The presentation, “OSHA — The New Risk Factor for Grain, Feed and Processing Facility Managers,” given by Melissa Bailey, managing partner, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart P.C., highlighted the administration’s “new sheriff” approach to regulation, specifically as it relates to grain handlers. Bailey explained the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2) is OSHA’s No. 1 priority. I2P2 suggests employers should be able to identify potential risks and address them prior to an incident, and is thereby held in violation of the standard should an incident occur.
“With this sort of Monday morning quarterbacking OSHA would never have to issue another standard,” Bailey says.
The Sweep Auger Letter of Interpretation continues to challenge the industry, but Bailey suggested companies be proactive during inspections or they won’t get the results they want.
“Do you have a plan in place to deal with OSHA in the event of an accident? Do you know your rights during inspection?” she asks. “It’s too late if you wait until they show up.”
Settling outright would admit guilt, setting the precedent for future repeat violations. The industry continues to look for direction on the issue pending the results of existing sweep auger violations.
Rail industry faces challenges
BNSF Railway chairman and CEO Matt Rose discussed “Rail Transportation — Outlook and Policy,” predicting a bright future for the relationship between the feed and grain industry and rail, noting increased exports and a stable demand for ethanol production as contributing factors.
“We want to be good stewards to the grain industry,” Rose said, noting the significant capital investments made by railways to meet the growing capacity demands of its customers.
The Positive Train Control (PTC) Mandate, requiring all main line and Class 1 railroads to install a collision and derail prevention overlay system by 2015, is one hurdle that will impede BNSF’s ability to make additional investments. The mandate will cost the carrier $10 billion, and it is likely to affect shippers rates in an effort to off-set the cost.
Rose hopes both public and private entities will increase their investment in transportation so the United States will have the infrastructure to support the economy of the future.
Daniel R. Elliot III, chairman of the Surface Transportation Board (STB), stressed that the STB wants to be seen as a fair entity as it aims to resolve rate disputes through mediation before they escalate. In the coming year, the board plans to examine and update rules and procedures.