E&T;achieves safety milestone
September 8, 2011
Pine Bluff Arsenal's Directorate of Engineering and Technology achieved a safety milestone in August by going over 10 years without a lost time injury.
"It is with high regard and appreciation that I congratulate everyone in E&T;on a job well done," said Emami Esmaeilpour, E&T;director, in an email to his directorate. "Most of our folks are involved with highly-hazardous materials and operations, especially when it comes to first time developmental work or engineering studies. But, we as a team achieved this milestone."
While the engineers in E&T;do spend a lot of time behind the desk working on various projects, they are also out in the field working directly on the production lines. "Whenever we set up a line we have to be there," said Mark Springer, chief of E&T;'s Systems Engineering Division. "We are the group that works heavily with the design of the production lines as well as the hazard analysis. We have a pretty good idea of the safety measures because these are known factors. So we have to be leaders in this area."
Springer said that they currently have a contracted safety engineer, Jada Gray, who helps them to be safer. "The culture has changed," he said. "Years ago the engineers really didn't dress out properly. We understand that is what we have to do now. This is definitely a leadership issue and we have to lead by example. My engineers are always dressed out in their PPE now."
Gray reviews work that is being done by E&T;and makes sure that everything is in compliance. "The engineers are some of the ones out there doing the first experiments on processes that we know the least about," she said. "This is when we have the most risk. The engineers need to see where these risks are before they start, and try to plan for what could potential occur."
Esmaeilpour said that the last lost time injury that the directorate recorded was actually a non-industrial accident. "Someone was walking in our office building and fell," he said. "This is the longest recorded time we have gone without a lost time. When there are no procedures and you are working with unknown things in the development stage, those can be the most critical times for safety. The hazard is much greater. We want everyone to go home safe to their families."
Tony Davenport, chief of E&T;'s Engineering Development Division, said that every Monday during their planning meetings they always try to include something about safety. "There is a process of engraining in people's thoughts to evaluate the hazards for whatever they are doing when they walk into a normal room to do their work," he said. "Is there something in here that could be a hazard that wasn't here before that we have to adjust before we begin any work? My operation mutates daily and things are moved constantly. We are in a constant state of flux."
Davenport said that he tries to emphasis to the people in his division that there should be a hazard analysis thought process for everything. "I try to present things to my people like Emami does. We are concerned about everyone going safe and going home with all their fingers and toes to their families," he said. "It is taking a look at your areas and taking action on your areas if you need to."
The directorate plans to celebrate with a breakfast in September.