Apr. 15, 2013
The International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) and its member company Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A (SQM) held the 2013 global Fertilizer Safety Summit & Technical Symposium in Santiago, Chile from 8-11 April. 150 participants from 20 countries discussed responsible fertilizer production and best practices in the areas of Safety, Health and the Environment (SHE).
Top technical experts from the industry convened to discuss innovative new production processes and share best practices. The conference focused in particular on SHE matters like product security, and employee safety, as well as technical areas like process safety, and methods to optimize ammonia production.
Francisco Orrego Bauzá, Undersecretary of the Chilean Ministry of Mines, was a keynote speaker and reflected on the steps taken by the Chilean government after the Copiapo copper- gold mine accident of 2010. Mr. Orrego Bauzá indicated that, as a result of Congress hearings and investigations, more than 30 proposals were incorporated into current safety legislation and governmental procedures. He also commended SQM for its safety efforts and leadership in promoting IFA’s Safety First approach worldwide. Eugenio Ponce, SQM’s Senior Vice- President and IFA’s Senior Vice-President added, “Bien Seguro, Bien Hecho or A job well done is a job done safely is SQM’s motto on safety. Under this concept, SQM has managed to significantly reduce its accident rate since 2004. My company’s goal is to reach zero accidents.”
IFA’s biennial Green Leaf Award for SHE excellence was also awarded in Santiago to Qatar Fertilizer Company (QAFCO) for its outstanding implementation of management systems to ensure SHE controls across the product life cycle at its ammonia and urea production facilities. QAFCO’s CEO, Khalifa Al Suwaidi received the award in person. The prizes for first and second runners-up went to Tata Chemicals Ltd. (India) and Profertil (Argentina).
“It is my belief that our people are the industry’s highest priority. This is why I have made safety the prime focus of my work, not only in my own company but also in my leadership in the Association. We all need to make sure that every colleague should exit our locations in the same healthy way they entered them at the beginning of their working day”, stated William J. Doyle, CEO of PotashCorp and President of IFA. Commitment to employee safety extends beyond the production site, as demonstrated by Gulf Petrochemical Industries Co's (GCPI) recent mobile phone ban while driving. The “On the Road off the Phone” initiative is based on extensive research that clearly shows that traffic accidents caused by mobile phones occur every 24 seconds.
Following the conference, all participants were invited to explore how safety and technology complement each other in SQM’s mining facilities in the Atacama Desert.