Sulfur Dust Explosions in Fertilizer Retail Facilities The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) has prepared the “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) document about Process Safety Management (PSM) and the Risk Management Plan Program 3 (RMP 3). This FAQ is designed to help agricultural retailers begin to understand the effects of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) recent policy change regarding what facilities qualify for the retail exemption under PSM. Besides general lack of knowledge about the requirements of PSM, TFI has also heard several questions about specific compliance issues, including onsite propane tanks, federal design and maintenance standards, and facilities ability to avoid compliance through switching to an agricultural operations NAICS code. This document is not exhaustive, but we hope it helps agricultural retailers begin to understand PSM and RMP 3. While we are providing this document to assist with compliance, we also understand that the six month compliance period provided by OSHA is not nearly enough time for agricultural retailers to meet their compliance obligations for PSM and RMP 3. We have joined the Agricultural Retailers Association in requesting more compliance time from OSHA (see above). In the letter we request an additional three years of compliance time.
TFI/ARA Sulfur Dust Memo
OSHA Combustible Dust
IPNI Sulfur Memo
TFI Requests Phase-In Extension from OSHA on PSM Requirements for Retailers
On September 8th The Fertilizer Institute wrote to OSHA to request an extension and phase-in of the implementation of the Process Safety Management (PSM) regulations that will now apply to agricultural retail facilities due to OSHA’s July 22, 2015 memo that changed the definition of the “retail exemption.” They requested the extension and phase-in of compliance for newly covered facilities to comply with PSM be three years. TFI and MCPR believe that a three year extension is necessary for retailers to understand, make any necessary upgrades, and fully implement PSM at their facilities.
You can read the entire letter here.
Process Safety Management (PSM) for Ag Retailers Document from Asmark Institute
TFI FAQ Document on PSM and Program 3 RMP
BNSF Railroad Responds to MCPR Concerns about Fertilizer Delivery Issues
STB Directs RR's to Report on Fertilizer Delivery Issues
AFREC Research on Corn following Alfalfa
Sixth Annual MN Crop Nutrient Management Conference
Info on the Sixth Annual MN Crop Nutrient Management Conference, February 9, 2015 in Mankato (free registration)
The Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council (AFREC)
Read a legislative report which summarizes AFREC’s history and many of the great achievements made by this organization researching, educating, and promoting fertility use in modern Minnesota agriculture.
US. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) Preliminary Findings on West Fertilizer Explosion
Read the findings.
MAWRC Comments on the MCPA’s Report and Media Stories Reporting on the Report
MAWRC Executive Director’s comments about the MPCA report and news stories putting the reports findings and the media coverage of the report in context:
1. Based on our recent experience with MPCA, it could have been worse.
2. The media players assumed their usual role- specifically those who have been rather anti-ag continue to be so, likewise for the more moderate voices.
3. All Minnesotans have work to do relative to nitrates in surface water. More on that later.
4. Farmers specifically have some work to do relative to nitrates in surface water. More on that later too.
5. The media is no place to hold a conductive discussion.
Click here to read the rest of the comments.
Agricultural Fertilizer Research & Education Council (AFREC)
In 2007, the Minnesota Legislature established the Minnesota Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Program for the purpose of directing fertilizer research and outreach programs. The enabling legislation establishing the governing Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council (AFREC) is Minnesota Statutes 18C.70 and 18C.71. The Minnesota Legislature established the funding mechanisms by raising the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) fertilizer tonnage fees from 30 cents/ton to 70 cents/ton starting July 1, 2009. Each year MDA announces a Request for Proposals (RFP) for projects using funds ($800,000, the upper annual limit set by the legislature) generated by fertilizer sales.
Visit the AFREC webpage for more information.
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Expects to Develop A Minnesota Specific Aquatic Life Nitrate Toxicity Standard by 2015
What the Ag Press have Reported about the West, Texas Explosion - “Texas Fertilizer Company Didn't Heed Disclosure Rules”
The fertilizer plant that exploded on Wednesday, obliterating part of a small Texas town and killing at least 14 people, had last year been storing 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger safety oversight by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Yet a person familiar with DHS operations said the company that owns the plant, West Fertilizer, did not tell the agency about the potentially explosive fertilizer as it is required to do, leaving one of the principal regulators of ammonium nitrate - which can also be used in bomb making - unaware of any danger there. Fertilizer plants and depots must report to the DHS when they hold 400 lb (180 kg) or more of the substance. Filings this year with the Texas Department of State Health Services, which weren't shared with DHS, show the plant had 270 tons of it on hand last year. A U.S. congressman and several safety experts called into question on Friday whether incomplete disclosure or regulatory gridlock may have contributed to the disaster.
