Safety's a Growing Concern at CF Industries

Sept. 12, 2003
'At CF Industries Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers, management is committed to protecting employees, the environment

At CF Industries Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers, management is committed to protecting employees, the environment and the communities in which the company operates.

By Sandy Smith

CF Industries'' Environment, Health & Safety philosophy is to "conduct its business and operate its facilities in a safe and secure manner designed to protect the environment and the health and safety of its employees," says Frank N. Buzzanca, vice president, EHS and Engineering.

CF Industries, which manufactures three nitrogen-based fertilizers anhydrous ammonia, granular urea and urea ammonium nitrate solution has 1,700 employees at 31 locations across the country. The company employs a relatively large number of EHS professionals and auditors 47 spread out among the facilities.

EHS professionals participate on the EHS Risk Management Committee, which provides overall policy administration for all of CF Industries'' environmental, health and safety activities. The other major committee is the EHS Steering Committee, which provides ongoing direction for the overall corporate EHS process. It has a subcommittee support structure that consists of the Environmental Council, Health Committee, Safety council and the Ammonia Committee. These subcommittees meet periodically to find solutions or make recommendations on EHS issues and ammonia storage and handling practices. The EHS Steering Committee also serves as the Corporate Security Committee.

"CF Industries is committed to complying with all applicable environmental laws, rules and regulations and will promote environmental concern and education among its employees and with the communities in which it operates," says Buzzanca. "CF Industries is equally committed to protecting the safety and health of its employees, and will take all practical steps to eliminate or reduce the exposure of employees to conditions adversely affecting their safety or health while on the job, and encourages off-the-job employee safety and health awareness as well."

A highlight of the CF Industries safety process is the audit program. The company has an EHS Management Manual that is designed to assist supervisors in providing effective leadership for implementation of the company''s EHS policy and is the basis for maintaining consistency in EHS audit protocols. All CF manufacturing and distribution facilities are subject to an EHS audit every two or three years, depending on their cumulative safety performance. There are also follow-up inspections to verify the status of prior audit findings.

A unique feature of the EHS audit program is that it is used as a training opportunity for highly motivated employees as EHS Audit Group members. Their participation in the audit program typically covers two years, during which they acquire "hands-on" training and a practical working knowledge of EHS issues and project management skills. Since 1989, 26 employees representing a total of 67 years of EHS experience have been reassigned or promoted to management positions.

The guest auditor program invites several CF employees to join the Audit Group for special audits to participate in the audit process. It provides the employees the opportunity to gain an understanding of the audit process while providing the audit group with their own sets of skills and abilities.

Sidebar: CF Facilities are STARS

In June 1998, the St. Louis, Mo., warehouse was the first CF Industries facility to be designated a STAR facility by OSHA''s Voluntary Protection Program. Since then, nine other facilities have been recognized as "stars." They include:

  • Garner Terminal, Garner, Iowa
  • Peru Terminal, Peru, Ill.
  • Glenwood Terminal, Glenwood, Minn.
  • Frankfort Terminal, Frankfort, In.
  • Cincinnati Warehouse, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Aurora Terminal, Aurora, Neb.
  • Huntington Terminal, Huntington, Ind.
  • Spencer Terminal, Spencer, Iowa
  • Seneca Terminal, Seneca, Ill.
About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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