Volume 30
Sep 10, 2019

More than 3,000 Audits Completed by ResponsibleAg

ResponsibleAg achieved a major milestone last month as the 3,000th audit was completed at the West Geneva County Cooperative in Geneva, AL. Each completed audit means industry participation in ResponsibleAg keeps growing! The number is climbing fast. Since the 3,000th audit, ResponsibleAg has completed nearly 45 additional audits.

Facilities began signing up for audits in December 2014, and the first to complete the process and become certified was the Hillsboro, TN, location of Crop Production Services, now Nutrien Ag Solutions.

To ensure facilities are current on regulatory changes and to maintain certification, facilities must repeat the audit process every three years. For more information about the organization, the ResponsibleAg Certification Program or becoming a ResponsibleAg Credentialed Auditor, visit

OSHA Officials Tour ResponsibleAg Training Facility in Kentucky

Officials tour training center

ResponsibleAg and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) recently hosted OSHA officials from both the national and regional offices at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY, where ResponsibleAg auditor training is held. OSHA officials toured the training facility after attending the National Agronomic Environmental Health and Safety School (NAEHSS), held at the Asmark Institute Agricenter in Bloomington, IL. Both activities are outgrowths of the alliance kicked off in February 2019 between OSHA, TFI and the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA). Collaborating to increase participation in ResponsibleAg is one area of focus for this new alliance. Safety School and the training facility tour helped inform these OSHA decision makers about the ag retail sector generally as well as the objectives and operation of the ResponsibleAg Certification Program.

Back to Top

ResponsibleAg Auditors Recognized at Dinner During NAEHSS


There was a lot of camaraderie and story sharing when more than 35 credentialed auditors attended the third annual ResponsibleAg auditor dinner. The event was held in conjunction with the National Safety School on August 20th. Pete Mutschler, ResponsibleAg Board Secretary and Environmental and Safety Director for CHS, Inc., thanked credentialed auditors for their hard work and recognized their contributions to the program’s success. Since the first audit in December 2014, more than 3,000 audits have been completed by 136 credentialed auditors.

Safety School also was a success, with more than 140 folks from across the U.S. attending. EHS&S professionals heard from industry experts about issues affecting ag retailers. John Buckley, President and CEO of Wilbur-Ellis Company provided the keynote with a discussion on 5 Keys of Safety Culture. Other presentations included:

  • Andy O'Hare, Director of Government Affairs at TFI ― Update from Washington D.C.
  • Tom Bray, J.J. Keller ― Discussed the national drug and alcohol clearinghouse and entry-level driver training changes
  • Billy Pirkle, President of Pirkle Solutions, Inc. ― Provided an overview of how industry standards are developed
  • Chip Pew, Railroad Safety Specialist with Operation Lifesaver - Presented information on railroad safety
  • Ann Grevenkamp, OSHA ― Update on OSHA's Safe + Sound Campaign
  • Dr. Fred Whitford, Purdue University ― Presented information on selecting the right grade, diameter and length of hitch pin

The 2020 Safety School will be held on August 25-26 in Bloomington, IL. Registration for 2020 is open now so make plans to attend.

Back to Top

Recertification Audits ― Keeping Retailers Up To Date

Recertification Every 3 Years

Regulations set by OSHA, DOT, EPA and DHS are ever changing. To keep ag retailers as up to date as possible on regulations, ResponsibleAg’s Technical Committee continuously monitors regulatory agencies and legislative activity, updating the assessment checklist used during an audit. The 3-year audit cycle is in place to help personnel stay up to date on safe practices as well as new or updated rules and regulations. Regularly repeating the audit ensures facilities maintain a high level of emphasis on safety and that they remain compliant. Location managers can prepare for an audit by reviewing the assessment checklist, which is found on the ResponsibleAg website.

Back to Top

Visit with ResponsibleAg Leaders during TFI’s World Fertilizer Conference

For the first time ever, the ResponsibleAg Board of Directors and Communications Committee will both hold their annual in-person board meetings in Chicago in conjunction with TFI’s World Fertilizer Conference in Chicago, September 23-25. It’s a great opportunity for ResponsibleAg leadership to answer your questions or take comments about this voluntary industry initiative. Make sure to say Hello or share your thoughts about the program when you see a ResponsibleAg leader at the conference.

Haven’t attended the World Fertilizer Conference before? It draws more than 700 people from 60 different countries representing all sectors of the fertilizer industry. Speakers will discuss a number of topics that are disrupting the industry. To learn more about TFI’s Conference or to register, click here.

