The 2020 ResponsibleAg Audit Checklist is now available on the ResponsibleAg website.
You’ll find new questions related to federal regulatory requirements such as the new FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse for CDL drivers, plus clarifications in the guidance for agribusinesses operating in California. Review the new checklist today! It's a great tool for ensuring your facility is remaining in compliance between the three-year audit cycle.Back to Top
Harborview Farms is the first farm to receive certification from ResponsibleAg, completing the process in December 2019. Located in the Rock Hall, MD area, Harborview Farms covers approximately 13,000 acres and produces corn, wheat, and soybeans for the Mid-Atlantic region. The Hill family has been farming in Maryland since the early 1900’s, and today Harborview Farms is owned and managed by Trey Hill and his father Herman Hill. In addition to its commitment to safety and compliance, the farm focuses on sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship. Congratulations to Harborview Farms and Welcome to ResponsibleAg!
If you know farm operators interested in ResponsibleAg, invite them to visit ResponsibleAg.org to learn more.Back to Top
To remain credentialed and perform audits in 2020, ResponsibleAg auditors must complete an annual online refresher training tutorial. The online tutorial was created to update credentialed auditors on changes and provide a refresher on topics that serve as friendly reminders. If you haven’t completed that training, make sure to do so as soon as possible so you can conduct audits in 2020. The online refresher training is available on the ResponsibleAg website when you login to your Auditor account.Back to Top
Sign up today to reserve your spot for the 2020 Auditor Training Course scheduled for June 16-19, at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY. This unique ‘hands-on’ course is held in a former agrichemical facility retrofitted specifically for training purposes. The training takes a very practical and comprehensive approach to preparing auditors. Course instructor, Brian Miller, is well versed in health, safety and security practices and regulatory compliance.Back to Top
Participating in ResponsibleAg is a great benefit for busy retail personnel, because it provides useful resources covering the regulations affecting retail locations. The most recent example is the new FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse for CDL drivers. A concise summary of this regulatory standard is now in the ResponsibleAg Compliance Assistance Library, available to members online. Library documents are listed alphabetically by title, so it’s easy to page through the list to the topic needed. New documents and those revised in the last 6 months will show the date in red. The Compliance Assistance Library is easy to use, and the regulatory summaries include links to the detailed regulations. They also can be printed as reference and training handouts.Back to Top
Spam, not spam? ResponsibleAg never sends solicitation or junk mail. Emails from ResponsibleAg are always worth opening, especially the quarterly email notices reminding audited facilities to review their Corrective Action Plans (CAP). Why? The email explains how to log into the ResponsibleAg website where you’ll find your list of corrective actions that are due in order to reach certification. The quarterly emails are sent to ensure you review the list, make the needed corrections and enter the completion date online.
Remember, to achieve certification:
You’ve made the commitment to participate in the ResponsibleAg program, so make sure members of your local community know about it. To help you promote your pledge to keep employees, customers and your community safe, ResponsibleAg offers a brochure highlighting the program and the certification process. You are encouraged to hand out the brochure at winter grower meetings, local tradeshows and any other events you attend. Order the brochure through our Online Store, with or without your company’s logo. Non-branded brochures are free. Your business can make the brochure its own by adding your company logo for a small fee.Back to Top
The word audit may send shivers down the spine of the toughest facility manager, but officials at the J.R. Simplot Company find that audits completed by ResponsibleAg-credentialed auditors benefit their organization. Simplot personnel say recertification after three years is a way to make compliance and continued improvement easier. Read the January issue of Faces of ResponsibleAg to learn why Simplot encourages location managers to use the audit questions on an ongoing basis.Back to Top
ResponsibleAg welcomes River Bend Ag, LLC of New Madrid, MO. This wholesale fertilizer distributor and supplier to the industry recently signed on as a ResponsibleAg participant. Safety, security and regulatory compliance are important responsibilities for organizations at every level of the fertilizer industry. Kudos to River Bend Ag for joining ResponsibleAg to support ag retailers in their efforts to be Committed, Compliant and Safe!Back to Top
Number 8 on the ResponsibleAg list of Top 25 Audit Issues involves Portable Gas Containers. Employers must ensure employees are protected from the hazards of storing and transferring gasoline. A safety can is an approved metal container, of not more than 5 gallons capacity, having a spring-closing lid and spout cover and so designed that it will safely relieve internal pressure when subjected to fire 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
Has your company registered yet with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse? Registration became mandatory on January 6, 2020. This new database will identify drivers who move frequently and obtain CDLs in different states. Those CDLs will be linked to maintain complete and accurate information on such drivers.
