Safety school provided huge volume of day one info
BLOOMINGTON, ILL.—Richard Gearheard, president of Crop Production Services, provided the keynote opening presentation of the 2012 National Agronomic Environmental Health and Safety School at Bloomington, Ill., in the brand new Asmark Institute Agricenter on Tuesday.
Gearheard addressed what it takes to “build a safety culture.” He noted the need for the following: “access to professional advice, commitment from senior management, commitment from people at risk and knowing what good looks like.”
Access to professional advice requires taking advantage of third-party and in-house advice and resources—being open to what is improvement. Knowing what good looks like is learning from other operations or the best single operation from within a large operation such as Crop Production Services has.
Gearheard talked about CPS’s ownership in Agrium and the company’s total operations prior to focusing on the safety aspects that comes down throughout the entire Agrium company.
From Gearheard, the safety school program moved to providing insight into what has been happening in Washington, D.C.—including legislative and regulatory agency activities. Richard Gupton, vice president of legislative policy for the Agricultural Retailers Association; Sarah McLallen, executive director, CropLife Foundation of CropLife America; and Pam Guffain, vice-president, member services, The Fertilizer Institute, provided a wide assortment of information.
Gupton addressed the farm bill roadblock and the national financial crisis. McLallen talked about the “changing terms of the debate” surrounding pesticide registrations and the need for pesticides to bring in support from organizations that wouldn’t normally be seen as traditionally aligning with pesticide organizations. Guffain mainly focused on the ammonium nitrate security program (ANSP) and how 99 percent of improvised explosive devices are made from fertilizer products. She explained how the U.S. availability of nitrate fertilizers is being tied to the international discussion, which is making it harder to keep ammonium nitrate available for import to the U.S.
Greg Handke, chemical security inspector, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, followed with a detailed explanation of the current situation of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS). One of his comments that struck home for the attendees was how the site security plan was probably too complicated and poorly written.