Ronnell Hargrove, Fires Center of Excellence safety specialist, views the Automated Field Fire range at Fort Sill, one of several facilities safety professionals monitor. Hargrove recently completed all requirements for his Career-Program 12 professional certification for his duties in safety and occupational health.

FORT SILL, Okla. -- Ronnell Hargrove, Fires Center of Excellence safety specialist, recently completed all requirements for his Career-Program 12 professional certification for his duties in safety and occupational health.

A fully trained safety professional can advise commanders helping them reduce losses, save lives and keep equipment from being damaged due to accidents, said John Cordes, FCoE safety office director.

The certificate comes with the American National Standards Institute stamp of approval which accredited CP-12.

The Army Combat Readiness Center started the process to certify its safety personnel about a year ago. Because the Army does not have a military occupational specialty for safety and health, civilians serve as safety and occupational health advisers. Requirements included 16 prerequisite courses, including supervisory responsibilities. On top of that, they must complete training on 34 fundamental competencies.

"Safety professionals are multi-functional and multi-dimensional, and they, more than ever, are an essential component of readiness," said Dr. Brenda Miller, Army Combat Readiness Center senior safety adviser. "The certificate program also serves as an incentive to motivate Army civilians to be proactive with their own personal and professional development, to show what programs are out there for them and to also help them understand the impact they have on their organizations and the people they lead."

Hargrove started work at the safety office in December 2009, but his work in safety began long before that. He said safety was a way of life as a Black Hawk helicopter crew chief and one of the first lessons he learned while on active duty.

"Safety was first and foremost and instilled in me throughout my career as an everyday consideration," he said.

In 2001, he began his transition to life after the military enrolling in college to complete a bachelor's degree in safety. Through close work with a mentor, Hargrove defined his goals and also completed a master's degree in safety, before he hit his 20-year mark and retired from active duty. Although further career progression was likely, he tested the job market with his resume and found several employers eager to hire him.

Once at Fort Sill, Hargrove was able to complete his prerequisite courses and some of the fundamentals through in-house training or via the Army Learning Management System online. He then attended the 12-week course at Fort Rucker, Ala. where he fulfilled the majority of the fundamentals.

"The Professional Certificate Program in Safety and Health is a credential commanders may recognize when an individual has completed all required Level I training," said Miller.

Cordes added not every safety person has all training completed, because sometimes standards and requirements change. When this happens, courses must be completed to regain the established competency. As for the certificate program, the certification lasts indefinitely although there will be ongoing or periodic training to complete.

Safety is an ongoing matter at the Fires Center of Excellence, and March 23, when Hargrove visited the Automated Field Fire range, Soldiers saw him coming and were ready to provide the required documentation showing their adherence to guidelines.

"We come out three to four times a week; doing so, the units get used to seeing us and know the right things to do. They want to show me everything they're supposed to have to run this range. That's our impact," said Hargrove.

Hargrove, a retired sergeant first class, joined two other safety personnel at the FCoE safety office as certified safety managers. The other two members of the five-person work center are submitting their packages in the coming weeks.

Miller said the Army is stepping above the standard regarding training requirements for its personnel. She added the federal sector is now developing a uniform set of training guidelines for all federal safety and occupational health professionals.

Page last updated Thu April 5th, 2012 at 12:19