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Feb. 12, 2013

Monsanto Trait Field Solutions research site achieves safety and health award, recognized Feb. 19

Workplace safety and health representatives from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) will recognize Monsanto's Trait Field Solutions research facility for its achievement as a Minnesota Star (MNSTAR) worksite, during a ceremony at 11 a.m., Feb. 19, at Holiday Inn and Suites, Owatonna, Minn.

MNSTAR is a Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MNOSHA) program that recognizes worksites where managers and employees work together to develop safety and health management systems that go beyond basic compliance with all applicable OSHA standards and result in immediate and long-term prevention of job-related injuries and illnesses.

"We are pleased to reward Monsanto for efforts to develop and implement an exemplary safety and health management system," said Ken Peterson, DLI commissioner. "Its employees and management are to be commended for their joint efforts to ensure more employees return home safe and healthy each day."

The research facility worked with MNOSHA's Workplace Safety Consultation to identify and eliminate current or future safety hazards at its worksite. Key elements of this comprehensive program include:  management leadership and employee involvement; an allocation of resources to address safety issues; systems that identify and control workplace hazards; and a plan for employee safety training and education.

"Achieving this status from Minnesota OSHA shows the commitment to safety that the site and Monsanto have," said Dan Wertish, site manager. "The overall safety awareness has increased significantly since we started this process. It was definitely a group effort and took nearly four years to complete. Now that we have achieved this status, we will continue to maintain the system and look for ways to improve upon it."

The Owatonna site tests new traits for corn in the early relative maturity zone. It conducts various trials to evaluate the equivalency and efficacy of the new traits. The site processes and packages soybean seeds, shipping them to various sites for yield trial testing, seed increases and other seed requests.

Peterson and other DLI representatives will commemorate the organization's employee-employer relationship by presenting a MNSTAR flag and a certificate that exempts the facility for three years from MNOSHA Compliance scheduled inspections.

MNSTAR began in Minnesota in January 1999, and is modeled after the federal OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), which began in 1982. Monsanto's Trait Field Solutions research facility is one of 31 MNSTAR worksites in Minnesota. For more information, visit www.dli.mn.gov/WSC/Mnstar.asp.

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James Honerman
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