CAMP ZAMA, Japan (June 6, 2017) -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Japan District hosted a safety day June 2 inside its headquarters building and at Camp Zama's Community Recreation Center.

USACE Japan District employees participated in classes to learn about safety in their work environment and occupational health.

Col. Rafael "Pete" Pazos, commander of USACE Japan District, said the district takes time to reflect on safety once a year.

"This is one of the opportunities we can take time to invest in ourselves," said Pazao.

Pazos said his organization usually focuses on safety in terms of construction aspects but this day was to reflect on safety within the office and the wellbeing of employees.

"We are very busy as an organization but sometimes we have to realize that the organization is only strong because of the people we have," said Pazos.

According to Chris Nelson, safety and occupational health manager for Japan District, roughly 150 employees attended their choice of classes with topics such as: ergonomic, environmental issues, mold, fire safety, hearing conservations, wellness, sleep, nutrition, and stress management.

Nelson said training was added to meet needs based on the employees' view point surveys prior to the safety day.

"We focus so much on a mission -- day in, day out --and what's going on externally," said Nelson. "It [safety day] really gives us an opportunity to look internally into our organizational needs and to take care of our own employees."

Nelson said he had received pretty good reviews on the classes from the participants.

Shinji Kajita, assistant chief of Fire Prevention, U.S. Army Garrison Japan, said hosting a fire safety class was a good, educational opportunity to share his experience with fire incidents and give participants a hands-on training for using a fire extinguisher.

Stacy Kassover, assistant district counsel for USACE Japan District, participated in the fire extinguisher training. She said she learned about fire safety: how to prevent it, how to treat it, when to evacuate, and how to use fire extinguisher.

Kassover said it was actually surprisingly challenging to use a fire extinguisher despite having gone through the steps during the previous presentations.

"I feel like I will be in a much better place to actually respond appropriately."