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Nalco Champion of Garyville sets Louisiana safety standard

GARYVILLE — Nalco Champion of Garyville, an Ecolab company, was recently honored with the Louisiana Chemical Association’s Best in Louisiana Serious About Fostering Excellence Award for outstanding dedication to environmental health and safety.

Companies across Louisiana are judged annually on the amount of chemicals released on site and prevalence of process safety incidents such as injuries, explosions or fires.

Nalco Champion is leading the way in health and safety, having competed against about a dozen other companies with 100 to 200 employees.

Garyville plant manager James Kulesa said it’s a special honor to have the company’s efforts acknowledged, noting environmental performance and safety are priorities.

“All year long, each of us at the Nalco Champion Garyville site strives for a Goal Zero culture: zero accidents, zero injuries and zero incidents,” Kulesa said. “We’re focused on safety because we care about our fellow employees and our community neighbors.”

The Garyville facility previously won the SAFE Award in 2008 and 2011, and continued training and education are core components of the company’s continued success.

Though the designation is awarded annually, winning requires a long-term commitment to excellence, according to Edward Flynn, vice president for health, safety and security for Louisiana Chemical Association.

“We’re looking at their environmental performance, not just over the past 12 months, but looking back over the past three or four years,” Flynn said.

Flynn said the SAFE Award forwards Louisiana Chemical Association’s mission to foster an environment providing business and economic opportunities that allow people to be employed by world-class chemical companies. Nalco Champion is receiving a LCA Best in Louisiana SAFE flag to designate the achievement.

“You have to be performing at an extremely superior level to win this award, and we want to recognize that high level of achievement,” Flynn said. “Some companies choose to put the flag outside on a pole next to the stars and stripes because they’re proud of it. It’s something you have to work hard to earn and they want people to see it.”

The Garyville facility provides Nalco Champion with chemistry programs for oil and gas operations in an effort to maximize production, protect assets and reduce operating costs and environmental impact, according to Mesa Denny, senior communications manager for parent company Ecolab.

In addition to providing water, hygiene and energy technologies to more than 170 countries worldwide, Ecolab companies aim to give back to the community through service, Denny said, and the Garyville site is no exception. Kulesa is on the Board of Directors for St. John United Way, and the plant is an active member of the River Region Chamber of Commerce, the St. John Industrial Group and the Community Advisory Panel.

The plant is also participating in the Water Synergy Project of Louisiana, part of the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development.