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Ascend Performance Materials Receives Responsible Care® Initiative of the Year Award for Hazard Recognition Plus Thought Process

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Jenny Heumann
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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.

For more information on Responsible Care, visit:

Intimate Space

Proximics is the study of space.  Not “outer space” but the space between us and what it communicates.  Our Intimate Space, as defined by Edward Hall, is from 0 to 1.5 feet and is reserved for our close family and friends.  In an elevator, our personal space is “violated” when a stranger is forced into our intimate space.  In order to address this violation, we create an imaginary barrier around us to keep the violator out by avoiding eye contact and not engaging in communication.  What do we do now when our friends and family are forced out of our initmate space?  How can we address this violation?  In our new normal of social distancing, we are using technology, that can be so inhuman and intangible, to try to fill the gap created by the lack of human interaction. 

The one image that haunts me is a Mother’s day news story…the story was how families were trying to celebrate Mother’s day being socially distant and it shows a row of grandmothers and mothers outside of their rest home as cars are driving by.  The camera focuses in on a nurse that is trying to give a resident a cell phone to either see her family or talk to them as they drive by.  She is just shaking her head and pushing her away and you could see she was extremely upset and confused.  There is nothing that can replace that hug you give your mother on Mother’s day, but when one of our senses is diminished, another usually gets stronger.  In this case, our sense of compassion, understanding, and patience needs to strengthen.  Compassion for those who are struggling and have suffered great loss; Understanding that we need to make sacrafices to get through this; and Patience because it will take some time before violating the rules of intimate space is no longer the norm and we can all gather together for a big group hug!

Alison Rico,

DPA Operations Manager

Master’s in Communication, Arizona State University

Keeping in Touch

When I decided to get my degree in Speech and Communication, I didn’t realize how relevant that decision would be.  I know my father probably wanted me to be a business major but I ended up getting a degree in Communication with an emphasis in the study of literature through performance.  So how did I end up being the Operations Manager for a safety education company?  Communication.  I will not go into detail on all the jobs I had that led me here but one thing was consistent in every job I’ve had….the importance of communication.  In this past year, the “time of Corona”, our communication has been heightened and dulled at the same time.  Our communication and relationships have been pushed into new frontiers of awareness.  My in-laws, who are in their 80’s, are zooming, kids are going to school virtually, and a lot of us are working from home.  I’ve been working from home on and off for the last 7 years, so this wasn’t new to me. I was fully aware of the challenges to communication that remote learning and working has and it’s not easy.  The biggest challenge is the lack of nonverbal communication that is sometimes not even acknowledged or recognized.  The most obvious lack is the absense of touch that has been a necessity for social distancing. 

There are so many other ways we can communicate nonverbally and we need to strengthen those ways to make up for the lack of touch.  One method of nonverbal that is often not recognized is the use of time.  If you are always late, doesn’t that communicate something about you?  If you take too long to do something, are you lazy? Distracted? Apathetic?  For some of us, time is money.  So…spend some time and talk with friends and family; take the time and send an unexpected gift, write a letter (email, text, blog), laugh, cry, argue, or simply smile and stay connected.  If we can’t actually touch, we at least need to keep in touch by whatever means we can.

Alison Rico,

DPA Operations Manager

Master’s in Communication, Arizona State University

Hello fellow Decision Point Associates,

Today is a new day for America and for us.  I feel inspired by the inauguration colors.  Colors of the flag, colors of the songs, colors of the speeches, colors of the prayers, and colors of the poetry.

What a graceful and moving event.  We have a principled new President with core values of empathy, caring, and unity.  A new Vice-President that represents all of us.  And what a moving prayer at the end by the Reverend from Delaware.  The songs were really moving – from Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, and Garth Brooks.

President Biden’s speech I thought was powerful and pointed and his line about taking on white supremacy, pandemic, jobs, climate change, and our place in the world.

The most amazing and brilliant of them all seemed to me to be Amanda Gorman’s poem.  She represents a new view of America – with hope, dignity, grace, and inspiration.

I feel relieved, inspired, and hopeful

Have a great day….


On this important day of remembrance of a special social, spiritual, and civil rights leader for all of humanity – I wish you all a Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Take the day off and reflect on the good things we have, the dreams we hold dear, and spread some love!  

