Linde North America has received certification of its Aiken, S.C., plant under the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Responsible Care program.
Linde North America is a member of The Linde Group, a world-leading gases and engineering company. The ACC is an association of producers, manufacturers and suppliers of chemical products.
Warren Arenz, head of safety, health, environment and quality for Linde North America, said, “The employees at the Aiken plant are to be congratulated for the great job they did handling all the details associated with the Responsible Care certification. Their efforts have helped place Linde among the leaders in the U.S. when it comes to sustaining the practices specified in the Responsible Care management system (RCMS).”
Earlier this year, Linde’s headquarters in Murray Hill, N.J., requalified for Responsible Care Certification. Since 2008, 12 Linde North America plants have been certified under the program. The Aiken plant is the first of four locations scheduled for certification this year in order to satisfy the ACC’s requirement for membership.
The Aiken plant has been in operation for 26 years and produces 485 tons-per-day of oxygen, nitrogen and argon. From Aiken, the gases are trucked to a variety of users in the chemical, food processing, steel, healthcare, paper and metal fabrication industries, as well as military installations, in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The plant employs 23 people.
“This is a great cornerstone for the Aiken plant to receive RCMS certification; it fits perfectly into Linde’s high-performance organization program,” said Aiken supply area manager, Pat Wray. “We are very proud of this facility, as we keep our focus on looking for ways to improve every day. This certification is achieved because each employee has an important role of responsibility, and as a team we are taking the lead by our actions that radiate out into our community and customers.”
Responsible Care is a globally recognized management system aimed at helping companies improve performance in areas such as safety, health, environment and security. Certification is mandatory for all ACC member companies, which must undergo headquarter and facility audits by an independent, accredited auditor to verify that they have a structure and system in place that manages and measures performance. Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance (LRQA) is Linde’s independent auditor.
The Responsible Care management system offers an integrated, structured approach for driving continual improvement in seven key areas: community awareness and emergency response; security; distribution; employee health and safety; pollution prevention; process safety; and product stewardship.
Implementing the Responsible Care system is a multi-step process. Companies must first plan – identify, assess and evaluate potential hazards and risks associated with their products, processes and operations – and establish goals and objectives to address any significant hazards or risks. Next, they must do what they have planned, checking their progress along the way to measure performance and take necessary corrective actions. Communicating with employees and other stakeholders, including neighbors and customers, along the way also is essential.
The Linde Group is a world leading gases and engineering company with almost 48,000 employees working in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the 2009 financial year it achieved sales of EUR 11.2 billion (USD 15.3 billion).