GreenPoint AG has always emphasized safety and regulatory compliance, and that was recently confirmed when the company achieved a major milestone with all 52 locations becoming certified through the ResponsibleAg Certification Program. As an early adopter of the ResponsibleAg program, GreenPoint AG made a firm commitment to bring all facilities into full compliance and continually improve practices to provide a safe workplace for employees and show it cares about the communities in which it does business. Certification at each location includes an audit of over 400 comprehensive questions broken down into the functional areas of the facility. While recertification through ResponsibleAg takes place every three years, GreenPoint AG takes the extra step to ensure continued excellence with its own quarterly audits at each location. Kudos to GreenPoint AG for being a role model for others in the industry!
Hurry and reserve your seat for the 2nd annual ResponsibleAg dinner for credentialed auditors. This special event recognizing auditors will be held August 20th in conjunction with the Annual National Agronomic, Environmental, Health and Safety School in Bloomington, IL. The event will take place at the Asmark Institute Agricenter with a social hour starting at 5:00 p.m., followed by dinner at 5:30 p.m.
Since 2014 when ResponsibleAg began, more than 2,750 audits have been completed by 106 credentialed auditors. In addition, more than 1,420 facilities have been certified. These achievements would not have been possible without our credentialed auditors.
Please R.S.V.P. by August 15th to Helpdesk@ResponsibleAg.org. If you have questions, contact the Helpdesk at 270-683-6777 or by email at Helpdesk@ResponsibleAg.org.
The annual National Agronomic, Environmental, Health & Safety School (NAEHSS) will be held at the Asmark Institute Agricenter in Bloomington, IL, on August 20-21, 2019.
The safety school provides those in agriculture valuable insight into a host of regulatory topics the industry faces. The program includes an exceptional lineup of speakers from industry as well as from state and federal agencies. The school is the premier event for EHS&S professionals to network with their peers. Visit naehss.org for more information and to register.
The school has been held in conjunction with IFCA’s MAGIE Show in Bloomington since the early 2000’s, and participants are encouraged to visit the show Wednesday afternoon following the school. Show your safety school name badge for free admission to MAGIE.
Safe + Sound, OSHA's national year-round campaign to encourage every workplace to have a safety and health program, includes both employers and workers. The campaign includes quarterly events on building an effective safety and health program in your workplace. Participants can learn about best practices during webinars and put them into action during the 30-day challenges. These events also focus on management leadership, worker participation and finding and fixing hazards. Participating in Safe + Sound Week, August 12-18, 2019 is easy. Sign up on the Safe + Sound website.Back to Top
Want help preparing for an OSHA Regional Emphasis Program (REP) inspection? Then look no further than the new OSHA REP video that was created through a collaboration between OSHA, TFI, ARA and ResponsibleAg. The 10-minute video helps retail farm centers who haven’t been through an OSHA audit prepare for one. The video gives a brief overview of the OSHA inspection process and was filmed at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY, where ResponsibleAg auditor training is conducted. You can watch the video on either the ResponsibleAg.org in News by clicking Media or the OSHA.gov websites Back to Top
If you haven’t read the last few "Faces of ResponsibleAg" articles in CropLife magazine, be sure to check out this series that highlights the people and facilities involved with ResponsibleAg. Articles explain why organizations are choosing to become ResponsibleAg certified and how the program helps them improve their safety and compliance practices and their businesses.
In the April story, Chuck Magro, President and CEO of Nutrien, shares his perspective on a difficult lesson the chemical industry learned from a 1984 toxic gas escape in India that killed tens of thousands of people. The chemical industry vowed to prevent future incidents and banded together to improve safety. Chuck relates how that industry’s efforts influenced him and why ResponsibleAg should be a core part of the ag retail industry’s safety and compliance programs. Read the April article here.
How does Premier Ag ensure that seasonal workers who help with nutrient application, planting and pest control are prepared to follow the same safety and compliance practices that full-time employees do? In the May article, Tom Wenning, Operations Manager in Salem and Corydon, IN, explains how seasonal workers are trained by experienced workers during onboarding and get ongoing training related to work being done or conditions they may encounter. He relies heavily on ResponsibleAg for training resources such as the Compliance Assistance Library, which summarizes regulations in laymen's terms.
