By Ms. Jacqueline Boucher (U.S. Army CommunicationsElectronics Command (CECOM))January 24, 2018
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -- Depot and tenant organization safety programs recently competed for the 2017 Safety Area of the Year Awards.
Three directorates and one tenant agency were recognized for their contributions to Tobyhanna's safety mission. The Systems Integration and Support (SIS) Directorate's Plating Branch earned first place in the Heavy Industrial Area; the C4ISR Directorate's COMSEC Accountability Branch claimed the Medium/Light Industrial Area; the Installation Services Directorate's Environmental Branch took top honors in the Administrative Area, and the Logistics Support Activity Packaging, Storage and Containerization Center (LOGSA PSCC) earned the Tenant Activity Award.
Each winner received a banner and certificate during a ceremony on Thursday.
The annual awards acknowledge cost centers that have outstanding safety programs and individuals whose performances have best supported the depot's safety mission.
Each of the four safety programs boast similar attributes, while embracing a team attitude to encourage safe practices in their respective area.
One organization even went so far as to include specific safety goals to employees' yearly Defense Performance Management and Appraisal Program (DPMAP).
Daily inspections of the work area and posting of Safety Star Point Bulletins were mentioned in all of the nomination packages. The same goes for seeking out and reporting hazards using well established methods.
Each organization also uses regular meetings to keep personnel informed, reinforcing the depot's objective of safety first.
"We all want to avoid injuries and it has become common practice to be diligent," said Maureen Smith, communications security supply specialist. "Safety is a presence of mind. Once you decide to be safe, you will be safe,"
Meetings frequently include discussions on how to meet or exceed the Voluntary Protection Program standards.
LOGSA PSCC worked with Tobyhanna's environmental experts to develop job hazard analysis (JHA) sheets for all industrial and administrative work areas. The JHAs are posted in the work area and provided to the employees who use them to identify the relevant hazards and how to protect themselves from injury while performing tasks.
"All employees know that safety is the cornerstone for mission success," said John Mayatte, LOGSA PSCC chief. "Our ability to support the readiness of Soldiers is dependent on each employee performing their duties safely."
According to Mayatte, employees benefit from a variety of safety and health training resources, including mandatory Army online courses, face-to-face events, videos, flyers or pamphlets.
Slips, trips and falls, and cuts, pinches and punctures are the most likely causes of injury for the depot's environmentalists who seek to improve and protect the quality of the natural environment. Leadership emphasizes the importance of wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) through training and awareness.
In addition, branch employees ensure the proper handling of chemicals coming to Tobyhanna and the proper disposal of any hazardous waste.
"The cost center did not have a single injury in fiscal 2017," said Paula Mesaris. "And, it's been over 2,400 days without a recordable injury or illness."
Personnel in the Plating Branch rely on the buddy system, preventative maintenance and good housekeeping to stay safe while using chemicals to treat different types of metals, or remove rust and debris prior to treatment. The 15-member staff follows safe work practices and acts quickly to correct unsafe conditions. The team boasts more than 2,600 hours without a recordable injury.
"Through training, awareness and success in achieving this continued accomplishment, our team remains sharp, focused and vigilant," said Wayne Swire, branch chief.
COMSEC personnel face standard risks associated with administrative work, but also spend time in the warehouse, where they encounter risks such as strains, cuts, slips and pinching. Safety shoes are issued to each employee to ward against foot hazards.
"The employees remain committed to executing their work in the safest possible manner," said Branch Chief Kevin York, adding that it's been 4,747 days since an injury was reported. "Safety concerns are accepted and addressed in a positive manner, thereby creating an inclusive and engaged environment."
Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna's Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C4ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.
Tobyhanna's unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our Joint Warfighters.
About 3,200 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command's mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.