Disaster should never be the wakeup call the fertilizer industry needs to ensure that crop nutrients are being stored and handled safely. The explosion that rocked Beirut, Lebanon, August 4th, killing more than 100 people, injuring thousands and destroying or damaging property for miles, is a grim reminder of the importance of proactive efforts to safeguard communities and the continued success of our industry.
Where does your organization stand on its practices related to the safe handling and storage of ammonium nitrate and other products? To ensure your practices are exemplary, turn to Safety and Security Guidelines for the Storage and Transportation of Fertilizer Grade Ammonium Nitrate at Fertilizer Retail and Distribution Facilities. This resource was created through a joint effort of ResponsibleAg, TFI and ARA. It is one of the many resources available through the ResponsibleAg initiative, launched in 2014 to help agribusinesses ensure they are compliant with environmental, health, safety and security regulations to keep employees, customers and communities safe.
Participation in the ResponsibleAg Certification Program verifies our industry is doing what is right to protect people, property and the environment. This proactive effort also helps our industry guard against the potential for more legislation, increased regulation and added costs or complexity for agricultural businesses. Join today!Back to Top
Did you know that annually 5,000 workers are killed on the job (a rate of 14 per day) and more than 3.6 million suffer a serious job-related injury or illness? Serious job-related injuries or illnesses don’t just hurt workers and their families ‒ they can hurt businesses in a variety of ways. Continuously taking steps to advance your safety and health program is a way to improve your businesses’ safety and health performance, prevent workplace injuries and illnesses, save money and improve overall competitiveness.
As an organization committed to safety, ResponsibleAg is a proud supporter of OSHA’s nationwide Safe + Sound Campaign. Please join us in raising the awareness of the value and importance of workplace safety. The OSHA program provides valuable resources, consultations, webinars and training to help companies establish and continuously improve their safety compliance.
Get promotional ideas and see which companies from your state are participating.Back to Top
Sign up today to reserve your spot for ResponsibleAg’s 2020 Auditor Training Course, November 10th-13th. This comprehensive, four-day “hands-on” course is held at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY.
Who’s eligible to become an auditor? Minimum qualifications have been set to ensure that the experience, knowledge base and objectives of auditor candidates are as uniform as possible. These qualifications include:
Learn more at Responsibleag.org in the Become an Auditor section.Back to Top
Please join ResponsibleAg in welcoming Chelsea Owen as the new Program Manager. While she has a new title, Chelsea is no stranger to the organization or this position. Since the initiative launched, she has had a key role in ResponsibleAg by assisting previous program managers and serving temporarily as program manager. Please reach out to Chelsea at firstname.lastname@example.org or 270-683-6777 for any help you need with the program. Welcome aboard, Chelsea.Back to Top
As the number of COVID-19 cases rise in several areas of the country, don’t forget you have easy access to numerous helpful COVID-19 resources from ResponsibleAg. You’ll find resources that cover everything from the EPA’s COVID-19 disinfectant list to CDC guidance for agricultural workers and employers. Get the list here.Back to Top
As summer progresses and temperatures rise, employers must take steps to protect workers from extreme heat. OSHA requires employers to provide workplaces free of known safety hazards. Remember to take precautions and protect your workers against outdoor heat. OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention Campaign comes down to three simple words – Water. Rest. Shade.
Most outdoor fatalities ‒ 50% to 70% ‒ occur in the first few days of working in warm or hot environments, when the body hasn’t had a chance to build tolerance to the heat or develop heat acclimatization. Lack of acclimatization represents a major risk factor for fatal outcomes.
For more information on ways to protect your employees, visit the OSHA website for information on occupational heat exposure. Also, check out the NIOSH Heat Safety Tool Smartphone App as a helpful tool you and your employees can use.Back to Top
“Don’t think it can’t happen. Accidents can happen. Things out of our control can happen.” So says Paul Mullet, one of the owners and retired CEO and President of Excel Industries Inc., a manufacturer of outdoor power equipment. Following the killing of two employees, Mullet talks about the first steps the company took, how it moved forward and what it learned from the tragedy. We share this story because we believe you can learn from the Excel incident and apply those lessons in your business. Read the story here.Back to Top
Number 11 on the ResponsibleAg list of Top 25 Audit Issues is Training, Oxygen & Acetylene. Employers must provide training for employees who handle compressed gases. The Compressed Gas Association and OSHA 29 CFR 1910.101 establish uniform requirements to ensure that the hazards of compressed gases are evaluated, safety procedures are implemented, and proper hazard information is transmitted to all affected workers. Required training topics include the safe handling of compressed gases, general safety rules for specific types of gases, visual inspection of compressed gas cylinders, general safety rules for use of compressed gas and compressed gas storage locations.
