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Corteva Agriscience, the agriculture division of DowDuPont, won a 2018 Manufacturing Safety Excellence Award for its best-in-class approach to industrial safety.

The award from Rockwell Automation honors industrial companies that make safety a core business value and realize the widespread benefits of holistic safety.

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Corteva Agriscience is a global agriculture company. The organization is in the process of rolling out a transformative safety initiative that aims to reduce safety risks and improve productivity across its global operations. The initiative is currently being piloted in a few plants and will eventually be expanded to the company’s more than 70 seed production sites worldwide.

“Corteva Agriscience exemplifies how companies can use a holistic, risk-based safety approach to drive operational excellence,” said Lee Lane, vice president/general manager safety, sensing and connectivity business, Rockwell Automation. “The company is taking a leadership role on safety in its industry by addressing the three pillars of a comprehensive safety program: culture, compliance and technology.”

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Corteva Agriscience generated support and momentum for its safety initiative by getting buy-in from executive leadership, including the chief executive. The company has also put a focus on cross-team collaboration. For example, engineering, production and safety teams work together on machine-safety projects, and employee engagement has helped support project rollouts at pilot sites.

“Employee engagement is a key reason our initiative has been successful in our pilot plants,” said Dan Thompson, safety, health and environmental manager, Corteva Agriscience. “We sat down with everyone from plant and safety managers to production operators. The meetings help them see they have a role to play and help build excitement for what we’re doing. We’ve seen operator attitudes shift mid-meeting from skepticism to enthusiasm because they have a say in potential changes.”

Corteva Agriscience’s compliance efforts include working with its OEM vendors to make sure machine-safety risk assessments are performed during the design phase. Also, as the company implements its safety initiative and sees results, it will incorporate key learnings into its corporate safety standards to drive improvement throughout the organization.

On the technology front, Corteva Agriscience is making investments in systems that can enhance worker safety and plant productivity. One example is a request-to-enter system that the company is implementing on its husker and bagging machines. The system allows workers to bring the machines to a stop with the push of a button, so they can perform certain minor servicing tasks. In the past, workers had to use lengthy lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures for such tasks.

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