ResponsibleAg Membership helps GreenPoint AG improve Focus on Safety – its Number One Priority
When a company’s website homepage states: “management considers no phase of the operation more important than the health and safety of employees,” the message is clear: Safety is the company’s number one priority.
In 2012, Tim Witcher took the helm of GreenPoint AG as president and CEO and made it very clear safety and sending employees home in the same condition as they arrived is the priority for the company. Witcher’s commitment to this responsibility led GreenPoint AG to become the first retail organization to register with ResponsibleAg. In fact, the company’s check was in the mail before ResponsibleAg officially launched.
ResponsibleAg is an industry-led initiative committed to helping businesses within the farm inputs industry assure their locations are compliant with the environmental, health, safety and security regulations that keep employees, customers, and communities safe.
Kent McPherson, Director of Operations at GreenPoint AG, oversees environmental health and safety. McPherson explains why safety is a priority for the retailer and its more than 400 employees serving farmers in Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, southeast Missouri, and the coastal bend of Texas.
“In the past, we had a couple of people severely injured due to not following established procedures,” McPherson remembers. “Our people come to work and give us their all. When something happens, even if it is the result of the employee’s decision, seeing the employee or talking with the family after a life-changing event really gives a manager pause.
“As a management team, we must set the direction, make sure our frontline managers understand safety is a priority, and put the processes in place to ensure we are safe and secure in every operation,” says McPherson. “Before joining ResponsibleAg, we thought we had very stringent protocols and processes in place, but as a small, independent retail organization, GreenPoint AG doesn’t have a full environmental health and safety staff. Joining ResponsibleAg gave us renewed direction and tools to help us pinpoint areas that we needed to address, and it has allowed us to reach a level of compliance and operational uniformity we didn’t have before.”
|“There are so many rules and regulations. The ResponsibleAg assessment process is really good for training our employees on what they should be doing.”
– Tim Bogy
Tools Provide Focus for Compliance Efforts
The organization provides participating retailers with a compliance assessment, recommendations for corrective action where needed, a deadline for completion, and a robust package of tools to help with the process. Seventeen areas common to retail facilities are subject to environmental, health and safety regulations. To help businesses meet compliance requirements for the areas pertinent to their location, the technical committee has developed an assessment checklist of more than 400 questions. It is used by auditors, credentialed through the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, to assess the level of compliance at each participating facility. Nearly 2,000 retail locations throughout the United States have already been audited, with almost 1,100 receiving certification to date.
Compliance Education is a Benefit
A key aspect of achieving compliance is education, and compliance education is a big benefit of participating in ResponsibleAg, according to Tim Bogy, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Manager at GreenPoint AG.
“There are so many rules and regulations that location and warehouse managers may not be familiar with, and the ResponsibleAg assessment process is really good for training our employees on what they should be doing. If you know something is wrong, then you can fix it,” says Bogy. Compliance guides within the audit help auditors explain to location personnel the intent of the regulation. A corrective action plan is provided following the audit which lists issues discovereds and recommends ways to fix them.
Corrective Measures not Considered an Expense
Since joining ResponsibleAg, 100% of GreenPoint AG’s locations have been audited and all but one proceeded to achieve certification. The program helped the company identify one facility that was best relocated or consolidated with another facility. Other than the relocation, expenses associated with reaching compliance have been relatively minor.
“There have been small issues at every location, like the need to post signs for Danger, No Smoking, and building exits. And we’ve done minor repairs like replacing rotted walkway boards or enhancing containment areas around fuel storage,” says Bogy. “More significant issues took $5,000 to $10,000 capital investments, but we had only two or three of those across all our locations.
“We don’t think of this as regulatory compliance or as an expense. It is about making our facilities safer for our communities, for our customers, and for our employees. I encourage other retailers to think of participating in the ResponsibleAg program in the same way,” says Bogy.
For more information or to sign up visit www.ResponsibleAg.org or call 270-683-6777.