CLAYPOOL — Health and wellness, not just for its employees, suppliers, contractors and community but also for the environment was the main focus of the 10th annual Louis Dreyfus Company’s SHE Global Safety Day. The event is held the first part of March each year.
Information regarding safety, health and environment issues globally, regionally and locally is provided for employees, contractors, suppliers and guests. But fun is also included as displays from various organizations and the different departments within the company are put together and a competition held. Internal displays from the “Scapegoats,” “Lab Rats,” “Commodity peddlers,” “Bean Burners” “Famers” and “Crushaholics” are set up by representatives of each department.
Perhaps the most popular display this year, as in the past, is that of the “Commodity Peddlers,” where you had an opportunity to smash a cantaloupe or hot dog or make a peanut butter sandwich — blind folded or with one hand. This group, which are those in receiving, load out and scale house, showed the purpose behind the safety equipment. The hands on demonstration showed the purpose behind hardhats, steel toed shoes, safety classes and more.
Among group displays were the hazards of chemicals used in the lab, riggings, how the hulls are separated from soybeans, materials used in case of spills and promotion of the new farm equipment caution signs. Officers with the Warsaw and Claypool Police Departments and representatives from MedState, Fastenal, KREMC, Spectacle Shop, AnyTime Fitness, Wildman, Wabash Electric and Summit were also on hand.
The ultimate goal for LDC is no safety issues, no health issues and no environmental issues. The company is working diligently worldwide to reduce its overall footprint. A goal has also been set to reduce, by 5 percent, emissions from grain house gases, electrical usage, water consumption and waste by 2022.
LDC Claypool is working on its own SHE (safety, health and environment) projects. The projects include alignment and speed censors for conveyors and legs, fire system isolation, turbine safety interlock, safety access rail load out, LED lighting biodiesel, eye wash upgrades and wastewater upgrades within the $750,000 budget. An additional $1 million is planned to be used for wastewater improvements and $.7 million for baghouse fire detection/suppression system. LDC-Claypool spent more than $1.1 million in 2018 on SHE Capital spending an increase of 73 percent of 2017 and included $400,000 discretionary increase.
Sustainability of the company was one of the pillars for SHE addressed during safety day.
“At Claypool our business is built on sustainability. We run soybeans. We need the soybeans each year. We can never get that bean back that we’ve just processed. It’s gone. We need the farmer to grow another one,” said Todd Trefren, LDC head of industry for North America.
Kurt Anderson, local SHE manager, noted sustainability is “people protecting people, the environment, partners, the community.”
Anderson noted the sustainability projects for 2019 include a filter press for the wastewater to reduce the volume of sludge by 95 percent; dionization of the hot well that is treated at a wastewater treatment plant over land application; upgrade boilers, VFD fans for higher efficiency; upgrade the chiller; reduce energy use by adding LED lighting; and reduce heat loss with insulation projects. Another project, involving electrical power, is adding turbine co-generation.
Safety, of course, is always a concern for the local company. While globally the number of injuries and seriousness of those injuries have decreased to approximately less than one person per 100 employees since 2014, the company continues to strive to lower those numbers even more. Unfortunately, the local facility saw an increase in injuries in 2018.
“Our vision really, we want to create a safe work environment for ourselves, our families .. do no harm standpoint. That’s the goal. We know that is not enough … risk is always there,” said Trefren. “It’s how you do the things that you do that really determine your level of safety … all injuries and incidents are preventable.”
He noted LDC will not run an operation unless “we have lowered our exposure to the risk that are there to a level that we feel any kind of incident is very, very unlikely.” He noted as well the closer to zero injury it becomes harder. “It is important how we’re doing things,” he stated, noting there are far safer ways to get the work done.
Anderson noted there were six injuries at the local facility in 2018 – mostly slips, trips and falls. “We disengaged the rules of enforcement,” he noted after 2017 saw only one recordable injury. “I feel it is important that our next step is to become engaged. See the need, spend time.”
Safety day is also a time for LDC Claypool to recognize its employees for their efforts in recognizing safety issues and going above and beyond their duties.
Josh Ciesiolka was recognized for reporting the most near misses; Roger Fry for submitting the most LDC near misses and Commodity Peddlers for reporting the most near misses MBU. Ernie Bradley was named the sustainability champion. It was noted there were 1,038 near miss submissions made during the past year. Recognition was also given to Core Mechanical Services and DXP employee Hank Scheffer for their work when emergencies arose at the plant.
There were also eight employees recognized for going above and beyond their duties. These employees included: Zach Hart, Troy Furnivall, Greg Grimm, Amara Bojrab, Joey Francis, Dylan Manwaring, Jennifer Walther and Shelly Howard.