Illinois Soybean Association and IFCA fertilizer manufacturer members Agrium, CF Industries, Koch Fertilizer, The Mosaic Company and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan.
Environmental organizations also express support for the program. Jack Darin of the Illinois Sierra Club said: "We know farmers want clean water, and we also know they want to avoid waste and unnecessary costs in their operation. By using the latest techniques and knowledge to apply the right amount of nutrients, at the times when the crops need it, farmers can cut costs and improve water quality."
Phillip Nelson, President of the Illinois Farm Bureau, reinforced that Illinois producers are major stakeholders in these efforts. "We have always believed that farmers are among the original stewards of our soil and water," he said. "KIC by 2025 will provide the resources, knowledge and outreach needed to ensure that growers make the best possible decisions when it comes to implementing practices that protect our streams and rivers and further enhance nutrient efficiencies in agricultural production."
FMCSA Clarifies Guidance on Shipping Documents
FMCSA has issued regulatory guidance to clarify the appropriate and intended use of blank or incomplete documents under 49 CFR 375.501(d). Carriers may require shippers to sign incomplete, but not blank, documents so long as the omitted information is limited to:
  • Actual weight of the shipment, in the case of non-binding estimates; and
  • Unforeseen charges incurred in transit.
This guidance also clarifies that carriers may not require shippers to sign "Revised Written Estimates," "Rescissions of Old Estimate," or other documents authorizing the carrier to rescind an estimate unless the shipper and carrier mutually agree to amend the estimate, and the shipper signs a new estimate before the carrier loads the shipment. The guidance became effective on August 15, 2011. Click here to review the Federal Register notice.
Department of Labor Proposes Updates to Child Labor Laws
The U.S. Department of Labor is proposing revisions to child labor regulations that haven't been updated since 1970. The proposal would strengthen current child labor regulations prohibiting agricultural work with animals and in pesticide handling, timber operations, manure pits, and storage bins. It would prohibit farm workers under age 16 from participating in the cultivation, harvesting and curing of tobacco. And, it would prohibit youth in both agricultural and nonagricultural employment from using electronic devices, including communication devices, while operating power-driven equipment. The department is also proposing to create a new non-agricultural hazardous occupations order that would prevent children under 18 from being employed in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials. Prohibited places of employment would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges, and livestock auctions. Additionally, the proposal would prohibit farm workers under 16 from operating almost all power-driven equipment. A similar prohibition has existed as part of the non-agricultural child labor provisions for more than 50 years. The public is invited to provide comments on this proposal by November 1, 2011.
Jay Vroom Interviewed by Dan Rather's News Program
The CropLife America (CLA) offices were quite busy recently as they hosted the camera crew for Dan Rather Reports, a news program hosted by the well-known reporter, to discuss the value of crop protection products in U.S. agriculture, and the health of pollinators. The producer of the program reached out to CLA to gain additional insight into the discussion surrounding bee health and the potential of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), as well as to gain additional information about the benefits of crop protection products. This resulted in a 40-minute interview in which Jay Vroom, President and CEO of CropLife America, had the opportunity to discuss the rigorous health and safety tests that all products must undergo, as well as the mutual beneficial relationship between agriculture and beekeepers. CLA expects the final segment to air sometime this fall. Dan Rather Reports is an Emmy-winning news program that currently runs on HDNet. Click here for more information about when the show will air.
CAST President Award Given to A.G. Kawamura and Jay Vroom
The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) President's Award was presented to A.G. Kawamura, farmer and former California Secretary of Agriculture, during the CropLife America (CLA) Government Policy Weekend - Board of Directors dinner in Laguna Niguel, California. Jay Vroom was also honored to be presented the award! Dr. John Bonner, Executive Vice President of CAST, along with Chuck Conner (National Council of Farmer Cooperatives) and Barb Glenn (CLA), represented the CAST board of trustees and board of directors respectively, presented the award and congratulated both recipients for their contributions to agriculture and agricultural science and technology. The award is a walnut plaque with a Jerry Palen bronze depicting sun, air, soil and water inscribed with "No other human occupation opens so wide a field for the profitable and agreeable combination of labor with cultivated thought, as agriculture." This is the same quote by Abraham Lincoln given in a speech on agriculture at the Wisconsin State Fair in 1849 and hangs in the CLA Lincoln conference room.
