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Koch Nitrogen Company’s Debra McDaniel Honored as One of American Society of Safety Engineers’ 100 Women Making a Difference in Safety

Posted in on Thu, Dec 15, 2011

15, 2011) – The American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) Women in Safety
Engineering (WISE) Common Interest Group has named Debra McDaniel, CSP, of
Wichita, KS, one of their ‘100 Women, Making a Difference’ in the field of
occupational safety, health and environment (SH&E). McDaniel was given the
honor as part of WISE’s commemoration of ASSE’s (1911-2011) 100th
anniversary. Honorees named to the list were selected by fellow WISE members
located around the globe.

The Safety and Health Excellence Leader for Koch Nitrogen
Company, McDaniel is charged with overseeing the safety operations for the Dodge City, Kansas
facility. As part of the Central Plains safety team, she assists with
implementation of programs on behavior based safety, hazard awareness and safe
work execution.

One of McDaniel’s biggest responsibilities is to make sure
that each plant she supports successfully makes it through periodic “Turn
Around” outage. Process Safety Management (PSM) requires periodic maintenance,
inspections, and repairs, for which the entire plant must be entirely shut down
for several weeks.

“It’s a very intense period,” said McDaniel, explaining that
she is involved in two to three of the plant shutdowns per year. “Working with
numerous outside contractors can be challenging when their company’s values,
culture, and safety expectations are not aligned with those of Koch Nitrogen.
We must ensure execution of safe work to prevent all injuries and illnesses.”

In addition, Koch has undergone a 60 percent growth in sales
in recent years, resulting in the need for additional safety professionals at
each of the company’s facilities. Because of this, McDaniel has taken on a
mentoring role within the company with a goal of eventually making safety
technicians into safety professionals by bringing them in through internships,
and setting up scholarships.  The goal is
to eventually have safety professionals on staff that are from the areas where
the plants are located.

McDaniel learned about the importance of on-the-job safety
when she worked for eight years as a plant operator, and saw many workplace
injuries first hand, and experienced them herself.  These experiences prompted her to become the
plant’s health and safety officer by developing a program, and studying to stay
one subject ahead of the employees training needs in the beginning of here

She eventually earned her B.S. degree in occupational safety
and health online from Columbia Southern University.

McDaniel is extremely appreciative of her inclusion in the
WISE ‘100 Women Making a Difference in Safety’ project.

“I’m just a small town girl, and this is beyond my wildest
dreams and a great honor to be included in this,” she said.

McDaniel is a member of ASSE’s Wichita Chapter, where she
serves as its secretary. She is also a member of the Board of Certified Safety
Professionals (BCSP).

The ‘WISE 100 Women, Making a Difference in Safety’ project
honors women who, throughout history, have dedicated their careers to promoting
innovation in safety, health and environmental issues. The valuable
contributions of women to the SH&E profession have been recognized through
this project and later this year WISE will consolidate the profiles of all 100
honorees into a single publication, titled 100 Women, Making a Difference in the Safety, Health and Environmental Profession as  part of ASSE’s (1911-2011) 100th

WISE was established to foster the advancement of women in
the SH&E profession.  The group
provides professional development opportunities, evaluates the ongoing state of
women in SH&E, mentors women in the profession, provides opportunities for
women to obtain professional certifications and promotes the development and
peer review of written material related to issues specific to women in the
SH&E  workplace.  For more information about WISE and upcoming events,
please visit

Founded in 1911, the 100-year-old Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE
is the oldest professional safety society and is committed to protecting
people, property and the environment. Its more than 33,000 occupational safety,
health and environmental professional members lead, manage, supervise, research
and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all
industries, government, labor, health care and education. For more information
please view ASSE’s ‘Celebrating a Century of Safety’ video at


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