SMDC, MDA host joint Safety Day
June 14, 2013
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- As the summer approaches, the Redstone Arsenal and Colorado Springs, Colo., communities are learning about health and safety.
The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command and the Missile Defense Agency hosted the fifth annual Joint Safety Awareness Day and Health Expo to promote safety awareness June 12 at the Von Braun Complex on Redstone Arsenal and another for USASMDC/ARSTRAT team members on May 22 in Colorado Springs, Colo.
"First, I want to thank our partners in MDA for co-sponsoring today's Safety Expo. We have a close collaborative relationship with MDA not only in safety, but in developing our nation's global missile defense," said Ronald E. Chronister, deputy to the commander, USASMDC/ARSTRAT. "We are focused on sharing summer safety and health information to increase our awareness about summer hazards and to make sure our most valuable resource -- You -- returns safely to work each day.
"Safety is a big deal. Since October, there have been a total of 3,600 civilian accident claims filed within the U.S. Army; 838 were lost time/fatality claims. In fiscal year 2012, accidents cost the Army about $180 million; at the Department of Defense, it was just over $3 billion. Sadly, this year, the Army lost more Soldiers to accidents than to combat. We can, and we must, do better," he continued. "And now we enter the Army's 101 Critical Days of Summer, which runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day. This is probably the most dangerous time of the year. The summer hours of daylight means more chances for accidents as we enjoy a barbeque or boating or any of the other wonderful things Alabama has to offer. It also means the time of year when hazardous weather conditions can pop up, so stay alert and stay prepared."
The purpose of the expo is to help minimize the risk of unintentional death, injury or damage caused by mishaps and to promote proactive measures within the work force, as well as during leisure activities. The day's activities focused on safety demonstrations and inspections performed by members of Redstone Arsenal and its surrounding communities.
"MDA and SMDC employees are a national resource and their safety is a top priority," said Maj. Gen. Ole A. Knudson, MDA program executive for Programs and Integration. "We know that our employees can continue to produce state-of-the-art-missile defense systems for the nation only to the extent that we provide a safe and healthy work environment. Beyond the work environment our employees and their families are subject to the hazards of everyday life that can impact the morale and productivity of the work force. We must continually keep awareness and attention on safe practices both on and off duty.
"Today's event is focused on nurturing a positive safety culture within our organizations," Knudson added. "This joint effort allows us to demonstrate our dedication to our work force by enabling safety experts from within the Huntsville community to share safety and health information and to demonstrate various safety concepts and equipment that are available to keep employees and their families safe. This event also lends our support to June as the National Safety Month."
The expo highlighted SMDC's and MDA's commitments to employee safety and health by bringing in local vendors to demonstrate and promote safety awareness.
"This event provides a venue to promote safety within the SMDC and MDA communities, not only at work but home," said Randy Joyner, SMDC command safety officer. "It is an important element of SMDC's Summer Safety Campaign and the National Safety Month. SMDC hosted a similar event at Peterson Air Force Base for command personnel and their family members on May 22. It highlights and reinforces SMDC's and MDA's commitments to the safety and welfare of employees.
"The collateral duty safety officers from each organization solicit and identify safety topics that interest the work force," he added. "This collaboration with employees allows both the command and agency to bring in interesting exhibits and training that highlights important safety topics, on and off duty."
With summer approaching, Joyner emphasized the importance of being safe, not only at work, but at home as well.
"Warm weather and higher temperatures means increased outdoor recreational activities, home maintenance projects and summer travel for leisure," Joyner said. "Accidents around the home cause an increasing number of injuries to our work force. Safety awareness and risk mitigation should be their number one priority, no matter how ridiculous it may seem. Ensuring safety measures are in place on and off duty not only protects us but it also ensures the welfare of our family members. It is vital that all personnel be cognizant of their surroundings and the associated hazards to prevent accidental mishaps.
"We hope personnel leave this event with an appreciation of how safety should be perceived, valued and prioritized," he added. "This is an integral part of developing a valued safety culture at work and home. We look forward to seeing you at next year's event."
Exhibits and safety demonstrations in Huntsville included: The Redstone Arsenal Fire Department; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; electrical safety; worn tires; Briggs Chiropractic Clinic; fitness center; ergonomics; Fleet Feet; FBI; Community Emergency Response Team; North Alabama Firearms Training; radon safety; home power; Terminex pest control; Army Substance and Abuse Program; boating safety with the Coast Guard; Explosive Ordnance Disposal; Alabama Department of Safety; motorcycle safety; storm shelters; bicycle safety and others.
SMDC members in Colorado Springs, partnered with Fort Carson and Peterson Air Force Base safety offices to provide summer safety demonstrations including: Colorado Springs Health Partners, Colorado Springs Police Department, Colorado School of Fire Arms, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Medical Restoration Centers, 21st Space Wing, Safety and Occupational Health Office, and PAFB Fire Emergency Services.
"Safety is paramount and needs to be in peoples' minds all the time," said Phil Patterson, general engineer with the SMDC Future Warfare Center. "You see people out on the roads and they aren't really thinking about safety. They are thinking about what time they have to get somewhere and where they are going. There are consequences to actions and if we are not thinking about arriving safely, then there can be consequences to what we are doing.
"Today is a great activity to get people together to focus on safety," he added. "Safety is crucial to everything we do."
MDA and SMDC employees and family members at Redstone Arsenal got a firsthand chance to learn about local safety and health issues unique to Alabama and the Tennessee Valley. They learned about several issues confronting them both indoors and outdoors.
"Living here for more than 13 years, I have come to appreciate and respect all wildlife, especially snakes," said Michael Nash, member of SMDC's Small Business Office. "Our Safety Day event is a good reminder to not only be safe ourselves, but also to ensure our families, and especially our children, are safe when they are outside with nature.
"Today's event is educational and a stark reminder that not all animals are safe, especially wildlife," he added. "So get out there and enjoy the warm weather and outdoor fun that Alabama has to offer. Just watch where you step."