Introducing the 2023 ACE Safety Award Winner

Published: Apr 15, 2024

With safety as one of our core values, taking the time to work safely is a common conversation at Nutrien. However, there are times where individuals go the extra mile to make sure everyone at their location is able to go home safe, every day.

That’s where the ACE Safety Recognition Program comes in handy. Since 2020, this program has been celebrating safety leaders across the Nutrien Ag Solutions retail branches and Loveland Products, Inc. (LPI) facilities in North America for acting, caring and excelling at safety.

The Loveland Products leadership team is excited to announce Susie Farris, Inventory Control Specialist at the Greenville, Mississippi LPI plant, as the 2023 ACE Safety Award winner.

A routine safety walk that inspired a new solution

Susie was performing a scheduled safety walk when she noticed one of her colleagues, a glyphosate formulator, standing on a railing while attempting to clear a plug in the tech drop chute during a routine dumping activity for glyphosate.

“My biggest concern was that the formulator could have fallen off the railing,” says Susie. “All I could see in my head was him falling, so I immediately ran over to help.”

Knowing that the formulator was in a potentially dangerous position, Susie asked her colleague to step down and then provided coaching on the issue. After talking through the situation with the formulator, it was discovered that the plug was a result of a plastic liner coming loose in the supersack.

While similar plugs had happened in the past, there had usually been a step that formulators stood on to reach the bag. With recent construction in this area of the plant, the step had been temporarily moved and unavailable for the formulator when the plug occurred. As a result, he was not able to reach the bag, so had decided to improvise by stepping on the railing.

Susie used her stop work authority, as outlined in The Nutrien Way, to pause any further glyphosate dumping so she could speak to a supervisor about the issue. With leadership in agreement, dumping activities were put on hold until a safer solution could be found.

“Our safety team here at Greenville have been working to encourage employees to stop work if they see something unsafe. We’ve formed a Safety Committee, which Susie is a member of, to demonstrate that reporting safety issues and using stop work authority is a good thing because it means you’re looking out for each other,” says Mi’Shayla Johnson, Advisor of Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) for Retail. “It takes bravery to stop work, especially when things are busy. Susie’s actions with the glyphosate formulator were a great example of how we want people to feel comfortable sharing their safety concerns.”

Preventing similar hazards down the road

The temporary solution for the issue was that the team placed a step that formulators could use to reach the bag. During the search for a permanent solution, Duke Levingston, Plant Manager of the Greenville LPI facility, says that the team has since moved away from using the tank bags that had a plastic liner. Since the liner is what was getting stuck in the machinery, this helps solve the issue of needing to fix plugs during dumping activities. However, the team still devised a way to run the old bags without the plastic liners getting stuck in the device in case the plant ever needs to revert to the lined bags in the future.

“This isn’t the first time that Susie has flagged safety situations that have sparked wider safety conversations,” says Duke. “She looks for these things really closely and brings them up in our team conversations, which leads to really great conversations about things we can do to improve and put in place to make our operation safer.”

Susie’s attention to detail and commitment to maintaining a safe site environment made her a 2023 ACE Safety Recognition Award winner.

“I was so excited and shocked when I heard the news, especially because I know that there were a lot of nominees,” says Susie. “Safety is something I find really important, and I want all of my colleagues to have a safe and positive work experience at our site, so this award really meant a lot to me.”

Please join us in congratulating Susie on this accomplishment and for being a safety leader! To read more about past ACE Safety Award Winners, check out the stories from 2021 and 2022.