ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (July 23, 2013) -- Dr. Thomas Russell, director, U.S. Army Research Laboratory provided opening remarks at ARL's annual Safety Stand Down Day held here June 20.

After sharing a story where he was involved in an investigation concerning the death of a researcher at a previous job, Russell said he got a rude awaking that completely changed his viewpoint on safety training.

"We often think of training day as a day that we don't want to be here," said Russell. "I want you to reflect on today--it's not just … 'Ok, I just got to check the box.' I don't feel that way anymore and neither should you."

Robb Altenburg, ARL-APG safety officer, discussed several safety topics of interest to include the newly created Collateral Duty Safety Officer committee.

Altenburg explained that the CDSO committee will be the vehicle for gathering organizational safety improvements such as near misses, which are unplanned events that did not result in injury, illness or damage, but had the potential to do so.

"This new committee was recently established to help the safety office have many eyes and ears throughout the organization," said Altenburg.

The safety office is interested in hearing everyone's ideas on how to improve safety in the workplace.

"I'm looking for those good ideas you have… I don't care how I get this information--I just want it. You don't even have to list your name … fill out a form and submit, write me a post-it note and slip under my door, or if you're out at lunch and come up with a great idea, write it on a napkin…. just get it to me," said Altenburg.

Following Altenburg's presentation, Officer Calvin Rolfes, from APG's police training division spoke about vehicle safety and defensive driving.

When speaking about defensive driving, Rolfes said, "You need to think about the 'what ifs' and already have in your mind how you're going to react."

Safety Stand Down Day is designed to provide meaningful and useful information to the workforce and to ensure that everyone realizes that safety does not begin and end with the annual presentations. As discussed during the presentation, safety is a value of ARL and each one of its employees and contractors are significant to the organization.

For a complete listing of the CDSOs in your organization/directorate, contact your local safety officer.


ARL is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.

RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness -- technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment -- to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.