POET Biorefining of Big Stone City was awarded the 2015 Environmental Health and Safety Excellence Award. The award is given each year to the top plant within the POET system for its environmental health and safety (EHS) performance.
“Safety is our main goal in everything we do – everything,” expressed POET general manager Blaine Gomer. “We are very proud of this award.” The Big Stone POET plant has gone a remarkable 3,077 days with no lost time for injuries, which amounts to over eight years straight. “ POET is the top producer of ethanol in the United States,” noted Gomer. “We put out 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol each year.”
The recent award for excellence is based upon several factors including environmental permit compliance, environmental calendar, tracking and correcting near misses, tracking reportable injuries, active safety communities, safe work practices within the plant and a culture of safety company wide. The local company also performs a number of monthly spot checks for safety as well as regular reviews of its work practices and procedures and reviews of all the various permits required for operation.
Members of the POET safety team (back row, left to right) are: DJ Haggerty, plant manager; Brian Ninneman, operations manager; Kevin Gapp, fabricator; Kelly Stotesbery, maintenance manager, and Blaine Gomer, general manager. Front row: Janet Smith, accountant; Janae Tostenson, senior EHS specialist; Jessica Strom, grain buyer, and Jen Zirbel, quality manager.
Other members of the safety team are: Derrick Prasnicki, shift supervisor; Austin Hunt, commodities manager, and Steve Nelson, materials handler.