By Mr. Thomas Peske (AMC)October 21, 2008
Two U.S. Army Materiel Command organizations, Tooele Army Depot, Tooele, Utah, and Crane Army Ammunition Activity, Crane, Ind., have both achieved tremendous safety records and recognition in the past year.
TEAD recently reached 290 days since their last lost time accident. This is truly significant because lost time accidents are those severe enough to take an employee out of the workplace, and therefore create a loss in production. Similarly, from February 2007 through February 2008, CAAA went 378 days between lost work day cases.
Also, just last September CAAA also became the first AMC and Joint Munitions Command site to achieve merit status for the Voluntary Protection Program, only the second Army installation to accomplish this significant feat. The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration established the VPP to promote effective worksite-based safety and health.
"I commend both Tooele and Crane for these significant achievements. Our people are our greatest asset, and it is critical that we keep them safe. Tooele and Crane have set the standard that all AMC organizations should emulate," said Gen. Benjamin S. Griffin, commanding general of AMC.
As you approach the entrance of TEAD, it becomes very clear that safety initiatives throughout the depot play a major role in providing a healthy work environment for its employees. As you come in the gate, an electronic sign announces the number of days without an accident. Fiscal year 2008 was the safest year on record there and there hasn't been a lost time accident to date in fiscal year 2009.
In February 2007 TEAD depot management decided to apply for VPP. OSHA designed this program to improve safety records and readiness of civilian and military personnel. The program is recognized as an accident reduction "best practice" for the private sector to improve safety in industrial operations.
One of the measurements within the VPP application is the reduction of lost time injuries. A program that was instrumental with this effort at TEAD was the Safestart TM training modules. It is a simple but highly effective training program to remind employees to think about safety not only at their worksites but at home as well. TEAD applied for VPP status on in June of 2008.
There were only two injuries reported in fiscal year 2008; and TEAD achieved an 83 percent reduction of recordable injuries from fiscal year 2007 to fiscal year 2008. "The safety of our employees is my number one concern. Even one accident is too many and we will continue to improve through initiatives like Safestart TM until we reach a goal of zero accidents," stated Col. Yolanda C. Dennis-Lowman, depot commander.
Like TEAD, CAAA is proud of their safety achievements, and the installations marquee proclaims that when you enter the Navy Region Midwest, Naval Support Activity Crane, where CAAA in a tenant. CAAA earned a merit status designation in the VPP following an inspection by the OSHA in September.
Since becoming the first JMC site to be recommended for merit status for the Voluntary Protection Program, CAAA is currently working to achieve star status. It must first correct certain 90-day items in order to achieve VPP Star Status.
CAAA Safety Supervisor Walt Shearin said, "Everyone is confident that we can correct the 90-day items and achieve star status. This status will show the rest of the Army Crane's dedication to not only being one of the best, but also one of the safest."
The news that Crane might become only the second Army installation to achieve star status has energized its employees to achieve the goal. In remarks to the Crane workforce, CAAA Commander Col. Charles Kibben said, "...this prestigious award for safety is directly attributed to your personal dedication and hard work to keep our organization safe. From a personal perspective, I am extremely proud to be part of this team."
CAAA also received recognition for its achievement in safety of reducing its total injury rate 89 percent from 2006 to 2007. Brig. Gen. James Rogers, former commanding general of Joint Munitions Command, presented a certificate of achievement to CAAA along with a one-star note highlighting the significance of the achievement. In the note Rogers wrote he had directed JMC to reduce accidents and injuries at all of its locations this past year, and CAAA responded with outstanding results.
Crane Army believes in a safety philosophy that the best equipment and people can only excel with a strong safety program in place. The Crane Army leadership continually fosters the culture of safety at CAAA and Kibben cannot speak to a group of employees without reinforcing it.
Kibben recently challenged employees when he told them, "While our work effort has been tremendous this year, we all need to take a moment to reflect on what needs to be done to improve safety within the organization. The ultimate goal for this organization is to have zero lost time accidents next year and while this objective may seem ambitious, it is something we all need to focus on. One accident that injures any employee on the job or at home is too many from my standpoint and I fully believe the only way to make this place a true safe work environment is through your individual and collective effort."
"I am very proud of the safety milestones that Tooele and Crane have achieved and are continuing to achieve. The industrial processes at our depots, arsenals and ammunition plants can be dangerous, but throughout AMC we have a great safety record, thanks to the hard work and dedication of our employees and leaders. Tooele and Crane are setting a new standard for our entire command," said John Manfre, AMC safety director.