ResponsibleAg hosted officials in October from EPA, DOT and DHS. For the fourth consecutive year, agency officials toured the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY. The tour detailed the industry-led initiative, showcased the facility audit process and ResponsibleAg Certification Program and demonstrated special aspects of the auditor training program. Key guests included Jim Belke, EPA Office of Land and Emergency Management, who oversees the Risk Management Program in the U.S.; John Heneghan, DOT Regional Director and David Wulf, Director for the Infrastructure Security Compliance Division of DHS. This year’s agency tour was held in conjunction with the ResponsibleAg Board of Directors meeting and Technical Committee meeting.
ResponsibleAg would like to thank the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and the Fertilizer Institute (TFI), especially Kyle Liske, from ARA, and Andy O’Hare and Justin Louchheim from TFI for their efforts to bring these influential agency leaders to Owensboro for the tour. To learn more about the ResponsibleAg program, visit ResponsibleAg.org.
OSHA has launched a new Regional Emphasis Program (REP) for Regions 6 and 7 to address the hazards of handling anhydrous ammonia and ammonium nitrate. It impacts all agricultural businesses in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. The REP started upon announcement in October with three-months of education and prevention outreach encouraging employers to bring their facilities into compliance with OSHA standards. Inspections are expected to start January 1, 2019 and run through September 30, 2019. OSHA has announced plans use the General Duty Clause as necessary.
All retail agricultural businesses in these states should prepare now for a potential OSHA visit. ResponsibleAg sent a letter to the agricultural business in the targeted states to help warn them of the REP and offer to provide assistance. Since OSHA doesn’t know what products are handled by each retailer, the agency is planning random visits of all retail agricultural businesses in these states. If inspectors see a potential violation - unrelated to anhydrous ammonia or ammonium nitrate - they are permitted to investigate further. Likewise, if you do handle these products, and the inspector sees a potential violation considered outside the scope of the REP, the inspector can investigate further.
ResponsibleAg can help you prepare for an inspection. Not a member yet? Visit ResponsibleAg.org to learn more about the program and the comprehensive library of information covering the federal regulations that apply to retail agricultural businesses, including questions OSHA is expected to ask during a REP inspection. The annual investment of $150 per facility for ResponsibleAg membership is considerably less than just one OSHA violation.
OSHA, TFI, ARA and ResponsibleAg have collaborated and are producing a video to help retail farm centers prepare for OSHA’s new REP. As outlined in the previous article, the Regional Emphasis Program (REP) covers hazards associated with ammonium nitrate and anhydrous ammonia. Just before Thanksgiving, a 6-member OSHA film crew lead by Robert Murphy from Chicago and Kimberly Darby from Washington DC filmed a mock REP audit. Brian Bothast, OSHA Compliance Assistance Specialist from Peoria, IL, served as the OSHA representative conducting the audit. The facility operations manager was played by Brian Mason working on behalf of ResponsibleAg. The video is expected to be ready and posted on the OSHA and ResponsibleAg websites in January 2019.Back to Top
The new ResponsibleAg trade show exhibit debuted at the ARA Convention and Expo in Boca Roton, FL, November 27-28th. Paul Poister, Communications Committee member, manned the booth and reports it received lots of rave reviews from those who stopped by. The new exhibit, created at the recommendation of the Board of Directors, clearly states the ResponsibleAg mission to help members become committed, compliant and safe. It’s light weight, convenient to ship and easy for one person to set up. The new exhibit will be used at major industry events. When you see it at a trade show in your area, be sure to stop by and say Hello!Back to Top
Mandy Stephens joined ResponsibleAg as Program Manager on October 1st. Stephens fills the shoes of Ewa Oller and has been learning the ropes from Chelsea Owen who has been pinch hitting since Oller relocated in early October due to her husband’s work with DHS. Welcome Mandy and thank you Chelsea for stepping in as the interim program manager and for helping get Mandy up to speed.Back to Top
Our most hearty congratulations go to Paul Derig, Chairman of the ResponsibleAg Technical Committee who is retiring at the end of 2018. Derig has been committed to environmental, health and safety efforts within the fertilizer and crop inputs industry for nearly 25 years. After a total of 41 years with the J.R. Simplot Company, he will retire from Simplot and ResponsibleAg in December.
