MPC Adopting New Product Safety Management Practices
The Product Safety Code goes beyond regulatory requirements to reassure consumers that the chemical industry makes products that are safe for their intended uses, understands its responsibility, and considers health, safety and environment stewardship top priorities.
Part of being an American Chemistry Council Responsible Care® company is going the extra mile in the name of product stewardship, and adopting the new Product Safety Code’s management practices is along that extra mile.
In the U.S., we’ve been using petroleum products for about 150 years. Having existed as a company for nearly 130 years, Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) has a substantial head start when it comes to product safety. It would be difficult to find anyone who isn’t familiar with the common hazards associated with gasoline, propane, diesel or kerosene by now. Most folks know the basics of how to use these fuels safely and what to avoid.
To help MPC customers and the public with these basics, MPC routinely distributes or makes available precautionary handling fact sheets called Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for our products. In an effort to be fully transparent and ensure common risks are communicated, MPC has also placed SDSs for every product we manufacture on our corporate website. This ensures everyone has access to this information when it’s needed.
But that’s no reason to assume that the product safety measures we’ve employed in the past can’t be enhanced. “Part of being an American Chemistry Council Responsible Care® company is going the extra mile in the name of product stewardship, and adopting the new Product Safety Code’s management practices is along that extra mile,” said John Swearingen, MPC vice president of Health, Environment, Safety and Security. Adopting the management practices, Swearingen added, demonstrates that doing business the right way is vitally important to MPC, and to anyone who handles or uses our products.
The Product Safety Code goes beyond regulatory requirements to reassure consumers that the chemical industry makes products that are safe for their intended uses, understands its responsibility, and considers health, safety and environment stewardship top priorities. This is critical to our long-term success, because people need our products and want to feel safe when using them.
In order to meet this expectation, the code requires MPC to:
- Scientifically investigate, evaluate and manage risk from our products, especially in light of how people use them and might be exposed
- Train and hold our employees accountable for their product safety-related knowledge and actions
- Develop and maintain safety information as it evolves on all our products and freely share it to promote the safe handling and use of products
- Consider the potential physical, health or environmental impacts of products throughout their entire life cycle
- Continually seek new information that might have implications for product safety
- Continually improve and periodically evaluate the effectiveness of our product safety programs and certify our compliance with the code using an independent auditor
- Continually encourage the implementation of the code’s management practices in the activities of our product value chain partners and take corrective action if we discover improper product safety practices
Sabrina Wilkin, corporate Responsible Care coordinator, notes that the new Product Safety Code will be put into effect by implementing 11 management practices in phases. The implementation deadline for the following first three practices is at the end of 2014:
- Leadership commitment: Our company leadership is committed to a culture of product safety in word, policy and deed.
- Accountability and management: We have clearly established accountability for product safety, and these practices are integral to the way we operate.
- Prioritization of products: We use a risk-based process to consider available hazard, exposure and intended use information to rank products in need of further evaluation.
“We’ve taken a close look at the requirements of these management practices and compared them with what we have in place already,” said Wilkin. “Because we have always had a strong safety culture here at MPC, there aren’t significant gaps we need to fill.”
Wilkin notes, however, that some changes MPC has recently made, or plans to make, to enhance the company’s product safety include:
- More specific references and links to our SDSs on our public website
- Increased requirements related to hazard communications in MPC sales and supplier agreements
- Presentations on the Product Safety Code
- Development of code training aids, such as a web-based training and communications
- The addition of product safety to some audit protocols and job descriptions
“The new web-based training will familiarize employees with elements of product safety they might not have been aware of previously,” said MPC Toxicology and Product Safety Manager Rudy Breglia. As a company that is ultimately responsible for meeting its consumers’ needs, Breglia emphasized, an increased focus on product safety – and management practices to ensure a sound approach – will strengthen MPC’s commitment to safeguard our employees, facilities, neighbors, and the consumers we serve.
Learn more about Responsible Care at http://responsiblecare.americanchemistry.com/