Back to Top

Stop Railway Tragedies ― Rail Safety Week is September 22-28

Rail Safety Week

About every three hours, a person or vehicle in the U.S. is hit by a train. While the number of highway-rail crossing collisions, deaths and injuries has dropped over the past 50 years, incidents occur all to often.

To raise awareness, Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), the national rail safety education nonprofit, the U.S. DOT and other organizations observe Rail Safety Week each year. The goal is to raise awareness of the need for rail safety education and empower the general public be safe near highway-rail grade crossings and railroad rights-of-way.

There is a different theme for every day during Rail Safety Week. For example, on September 22, it’s “No Photos on Tracks” and on September 28 it’s “Trespass Prevention – Bike Safety”, which includes promotions at school events and outreach at college campuses.

Last year’s campaign, #STOPTrackTragedies, generated nearly 3.7 million YouTube views and 18 million impressions on social and traditional media in the U.S. and Canada. More information about Rail Safety Week 2019 is available on the Operation Lifesaver, Inc. website. To learn about local Rail Safety Week efforts, contact your Operation Lifesaver State Coordinator.

Back to Top

December ― the Next ResponsibleAg Newsletter

ResponsibleAg is taking a short hiatus from sending its newsletter. We know October and November are some of the busiest months for our readers as harvest season gets underway. Watch your inbox December 10th to get the next ResponsibleAg newsletter.

Back to Top

IFCA ― Leadership in Promoting Ag Retail Safety

CropLife Faces

It’s no secret that the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) is at the forefront of ag retail safety. Jean Payne, IFCA President, credits the forward-thinking volunteer leaders of IFCA for paving the way in fertilizer industry safety in Illinois. But being a safety leader doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen without forming key industry partnerships, says Payne. The organization’s partnership with ResponsibleAg has helped the industry in Illinois reach a new level in retail ag safety.

“We’ve always had our own state programs to help with compliance, but the scale and scope of ResponsibleAg is a huge complement to anything that goes on at the state level because it’s overarching and consistent,” Payne says.

Read more about safety efforts in Illinois online in the News section of ResponsibleAg. You also can find this article in the September CropLife magazine.

Back to Top

Audit Issues Awareness – #6 Bloodborne Pathogens Program

Number 6 on the ResponsibleAg list of Top 25 Audit Issues is the Bloodborne Pathogens Program. This requires that employers have a written exposure control plan designed to eliminate or minimize employee occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Occupational exposure means reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that may result from the performance of an employee's duties. Employees trained in first aid/CPR meet the definition of occupational exposure.

For more information about these and other regulations and documentation, join ResponsibleAg. Program participants can quickly access all the details by visiting the online Compliance Assistance Library. Within each compliance assistance document, there is a link to complete information about the regulations in question.

Back to Top

News from Around the Industry

Self-Retracting Lifelines: Two Products Recalled

3M Fall Protection has announced an immediate stop use and product recall on two of its products:

  • DBI-SALA Twin-Leg Nano-Lok edge
  • Twin-Leg Nano-Lok Wrap Back Self-Retracting Lifeline (SRL)

This stop use recall affects all models of the Twin-Leg Nano-Lok edge and Twin-Leg Wrap Back SRLs introduced in 2013. The recall doesn't include the single-leg versions of these models. 3M determined that the devices' energy absorber may not properly deploy in a fall and under certain conditions. This could expose the worker to serious injury or death. There have been no reports of accidents or injuries associated with this issue. 3M is recalling all these devices for repair or replacement when a solution is identified, tested and certified. A cash refund also is available for returned devices.

Back to Top

OSHA Posts Enforcement Summary for FY 2018


OSHA posted its 2018 Enforcement Summary, highlighting the Agency's inspection statistics. The data shows that the number of programmed inspections continues to decline, while the percentage of unprogrammed inspections remains high.

In fiscal year (FY) 2018, OSHA conducted a total of 32,023 inspections. About 56 percent (18,067) were unprogrammed inspections, which include employee complaints, injuries/fatalities and referrals. The high percentage of unprogrammed inspections shows that OSHA devotes considerable resources responding to referrals and complaints. About 44 percent (13,956) were programmed inspections, which focus OSHA’s enforcement resources toward the industries and operations where known hazards exist (e.g., combustible dusts, chemical processing).

