Agri-Retailers demonstrate commitment to keep Canadians safe

OTTAWA, Jan. 27 /CNW/ - On January 1, 2011 the fertilzer industry's Ammonia Code of Practice came into full force, following the first two-year mandatory audit cycle. With over 85 per cent of agri-retail sites in compliance, the industry has once again reaffirmed its commitment to keeping Canadians safe.

Anhydrous ammonia is an important nitrogen fertilizer used by farmers primarilyin the Prairies to grow food. Ammonia is a naturally-occurring crop nutrient, but when transported or applied as a compressed gas, anhydrous ammonia is corrosive until it binds with water in the soil. Public and worker safety and security were top priorities in writing the Code and accidental release was a  primary objective.

In 2008 the Canadian Fertilizer Institute's (CFI) Fertilizer Safety and Security Council (FSSC) developed the Code to provide uniform standards for the handling and storage of anydrous ammonia at agri-retail facilities in Canada. The Code was drafted by fertilizer manufacturers, distributors, and agri-retailers, with help from government agencies and the first responder community. 

"The safety and security of Canadians is a priority to us and we want our products to be handled and used safely and securely in communities across the country," said Dave Finlayson, Executive Director of the Fertilizer Safety and Security Council. " The Code of Practice is the first initiative of its kind for ammonia, setting a new global benchmark for fertilizer stewardship. Agri-retailers should be very proud to be leading the way in world safety standards for anhydorus ammonia."

While existing regulations, safety programs and training have greatly reduced the number and severity of accidents involving anhydous ammonia, the Code was developed to further reduce this risk.

CFI partnered with agri-retail associations, including the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers (CAAR), the Ontario Agri-Business Association (OABA) and the Québec Professional Association in Crop Nutrients (PACN) in the development of the Code. CAAR stated that over the past two years, agri-retailers have been preparing their operations to comply with the Ammonia Code of Practice.  The entire sector has proudly established a new benchmark in safety that will serve to protect their employees, customers and communities.

Under the code retailers must meet stringent requirements for emergency prevention, preparedness, and response. And they must review these provisions with local emergency responders every year. "We're encouraged to see the fertilizer industry going beyond what is simply required by law. The Ammonia Code will help first responders work hand-in-hand with agri-retailers in protecting our communities," said Don Warden, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs.

All anhydrous ammonia agri-retail sites in Canada need to pass an audit to be compliant with the Ammonia Code of Practice to continue receiving product from CFI member companies.

As a condition of membership, all manufactures, distributors and retailers must be in compliance with the Ammonia Code of Practice.  

The Ammonia Code of Practice, an accompanying Implementation Guide and Frequently Asked Questions are posted to the Fertilizer Safety and Security Council's website at:    

SOURCE Canadian Fertilizer Institute

For further information:

Catherine King: 613-786-3026

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Canadian Fertilizer Institute

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