For more information about these and other regulations and documentation, join ResponsibleAg. Program participants can quickly access all regulatory details by visiting the online Compliance Assistance Library. Each compliance assistance document contains a link to complete information about the regulations in question.Back to Top
Nearly 2,600 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, and 1,325 facilities are certified. We encourage you to register your facility today and remind you to schedule your audit for recertification, which is required every three years. For more information, go to Responsibleag.org.Back to Top
Two types of measurements can be used when assessing performance: leading indicators and lagging indicators. The former can be used to influence change, and Kevin Frye, Safety Services Manager, and the safety department at GROWMARK Inc. in Bloomington, IL, are using leading indicators to do exactly that. Frye says the organization’s level of participation in the ResponsibleAg program is giving rise to several leading indicators of improved safety for the regional agricultural supply cooperative and its FS Companies system. Read Growmark’s story.Back to Top
Have you ever wondered which areas are assessed during a ResponsibleAg audit? We encourage you to review the comprehensive auditor checklist (it covers up to 17 areas, depending on the operation) to see how many areas may apply to your facility. ResponsibleAg auditors, credentialed under the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, assess the level of compliance at each participating facility during an audit to help businesses identify problem areas and work toward meeting federal safety regulations. Browse the checklist now.Back to Top
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Chemical Facilities Anti-terrorism Standards program was set to expire on July 23rd, but it has been reauthorized for an additional three years through July 27, 2023. There are no other program changes. The program will continue to identify and regulate high-risk chemical facilities to ensure they have security measures in place to reduce the risks associated with those chemicals.Back to Top
Don’t forget that employers of CDL drivers must conduct a query of the Clearinghouse at least once a year for each CDL driver they employ. The annual query requirement is tracked on a rolling 12-month basis, and the one-year time frame resets with each query conducted on a driver. A limited query satisfies the annual query requirement. Employers must obtain a general consent from each CDL driver they employ before conducting a limited query in the Clearinghouse.
The Clearinghouse is a secure online database that gives employers, FMCSA, state driver licensing agencies and state law enforcement personnel real-time information about CDL driver drug and alcohol program violations, thereby enhancing safety on our Nation's roadways. Get more information at the Clearinghouse Learning Center.Back to Top
Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Department of Transportation may exercise discretion in determining whether to enforce 1) the minimum annual percentage random testing rates for drugs and alcohol and 2) the requirement that each employer ensures that the dates for administering random drug and alcohol tests are spread reasonably throughout the calendar year. If employers are capable of meeting these requirements, they must continue to do so.
Employers must continue to select drivers at the required rates for testing during the calendar year 2020: 50% of their average number of driver positions for controlled substances and 10% for random alcohol testing. If a test cannot be completed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the motor carrier must maintain written documentation of the reasons for noncompliance. For example, employers should document closures or restricted use of testing facilities or the unavailability of testing personnel. Additionally, employers should document actions taken to identify alternative testing sites or other testing resources.
Employers who are unable to ensure that the dates for administering random controlled substances and alcohol tests are spread reasonably throughout the calendar year should document the specific reasons they did not meet this requirement. For example, in addition to a lack of available testing facilities or personnel, there may be other factors, such as prolonged or intermittent driver furloughs due to COVID-19, that prevented compliance.Back to Top
A U.S. Court judge recently issued a decision preventing the State of California from requiring Proposition 65 labels on glyphosate products. Prop 65 warning labels are required for chemicals known to the state to cause cancer. The ruling supports Bayer/Monsanto’s First Amendment claim and grants a permanent injunction, potentially opening the door to future challenges of Prop 65 warning requirements.Back to Top
Congress is already working on approving a five-year surface transportation reauthorization bill for fiscal years 2021 through 2025. The current surface transportation bill, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015, expires on Sept. 30, 2020.
Write your Congressional representatives today telling them ag retailers and suppliers need their support in increasing rural infrastructure investment and modernizing federal commercial truck driver regulations. Doing so will provide more flexibility in delivering essential farm supplies to better meet customers’ needs while maintaining safety on the roads and highways.Back to Top
ResponsibleAg is excited to introduce Rick Cathcart of Brandt Consolidated, Inc, Highland Village, TX, as the most recently credentialed ResponsibleAg auditor. Welcome, Rick!Back to Top
Welcome to these facilities that are now Committed, Compliant, Safe, and Certified. We'd like to send a special shout out to the locations that have completed recertification, noted below with an asterisk*. The commitment to safety by all these facilities represents an incredibly positive and important effort for our industry. 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.