Back to Top

2019 International Roadcheck Results Released

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) recently released the results of Roadcheck 2019, which was held June 4-6, 2019. This year’s special emphasis was on steering and suspension systems. CVSA inspectors carried out 67,072 truck and bus inspections across Canada and the United States in the 3-day inspection and enforcement event. Of those inspections, 45,568 were North American Standard Level I Inspections. Level I Inspections involve a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of both driver requirements and vehicle safety, making it the most thorough of the levels inspections performed by enforcement. During the event, 21.5 percent of commercial motor vehicles that received Level I Inspections were placed out of service.

The top vehicle out-of-service conditions were for brake systems, tires and wheels, and brake adjustment. If you combine brake adjustment and brake system violations, it accounts for 45.1 percent of all out-of-service vehicle violations. The top driver out-of-service conditions were for hours of service, wrong class license and false record of duty status. In addition, there were 748 safety belt violations. Since its inception in 1988, more than 1.7 million roadside inspections have been conducted during International Roadcheck campaigns.

Back to Top

Proposed Changes to Hours of Service Rules Published

DOT has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to modify the hours of service (HOS) regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. The proposed rule has five key revisions:

  1. Change the short haul exception to the record of duty status (RODS) requirement available to certain CMV drivers by lengthening the drivers' maximum on-duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.
  2. Modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending the maximum window of permitted driving by 2 hours.
  3. Increase flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by requiring a break after 8 hours of driving time (instead of on-duty time) and allowing the requirement to be satisfied by a non-duty break from driving, rather than requiring an off-duty break.
  4. Modify the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10-hours off duty into two periods: one period of at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and the other period of not less than 2 consecutive hours, either off-duty or in the sleeper-berth. Neither period would count against the driver's 14-hour driving window.
  5. Allow one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than 3 hours, that would pause a truck driver's 14-hour driving window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.

Comments on the NPRM must be received on or before October 7, 2019.

Back to Top

DOT Offers Changes for CDL Applicants: Comment Period Ends Sept. 27th

U.S. DOT announced a proposed rule to reduce burdens and costs for commercial driver’s license (CDL) applicants by allowing them to take general and specialized knowledge tests in a state other than where they live. This proposal will reduce time and travel expenditures for driver applicants, without negatively impacting safety.

Under this proposed rule, a state would not be required to offer the knowledge tests to out-of-state applicants. However, if the testing state does offer the knowledge tests to these applicants, it would transmit the results to the state of domicile, which would be required to accept the results. The goals of the proposal are to reduce administrative costs and help alleviate testing delays while eliminating inconvenience and expense to CDL applicants. The 60-day public comment period for this proposed rule ends September 27, 2019.

Back to Top

Welcome ResponsibleAg Credentialed Auditor

A big Welcome to Andre Clark of The Andersons, Maumee, OH, the newest ResponsibleAg Credentialed Auditor!

Back to Top

More Facilities Earn ResponsibleAg Certification

Welcome to these facilities that are now Committed, Compliant, Safe, and Certified. Congratulations to all!

CHS, Inc. - Humboldt, MN
CHS, Inc. - Mitchell, SD
CHS, Inc. - Starkweather, ND
Coffee Farmers Coop - Manchester, TN
GreenPoint Ag - Wilson, AR
GROWMARK Illini FS - Martinsville, IL
GROWMARK New Century FS - Brooklyn, IA
Jackson Feed Mill - Jackson, TN
North Valley Ag Services - Chico, CA
Nutrien Ag Solutions - Deshler, NE
Nutrien Ag Solutions - Glasgow, KY
Nutrien Ag Solutions - Greenville, MS
Nutrien Ag Solutions - Guymon, OK
Nutrien Ag Solutions - Hancock, IA
Nutrien Ag Solutions - Hart, MI
Nutrien Ag Solutions - Hoxie, KS
Nutrien Ag Solutions - Jonesville, LA
Nutrien Ag Solutions - Minot, ND
Nutrien Ag Solutions - Pimento, IN
Nutrien Ag Solutions - Richland, IN
Nutrien Ag Solutions - Slayton, MN
Nutrien Ag Solutions - Vick, LA
Nutrien Ag Solutions - Winthrop, IA
Pinnacle Agri. Distributors, Inc. - Kingsdown, KS
Simplot Grower Solutions - Five Points, CA
Simplot Grower Solutions - Hanford, CA
Simplot Grower Solutions - Liberty, TX
Simplot Grower Solutions - Tulare, CA
Southern States Cooperative - Tarboro, NC
The Andersons, Inc. - Litchfield, MI
Back to Top


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.