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Ginning Safety Can’t Be Emphasized Enough

04-14CFcvrWhy the big focus on safety? It’s no secret that your associations are the smallest of small businesses, but the role of your associations has become a big part of what you know about ginning cotton. Cotton ginners associations started like most other associations – a way to organize and learn from each other. While occasional battles took place, it wasn’t until the most recent generations of ginners that the associations took on more of an advocacy role – particularly in matters of regulation.

Cotton ginning is an extension of the harvest. Cotton cannot be sold or marketed until it is ginned and is a perishable ag commodity. As an extension of harvest, gins sit in a unique position in regulation – not quite farming and not quite general industry. Likewise, our workforce is unique. It is seasonal work done by an often-migrant workforce. These things have combined to make training our workers a unique task.

The expanding size and role of government has brought ever closer encounters with regulators from various departments – DOT to DOL and OSHA to EPA, and the alphabet soup continues. Add to this a near crisis in workers comp several years ago, and our industry felt that a large part of its resources needed to focus on the unique situation that we face in keeping our workers safe and meeting government safety regulations, which aren’t always in tune with each other.

So, why do we continue to spend a lot of resources on safety? First and foremost it’s the right thing to do. We are responsible for the people we employ. We are responsible for their actions, and we are responsible for keeping them safe. No one wants to see an employee get hurt, but, given that the company is responsible legally and morally, you need to take the actions that will keep them safe and make sure employees don’t put themselves or their coworkers in harm’s way.

As was mentioned earlier, gins sit in a unique position of not quite farming and not quite general industry and as such we have unique needs that your normal safety person will not be able to address. Therefore, your associations will continue to fill that role and help train your employees and understand the regulations and will help fight the regulators when they come knocking.

Dusty Findley, executive vice president of the Southeastern Cotton Ginners, contributed this article. Interested parties may contact him at (706) 344-1212 or via email at dusty@southern-southeastern.org.

Cotton’s Calendar

2014

April 2-4 – TCA Annual Meeting, Horseshoe Bay, Texas.
April 3-4 – TCGA Trade Show, Lubbock, Texas.
April 4 – Plains Cotton Growers Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
April 4 – PCCA Board Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
Apr. 16-17 – ACP Meeting, Dallas, Texas.
April 30-May 2 – ACSA Meeting, Miami Beach, Fla.
May 15 – Calcot Board Meeting, Bakersfield, Calif.
May 21 – PCCA Board Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
May 29 – June 2 – CGWA Conference, St. Augustine, Fla.
June 3-5 – CI/Cotton Board Meeting, Dallas, Texas.
June 4-7 – CWAA Annual Meeting, Stowe, Vt.
June 12-13 – Ariz. Cotton Ginners Meeting, Flagstaff, Ariz.
June 15-17 – Fiber Buyers Meeting, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
June 18 – Staplcotn Board Meeting, Greenwood, Miss.
June 18 – PCCA Board Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
June 19 – Calcot Board Meeting, Bakersfield, Calif.
July 9 – PCG Quarterly Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
July 17 – Calcot Board Meeting, Bakersfield, Calif.
July 27-30 – Southern-Southeastern Board Meeting, Amelia Island, Fla.
August 5-7 – CI/Cotton Board Meeting, Durham, N.C.
August 12-13 – ACP Summer Meeting, Savannah, Ga.
August 19 – PCCA Board Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
August 20-22 – NCC Board Meeting, Memphis, Tenn.
August 27 – Calcot Board Meeting, Bakersfield, Calif.
September 17 – PCCA Board Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
September 22 – Calcot Board Meeting, TBD.
October 8 – PCG Quarterly Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.