Keeping Safety Equipment Ready

Fire Extinguisher

Ask any ag retailer, and chances are they will tell you that one of the most important considerations in their operations is safety equipment. According to Terrance Bockenstedt, manager for Crop Production Services Inc. in Dyersville, IA, safety equipment needs to be top-of-mind, all the time at every retail facility.

“You just can’t take the chance that an accident won’t happen, so your safety gear has to be well maintained,” says Bockenstedt. “Otherwise, you are just asking for trouble in the future. Maybe you will never need to use these products in your day-to-day operations, but you never know. “

In this installment of “Deal­ership Security and You,” we will look at some of the components of any retailer’s safety procedures  and how they should be maintained.

1. Spill Kits, Safety Gear Needs To Be Regularly Checked

At most retail outlets, one of the standard safety components is the safety clothing and spill kit materials kept on the grounds. In most cases, this will include HAZMAT suits, shovels, safety gloves, and respirators.

According to Bockenstedt, these materials should be kept in a well-known location at the facility and be assessable to all employees, but still be secure enough to keep out unwanted visitors. “At least once every year, we have someone at our facility check these items,” he says. “He will make certain that everything that’s supposed to be with our spill kit is there and in good working order. If there are any missing items or things that aren’t working, he will replace them.”

2. Have Fire Extinguishers Checked Monthly

After safety gear kept on-site, fire extinguishers are another key part of the safety equation for any retail outlet to have on hand. According to Lisa Ochsner, unit supervisor for Simplot Grower Solutions, Torrington, WY, her company contracts with an outside firm to maintain its fire extinguishers.

“Every month, our outside contractor comes into our facility and checks each of our fire extinguishers to make sure they are all in good working order,” says Ochsner. “If there find any problems or units that aren’t filled, they will replace or recharge them.”

3. Safety Showers, Eye Wash Stations Should Be Regularly Flushed

For those retail operations that work with hazardous materials inside their facilities, it is important to have several safety showers and eye wash stations positioned around the buildings and across the grounds. According to Bill Fuller, manager for UAP Distribution, Inc. in Switz City, IN, these units should be checked at least on a monthly basis for problems with water supply and pressure.

“Every month, we have someone at our outlet flip on all of the safety showers and eye wash stations and let them run for a full day,” says Fuller. “This way, if there are any pressure or supply issues, they will show up and can be corrected.” He adds that this discarded water is reused by the company for its blending operations.

4. Emergency Water Holders On NH3 Tanks Should Be Checked Often

For those retailers that handle anhydrous ammonia (NH3), one of the most important safety features is the emergency water holders found on each nurse tank. According to Fuller, UAP personnel make certain that each of the company’s nurse tanks has a clean and adequate supply of water, especially during the busy spring season.

“We typically drain these holders in the winter,” he adds. “Just before the season begins, we have someone check all the holders for hose cracks or mold build-up. Once this is done and each is given the OK, fresh water is put into them.”

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