In June, Tim McArdle highlights how ag retailers, who are often seen as competitors, joined forces in ResponsibleAg to benefit local communities, employees and the industry through safer operations. McArdle, COO and Executive Vice President of Brandt Consolidated, Inc., and Chairman of the Board for ResponsibleAg, says “Being pro-active and certifying that our facilities are compliant with the hundreds of federal regulations not only improves safety, but also shows the industry is responsible.”
You can find a link to all Faces of ResponsibleAg articles in the News section of ResponsibleAg.org.
After almost 50 years since powered industrial truck (PIT) standards were introduced, OSHA is requesting information to update them. Powered industrial trucks include forklifts, fork trucks, tractors, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks and other specialized industrial trucks powered by an electrical motor or an internal combustion engine. The standards became effective in 1971 and were based on industry consensus from 1969. Since then, national consensus standards have been updated several times.
OSHA is requesting information on:
DOT launched a new website with information about the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. The clearinghouse will help employers identify drivers who are not legally permitted to operate commercial motor vehicles due to drug and alcohol program violations. This secure online database will provide access to real-time information, ensuring that drivers committing these violations complete the necessary steps before getting back behind the wheel or performing any other safety-sensitive function.
Visit the DOT website to learn more about how CDL drivers and their employers will be required to use the clearinghouse beginning January 6, 2020.
As a new crop of OSHA agents completes training, job-site inspections are expected to increase. U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta says OSHA hired 76 new inspectors in fiscal year 2018, and that it would be anywhere from a year to three years before they will be ready to conduct field inspections on their own, depending on their prior experience and the complexity of inspections they may carry out.
OSHA conducted 32,000 inspections each year in 2017 and 2018, an increase from 2016 figures. Budget requests for 2020 are $557 million, an increase from last year, to pay for additional staff, including 30 additional compliance officers and five more whistleblower investigators. In addition, in fiscal year 2018, OSHA personnel made 26,362 compliance assistance visits covering more than 970,000 workers and ensuring that 135,021 hazards were identified or corrected.
DOT published a final rule that makes technical corrections to the regulations governing drug testing for safety-sensitive employees to ensure consistency with recent amendments made to DOT’s "Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs."
The rule reflects added requirements for testing for oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone and hydromorphone to DOT-regulated drug-testing programs. The new changes make it necessary to refer to these substances, as well as morphine, 6-acetylmorphine and codeine, by the term "opioids" rather than "opiates."
A new certified applicator training module for paraquat dichloride, also known as paraquat, is now available. The training was developed by paraquat manufacturers and approved by EPA. Paraquat is one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S. for the control of weeds in many agricultural and non-agricultural settings, as well as a defoliant on crops such as cotton prior to harvest. Paraquat is a restricted-use pesticide for use only by a certified applicator. The restriction applies to mixing, loading and applying paraquat, as well as other pesticide handling activities.
Since 2000, 17 deaths have been caused by accidental ingestion of paraquat. Many of these deaths resulted from people illegally transferring the pesticide to beverage containers and later mistaking it for a drink. A single sip can be fatal. In addition to deaths by accidental ingestion, since 2000, three more deaths and many severe injuries have resulted when the pesticide got onto the skin or into the eyes of those working with it.
To help prevent these tragedies, certified applicators must now take paraquat-specific training before use, to emphasize that the chemical must not be transferred, to or stored in, improper containers. The training also covers paraquat toxicity, new label requirements and restrictions, consequences of misuse, and other important information. View the EPA-approved training module now.
U.S. DOT's Office of Inspector General announced it is opening an audit to evaluate the DOT medical certification program. The announcement comes after criminal charges were filed against medical examiners who issued fraudulent medical certificates, as well as a rise in motor carrier fatalities. Fatalities in crashes involving large trucks or buses grew from 4,397 in 2012 to 4,879 in 2017, an 11 percent increase. The objectives of the audit will be to evaluate the FMCSA’s procedures for oversight of its medical certificate program and to validate information in the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
Welcome to these facilities that are now Committed, Compliant, Safe, and Certified. Congratulations to all! To date, more than 2,750 locations have achieved certification. Great work everyone!
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.