A huge thank you to Derig for his dedication, regulatory expertise and time invested as part of the team that created the ResponsibleAg assessment checklist and overall program. Derig has always been there to help produce commonsense decisions on how the program should work as it was being developed and in the early years as it was being fine tuned.
If you, or someone you know, is interested in learning more and giving back to our industry, the ResponsibleAg Technical Committee is seeking a volunteer to join them. To apply or learn more, call or email Mandy Stephens, Program Manager, at 270-683-6777 or email@example.com. Stephens will pass names and contact information to the Board of Directors for review and consideration.
We would like to remind all auditors that the audit entry system will be down, as it has in the past years, for annual routine maintenance. For your convenience this will take place over the holidays, from December 21, 2018 to January 4, 2019. Access to the website for administering audits will be limited. Therefore, please enter all remaining 2018 audit results before December 21st.Back to Top
Each month, a new Faces of ResponsibleAg article appears in the CropLife magazine, highlighting why companies value being ResponsibleAg members. In the latest three issues, Environment, Health and Safety leaders from Tremont Ag, CHS and J.R. Simplot share how ResponsibleAg enhances their companies’ efforts to keep their employees, customers and communities safe. Read the latest Faces of ResponsibleAg articles here.Back to Top
The 2019 Auditor Training Course will be held June 18–21, 2019, at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY, a former agrichemical facility retrofitted specifically for training purposes. Seats for this comprehensive ‘hands-on’ course are limited to 24 for the four-day training. Sign up today while seats are still available!
To learn more about becoming an auditor, visit the “Become an Auditor” section on the home page of ResponsibleAg.org or call 270-683-6777. To register, click here.
Part of OSHA’s Walking and Working Surfaces (WWS) rule includes requirements for fall protection to be incorporated into ladders more than 24-feet tall. After November 19, 2018, all new fixed ladders must include a personal fall arrest system or ladder safety system. In the past, fixed ladders longer than 20 feet were required to have a safety cage. Under the previous rule, the cage was considered the fall protection for those ladders. Cages alone are no longer considered fall protection.
Start complying today. Your path to complying with the WWS will be a lot easier, and the expense can be broken down over several years. As existing fixed ladders need repair or replacement, upgrade by installing the required personal fall arrest system or ladder safety system. By November 19, 2036, all fixed ladders longer than 24 feet with cages must have a ladder climbing device or personal fall arrest system installed.
OSHA recently issued a memo stating that workplace safety incentive programs and post-incident drug testing are not prohibited. OSHA believes that many employers who implement safety incentive programs or conduct post-incident drug testing do so to promote workplace safety and health. Action taken under a safety incentive program or post-incident drug testing policy would only violate OSHA's anti-retaliation rule if the employer took the action to penalize an employee for reporting a work-related injury or illness rather than for the legitimate purpose of promoting workplace safety and health.
The agency also lists several instances of workplace drug testing that are permissible under its regulations, including:
When EPA’s Risk Management Program (RMP) rule became effective in 1999 many locations did their first RMP filing. RMP facilities are required to update and resubmit at least every 5 years, meaning they updated in 2004, 2009, 2014 and will again be required to update in 2019. It is hard to believe this program began 20 years ago. To avoid dealing with RMP this spring, getting a head start this winter is recommended. RMP compliance is an ongoing process, and winter is a great time to review your program, ensure operating procedures are current, and conduct a new hazard review and compliance audit. Don’t forget to complete your electronic filing before your anniversary date.Back to Top
We welcome these new auditors who have become credentialed under the ResponsibleAg Certification program.
Welcome to these facilities that have recently received certification from ResponsibleAg and are now Committed, Compliant, Safe, and Certified. Congratulations to all!
ResponsibleAg is an industry-led initiative committed to helping agribusinesses properly store and handle farm input supplies. The program helps members ensure they are compliant with environmental, health, safety and security regulations to keep employees, customers and our communities safe.