2011 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.
mySPCC Tools Ready for the November 10, 2011 Deadline
U.S. EPA's Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Program will take effect on November 10, 2011. The SPCC rule requires locations with 1,320 gallons or more of oil products to prepare a SPCC plan. The November deadline is an expansion of the original SPCC rule and includes all agricultural facilities, including retailers and farms.
Oil Spill Prevention
mySPCC Suite of Guidance Materials is supported by U.S. EPA for use with agricultural facilities such as retailers and farms. U.S. EPA awarded a grant of $20,000 to the Asmark Institute for allowing the free use of the new mySPCC tools to the agricultural industry. Work actually began in December 2006 when the Asmark Institute was asked to partner with The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) to develop two state-of-the-art web-based tools to help facilities comply with the SPCC requirements. U.S. EPA provided input along the way and reviewed the tools before deciding to provide support. mySPCC includes two tools developed for:
  • Tier I: A facility with not more than 10,000 gallons total oil products on-site and no tank larger than 5,000 gallons. Allows the facility to utilize the self-certification feature.
  • Tier 2: A facility with not more than 10,000 gallons total oil products on-site with one tank that is larger than 5,000 gallons. Allows the facility to utilize the self-certification feature.
As a reminder, facilities with 10,001 gallons or more of oil products should already have a full SPCC plan prepared by a professional engineer (P.E.) and implemented.
The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) worked with U.S. EPA to develop a brochure providing an introduction to the SPCC program for agriculture. Click here for a copy of the brochure.
Imagine, Solve, Build, Collaborate and Lead...
The caption above reflects the mission of the Asmark Institute. The Institute's Board of Directors, advisors and management team participated in a strategic planning session in May of this year. The meeting kick-started the planning process of defining the long-term objectives for the Institute through the year 2016. Input was sought from clients, allies and our 23 affiliated State Associations. The process of planning for the future took several months and was truly an exercise in vision. Combined, the Board of Directors and advisors have more than 500 years of experience in the agricultural industry. The challenge was to forecast the future in preparation for developing the resources that will be required to deliver essential new services and products. One of the greatest benefits to strategic planning and updating the business plan has proven to be the development process itself. The countless hours of research and discussion are beneficial to a harmonized thought process of the management team. Priorities for the next five years include:
  • Expand educational/training opportunities for the retail industry.
  • Define and lead the industry in pro-active prevention.
  • Collaborate on industry-standard stewardship programs.
  • Continual development of new services and products beneficial to our industry.
  • Continual emphasis on beneficial new technologies.
In accordance with the outcome of the business plan, several new services will be launched in the next six weeks including, mySPCC Suite of Guidance Materials, LifeCycle Tank Management Program, Vehicle Maintenance Central and a reinvented Nurse Tank Inspection Program (NTIP). Coming soon to CropLife magazine will be a more visible presence designed to highlight featured Compass services and support our affiliation with the State Agribusiness Associations. Stay tuned - 2012 will be another exciting year!
Coming Soon...
New to the lineup of Asmark Institute's web-based tools for the 2011 compliance visits, we have several new tools to help make compliance as simple as possible.
  • LifeCycle is a new program to help retailers manage the life expectancy of their tanks, especially poly tanks. This feature will allow the facility to select their tanks from a pre-populated database containing dimensions, spec sheets and even pictures. Some basic information about when the tank was put in service must be entered. LifeCycle will track the status of each tank using the colorful stoplight feature and allow us to send notification reminders when a tank should be inspected or removed from service.
  • Vehicle Maintenance Central (VMC) is a new online module that allows facility personnel to manage the maintenance of all the vehicles typically found at a retail facility. Features include our colorful stoplight mechanism to notify you when maintenance items are coming due, as well as use of a SMART Card system to help streamline the documentation of the actual maintenance process. An added bonus to this feature will be the tracking of Anhydrous Ammonia nurse wagons. NTIP inspections will be incorporated as part of the new VMC module so the maintenance and inspection of all vehicles can be accessed from one convenient place.
