Monsanto Constantine Operations Receives State's Highest Safety and Health Award

Contact: Mario L. Morrow 517-373-9280
Agency: Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

November 14, 2008 - Monsanto's Constantine Operations received the Michigan Voluntary Protection Program (MVPP) Star Award today from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) for workplace safety and health excellence. The MIOSHA program is part of the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth (DLEG).

"Monsanto is leading the way worldwide to help farmers meet the needs of a growing planet. Advanced hybrid and biotechnology seeds are helping farm families produce more, earn more and lead improved lives," said DLEG Deputy Director & Chief of Staff Susan R. Corbin. "We are honored to recognize their Constantine facility for an exemplary workplace safety and health system."

MIOSHA Deputy Director Martha Yoder presented the MVPP Star Award to Site Manager Barry Meyer and Safety Technician Jason Doehring who accepted on behalf of all employees. State and local elected officials and MIOSHA representatives were on hand to recognize employees and management on their outstanding achievement.

The following Monsanto corporate officials offered their congratulations to all employees during the ceremony: Paul Easterday - World Wide ESH Lead; Kent Martin - North American Seed Supply Lead; Jana Mentzer - Eastern Corn Crop Lead; and Marlene Russell - ESH Seeds Lead.

"Safety is definitely a core value within Monsanto and the Constantine site. The Constantine site has worked extremely hard to ensure the safety of our employees, contractors, and visitors," said Meyer. "Achieving MVPP here at Constantine would not have been possible without the total commitment of our full-time and temporary employees. Everyone has contributed greatly to improving processes, equipment, and making safety a core value for the site."

This is the most prestigious safety and health award given in Michigan. MIOSHA established the MVPP program in 1996 to recognize employers actively working toward achieving excellence in workplace safety and health. Since 1999, Michigan has recognized 27 MVPP Star companies.

The incidence rates at the Constantine Operations are well below the industry average for their NAICS code 115114 − Post Harvest Crop Activities. Their total case incidence rate (TCIR) was 1.81 in 2004, 1.61 in 2005, and 3.2 in 2006, compared to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) industry average of 8.5 in 2004, and 7.1 in 2005 and 2006. The total days away/restricted cases (DART) rate was 0.0 in 2004 and 2005, and 2.4 in 2006, compared to the BLS industry average of 5.4 in 2004, 4.0 in 2005, and 3.8 in 2006.

"National VPP sites experience 60 to 80 percent less lost work day injuries than would be expected of an average site in their industry," said Yoder. "Not only does the MVPP program significantly reduce injuries and illnesses-it also has a tremendous impact on the bottom line."

The Constantine facility employs 53 workers and over 300 seasonal workers, and produces more than 2.0 million bags of hybrid seed corn annually. The MIOSHA review team − Doug Kimmel, Team Leader and CET MVPP Specialist; Quenten Yoder, CET Safety Consultant; and Gregg Grubb, CET Industrial Hygienist − conducted 18 formal and eight informal interviews during the site visit. The team examined each of the required elements of their safety and health management system, and found them to effectively address the scope and complexity of the hazards at the site.

Around the world, Monsanto is committed to an injury-free work environment for their employees, including their seasonal staff. Over the past several years, all Monsanto U.S. seed production sites have undertaken the goal of achieving Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star Status. Currently more than 70 percent of their seed sites have attained this goal. This is the first Monsanto Michigan facility to reach VPP Star status.

Constantine Operations areas of excellence include: 
  • Safety and health performance measures are part of all employee appraisals; 
  • Contractors for onsite and field seasonal work are monitored for safety compliance on a weekly basis; 
  • They have an outstanding drivers' safety program; 
  • The site adheres to air monitoring and noise standards that exceed MIOSHA and OSHA requirements; 
  • The facility uses JSAs, inspections, hazard reports, audits and other methods, to identify and correct hazards; and 
  • MSDSs for field operations are provided to local medical providers.

Monsanto is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and large- scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world's natural resources such as water and energy. To learn more about their business and their commitments, please visit: http://www.monsanto.com/

Read more Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth press releases.