One close call is one too many. That’s the philosophy behind Safety and Risk Manager Phil Pirtle’s decision to partner with regional supplier CHS on a summer safety initiative.

Pirtle initiated a campaign called Be Safe; Be Seen 2014, and the program is being funded thanks to the generous support of a $9,600 CHS grant. Be Safe; Be Seen made it possible to get high-visibility safety vests in the hands of all Ceres Solutions employees, and the vests are worn in areas where traffic and moving equipment could put employee safety at risk.

Ceres Solutions Veteran Safety Manager Phil Pirtle has worked in risk management and emergency response for almost three decades. He is proud of the positive steps Ceres Solutions employees are taking on the job to better protect themselves and their co-workers.

“We insist on a culture where simple safety practices become second nature during the work day,” says Pirtle. “This fall, for example, Ceres Solutions will have almost 400 staff members working beside farmers to get work done. Equipment will be moving fast, people will be in a hurry and we will all be pushing to get work done. That’s just exactly the environment where people are tempted to cut corners or work past the point where they are too tired. When alertness goes down, accidents happen.”

With the funding provided from the grant, Pirtle ordered hundreds of Class II High Visibility vests. Just like goggles and gloves for certain tasks, the vests are now mandatory in certain work situations. He plans to expand the beneficial reach of the program by distributing additional vests to farmers who attend the Knowledge Event on August 19. “In the last several weeks, I’ve heard case after case of employees who says they were glad they had their vests on. They reach for it now because it is just not worth it to take a chance. They want to be sure they are seen,” said Pirtle.

CHS has committed more than $3 million to a national agriculture safety initiative intended to keep the next generations safe as they strive to feed the world. “We are thankful to work in agriculture, and thankful to be backed by committed partners like CHS,” said Pirtle.