Compass Line of Services and Products Launched
Asmark Institute has reinvented the Compass line of services and products, featuring an expanded offering and better accessibility to the public. Non-retainer clients, such as farmers, will be able to order Asmark Institute products and services on an individual basis as well as a subscription basis. Access to the Compass line of services and products will also make it faster and more convenient for existing clients and State Associations to help their members. Credit cards will be accepted for quick and convenient checkout of the Compass line. A portion of the proceeds from the new Compass line will still continue to support our affiliated State Associations and agricultural industry. The new Compass line of services and products will include:
  • Driver Qualification Files
  • Hand-Plan Emergency Plan
  • Training Kits (28 subjects)
  • Vehicle Maintenance Module
  • Respiratory Qualification
  • WPS Recordkeeping Forms
  • Fire Prevention Plan
  • Written Programs (10)
  • DOT Shipping Documents
  • Compliance Assessment Tool
  • Wallet Cards
  • Safety Data Sheet Manual
  • Risk Management Plan
  • SARA Tier II Report
  • Pesticide-Production Report
  • Workplace Chemical List
  • Emergency Response Training
  • Applicator Manual
  • Professional Applicator Training
  • Ammonia Technician Training
  • Regulatory posters (3)
EPA Transitions to Voluntary Web-Distributed Labeling System
EPA's Web-Distributed Labeling Workgroup recently announced the agency has decided to reconsider the concept of web-distributed labeling. This change in direction will discontinue the effort to force all registrants to remove the printed labels from all pesticide containers and place them on a website for reference. The agricultural industry has expressed great concern to EPA over this issue in the past. EPA is now considering a transition to a voluntary web-distributed labeling system whereby products would retain the full printed labeling with the pesticide container in addition to a reference statement directing users to a central website where they could download enforceable labeling specific to their state and intended use site.
New Safety Chains Decal
New Safety Chains Decal Available Online
A new "Safety Chains" decal has been added to the Signs & Decals section of our Online Catalog. This 2" x 6" decal can be used on any piece of equipment where safety chains should be present and in good operating condition. The decals are $ .25 each. Click here to order.
New Drug Testing Form Required October 1, 2011
A new Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form (CCF) must be used for all mandatory drug tests beginning October 1, 2011. In order to accommodate the form's use within our transportation industry program, the DOT is making a few necessary regulation changes in order for collectors, laboratories, and Medical Review Officers to know how to use the new form. DOT-regulated employers and their service agents were authorized to begin use of the new CCF on October 1, 2010. However, DOT recognized there would be large supplies of old CCFs available after the start date. To avoid wasting the old forms, the Department permitted use of the old CCF until September 30, 2011. After that date, collectors and laboratories are not to use any of the old CCFs in the DOT testing program. Click here to review the full text version.
Underreporting of Workplace Injury/Illness Studied
Although studies indicate a drop in the number of nonfatal injuries in recent decades, there is evidence that nonfatal injury surveillance significantly underreports workplace injuries. Based on the potential underreporting, NIOSH proposes to conduct two studies to:
  • Assess worker reporting behavior;
  • Characterize the chronic aspects of work injuries or illnesses;
  • Estimate the prevalence of work-related chronic injuries and illnesses among workers treated in emergency departments;
  • Characterize worker/employment characteristics associated with non-reporting and incentives/ disincentives to reporting;
  • Examine incentives and disincentives for identifying work-relatedness to employers and medical professionals; and
  • Test if hospitals are properly distinguishing between work and non-work-related injuries.
Between 2,100 and 3,600 interviews will be completed in the study according to NIOSH officials.
Statistics Show OSHA is Serious About Injury, Illness Recordkeeping
To date, 582 citations have been issued for recordkeeping violations under a national emphasis program (NEP). On October 1, 2009, OSHA initiated the NEP, which assesses the accuracy of injury and illness data recorded by employers. According to data provided by OSHA, since that time there have been 301 federal jurisdiction inspections opened for the NEP through August 18, 2011. Of those, 169 inspections have resulted in citations for recordkeeping violations. In total, there have been 582 citations for recordkeeping issued with almost $900,000 in penalties.
Although the current NEP is set to expire in February 2012, employers should be aware that OSHA is diligently inspecting occupational injury and illness records prepared by businesses and appropriately enforcing regulatory requirements when employers are found to be under-recording injuries and illnesses. The inspections include a records review, employee interviews, and a limited safety and health inspection of the workplace. The NEP focuses on selected industries with high injury and illness rates.
OSHA Extends Comment Period on Illness, Injury Rulemaking
OSHA recently announced the comment period for recordkeeping requirements on illness and work-related injury reporting has been reopened. The comment period is now set to close on October 28, 2011. The revised OSHA proposal would require employers to report to the agency any work-related fatalities and all in-patient hospitalizations within eight hours, and any amputations within 24 hours. The agency also proposes to update Appendix A of the recordkeeping regulations that lists industries partially exempt from the requirements to maintain work-related injury or illness logs due to relatively low injury incidence.
