U.S. Army Garrison Fort Detrick's safety office received signal honors recently at the AUSA medical conference in San Antonio, Texas.

Safety director Rudy Spencer accepted the the Medical Command Safety Excellence Award June 12 at the conference.

The award was presented by Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker and Command Sgt. Maj. Althea Dixon. In addition to a plaque, the office won a $10,000 check for the garrison.

Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. James Shaheen said the monetary award will be used to enhance the safety program.

"It's a team award," said Spencer. "As the Fort Detrick landlord, our organization commands, operates and administers resources providing quality installation support and services to DoD and non-DoD partners, meeting current and future mission requirements in biomedical defense research and development, medical materiel management and global telecommunications."

Fort Detrick supports four cabinet-level agencies: The Department of Defense, Department of Agriculture, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Health and Human Services. Major Department of the Army mission partners include; the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and the 21st Signal Brigade. The installation employs more than 3,700 Soldiers and civilians and contains more than 350 family housing units.

"The safety office facilitates the programs but the installation exemplifies how the organization implements the safety practices," Spencer said. "Safety is a leadership function and its focus is the stewardship of people, equipment, and facilities in support of mission."

Two notable initiatives of the safety office include the Near Miss program and the Voluntary Protection Program.

According to Spencer, the Near Miss program provides an avenue that captures unsafe conditions that if left unidentified and abated could result in accidents. Reporting of Near Misses is conducted via a written report or calling into the Near Miss hotline.

The Voluntary Protection Program works to change the culture of the organization to that of risk reduction through composite risk management.

"Fort Detrick is leading the way in the Voluntary Protection program and taking a holistic approach to safety," said Shaheen. "As the motto for our safety day stated, 'Safety has no Quitting time.' This means safety must be the first and last thing we think about on and off duty."

VPP has reached across the nstallation and gained enthusiastic support from other directorates as well.

"The Fort Detrick and Frederick communities should be proud that the safety environment here is the best in the MEDCOM," said Dwayne Oland, directorate of information management. "It says a lot about Fort Detrick's commitment to maintaining a safe and secure workplace for our employees. The Safety office and every employee who works hard to mitigate risks should be commended for their hard work."

Spencer said that Fort Detrick has made great strides toward the goal of instituting the concepts of risk management into the planning and execution phases of all safety office and garrison initiatives.

By using the Voluntary Protection Star certification as a means of exceeding Army and Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, he said, the organization has integrated risk management into the daily business, and maximized resources through accountability and technology as a model in the principles of safety program management.