Employee-led safety makes a difference for DDAA
Tywanda Yearby, a packer in DLA Distribution Anniston Alabama's T Division, performs an inspection of the forklift she is preparing to operate. New forklift training is one of the safety initiatives spearheaded by employees in DDAA.

ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Two years ago they ranked among the worst -- 29th, 33rd, even 34th out of 34 Defense Logistics Agency organizations in safety.

Today, with accidents rates on a decline, production rates rising and safety programs emulated by other installations, DLA Distribution Anniston, Ala., rightfully has pride in their safety record.

Lt. Col. Wayne Bondy, commander of DDAA, credited the improved record to a combination of housekeeping efforts and employee participation.

"We basically did Lean Six Sigma across the board, getting organized and cleaning things up," said Bondy.

The DDAA leadership has been involved in the process, from Bondy through the shop supervisors, encouraging the workforce and working with them to make each workplace in the organization a safer place.

One way this is done is through safety walkthroughs. Each supervisor is encouraged to patrol their area of responsibility on a weekly basis, looking for hazards.

Once a month, they are accompanied by a different employee, giving the safety walkthrough a different perspective through a fresh set of eyes.

"The walkthroughs help everyone look for hazards. Many of our safety issues are now corrected before they can be reported," said Detus Morrow, safety and occupational health specialist for DDAA.

The organization also has a new forklift training program other DLA facilities are looking to copy.

Eight master trainers have been educated on forklift operations and taught to share that knowledge with their coworkers. DDAA plans to have 100 percent of their workforce trained on counterbalance forklifts in 2012 and are working to expand the program to every type of forklift operated throughout the organization.

"This program is setting the standard for forklift training DLA-wide," said Morrow. "It's already paying benefits in a reduction of property damage."

Just as other DLA organizations are looking at DDAA, Morrow and the shop supervisors are looking at their DLA counterparts.

Through a SharePoint site, each DLA location has the ability to share forms and documents with everyone else.

"All the supervisors have to do is find a procedure similar to a process performed here, download it and tweak it for their unique operations. The supervisor then sends it to me for approval. They don't have to reinvent anything, which saves time," said Morrow.

Many of the procedures being written are done so in an effort to earn the Voluntary Protection Program Star Award, an effort DDAA is undertaking along with their host installation, Anniston Army Depot.

Again, with VPP, changes are driven by DDAA employees.

The organization has a four-person VPP committee of employees who volunteered to serve. They attend VPP meetings and bring the information learned to the shop floor, where it is shared with their coworkers.

"When employees start looking out for one another, that is when we win," said Bondy.

Page last updated Tue November 22nd, 2011 at 10:51