warm thoughts


Written on: September 21, 2022

Steve Ahrens, MPGA President and CEO

While Missouri retail propane marketers look forward to annual events such as the Midstates Management Forum and the Annual Family Outing, there are also eight regional Safety Dinners held twice a year, usually in March and September, that focus on all issues related to safety.

Recently, marketers gathered at the various meetings across the state to hear from the Missouri Propane Gas Association’s (MPGA) President and CEO Steve Ahrens, MPGA’s Director of Education Andy Gosney, and the Missouri Propane Safety Commission’s (MPSC) Executive Director Derek Poe.

Ahrens spoke regarding online safety education materials available from the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) as well as the work of Vets2Tech and GenNext to help companies attract new employees. Poe, who became the new MPSC Executive Director in July, talked about recent safety incidents in Missouri and the importance of notifying the MPSC of incidents quickly after they happen so that no time is lost in conducting an investigation.

Derek Poe, MPSC Executive Director

Gosney delivered a powerpoint presentation discussing statistics showing that for every fatality there are approximately three serious injuries, 50 minor injuries requiring first aid, 80 incidents of property damage and 400 near misses. He used a candy jar example to demonstrate that even if you only have a few black jelly beans in a jar with many more of other colors, there is still a chance to reach in and pull out a black jelly bean just like there is always a chance of death or serious injury even if the odds are low.

Gosney discussed personal risk assessment everyone takes when working with hazardous materials: do I know how? do I have the right personal protective equipment (PPE)? are conditions safe? and what’s the worst that could happen? He reminded attendees that OSHA requires fire extinguisher training within 90 days of employment and annual inspections, monthly visual inspections and an 18 lb. ABC rated fire extinguisher. (2020 NFPA 58)

Andy Gosney, MPGA Director of Training and Education

Also discussed were PPE, frequent factors in slips, trips and falls (16% housekeeping issues, 25% wet or slippery surfaces, 54% human factors, 1% poor lighting, 2% stairs and 2% ladders) and he discussed the importance of scaffolding instead of haphazard stacking of various pieces of available furniture and ladders. What are the indirect costs of poor safety habits? Gosney discussed that some of the many costs including lost time wages due to injury, overtime, supervisor wages, lost bonuses, employee morale, need for counseling and turn-over.