ResponsibleAg Compliance Assistance Library is a valuable training tool for lean HES team, terminal managers at Yara North America.
In October 2018, Yara North America celebrated 140 combined years without a lost-time injury across its 11 North American facilities.
Yara’s Tampa, Florida, ammonia terminal, which has always deeply valued safety, leads the way in this effort and has surpassed 34 years without a recordable injury. Across North America, the company has not had a reportable injury since May 2015.
Yara’s culture of safety is built around Safe by Choice, a global company program based on the belief that all injuries are preventable and that operating safely is an active, personal choice. As one of the world’s largest producers of nitrogen fertilizers and crop nutrition products, including anhydrous ammonia for fertilizer manufacturing and industrial uses, Yara focuses on the health and safety of its employees, contractors, customers and communities in which it operates.
Safe by Choice provides the framework and tools to make Yara employees feel ownership for safety and taking responsibility for themselves and others. The program was rolled out in 2013 to Yara employees worldwide.
Training begins with Learning Management System
Gary Vogen, Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Yara, says each employee has an individualized training program geared to the potential health and safety risks encountered in their roles. To streamline training, the company recently implemented a structured Learning Management System of online safety modules. For example, individualized coursework for Vogen, who travels extensively from Tampa headquarters, includes fire safety, safe driving, bloodborne pathogens and first aid, among others. Employees at all locations complete modules based around specific products they each handle.
While LMS training includes general awareness of health, safety, environmental and security requirements such as Process Safety Management and Risk Management, Yara Health, Environment and Safety staff also provide hands-on training to terminal employees. Yara has been involved with ResponsibleAg since the program began and believes the organization is a valuable resource for tools to educate those in the ag inputs industry.
“When I visit our business partners that handle Yara products, I share ResponsibleAg elements with them. Handling fertilizers responsibly is not something to do because of rules and regulations, it should be done because it’s the right thing to do,” explains Brian Crets, Regional Health, Environment and Safety Manager for Yara. Membership in ResponsibleAg can help small retail facilities with all aspects of safely and responsibly handling crop input products.”
Knowledge of regulations built upon ResponsibleAg Certification Program
Yara’s 10 U.S.-based facilities have been certified through the ResponsibleAg Certification Program. During certification, a ResponsibleAg-credentialed auditor conducts a facility audit using a comprehensive assessment checklist of questions covering safety, health, security and environmental regulations relevant to the facility. After completing an action plan to correct any gaps identified during the audit, the facility receives a three-year certification.
“I completed the majority of our internal audits for Yara North America this year, and the process is a tremendous opportunity for knowledge sharing,” Crets says. “As a second set of eyes, I’m there to help. I can say, ‘Have you thought about this?’ ‘Here’s a new way to do this.’ ‘Here’s where you can find the latest information on this.’”
Each day begins with a safety Toolbox Talk
“We run very lean and our site managers wear many hats, just like facility managers at retail fertilizer locations. Managers do everything they can to keep an operation running. Then they’ve got EHS compliance and employee training responsibilities. It can be daunting,” says Crets, who spent several years in manufacturing before joining Yara.
“Before work begins, our facility employees gather for a Toolbox Talk to go over the work for that day, along with relevant safety information.
“ResponsibleAg is a fabulous tool for these busy managers when they need information for a Toolbox Talk. The Compliance Assistance Library is easy to use and has concise summaries of regulatory standards that can be printed as a handout,” Crets explains. “Anything updated recently is in red, and the summaries have hyperlinks that take you to the standards, so you’re not spending days searching for information you need to get a full understanding of what is required.”
Easy access to up-to-date regulations from OSHA, DHS, DOT and EPA is an important benefit of ResponsibleAg membership, especially for Yara’s terminal managers who don’t have dedicated EHS personnel on staff.
Don Smith, Director of Health, Environmental & Safety for Yara North America and credentialed ResponsibleAg auditor, emphasizes the importance of the program. “Yara North America places a high value on regulatory compliance, safety and environmental stewardship throughout our activities, and this program has supported us very well in these efforts.”
For more information about ResponsibleAg or to sign up, visit www.ResponsibleAg.org or call 270-683-6777.