It’s a startling fact that, each year, more than 2,100 North Americans are killed or seriously injured because of unsafe behavior around tracks and trains. In the United States alone, a person or vehicle is hit by a train about every three hours. And most people don’t know it can take more than a mile to stop a train – the equivalent of about 18 football fields.
The upcoming harvest season means agricultural equipment and trucks will be passing through railroad crossings, many without signals. So now is a good time to reiterate safety measures to follow near railroads. Please join ResponsibleAg in observing Rail Safety Week, which helps raise awareness of the need for rail safety education and encourages drivers and pedestrians to practice safe behavior near railroad tracks. This year, Mexico will join the U.S. and Canada in observing Rail Safety Week.
Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), the national rail safety education nonprofit, along with the U.S. Department of Transportation and other organizations, observes Rail Safety Week each year. This year’s activities will emphasize social media and virtual safety messaging. To learn about local Rail Safety Week efforts, contact your Operation Lifesaver State Coordinator.Back to Top
If you’re thinking about becoming a credentialed auditor for ResponsibleAg, don’t miss your opportunity to sign up for the final Auditor Training Course of 2020. The session is set for November 10-13 in Owensboro, Kentucky, at the Ford B. West Center for ResponsibleAg. The Center is a former agrichemical facility retrofitted specifically for training purposes. Social distancing measures are in place for this classroom and ‘hands-on’ course. Register now while seats are still available!
Want to learn more about becoming an auditor? Visit the “Become an Auditor” section on the ResponsibleAg.org home page or call 270-683-6777.Back to Top
You make safety a 24/7, 365-day effort for everyone working at your facility or business -- all with the ultimate goal of keeping everyone safe and preventing workplace injuries and fatalities. Yet most people tend to get into routines that may not always include the safest actions. When you become a member and participate in ResponsibleAg, part of the value is having access to a number of resources that help enforce safety as a top priority.
These resources include the ResponsibleAg facility checklist that identifies the 17 areas that may be covered by a ResponsibleAg facility assessment. It addresses topics from safe practices for handling, storing and treating seed to a Lockout/Tagout Program. Facilities registered with ResponsibleAg also have unlimited access to the Compliance Assistance Library, the Compliance Assessment Tool, EZ-Search, the MyRMP Suite of Guidance and much more. To learn more about the benefits of participating in the program, visit responsibleag.org.Back to Top
Even before the coronavirus health pandemic, many who make their livelihood in agriculture were facing some unparalleled challenges. In this Agweb article, read about strategies that will make a big difference to a person’s outcomes and outlook. Managing stress is crucial to keep it from ruining precious relationships and vital business partnerships. As an organization, ResponsibleAg believes those in the industry can benefit from some key takeaways found in this article.Back to Top
Number 10 on the current ResponsibleAg list of Top 25 Audit Issues is Confined Space Entry Annual Review. The basic requirement calls for documented review of the permit space program using canceled permits kept from the past year. Review may include any hot work permits issued for confined spaces (29 CFR 1910.146(f)(15)). Grain handling facilities are also subject to this requirement; see 29 CFR 1910.272(g).
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 regulation in question.Back to Top
Brian Miller is the lead instructor for the ResponsibleAg Auditor Training Course and ResponsibleAg verification auditor. In the September Faces of ResponsibleAg, Miller explains how well-trained auditors identify safety risks and correct problems, ultimately preventing workplace injuries and fatalities. “When you consider all the ResponsibleAg audits that have been completed, there is an extremely high likelihood we have helped prevent someone from getting seriously hurt or killed. How do you put a price on that?” Miller asks. Read September Faces of ResponsibleAg.Back to Top
As harvest gets underway throughout the country, ResponsibleAg wishes all those who work in agriculture a safe and productive season. We encourage everyone whenever possible to take a break to ensure your safety and the safety of others during this busy season. The newsletter will take a short hiatus during this time. Make sure to check your inbox on December 10 for our next issue.Back to Top
Do you have an idea or two on how new and existing fertilizer technologies can be used to maintain or improve crop yields while reducing the impacts of fertilizer on the environment? If so, send them in to the Next Gen Fertilizer Challenges, a joint partnership between the EPA and USDA. The two agencies coordinate the competition with The Fertilizer Institute, the International Fertilizer Development Center, the National Corn Growers Association and The Nature Conservancy.
The program is broken into two challenges. The first aims to identify existing enhanced efficiency fertilizer (EEFs) that meet or exceed certain environmental and agro-economic criteria. This challenge has no monetary prize, but winners will receive scientific evaluation of the product and recognition from the EPA, USDA and other collaborators. The second challenge aims to generate new concepts for novel technologies that can help address environmental concerns related to agriculture practices while maintaining or increasing crop yields. A panel of expert judges will review the submissions. Each winner will receive at least $10,000. Registrants must submit entries for the first challenge by October 30, 2020, and by November 30, 2020, for the second challenge.Back to Top
Have you seen the new FDA web portal outlining its plan to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) over the next decade? Many believe we will see significant changes in the food system during the next 10 years ‒ more than we’ve seen in decades. The plan, called the New Era for Smarter Food Safety Blueprint, is centered around four core elements:
The plan is to create a more digital, traceable and safer food system that advances food safety and better prepares us for unexpected events that could impact the food supply, such as the pandemic we are experiencing now. Keep an eye out as the blueprint develops into a detailed action plan.Back to Top
The numbers to date are impressive. By June 2020, more than 130,000 employers have registered for the FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. Today, there are 971,914 driver accounts, and more than 1.1 million queries have been conducted. Only about 25,000 violations have been reported. Positive drug tests account for 80% of the total violations reported. Marijuana was the substance identified the most in positive drug tests. Any driver with a drug and alcohol program violation recorded in the Clearinghouse must be removed from safety-sensitive functions, including operating a commercial motor vehicle, until he or she has completed the return-to-duty process. More than 24,000 drivers are currently engaged in the return-to-duty process.Back to Top
ResponsibleAg is excited to introduce Lavern A. Williams of Southern States Cooperative, Johnston, South Carolina, as the most recently credentialed auditor for ResponsibleAg. Welcome to the team, Lavern!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.