More visuals, banners that help differentiate articles and easy-to-find links are all part of our redesign of the ResponsibleAg e-newsletter. The new look is intended to improve readability and help you find the information you’re looking for. We hope you like the changes. We know we do.
We talked to a few of the attendees of last month’s ResponsibleAg Auditor Training Course, which was held at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, Ky. The West Training Center, a replica of an ag retail facility, is an ideal venue for hands-on auditor training.
Glenn Crowe, a safety consultant/independent auditor and owner of GSC Safety Consultants in Chattanooga, Tenn., has conducted numerous audits and developed a wide variety of safety and health programs throughout his 30+ year career. He says, “I’ve attended a lot of safety and health auditor training throughout my career, and no program compares to the individual and team in-the-field training exercises that are part of the ResponsibleAg auditor course. It’s invaluable. I recommend this training to any auditor because it teaches good auditing skills, regardless of the industry they work in.
“The exercise of auditing paperwork was especially beneficial. Each person is given a file cabinet and must audit the files inside. I’ve never done this in any training course. It teaches a person how to go through files and what to look for in specific areas when reviewing paperwork for compliance. It goes well beyond, for example, knowing that paperwork on a specific topic or regulation must be kept on file for a specific number of years.”
Lauren Haggerty, Safety Specialist with the J.R. Simplot Company in Boise, Idaho, also sang the praises of the Auditor Training Course: “Even though it’s four-and-a half days of training, it’s not death by PowerPoint. It’s a nice mix of classroom instruction, working with peers and individual tasks. I learn best by doing, and since the training center is just like being in an ag retail facility, it was the most realistic and hands-on training I’ve ever attended.
“Spending time with peers during the training, you realize every company has its challenges meeting safety regulations. We’re all working with facility managers, who balance production and safety requirements, to help them meet compliance regulations. It also reiterated that despite being competitors, we all want employees to go home safely. Safety isn’t a competition.”Back to Top
EH&S professionals in the agricultural industry can gain valuable insights into regulatory compliance issues facing the industry while also learning and networking with their peers at the National Agronomic, Environmental Health and Safety School, scheduled for August 24 in Bloomington, Ill. This event is held in conjunction with the Midwest Ag-Industries Exposition (MAGIE) trade show, sponsored by the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA). Safety school participants have the added advantage of being able to help celebrate MAGIE’s 40th anniversary, as well.
What’s Different This Year?
Learn from Industry Leaders
Portable fire extinguishers are a vital and required safety tool in nearly every aspect of an ag retail business. Keeping them in proper working order by inspecting, maintaining, and testing is not only important, but also required. The extinguishers must be visually inspected monthly and receive a maintenance check each year, with the maintenance date recorded and kept for one year after the last entry or the life of the shell, whichever is less. Stored pressure extinguishers do not require an internal examination.
Full details of the regulations governing portable fire extinguishers are available through the online Compliance Assistance Library from ResponsibleAg. Here, you’ll find complete details about all regulations governing your facility and specific ways to ensure compliance. For your own access to the Compliance Assistance Library and other helpful tools, register for ResponsibleAg today!Back to Top
Every facility is different, and areas found within each one determine what is covered during a ResponsibleAg audit assessment. Common assessment topics include Environmental Health, Safety and Security (EHS&S) documentation, maintenance records, the shop area and fuel storage. Can you name the other 13 areas that could be part of audit and which ones would be covered at your facility?Back to Top
Identifying potential safety risks and ultimately preventing workplace injuries and fatalities are all excellent reasons to schedule a ResponsibleAg audit by a credentialed auditor this summer. Recertification of facilities every three years helps keep participating facilities current with all federal compliance regulations.Back to Top
It’s not too late to participate in next month’s OSHA’s Safe + Sound Week, August 9-15. If you’re looking for ideas or resources to help showcase your ongoing workplace safety efforts, check out OSHA’s materials. They can help you plan your communications and events. Join ResponsibleAg and other businesses that support and participate in this annual nationwide event.Back to Top
Since the first ResponsibleAg audits were conducted in 2015, there have been:
More than 75,000 drug and alcohol program violations have been reported to the Department of Transportation (DOT) through the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse since Jan. 6, 2020. Positive drug tests account for more than 80% of the violations, and marijuana was detected in more than half of the drug test files in the Clearinghouse.
It’s important to let all employees who perform safety-sensitive functions, including CDL drivers, know that cannabidiol (CBD) product labeling may be misleading, since products can contain higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than the product label states. DOT’s drug and alcohol testing regulations do not allow drivers to use Schedule I drugs, including marijuana, for any reason, including medical reasons. Since all CBD products could lead to a positive drug test result, DOT-regulated safety-sensitive employees should exercise extreme caution if they consider using CBD products.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army are revising the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) and instituting a rulemaking process that will restore the clean water protections that were in place prior to the implementation of WOTUS in 2015. After additional review, the agencies noted that the Navigable Waters Protection Rule had significantly reduced such protections, especially in arid states such as New Mexico and Arizona. You can find details of the agencies’ plans, including the opportunity for public participation.
ResponsibleAg is excited to announce these individuals are now credentialed and available to audit ag retail facilities throughout the United States.
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.