Being involved in the agriculture industry poses many challenges, and whether one works on the farm or in a supporting business one of the issues that is most concerning is safety.

The team at the Bayer pre-commercial site located in Redwood Falls has been steeped in safety education recently, and they were recognized for their efforts in that area with what is known as MNSTAR certification. 

A presentation celebrating the certification was held May 2, with a number of Bayer dignitaries, as well as the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, Nancy Leppink, on hand.

The MNSTAR program is part of the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and, according to OSHA, MNSTAR “recognizes companies in which managers and employees work together to develop safety and health management systems that go beyond basic compliance with all applicable OSHA standards,” with the intent of reducing job-related injuries and illnesses.

The pre-commercial site in Redwood Falls is the third of the local Bayer sites (formerly Monsanto) that has achieved MNSTAR certification.

The strategies that are part of the MNSTAR program are used by companies globally, said Leppink, adding the certification puts the Redwood Falls site in an elite group.

The process toward certification is a long one, said Dustin Larsen, who serves as the safety technician for the Bayer site. Larsen expressed his appreciation to the Bayer leadership, as well as the employees at the site, for their willingness to move forward with the concept.

It was a lot of hard work, said Larsen, but he is convinced the environment is much safer because of the efforts and ideas that have been implemented at the site.

What makes the program so successful is that it includes employee input, said Leppink, adding the people who are working where the safety measures are being reviewed and changed are going to be the ones who have the best understanding of how it will or won’t work.