By Michael J. Negard and Jon W. Blake; U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center, Fort Rucker, AlabamaOctober 5, 2015
Leaders from the Army's Safety and Occupational Health community met at the Army Public Health Center headquarters at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, Sept. 10 to develop a partnership strategy aimed at enhancing readiness and preserving capabilities across the force.
Key leaders included John Resta, director of the Army Public Health Center (Provisional); Brig. Gen. Ronald Place, assistant surgeon general for Force Protection, office of the Surgeon General, U.S. Army Medical Command; Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Farnsworth, director of Army Safety and commanding general, U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center; and Brig. Gen. John Poppe, deputy chief of staff for Public Health (Provisional).
A key aspect of the meeting involved discussion of an October 2014 update to DoD Instruction 6055.01, which outlines new and expanded safety and occupational health policies, requirements and procedures, including consolidation of safety and occupational health into one program. Until last year, the Army's safety and occupational health programs were distinct and separate.
A December 2014 memo from Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, directed the offices of the Director of Army Safety, Surgeon General and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Environment, Safety and Occupation Health to closely coordinate and cooperate in ensuring "the Army is administering a comprehensive SOH Program and is protecting the safety and health of Soldiers, their family members and DA Civilians."
"Our goal, as outlined in the DoDI, is to eliminate on- and off-duty mishaps and related deaths, injuries, occupational illnesses, and lost mission capabilities and resources," Resta said. "By definition, we can only accomplish this through teamwork, collaboration and working toward common objectives."
Another significant portion of the meeting involved a discussion regarding the development of an improved SOH incident reporting management system.
"Developing an enterprise SOH management information system that serves the entire Army and synchronizes with safety, accident and medical injury reporting systems is critical to better integrate safety and occupational health," Farnsworth said. "Integrated reporting, shared data access and enhanced analysis will enable us to see ourselves better so we can provide commanders with loss prevention programs and information needed to sustain our Army's readiness."
While timelines are still fluid, several milestones have been tasked for completion in the coming months, all with the target of formalizing the Army's SOH integration concept for senior leader review.
For more information on safety and occupational health, visit https://safety.army.mil and http://phc.amedd.army.mil/.