Tiger Team established to identify safety standards for contracts
January 2, 2013
The Army Contracting Command's Safety Office is seeking comments and best practices from the contracting community as it moves to establish standardized contract safety processes.
"Contract safety is a critical program that ACC depends upon to ensure quality services are provided to the war fighter," said Jerry L. Waibel, ACC safety director. Contract safety is the analysis of risk to government employees, equipment or facilities due to contracted operations.
Until now, Waibel said the safety community has been working outside of the contracting community in order to ensure safety procedures are adhered to.
"To take this project to the next level, safety professionals are working directly with the contracting community to develop relationships and provide awareness of established safety processes," Waibel said. "The commander's intent in establishing this tiger team is to standardize contract safety processes and procedures command-wide."
Currently, contract reviews are the responsibility of the requiring activity and contracting officer
representatives working with the contracting officers.
"The Army depends on CORs to conduct surveillance during the performance of a contract. Safety professionals assigned to Tiger Team established to identify safety standards for contracts the requiring activities have the responsibility of assisting the CORs when needed," Waibel said.
"The critical element here is to include safety professionals in the planning process to identify risk, and include site specific safety requirements in the statement of work/performance work statement based on that risk.
"One thing to remember is that safety awareness starts at the ground level. We will never be able to enforce safety standards from the headquarters. The requiring activities have to provide that service."
Waibel said every requiring activity has a safety staff supporting its organization. Many times the COR is in the same organization.
"When that is the case it makes it easier for the COR and the safety staff to work together," Waibel said. "Our challenge is to integrate safety into the requiring activities planning processes, and then to provide the contracting officer a method for checking that safety elements have been considered," said Waibel.
The first step Waibel is ready to make towards integration is to open up a dialogue with those involved.
"We are addressing the challenge by including all the stakeholders in the process and starting a discussion for establishing a process for contract safety program management across the Army,"
Once implemented, contracting officers and their representatives will have a process to ensure contract safety processes are considered, said Waibel.
"The contracting officer is responsible for everything in a contract, but the reality is that we will not train and certify contracting officers to be safety professionals," Waibel said. "The contracting officer will need to have a method of checking if the safety community has completed
its task and the safety community will have to step up and become involved in the process."
Waibel said he expects integrating the safety processes within the contracting community should take about six months. Anyone wanting to provide comments and best practices from across the command can contact Waibel at firstname.lastname@example.org.