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Mennel's Most Valuable Safety Asset: Our People.

January 17, 2020

Mennel's Brendan Coughlan, Director of Environmental Health and Safety, was interviewed by the Grain Journal as part of a spotlight on Safety Equipment. The publication asked industry safety professionals what they consider to be most valuable to their sites.

"When it comes to safety equipment, we all think of hard hats, boots, fall protection harnesses, gas monitors, etc., but it’s our people that are the most value for safety at Mennel," said Brendan Coughlan. " Over the past several years, Mennel has demonstrated that safety is a top priority through the continual investment in safety equipment across our operations – flour milling, grain elevators, bakery mix, popcorn, transportation, truck repair, property maintenance, and warehousing facilities."

Each area is unique, and the equipment ranges widely, including:  

  • Explosion protection systems to mitigate combustible dust explosion hazards;
  • Dust collection systems to control combustible dust hazards and fugitive dusts;
  • Expanded use of high visibility outerwear for employees working around motor vehicle and rail traffic;
  • Upgraded fall protection systems and equipment to improve comfort and aid in rescue;
  • ELDs for heavy trucks to comply with new DOT safety requirements;
  • Enhanced SDS database that increases ease of access to chemical hazard information;
  • Automatic grain probe to eliminate the safety risks associated with hand probing trucks;
  • Rotating lift tables to improve ergonomics at manual stacking processes;
  • Installation of work platforms to increase access to process equipment; and
  • Electrical equipment replacements to abate arc flash hazards.  

"While this equipment adds to, improves or makes our overall safety easier, our employees are of the greatest value to safety at Mennel. Our employees make critical safety decisions 24 hours a day/7 days a week and 365 days a year. Without well trained, motivated and empowered employees, our cool/sleek/fancy safety equipment is useless," added Brendan.  

The company maintains and continually improves our most valuable safety equipment with ongoing reinvestment in our people. The corporate safety team distributes regular safety training presentations and safety talks to all locations. The locations use these standard presentations and talks to build safety knowledge amongst their teams. Each site expands with information about their specific process and facility.

New programs focused on SIF (Significant Injury & Fatality) Prevention have been developed as well. This program is geared toward activities with high risk potential such as motor vehicle operations, fall protection and lockout activities. Part of this program is an observation and feedback process that encourages peer-to-peer observations. The observation process aids in identifying SIF precursors, program gaps as well as educates and reinforces proper safe work practices.  

"Every one of our employees at Mennel is truly our greatest safety asset, make the greatest impact, and are of the greatest value."

To read the full interview, click here.