Donaldsonville Plant earns Major Safety Award

STAFF REPORT @dvillechief
Holding the "Best in Louisiana" flag to fly above Americas Styrenics' Donaldsonville plant are, left to right, Lamar Tripp, Operations Technician; Guy Ward, Manager EHS; Myron Reulet, Mechanic Technician; Danny Dukes, Marshaller Technician; Allen Dirks, Safety & IH Specialist; Joshua Becnel, Zachry Resident Contractor (Safety Coordinator); and Stephen Koontz, Plant Manager.

Americas Styrenics' Donaldsonville plant was named one of four of Louisiana’s chemical facilities that earned the state’s highest award for safety and environmental performance, announced by the Louisiana Chemical Association.

The awards were made at the recent LCA/LCIA annual meeting in New Orleans. A total of 69 chemical plants throughout the state competed for the SAFE Program awards in which plants submitted rigorous data demonstrating safety and environmental excellence. A separate award was given in each of four classes based on number of employees. “Best in Louisiana” SAFE awards were earned by BASF Corporation’s DNT Plant in Geismar (100 or fewer employees), Julie Fay, Production Manager; Americas Styrenics near Donaldsonville (101-200 employees), Stephen Koontz, Site Leader; ExxonMobil, Polyolefins in Baton Rouge (201-400 employees), Angela Zeringue, Plant Manager; and Axiall Corporation in Plaquemine (over 400 employees), Curtis Brescher, Site Manager.

“Each year we see our members making stronger and stronger submissions and this year was no exception. To win, these plants had to show some truly amazing performances,” said Dan Borné, President of the Louisiana Chemical Association.

Dorinda Folse, Area Director for the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), attended and spoke on the importance of continuous improvement in health and safety in the workplace as demonstrated by LCA's SAFE program.

“The LCA SAFE Award is an outstanding achievement for the Axiall team in Plaquemine. This honor is a testament to our employees' hard work and commitment, and it wouldn't be possible without the leadership of our safety involvement teams,” said Curtis Brescher, Site Manager for Axiall.

Over the past seven years, the standard OSHA employee incident rate for all Louisiana Chemical Association plants averaged only 0.83. By comparison, employees at retail merchants averaged incident rates of 5.36, over six times higher. The average employee incident rate at the winning chemical facilities over the past seven years was only 0.09, an injury rate more than 59 times better than the average retail store.

Site Leader Stephen Koontz at Americas Styrenics commented on the win, “I am very proud of our team members at the St. James Plant for receiving the LCA Safe Award for the third year consecutive year. This achievement demonstrates our commitment to seeking continuous improvement and sustaining top performance.”

By making steady strides in improving environmental and safety performance, four facilities earned special “Most Improved” awards. Those awards were given to Westlake Chemical Corporation in Sulphur, Wayne Ahrens, Plant Manager; UOP in Shreveport, Rob Shepherd, Site Leader; Carbo Ceramics Inc. in New Iberia, Marty Johnson, Plant Manager; and Chemtrade Refinery Services in Shreveport, Chris Pogson, Plant Manager.

“I am very proud of our team at the Baton Rouge Polyolefins Plant. They are truly committed to excellence, in safety, and in all that they do. They do a great job, and I am thrilled to have their work recognized through this Best in Louisiana SAFE award,” said Angela Zeringue, Plant Manager at ExxonMobil Polyolefins.

Julie Fay, BASF DNT Production Manager said, "Receiving the Best in Louisiana award is an honor and a direct reflection of the safety culture at BASF. Our focus is proactive rather than reactive, and we strive to demonstrate best in class environmental health and safety performance. This is an achievement every employee at our site in Geismar can be proud of."

The top finalists for “Best in Louisiana” were Amerchol Corporation, Biolab, Cabot in Ville Platte, and UOP in Baton Rouge for Class 1(100 or fewer employees); Angus Chemical, Carbo Ceramics in New Iberia, LyondellBasell Industries, and MWV Corporation for Class 2 (101-200 employees); Chevron Oronite, ExxonMobil Plastics, GRACE, and Occidental in Taft for Class 3 (201-400 employees); and Citgo Petroleum, Dow Louisiana Operations, Dow St. Charles Operations, and Sasol for Class 4 (over 400 employees).