CFATS Program Update From DHS
DHS recently issued the following update on facilities covered under the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program.
  • DHS received an estimated 40,000 Top-Screens to date.
  • DHS issued preliminary tier notification to an estimated 7,000 facilities, out of the 40,000 Top-Screens received and analyzed.
  • CFATS covers 4,569 facilities to date.
Tier
Final Tiered Facilities (3,951)
Facilities Awaiting Final Tier (618)
1
99
3
2
502
37
3
1,155
135
4
2,195
443
Of particular note, nearly 1,300 facilities have ceased handling the chemical(s) of interest entirely that required them to initially submit a Top-Screen. An additional estimated 600 facilities no longer inventory the quantity of the chemical(s) of interest that meets the threshold to require submission of a Top-Screen.
Congress Addressing GPS vs. LightSquared Battle
The dispute between LightSquared, Inc. and global positioning system device manufacturers recently shifted back to Congress, where several House Armed Services Committee members criticized the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for "advocating" for LightSquared at the expense of critical GPS operations. The FCC has withheld final approval until the interference issues are resolved.
U.S. Chamber Sues NLRB to Block Union Notification Rule
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit recently against the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) challenging the Board's new rule requiring businesses to post notices explaining employees' rights to unionize. The Chamber's lawsuit alleges that the misguided NLRB rule violates federal labor and regulatory laws as well as the First Amendment. The case, Chamber of Commerce, et al. v. National Labor Relations Board, et al. is in the U.S. District Court of South Carolina.
EPA Inspector General Says Agency Took Short Cut on Climate Change Science Review
EPA's Inspector General, the agency's internal watchdog, reported that while EPA met all requirements for greenhouse gas emissions rule-writing and determining if supporting information was qualified, the agency should have conducted its own peer review of the supporting science rather than relying on reviews done by other organizations. The report was done after Senator Jim Inhofe (R, OK), ranking member of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, said the agency's so-called "endangerment finding" - that greenhouse gasses are a threat to human and animal health - was done in violation of EPA's science review process. EPA said, "...we disagree strongly with the Inspector General's finding and followed all appropriate guidance in preparing the (endangerment) finding." Inhofe said the report confirms the EPA action was "rushed, biased and flawed," and called on Senator Barbara Boxer (D, CA), Chair of his committee, to hold immediate hearings on the Inspector General's report. EPA said "the report does not question or even address the science used or the conclusion reached...that greenhouse gas pollution poses a threat to the health of the American people. Instead, the report is focused on questions of process and procedure."
KIC by 2025 - New Nutrient Stewardship Effort
Illinois agriculture organizations have formed a new, collaborative program to promote, implement and track the rate of adoption of enhanced nutrient stewardship practices by Illinois agricultural producers. "Keep it for the Crop by 2025" will focus on the 4R's of Nutrient Stewardship: Right Source, Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) has identified six priority watersheds for nutrient reductions including Lake Bloomington, Lake Vermilion, Lake Decatur, Vermilion River (Illinois Basin), Salt Fork Vermilion River (Wabash Basin) and Lake Mauvaisse Terra. "The lakes and rivers in these watersheds have water quality problems due to too much nitrogen or phosphorus, or both," said Marcia Wilhite, IEPA's Bureau of Water Chief. "Illinois EPA strongly endorses efforts to promote voluntary action by producers to adopt nutrient stewardship practices in their watersheds. If everyone does their part, we can assure clean water for future generations."
The Illinois Council on Best Management Practices (CBMP) will implement the KIC by 2025 program. CBMP's members include the Illinois Corn Growers Association, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association, Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Pork Producers and Syngenta Crop Protection. "Farmers are very concerned about good stewardship and water quality," said Gary Hudson, a corn grower and President of CBMP. "That is why we developed the KIC program and we encourage everyone to help us in our efforts to educate not only growers, but our communities as well as this program goes forward."
KIC by 2025 lays out a framework to continually promote, implement and measure adoption of the 4R system by producers and agricultural retailers who provide custom nutrient application. According to Jean Payne, President of the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA), the industry is also working to secure dedicated funding from the ag sector for KIC by 2025 with state legislation that creates the Illinois Nutrient Research & Education Council. In the meantime, start-up funding for the program is being provided by the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, the Illinois Soybean Association and IFCA fertilizer manufacturer members Agrium, CF Industries, Koch Fertilizer, The Mosaic Company and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan.
