FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Feb. 29, 2016) -- According to Virgilio Munoz, safety manager for Kenner Army Health Clinic at Fort Lee, Va., the Army Readiness Assessment Program is an invaluable resource that plays an integral role in an organization's safety program.

"At my previous assignment with the 80th Training Command, ARAP allowed the commander and me to gain perspective on where to focus safety program resources," Munoz said. "With insight gleaned from ARAP, we proactively addressed areas that needed improvement and sustained our efforts in other areas."

ARAP is a web-based tool designed to help commanders understand and evaluate their unit's safety climate and culture.

"A good strategy for safety managers to keep up with a subordinate unit's ARAP status is to require some form of feedback or back brief from commanders and directors about their results," said Charlie Mahone, ARAP program division chief at the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center. "Safety managers at the brigade and higher levels have access to participation reports and can view a detailed rollup of administrative data regarding date of registrations, debrief details and status of an assessment."

Access codes, a component of ARAP, are a beneficial tool that allows designated personnel to manage a unit's participation in ARAP from start to finish.

Munoz can attest to the utility of access codes. During his tenure with the 80th Training Command, he used ARAP access codes to manage the participation of 66 battalions in the program.

"I used a metrics form in Excel to track and analyze unit trends, training and participation in ARAP," Munoz said. "By using access codes, we ensured no units were left behind and that they were compliant with Army regulation and the 80th Training Command OPORD.

"While analyzing the data collected during assessments for each organization, thanks to access codes, we immediately implemented changes in several areas," he added. "We improved our safety and standing operating procedures and devised a way to have better leadership involvement."

Munoz credits the ARAP results with helping his organization determine a new approach to an incentive program for individual involvement and compliance with safety programs.

The 80th Training Command and subordinate units hosted safety stand-down days to address specific trends and areas identified during the ARAP assessments.

Munoz's efforts resulted in an overall improvement of the 80th Training Command and its subordinate units' safety programs.

His organization also received recognition from the director of Army Safety, earning the Safety Risk Management Award, a Department of the Army-level award.

The 80th Training Command was the first Army Reserve unit to earn this award.

"Mr. Munoz's efforts were herculean in the sense that he set up his commander and unit for success," said Lisa Rivers, USACRC ARAP outreach coordinator. "Coupled with the command's support, Mr. Munoz was able to improve the overall safety culture of the organization and, in my mind, prevent accidents and save lives."

As a unit completes an ARAP assessment, USACRC subject matter experts are available to assist throughout the entire process.

"Since its inception 10 years ago, leaders have recognized ARAP as the only safety assessment tool that provides direct feedback to help commanders determine how to divvy up limited resources and ultimately save lives," Mahone said. "ARAP is a force multiplier that can vastly improve the safety climate of an organization."