Every year I play Dr. King’s  “I have a dream” speech as his voice resonates with compassion, hope, and inspiration.

I wonder what the Reverend would think of this past year and how he would approach a dialogue with all of us?  Perhaps three of his most famous quotes would be his points of emphasis. 

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

In my humble opinion we have many miles yet to walk to embrace racial, social, sexual, and religious equality.  Unfortunately white privilege still abounds.  Thinking about our next steps might be a good thing to do.  Maybe even try to envision where King would have taken the next step for nonviolent change.  I also think of this lesson from him as one we can use in the world of safety – lack of safety anywhere is a threat to safety everywhere.   

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

These words mean so much to me for so many reasons.  Hate has no place to hide and the best way to drive it into non-existence is through love.  This is the basis of caring about others and having enough empathy to feel someone else’s pains and their joys.  That is the basis of our safety leadership work for all of mankind.  I truly believe everyone regardless of color, race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion (or non-religion), or location in the world have a right to a safe day.

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

There is not a better time for the inauguration of a President and a Vice-President that have decency and respect for others to take place this week.  Perhaps Joe Biden can walk to the podium with the same courage that Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. possessed.  I hope Kamala Harris wears a sari as a statement to all women around the world that we can hold who we are up to the sky with joy. 

Our “stop-the-job” triggers is a nice reflection of this quote about doing what is right.  The courage that all of you demonstrate to always lead toward what is right and not put it off is a living demonstration of this moral code. 

And to echo John Lewis

“Never give up. Never give in. Never become hostile… Hate is too big a burden to bear.”

 Have a great day….


Sospes and Decision Point Announce Integration Partnership Connecting Unique Hazard Recognition with Innovative Software to Improve Safety Outcomes

“The direct connection between Sospes and Decision Point allows companies to identify, document and mitigate hazards in high-risk operations while using sophisticated software to analyze results to lower incident rates resulting in injuries and fatalities.”

Boulder, Colorado, November, 2020. Sospes, LLC., a leading provider of EHS software, and Decision Point Associates, Inc., announced a partnership agreement under which Decision Point’s Hazard Recognition Plus™ (HRP) process is now paired with Sospes to provide workers a game-changing pathway to advance safety in their own workplace. The direct connection between Sospes and Decision Point allows companies to identify, document and mitigate hazards in high-risk operations while using sophisticated software to analyze results to lower incident rates resulting in injuries and fatalities.

“I am excited to announce the Decision Point and Sospes partnership. HRP and Sospes solve two ever-present challenges: 1) developing hazard recognition and evaluation competency throughout an organization; and 2) giving workers the power to easily report safety information and use the same technology pathway to provide feedback to workers regarding what was done with their input,” said Michael Fleming, CEO of Decision Point.

“Decision Point has trained workers all over the world in seriously high-risk environments to think about hazard analysis in a unique way that has proven to be effective in reducing serious injuries and fatalities. We are honored that they chose Sospes as a partner with whom to digitize and help distribute their process and documentation,” said Thomas Carson, Sospes CEO.

The importance of EHS software is growing as more safety professionals depend on everyday identification and analysis of behaviors and events to create a more engaged and safer employee culture. When digital tracking occurs as part of daily safety processes, organizations benefit from faster, more streamlined processes, reduced incident rates and costs, and faster corrective action follow up. The relationship between Sospes and Decision Point is another instance of this trend.

About Sospes
Sospes’ award-winning EH&S management software makes organizations better by engaging employees with easy incident reporting, accountable actions management and powerful data analytics, all with a single integrated mobile application. The product is easy to learn, simple to use and can be implemented in far less time than typical enterprise systems. The application is hosted in Microsoft’s Azure Cloud, which allows the company to deliver a secure, robust user experience nearly anywhere in the world. For more information, please visit

About Decision Point
Decision Point Associates provides a culture-changing hazard recognition process rooted in science, engineering, and art. The science is energy-based hazard recognition. The engineering is simple, structured, and proven questions to discover and manage hazards. The art is leading and communicating with others to imagine what could happen in order to avoid harmful events. HRP Energy Octagon is the original, simple, worker-oriented, energy-based hazard recognition model that has become a standard that others follow. For more information, please visit

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