SEMBACH, Germany -- The 598th Transportation Brigade safety manager recently conducted a series of site visits to the northern European ports of Bremerhaven and Nordenham, Germany; Eemshaven, Netherlands; and Varberg, Sweden.

The ports, part of the 950th Transportation Company's area of responsibility, were the focus of Wolfgang Rieth's efforts to analyze each port's infrastructure, capabilities and suitability for various military cargo operations and missions. Accompanying Rieth on the survey was Nils Pfuhl, safety manager for the 950th Trans. Co.

Rieth and Pfuhl met with the representatives from each port to discuss their operations, procedures and strategies to mitigate the risks not only to successfully accomplishing the mission, but also to the workers and the surrounding communities.

Every port has similar risks posed by the loading and offloading of cargo and the operation of heavy machinery. However, Rieth was more concerned with the unique hazards associated with the individual ports and their surroundings.

"By understanding each port's unique infrastructure and environment, we can make informed decisions on how to safely accomplish our various cargo missions," he said.

In addition to the port survey, Rieth also conducted Job Hazard Analysis and Documentation training for members of the 950th Trans. Co.

The training focused on taking a systemic common sense approach to safety and occupational health, rather than relying on slogans such as "safety first."

"Just telling people to put 'safety first' will not make people any more safe," Rieth said during the training. "Rather, you need to adjust your thinking processes to make safety and occupational health an integral part of your daily routine.

"It's a simple but structured process that requires us to identify, analyze and take steps to mitigate the hazards present in the work environment which may pose a risk to people, operations and the public," he said.