Stop work authority keeps team safe at our Greeley LPI plant

Published: Sep 19, 2023

The team at Greeley put safety first in its partnership with Nitrogen Wholesale to help transport a new product.

image-20230915161120-3Safety was the name of the game when a recent partnership kicked off between Nitrogen Wholesale and the Loveland Products, Inc. (LPI) facility in Greeley, Colorado.
Nutrien’s Nitrogen Wholesale group was looking to make use of the existing rail track at Greeley to help deliver nitric acid to a local customer. Nitric acid needs to be handled very carefully, as it’s hazardous to humans and corrosive to metals.

In order to transfer the nitric acid from rail cars into tanker trucks, the team at Greeley needed to make hose connections at the top of the rail cars, which created additional hazards they hadn’t faced while unloading other products. 

“When I assessed the potential safety hazards of this process, I used my stop work authority, as outlined by The Nutrien Way, to ensure that the team didn’t unload or load the nitric acid until we had a proper unloading station, equipment and training,” says Dani Rigg, Greeley Plant Manager. “I questioned whether I was doing the right thing by halting this major partnership between our business functions, but I received support from everyone involved.”

Solutions with safety at the forefront


image-20230915161324-4The team at Greeley, led by Production Engineer Cole White, constructed an unloading station with three safety showers to protect operators from potential exposure to the nitric acid, along with an OSHA-approved platform to allow for proper space to conduct work. Additionally, they installed fixed stainless steel hard pipe to reduce connections, special nitric acid rated pumps, safety relief valves and shorter flex hose connections for ease of operations. Further, a new way of linking the vessels together eliminated the potential of exposing workers to harmful vapors. 

The team also travelled to Nutrien’s Geismar Nitrogen facility where they received hands-on training from Robert Messer, Turner Specialty Services Loading Superintendent, and the Geismar team to learn how to safely work with top-load rail cars. 

“This was a great opportunity for us to collaborate with the folks at Greeley on how we load and unload nitric acid rail cars,” says Robert. “Teaching is also a great time to reflect on our own methods and procedures.” 

This cross-training helped the operators from Greeley become familiar with how to safely handle the chemical. 

“The team at Geismar gave us insight into the system they use for the best success to reduce exposure and ease handling,” Dani says. “Our operators observed the process at the Geismar loading facility and then at the end of the day, performed the loading themselves under supervision.” 

The team at Greeley also received advice from the Process Safety Management team about best management practices for working with nitric acid, such as management of change, pre-start up safety reviews and standard operating procedures. 

These collaborative actions across different business functions, teams and locations in the name of safety drive home our Culture of Care and help ensure that everyone goes home safe, every day. 

“Now that we’ve completed training and have the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and loading station, we have begun safely loading nitric acid into rail cars to distribute to Nitrogen Wholesale’s customer,” says Dani. “I want to thank everyone who played a part in making this partnership a safety success.”