VICENZA -- Public Health Activity, Italy was recognized as an Army Occupational Health Star Site on Aug. 2, at the United States Army Garrison Italy.

Brig. Gen. Dennis LeMaster, commander, Regional Health Command Europe, presented the Activity with the Safety and Occupational Health Star Flag and certificate in a ceremony attended by over 40 guests. Lt. Col. Andrew Sims, commander, Public Health Activity-Italy, noted that "this is a distinct honor, and a significant step toward an improved culture in safety. Our personnel are our greatest resource, and protecting their safety speaks directly to conserving our fighting strength. This sets the highest standard for PHA-Italy moving forward with an unparalleled safety culture."

The Army Safety and Occupational Health Star Strong Program is modeled after an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) program which recognizes organizations for excellence in safety management systems.
In 2012, Medical Command adopted OSHA'S Voluntary Protection Programs criteria for safety management systems. This is the first time the certification has been granted to an organization that spans four countries and includes all tri-service components.

The recognition process is intense: the entire Activity needed to demonstrate a strong culture of Safety and to integrate safety into veterinary clinical practice, food safety, and food defense activities across all 26 supported countries in Europe and Africa.

This included successfully fulfilling all 243 core elements under four major categories: Employee Involvement, Worksite Analysis, Hazard Prevention, and Training. PHA-Italy not only fulfilled the requirements of ASHMS but also developed an impressive list of best practices to be shared worldwide.