When you look up the term “Safety” in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary you will see more than one definition. In fact, you will see three. Those definitions all pretty much say the same thing, prevention of an injury or loss. That’s what “Safety” does, no matter where you hear that word. We could be watching a football game on Friday nights in the fall and the running back breaks through the D-line and past the linebackers, where the last form of defense, the person in charge of loss prevention, is the Safety. You could be at a local FFA trap shoot and you call for the clay bird and hear that dreaded “click” sound. That is the sound of the feature on all guns to prevent an injury or accidental firing, the Safety. Now let’s look at how United Prairie is defining the term “safety” and why that matters to you, our customers.
Over the past year, United Prairie has done a bit of an overhaul of their safety program. In July of 2014 United Prairie hired me, Josh Rund, as the Assistant Operations Manager for the company. My main job is safety and compliance within United Prairie. With all of the regulatory agencies like OSHA, DOT, and the EPA it is almost impossible for a growing company today to be without at least one safety professional. Since July of 2014 United Prairie has updated their employee handbook, safety and fire prevention policies, and their drug and alcohol policies as well. We are committed to a safe, drug and alcohol free, workplace.
United Prairie is also committed to employee safety and training. We partner with the Asmark Institute to help us stay compliant with all of the OSHA, DOT, and EPA regulations. The Asmark Institute is a trusted national resource center that provides United Prairie with an overall safety and compliance format. Asmark does a great job in understanding the requirements given out by these government agencies and developing useful and effective trainings to keep their clients compliant. More information about Asmark can be found on their web page, www.asmark.org. Here at United Prairie we also pride ourselves in conducting hands on, location specific training for our employees as well. All six UP locations are different and unique in their own construction and set up, which is why that location specific training is so important and key to our employee’s safety.
So why does all of this matter to you, our customers? Because you matter to us. With all of the safety trainings and updates we have made and are continuing to make at United Prairie, it is important for us to also keep our customer’s safety in mind. As we update and build new facilities we take into account our customer’s safety and opinions as well. We have installed new policies and equipment to make sure our customers stay safe while in potentially dangerous areas of our facilities, while at the same time making systems more efficient and effective to get our trucks and yours out the doors faster. We also provide our customers with protective equipment when working with anhydrous ammonia, one of the most dangerous chemicals in Agriculture.
Now let me throw some statistics at you from the United States Department of Labor. Between 2003 – 2011, there were 5,816 deaths from work related agriculture injuries in the United States. That’s around 646 deaths per year, which is almost 2 deaths every single day. In 2011 the injury rate for Agriculture workers was 40% higher than the rate for all workers. Looking at those Statistics it is easy to see that safety has to be a priority in agriculture. The best way to ensure that those numbers go down is for farmers and retailers to work together to create a safety culture within agriculture.
At the end of the day, it is United Prairie’s mission to make sure that every employee goes home to their families the same way they came to work that morning. It is important to understand that taking a proactive approach to safety, whether that be at work or at home, is the best way to prevent an injury or loss. While I understand that accidents can happen, and sometimes that linebacker misses his tackle, it is always important to have that safety there to help prevent a loss.