“Most Improved” awards were earned by Rubicon LLC (Ascension Parish), Mark Dearman, Plant Manager; Total Petrochemicals (Iberville Parish), Marcus Ledoux, Site Leader; Ingevity South Carolina LLC (Beauregard Parish), Danny Kyle, Plant Manager; and Air Liquide, Geismar ASU (Ascension Parish), Robyn Tengler, Plant Manager.

The Louisiana Chemical Association (LCA) announced on November 15 that six of the state's chemical plants have earned the association's highest honor as winners of the “Best in Louisiana” SAFE Award.

“Average safety performance among LCA’s membership has risen to the point that, for the second year in a row, we have found it necessary to declare a three-way tie in one of our categories,” said Greg Bowser, President of Louisiana Chemical Association.

Bowser noted that 67 facilities at 49 companies employing 19,652 chemical workers took part in the SAFE Program this year. He said the average incident rate among LCA member companies this year has improved 21.5percent over last year, and five year average incident rates have improved by fifteen percent. “We’re very pleased,” Bowser said, “especially because it’s now a challenge to identify the best when so many have excellent records.”

LCA's SAFE Program competitively awards the “Best in Louisiana” designation within each of four employee-size classes.

The Class 4 (over 400 employees) “Best in Louisiana” winner is The Dow Chemical Company, St. Charles Operations in St. Charles Parish. “We at Dow St. Charles Operations are thrilled and honored. Safety is of utmost importance to us, and nothing could make us more proud than being recognized as the best in the state with this prestigious award. While safety has always been our top priority, in the last year, we’ve made a conscious effort to drive down severity. As a result, we’ve seen an elimination of severe incidents and the huge added benefit of a lower number of unplanned events at our site. Running our operations safely in our communities and ensuring that all of our team members return home safely to their families is the most important thing we do,“ said Johnny Chavez, Site Leader.

The Class 3 (201-400 employees) category produced a three-way tie for the “Best in Louisiana” award. The winners are: ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Plastics Plant in East Baton Rouge Parish; ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Polyolefins, also in East Baton Rouge Parish, Angela Zeringue, Site Manager; and Grace in Calcasieu Parish, Hyun Brossett, Plant Manager.

Jennifer Dunphy, Plant Manager at the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Plastics Plant, said of her plant’s win, “Safety comes first in all we do. Our employees and contractors focus on staying safe during each work activity, every day. We are pleased to have earned the SAFE award recognizing our workforce.”

Hyun Brossett, Plant Manager at Grace Lake Charles said, "We Grace Lake Charles employees are excited to receive the Best in Class SAFE award 2 years in a row. We are excited not only because we were chosen among the best, but because this represents our culture, our belief that safety is a core value and not just priority. We are proud of our accomplishment, and it will continue to remind us to think/act safety first in everything we do."

For Class 2 (101-200 employees), the “Best” award was won by Nalco Champion, an Ecolab Company in St. John Parish. “All year long, each of us at the Nalco Champion Garyville site strives for a Goal Zero culture - zero accidents, zero injuries and zero incidents. Safety and environmental performance are our top priority. We’re focused on safety because we care about our fellow employees and our community neighbors. It’s a special honor to have our efforts acknowledged with the SAFE Award from LCA,” said Jim Kulesa, Garyville plant manager for Nalco Champion.

In Class 1 (100 or fewer employees), the winning plant is Mexichem Fluor Inc. in Iberville Parish. Their plant manager, John Pacillo, said, “We last won the award in 2010 and I was pleased just to see that we had returned to the list of finalists this year. It was an exceptionally proud moment when they called Mexichem Fluor as winning the best of the best award for less than 100 employees. Our employees strive for perfection in safety and environment performance. Our entire staff is thrilled to be recognized by our peers.”

This is the 22nd year the annual SAFE Program has quantified safety practices and results at LCA member companies. SAFE stands for “Serious About Fostering Excellence.” Average OSHA accident and injury statistics for all LCA member facilities now represent less than one-fifth of the average levels when LCA began tracking them through the SAFE Program.

Four facilities making especially impressive improvement in their environmental and safety performance were also recognized. “Most Improved” awards were earned by Rubicon LLC (Ascension Parish), Mark Dearman, Plant Manager; Total Petrochemicals (Iberville Parish), Marcus Ledoux, Site Leader; Ingevity South Carolina LLC (Beauregard Parish), Danny Kyle, Plant Manager; and Air Liquide, Geismar ASU (Ascension Parish), Robyn Tengler, Plant Manager.

For more information about the SAFE program, visit the SAFE program website at LCASafe.org.

Contributed by Rob Landry, rob@lca.org, Manager, Communications and Public Affairs, Louisiana Chemical Association. Office: 225-344-2609 x 676.