By John B. SnyderMay 6, 2013
WATERVLIET, N.Y. (May 6, 2012) -- The Watervliet Arsenal announced that it was named the winner of the Fiscal 2012 Secretary of the Army Award and Army Chief of Staff Safety Award of Industrial Operations. This is the second time in three years that the Arsenal has been recognized by the Army's senior leaders for its exceptional safety program and record.
After learning of the award, Arsenal Commander Col. Mark F. Migaleddi told the workforce that this award is a testament of their efforts of never letting talking about safety, and practicing safety, get old.
"To achieve its mission, the arsenal engages in operations that are inherently dangerous, such as precision machining, metal fabrication, welding, composite filament winding, forging, and heat treating," Migaleddi said. "Therefore, to operate in this environment, we must stay on the cutting edge of safety programs."
Given that there are more than 850 Army employees who drive in and out the gate every day; more than 600 machines that grind, drill, and bore; and that the arsenal resides in an area with some of the harshest winter weather in the Northeast, this is a considerable achievement, said Matthew Church, an arsenal safety specialist.
Church said that some of the arsenal safety achievements that led to the award are:
-A lost time rate that was 50 percent lower than the goal established by the Army Materiel Command.
-The total number of days lost days was decreased by 73 percent from FY 2011.
-The total Case Incident Rate that was 77 percent lower than industry standards.
-No one placed on long-term disability. In fact, since 2003, no one from the arsenal has been placed on long-term disability.
Beyond the cold statistics is an energized workforce who actively participates in several safety programs, as well as who readily recommend initiatives to make the workplace safer, Church said.
"In FY 2012, we conducted command-level accident investigations within 24 hours of occurrence, rolled out a new safety tracking program called INTELEX that is a one-stop-shop for all safety-related information, reinforced an incentive-based safety suggestion program, and empowered the workforce," Church said.
The Arsenal had also embarked on the road to Star Certification in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program, or VPP, and leveraged its relationship with its local union to ensure that safety was part of everyone's daily procedures.
Church said that given the awesome scope of responsibility, his four-person team could not have been successful without leadership involvement, at all levels.
"We are not a separate division anymore," Church said. "We have become an inclusive division in that every echelon of the arsenal now integrates our efforts into their operations."
According to Department of the Army Pamphlet 385-10, Army Safety Program, both individuals and units must have made significant improvements and contributions to accident prevention efforts, among other criteria, to be considered for an award. Nominations are submitted for actions taken during the preceding fiscal year.
The Watervliet Arsenal (pronounced water-vleet") is an Army-owned-and-operated manufacturing facility located in Watervliet, N.Y. The arsenal is the oldest, continuously active arsenal in the U.S., having begun operations during the War of 1812. The arsenal will celebrate its 200th anniversary on July 14, 2013.
Today's arsenal is relied upon by U.S. and foreign militaries to produce the most advanced, high-tech, high-powered weaponry for cannon, howitzer, and mortar systems. This National Historic Registered Landmark has an annual economic benefit to the local community in excess of $100 million.