Electricity was focus of day two of safety school

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BLOOMINGTON, ILL.—The National Agronomic Environmental Health and Safety School of 2012 concluded as the Midwest Ag Industries Exposition (MAGIE) began.

The longest presentation of the entire two-day safety school concluded the school before lunch. Bob LoMastro, president of LoMasto & Associates, Inc., which specializes in safety training services, provided a multi-media presentation about electrical hazards. As he noted, “all of us are exposed to electricity.”

The blame for coming into contact with electrical hazards has to be put on management when an employee is told to just do a job without verification that the employee is trained to deal with electrical situations—whether that be replacing an electrical outlet or not having the proper non-conductive gloves when doing a lock out/tag out. An employee needs to be qualified or stay completely away from doing anything related to electrical.

Additionally, LoMastro suggested it is better to have more than a single person making decisions involved with safety procedures to follow. Two or three people think of different solutions for problems.

Safe isn’t the word for dealing with electricity when SAFE stands for Shock; Arc Flash; Falls, fires, foul-ups; and Electrocutions (which means death). He went through a discussion of all these with a constant interaction with the school attendees.

Kris Phillips, hazardous materials program manager, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Midwestern Service Center, talked about the re-definition of tank vehicles, which has hit up against some push-back from a few state Departments of Transportation.

She talked about the requirement for a driver to have a tank endorsement when transporting liquid or gaseous materials that fit within the definition of a commercial motor vehicle. Phillips went through an exact explanation of the word of the 49 CFR 383.5 definition. It reads as follows: “Tank vehicles means any commercial motor vehicle that is designed to transport any liquid having an individual rated capacity of more than 119 gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or the chassis. A commercial motor vehicle transporting an empty storage container tank, not designed for transportation, with a rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that is temporarily attached to a flatbed trailer is not considered a tank vehicle.”

Mark McCloskey, environmental enforcement specialist, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, provided a state’s view of the new EPA container and repackaging regulations or the “Repackagers.” As he noted, the refillable containers regulations from the EPA have been in place for a year.

McCloskey went through the situations the state has run into as ag retailers have tried to comply with the repackaging in reuseable containers. There is no state enforcement in most situations or states because “states will conduct inspections and forward the results to the EPA; the EPA will handle all necessary enforcement actions, and the vast majority of states have no legal authority to seek enforcement actions related to (most parts of) this rule.” This non-state enforcement has caused frustration by state inspectors on being able to provide specific answers to questions because they cannot speak for the federal EPA officials.

The safety school concluded a little after 11 a.m., and many of the school attendees drove about two miles down the highway to take a look at the MAGIE show displays and talk to some of the Illinois state regulatory agency officials that had displays set up at the show.

The weather cooperated with a high 80s temperature and slight wind. The Ride and Drive areas for test driving applicator equipment were busy.

A special media ride and drive was organized by AGCO after the show hours for ag retailers and custom applicators. The media drove the 2013 versions of RoGators and TerraGators, and equipment specialists explained the modifications, improvements made to the equipment.

MAGIE ends at 2 p.m. on Thursday.

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