2018 Performance Improvement Gold Award Winner
Nation Ford Chemical
Nation Ford Chemical (NFC) is recognized for its exemplary efforts in improving environmental, health, safety and security (EHS&S) at its Fort Mill facility. The company accepted the Gold Performance Improvement Award at SOCMA’s 97th Annual Dinner & Meeting on December 10 in New York City. This is the first year Nation Ford Chemical has received the award. NFC President Jay Dickson and representatives from their EHS&S department accepted the award on behalf of the company.
Nation Ford Chemical, headquartered in Fort Mill, SC, is one of America’s most respected custom and toll manufacturers of specialty organic chemicals. Chemical production is based at their 28-acre site in Fort Mill, and products are sold worldwide. For more than 40 years, NFC has been known for its ability to outpace other companies by reducing the lead time necessary to bring new chemicals into production.
Nation Ford Chemical’s quest to becoming the best of the best:
The health and safety of employees is a priority at Nation Ford Chemical, and the judges were particularly impressed with the facility’s Health and Safety Day. Taking a break from day-to-day production, NFC creates a fun environment to motivate staff to make health and safety top priorities. The facility is also implementing current leading indicators and processes, which has helped significantly reduce its OSHA recordable rates to near zero over the last three years. Nation Ford Chemical implemented an open-door policy to customers to tour the plant and work hand-in-hand with the operators. They also invite local responders to tour the site and review hazards annually.
One of Nation Ford Chemical’s major investments this year is the installation of storm water containment system between their operation and the Catawba River. In the case of a catastrophic leak, this system will eliminate the chance of any material getting off site. They also installed a 30,000 gallon emergency storage tank, with dedicated pumping capability, able to contain the contents of any storage tank to ensure zero spills to the environment, even during natural disaster. NFC was also acknowledged by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (DHEC) Smart Business Recycling Program in 2018 for its excellent recycling effort. “I like where these folks are going and how they’re getting there,” the judges said. “They’ve got a story to tell, and it should be shared.”
“We are extremely proud of the hard work our employees have done in our EHS&S program,” said Dickson. “This award reflects our commitment to constant improvement for our products, our workers and our neighbors in the community.”
What we have learned and changed in our organization in the last 3 years
Although the company has always been dedicated to EHS&S, the focus over the past 3 years has been to increase communication to ensure safety stays in the forefront of everyone’s minds. We have added an electronic safety communication screen that is the first thing employees see when they enter the personnel building. It also serves as the company’s intranet homepage. This is used to not only display plant safety statistics and upcoming safety meetings, but also to share relevant safety topics. We have also placed emphasis on having first-line supervisors and managers encourage safe behaviors. We want to ensure that before any job is undertaken, the employee pauses and thinks about the task at hand.
Message to other member companies
Being honored with a Performance Improve Award provides a visible signal to our employees that we are committed to their safety and also provides recognition for their efforts. We use the five performance categories to help set EHS&S goals for the upcoming year. If there is an area we were weak in during the application process, the company will focus efforts on improving that area in the following year. Therefore, the ChemStewards Performance Improvement Awards do provide a catalyst for positive change. The result is that our company has become a better, more well-rounded EHS&S steward.
How they plan to use their recognition as a competitive advantage
Because we are in the toll manufacturing business we have several customer site-visits and audits each month, so we will add the ChemSteward’s award to our presentation. Other marketing materials will absolutely showcase the gold award image, and we will explain the multi-year journey our employees have taken to reach this achievement.