As the busy spring season wraps up and the door is slowly closing on the coronavirus pandemic, retail ag facilities are encouraged to get back to ensuring that they comply with safety, health, environmental and security rules.
Auditors are needed and ResponsibleAg is gearing up for the next Auditor Training Course for ag retailers and industry professionals, set for June 22-25, 2021, in Owensboro, Ky. Registration is open for the full capacity of 24 participants based on recent updates to CDC guidelines, though precautions will be taken to meet ensure the safety of participants and guard against the spread of Covid-19.
The four-day course offers training that prepares attendees to assess safety and compliance practices completely and accurately at retail facilities. The range of regulatory compliance issues to be addressed relate to dry fertilizer, liquid fertilizer, anhydrous ammonia, crop protection products, seed treaters and more, as well as the shop, office and grounds. By the end of the course, attendees will have the knowledge needed to confidently identify areas of non-compliance and provide tools and ideas facilities can use to make needed improvements. Successfully completing the Auditor Training Course is the first step toward becoming a credentialed ResponsibleAg auditor.
Company auditors say ResponsibleAg training improves understanding and reliability
Previous participants have a lot to say about the value of the course.
Alicia Wagner Brown, an environmental compliance specialist for CHS, Inc., helps CHS facilities meet the expectations of the company’s internal Environmental Health and Safety program. She received her credentials as a ResponsibleAg auditor in 2017 and says the training increased her understanding of many complex regulations.
“The ResponsibleAg program aligns well with CHS’s compliance program and is a good check and balance to make sure we’re covering all the bases we should,” says Brown. “When conducting audits, I point out that if corrective action is needed, it’s better that we work together to identify it, versus the EPA or OSHA inspector finding an issue.”
Another ResponsibleAg credentialed auditor, Mike Henry, Director of Environmental at Gavilon Fertilizer in Omaha, Nebraska, adds that one of the greatest benefits is the structure the program provides. “It’s great using an audit developed and maintained by a third party. It helps reduce inherent bias and provides a level of objectivity between the auditor and facility that would be challenging to replicate using traditional internal auditing techniques.”
Industry expert leads training course
The June course will be led by Brian Miller, president of Miller Risk Management. Miller is both a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) and a Certified Professional EHS Auditor and has decades of experience auditing agricultural facilities.
The course’s location, the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture, is a former ag retail facility retrofitted specifically for training purposes. The four-day program relies on a mixture of activities sure to appeal to a variety of learning styles, including classroom lectures, computer lab tasks, role-play scenarios, problem-solving sessions and hands-on exercises. Miller uses group exercises in conjunction with mock auditing to reinforce learning and familiarize participants with the auditing process.
The course format made an impression on Alicia Wagner Brown of CHS, Inc. "I originally thought four days of classroom training would not hold my attention. But the combination of classroom training and hands-on training was excellent.” She added that the hands-on training gave participants the chance to discuss, share personal audit experiences and learn from each other.
Requirements for taking auditor training course
Because past professional experience also plays a key role in effective compliance auditing, anyone interested in attending the course and becoming a credentialed auditor must have at least five years experience in the agricultural inputs industry or five years working with environmental, health, safety, security or loss control issues. Candidates also will benefit from a basic understanding of Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and related regulatory agency requirements.
Full details about the ResponsibleAg auditor training course and registration information is available at www.responsibleag.org or by contacting the ResponsibleAg helpdesk at 270-683-6777 or email@example.com.
ResponsibleAg is an industry initiative launched in 2014 to help retail facilities comply with federal environmental, health, safety and security rules for safe handling and storage of fertilizer and agrichemical products.