Environmental organizations also express support for the program. Jack Darin of the Illinois Sierra Club said: "We know farmers want clean water, and we also know they want to avoid waste and unnecessary costs in their operation. By using the latest techniques and knowledge to apply the right amount of nutrients, at the times when the crops need it, farmers can cut costs and improve water quality."
Phillip Nelson, President of the Illinois Farm Bureau, reinforced that Illinois producers are major stakeholders in these efforts. "We have always believed that farmers are among the original stewards of our soil and water," he said. "KIC by 2025 will provide the resources, knowledge and outreach needed to ensure that growers make the best possible decisions when it comes to implementing practices that protect our streams and rivers and further enhance nutrient efficiencies in agricultural production."
FMCSA Clarifies Guidance on Shipping Documents
FMCSA has issued regulatory guidance to clarify the appropriate and intended use of blank or incomplete documents under 49 CFR 375.501(d). Carriers may require shippers to sign incomplete, but not blank, documents so long as the omitted information is limited to:
  • Actual weight of the shipment, in the case of non-binding estimates; and
  • Unforeseen charges incurred in transit.
This guidance also clarifies that carriers may not require shippers to sign "Revised Written Estimates," "Rescissions of Old Estimate," or other documents authorizing the carrier to rescind an estimate unless the shipper and carrier mutually agree to amend the estimate, and the shipper signs a new estimate before the carrier loads the shipment. The guidance became effective on August 15, 2011. Click here to review the Federal Register notice.
Department of Labor Proposes Updates to Child Labor Laws
The U.S. Department of Labor is proposing revisions to child labor regulations that haven't been updated since 1970. The proposal would strengthen current child labor regulations prohibiting agricultural work with animals and in pesticide handling, timber operations, manure pits, and storage bins. It would prohibit farm workers under age 16 from participating in the cultivation, harvesting and curing of tobacco. And, it would prohibit youth in both agricultural and nonagricultural employment from using electronic devices, including communication devices, while operating power-driven equipment. The department is also proposing to create a new non-agricultural hazardous occupations order that would prevent children under 18 from being employed in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials. Prohibited places of employment would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges, and livestock auctions. Additionally, the proposal would prohibit farm workers under 16 from operating almost all power-driven equipment. A similar prohibition has existed as part of the non-agricultural child labor provisions for more than 50 years. The public is invited to provide comments on this proposal by November 1, 2011.
Jay Vroom Interviewed by Dan Rather's News Program
The CropLife America (CLA) offices were quite busy recently as they hosted the camera crew for Dan Rather Reports, a news program hosted by the well-known reporter, to discuss the value of crop protection products in U.S. agriculture, and the health of pollinators. The producer of the program reached out to CLA to gain additional insight into the discussion surrounding bee health and the potential of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), as well as to gain additional information about the benefits of crop protection products. This resulted in a 40-minute interview in which Jay Vroom, President and CEO of CropLife America, had the opportunity to discuss the rigorous health and safety tests that all products must undergo, as well as the mutual beneficial relationship between agriculture and beekeepers. CLA expects the final segment to air sometime this fall. Dan Rather Reports is an Emmy-winning news program that currently runs on HDNet. Click here for more information about when the show will air.
CAST President Award Given to A.G. Kawamura and Jay Vroom
The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) President's Award was presented to A.G. Kawamura, farmer and former California Secretary of Agriculture, during the CropLife America (CLA) Government Policy Weekend - Board of Directors dinner in Laguna Niguel, California. Jay Vroom was also honored to be presented the award! Dr. John Bonner, Executive Vice President of CAST, along with Chuck Conner (National Council of Farmer Cooperatives) and Barb Glenn (CLA), represented the CAST board of trustees and board of directors respectively, presented the award and congratulated both recipients for their contributions to agriculture and agricultural science and technology. The award is a walnut plaque with a Jerry Palen bronze depicting sun, air, soil and water inscribed with "No other human occupation opens so wide a field for the profitable and agreeable combination of labor with cultivated thought, as agriculture." This is the same quote by Abraham Lincoln given in a speech on agriculture at the Wisconsin State Fair in 1849 and hangs in the CLA Lincoln conference room.
2011 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.