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WASHINGTON (May 26, 2021) – The American Chemistry Council (ACC) recognizes Ascend Performance Materials with its 2021 Responsible Care® Initiative of the Year award, for the company’s unique deployment of Hazard Recognition Plus™ (HRP), which helps employees identify potential hazards and take action to reduce the likelihood of them occurring.

Ascend implemented HRP, a tool developed by Decision Point Associates, with the goal of reducing recordable injuries across the company.The HRP process begins with identifying a hazard as the potential for an uncontrolled release of, or unwanted contact with, an energy source that can result in harm to people, the environment or company assets or reputation.  After an analysis of facility incidents, Ascend found that more than 70 percent had a lack of hazard recognition identified as a main cause.

Ascend set out to conduct a comprehensive company-wide HRP training and education program. Over a nine-month period, approximately 80 percent of Ascend’s 2,500 employees were trained on the HRP thought process using a multi-phased approach. Participants in the training sessions included company senior leadership, site leadership teams, front-line workers, new employees and contract personnel working on-site.

Since Ascend was founded in 2009, the company has averaged 24 injuries each year. Over the course of adopting the HRP thought process, Ascend reduced injuries across the company by 50 percent from July to December 2019.  In 2020, Ascend recorded 10 injuries over the course of the year—a record low for the company.

“HRP is an industry-recognized process for improving safety performance,” says Hattie Larson, ESSH Program Manager for Ascend. “Our broad, multi-facility approach to implementing the program over a short period sets Ascend apart. We have a commitment to zero incidents, and we believe that we will realize this goal through our full adoption and integration of HRP into our culture.”

HRP has been reinforced throughout the company through an internal communications campaign using video, posters and company-wide messages. It was also formally incorporated into Ascend’s Job Safety Analysis (JSA) form and process. A key aspect of the JSA is the addition of specific stop-the-job triggers. Ascend’s safety culture has been strengthened by promoting instances when a job was stopped, and employees are empowered to stop jobs that are potentially unsafe.

“Continued education and training is a priority for Responsible Care companies to enhance safety in all facility operations, and Ascend’s HRP process provides a common language for understanding, identifying and managing hazards,” said Tara Henriksen, ACC’s Managing Director of Responsible Care. “We are proud to recognize Ascend as the 2021 Responsible Care Initiative of the Year award winner.”

The Responsible Care Initiative of the Year winner was selected by ACC members and Responsible Care Partner company representatives, who heard presentations from two company finalists at a special Responsible Care webinar and then voted to select the winning project.

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