Employers who are registered in the Clearinghouse database run queries to determine whether current and prospective employees have unresolved DOT drug and alcohol violations that prohibit them from performing safety-sensitive functions, such as driving a CMV. An employer or designated consortia or third-party administrator (C/TPA), such as a drug testing provider, must run a query before hiring a CDL driver as part of the pre-employment investigation process and annually for currently employed CDL drivers. Additionally, CDL drivers also must register in the Clearinghouse and provide consent to employers for running queries.
Employers are charged a fee for conducting queries and must purchase a plan so they can run the required queries. Although C/TPAs cannot purchase query plans, once registered themselves, they can conduct queries on behalf of their employers.
If you haven’t worked with your C/TPA to put a plan in place, do so today! Registration is available at the Clearinghouse website.Back to Top
The Department of Transportation (DOT) recently announced a final rule codifying a series of important reforms to the department’s rule making, guidance and enforcement practices. The rule increases transparency in the way the Department issues rules and guidance documents, and it strengthens due process in DOT enforcement actions.
The new rule permanently incorporates the Trump Administration’s regulatory reform policies on regulatory budgeting, the “2-for-1” plan and the Regulatory Reform Task Force. The rule codifies additional procedures for issuing the Department’s most costly rules, including enhanced opportunities for public participation. The rule clarifies that DOT’s guidance documents don’t impose legal obligations and can’t be used as a basis for enforcement. It also ensures due process protections for potential subjects of enforcement actions, including open and fair investigation and proceedings.Back to Top
The following real-life incident illustrates how important it is for companies to follow proper safety procedures for confined space entry and to test and monitor confined spaces for oxygen content before and during entry. A Delaware-based company is facing more than $550,000 in proposed penalties after a worker asphyxiated in a confined space. In spring 2019, the 29-year-old man was servicing a rail car when he lost consciousness during the task and was later pronounced dead. OSHA cited the company for four willful and three serious violations for failing to protect employees from the hazards of entering permit-required confined spaces; failure to retain the canceled entry permit; and inadequate respiratory protection procedures. In addition, the agency placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.Back to Top
On January 1, the DOT increased the minimum annual percentage rate for random testing for controlled substances on drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CVMs) that require a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The rate rose from 25 to 50 percent of the average number of drivers.
DOT is required to increase the minimum annual random testing percentage rate when the reported positive rate for use of controlled substances in any calendar year is equal to or greater than 1.0 percent. Because results of the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing Survey showed the positive rate for controlled substances had increased to 1.0 percent in 2018, DOT made the required increase in the random testing rate. The minimum annual percentage rate for random alcohol testing remains at 10 percent. Read the federal register notice.Back to Top
Preliminary data show that OSHA’s top three categories for violations in fiscal year 2019 ― fall protection, hazard communication and scaffolding ― held the top spots in the same order as in 2018. While other violations on the top 10 list switched spots in 2019, they all appeared on the 2018 list.
Have you taken action to guard against potential workplace hazards to ensure compliance and protect employees? Here are 2019's top 10 hazard categories, number of violations and most frequently cited violations:
Welcome to the facilities that have completed their Corrective Action Plans and are now Committed, Compliant, Safe, and Certified.
We'd also like to send a special Shout Out to the 26 locations noted below with an asterisk*. They have completed Recertification. This commitment to safety is a great example for all! Congratulations!
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.