"It seems this manufacturer was willfully off the grid," Rep. Bennie Thompson, (D-MS), ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said in a statement. "This facility was known to have chemicals well above the threshold amount to be regulated under the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Act (CFATS), yet we understand that DHS did not even know the plant existed until it blew up." Company officials did not return repeated calls seeking comment on its handling of chemicals and reporting practices. Late on Friday, plant owner Donald Adair released a general statement expressing sorrow over the incident but saying West Fertilizer would have little further comment while it cooperated with investigators to try to determine what happened. "This tragedy will continue to hurt deeply for generations to come," Adair said in the statement. Failure to report significant volumes of hazardous chemicals at a site can lead the DHS to fine or shut down fertilizer operations, a person familiar with the agency's monitoring regime said. Though the DHS has the authority to carry out spot inspections at facilities, it has a small budget for that and only a "small number" of field auditors, the person said. Firms are responsible for self reporting the volumes of ammonium nitrate and other volatile chemicals they hold to the DHS, which then helps measure plant risks and devise security and safety plans based on them. Since the agency never received any so-called top-screen report from West Fertilizer, the facility was not regulated or monitored by the DHS under its CFAT standards, largely designed to prevent sabotage of sites and to keep chemicals from falling into criminal hands. (Ag Professional)
Information in Response to the Texas Facility Incident from The Fertilizer Institute (TFI).
The Fertilizer Institute Fact Sheet
4R Nutrient Stewardship
View an article from the New York Times showcasing the benefits of fertilizer.
MCPR is pleased because the article reveals the vital role that fertilizer plays in improving and sustaining the world’s food supply. In addition, the article points to commercial fertilizers as one of the most effective solutions in solving the current global food crisis. Congratulations to TFI who had a significant role informing the authors of the facts.
Liquid Bulk Fertilizer Storage Issue
MCPR members may have questions about recent legislative changes related to customers storing on their farm liquid bulk fertilizer. MCPR is providing this statement that will give guidance reflecting the recently passed legislation and may suffice until the MDA provides us with a guidance document with more details. “The 2007 legislature amended “Sec. 28. Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 18C.305, by adding a subdivision to read: Subd. 3. Exemption. A permit and safeguard is not required for agricultural commodity producers who store, on their own property, for their own use, no more than 6,000 gallons of liquid commercial fertilizer.” Therefore, MCPR members should understand that a permit is not required and bulk fertilizer containment rules do not apply to agricultural commodity producers who store on their own property for their own use no more than 6,000 gallons of liquid commercial fertilizer. As always, use discretion related to the storage containers you fill.
Sample letter to members regarding on farm dry fertilizer storage.
Memo to distributors and wholesalers related to on farm dry fertilizer storage.
MDA fertilizer/pesticide bulk storage permitting requirements
Download the MDA fertilizer/pesticide bulk storage permitting requirements.
Wholesalers/distributors can be liable for illegal storage and possible environmental damage for on farm bulk fertilizer storage. For further information on your possible liability please contact the MDA by calling (651) 201-6472 .
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) has prepared the “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) document about Process Safety Management (PSM) and the Risk Management Plan Program 3 (RMP 3). This FAQ is designed to help agricultural retailers begin to understand the effects of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) recent policy change regarding what facilities qualify for the retail exemption under PSM. Besides general lack of knowledge about the requirements of PSM, TFI has also heard several questions about specific compliance issues, including onsite propane tanks, federal design and maintenance standards, and facilities ability to avoid compliance through switching to an agricultural operations NAICS code.
This document is not exhaustive, but we hope it helps agricultural retailers begin to understand PSM and RMP 3. While we are providing this document to assist with compliance, we also understand that the six month compliance period provided by OSHA is not nearly enough time for agricultural retailers to meet their compliance obligations for PSM and RMP 3. We have joined the Agricultural Retailers Association in requesting more compliance time from OSHA (see above). In the letter we request an additional three years of compliance time.
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