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Purolite's production plant located in Philadelphia, PA, has not had an on-the-job accident in over 2 years!
October 21, 2019 – Philadelphia, PA, USA – Purolite recently achieved a huge milestone in the operational success of our production facility in Philadelphia, PA. After continuous efforts from the Environmental Health and Safety Team, management, and all of the employees at the plant, Purolite’s production facility celebrated two years of no accidents! To help commemorate the occasion, Purolite employees all received a custom-designed T-shirt, and a banner recognizing the plant for this achievement was hung on the front entry way.
Ion exchange resin production, as with any manufacture of any chemical product, has associated risks. Employees are exposed to a variety of chemicals; some, toxic inhalants are present in the laboratory and plant. Heavy machinery operates around the clock in the production area and has its own set of risks associated with it. Purolite is aware of the risks involved with creating our product, and proactively spends every day creating, adhering to, and enforcing protocol to protect its employees.
“Maintaining safety is a proactive job,” explains Purolite’s Environmental Health and Safety Manager, Carlos Socorro. After joining Purolite in 2017, Carlos was instrumental in updating Purolite’s current employee training program to more comprehensively cover best safety practices. He also has helped to manage many safety initiatives; offer weekly toolbox talks, perform housekeeping and safety inspections, and conduct incident investigations. Root cause analyses help monitor the overall safety in the plant. He also leads the Safety Committee, a group of employees who meet weekly to identify potential safety risks within the plant and create procedures and plans to prevent any types of accidents. Additionally, Carlos helps to manage the yearly safety bonus that employees receive if they demonstrate annually that they are adhering to the plant’s safety rules and procedures.
“As a team, the leaders of the plant can continue to make safety a top priority. That’s how we reached this milestone, and how we will continue to progress,” Carlos shares. The Maintenance Team at the plant stays busy repairing machinery, installing signs, and completing work orders as needed to prevent any potential incidents. Department supervisors are always looking out, walking through the plant and offering support or suggestions where applicable. Lab personnel follow a strict chemical hygiene regimen. Employees participate in the Suggestion Program - a chance to present ideas they think will improve safety protocol in the plant.
“My main goal has been to motivate my team to be involved in safety planning here at the plant. I want my supervisors to monitor and engage employees in real time in the production areas, for protocol to be strictly followed, and for employees to proactively consider their decisions and how they can protect themselves in the plant,” adds Warner Jarnagin, Plant Director.
To ensure everyone in production or applications has the right gear, employees all receive an annual budget for personal protection equipment. Boots, hard hats, safety goggles, gloves, masks, and many other protective gears are readily offered to everyone at the plant. Additionally, all new employees undergo extensive training and briefing before being asked to perform any task or job that poses a risk.
“More people than ever before have shown investment and commitment to the safety of the plant. Supervisors are listening to - and rewarding - the opinions and ideas of employees in their departments. Training is frequent. The plant has seen a huge shift towards positivity, enthusiasm, and excitement for safety.” Shares Warner.
Like any transition, creating a culture of proactive safety in the plant was a process. “Initially, it was a big change to break practices that could lead to an accident. Thanks to positive reinforcement, I was happy to notice how open-minded everyone was to the new ideas being presented. It was a complete culture shift in the plant. Safety became every employee’s top priority,” commends Carlos.
Purolite’s production plant has also been engaged in an ongoing effort to secure the ISO 45001 certification, an all-inclusive occupational health and safety certification. To obtain this, Purolite has to demonstrate the effectiveness of our safety protocol by undergoing an audit. Additionally, safety practices are being reviewed and updated as needed. Some goals the plant has in the coming months are to expand the Employee Suggestion Program, carry on with the housekeeping and organizational efforts taking place in the inventory warehouse, and continue to engage employees.
“Reaching two years without an accident in the plant demonstrated that our safety efforts were successful. It is motivation to keep up this momentum, continue to engage and motivate the employees here to be safety conscious, and see the high performance level of the team,” Warner concludes. Since the beginning of the housekeeping initiatives and the implementation of new safety procedures, Warner has seen the plant’s material flows dramatically improved, higher standards in terms of quality of work, fewer accidents and spills, and no incidents.
Congratulations to Purolite’s G-street Production Plant on reaching this important milestone! Let’s keep striving to make the plant a safe place to work.