Army Safety carries price, burden

By Robert Dozier, IMCOM Public AffairsDecember 7, 2017

Safety inspection one-on-one
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Dr. Gordon Tate, safety manager for the U.S. Army Installation Management Command, takes inspection seriously, as he approaches one of a myriad of Army equipment and facilities throughout the world. Tate serves as one of the Safety and Occupational H... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Safety takes proficiency and perserverence
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Dr. Gordon Tate, safety manager for the U.S. Army Installation Management Command, makes close examination of a variety of types of equipment the Army safety managers see every day at facilities throughout the world. Tate serves as one of the Safety ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Attention to detail is safety
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Dr. Gordon Tate, safety manager for the U.S. Army Installation Management Command, pays attention to every detail, while leading in the Army's safety management field. Tate serves as one of the Safety and Occupational Health Program managers providin... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Nov. 29, 2017) -- The Army's strategic and financial SITREP is what helps define and focus resources on what is most important. At the heart of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command's "Service Culture Initiative" are leaders pledging themselves to an environment of valued employees, well respected ─ where others are treated with dignity and respect. Nowhere else is this goal more important than in the safety arena.

"SCI helps us focus our resources on what is important," said Dr. Gordon Tate, IMCOM safety manager in the G-3/5/7. "With reductions in budget and personnel, this means there are more demands and less assets in maintaining and improving safety at the garrison. We exist to support them."

Tate serves as one of the Safety and Occupational Health Program managers, analyzing and resolving some of the command's diverse and widespread hazards. He also provides technical support to IMCOM-Readiness, one of five directorates co-located with Forces Command at Fort Bragg.

"Face it, where there are human interactions, this is the arena where safety is most vulnerable. One of our biggest challenges is in Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation," said Tate, who is certified as a playground designer and inspector. "We've got Child Care Centers, which serve our most precious resource, our children. We've got swimming pools, fitness centers, golf courses, bowling centers and automotive shops. These are some of the areas where high-risk activities are performed, often with hazardous materials."

With such a wide variety of safety issues in the environment, Tate is part of a nine- member team at IMCOM that implements the Army Safety Program across the command, assisting the IMCOM Directorates and garrison commanders.

"Our work is to share ideas and concerns, and then identify best practices as it pertains to our unique Army experiences," Tate said. "I like to think our star is earned as we find mitigation solutions to loss producing conditions that our employees face on a daily basis."

Tate was recently recognized at IMCOM and nominated for Employee of the Quarter for providing first-rate customer service, and for establishing and maintaining close liaison with Army Commands, military service, and federal and civilian agencies.

"Public Law, Army Regulations, and DoDIs have hundreds of requirements our Garrison Commanders and safety managers have to deal with," said Tate. "We have to deal with explosives, radiation, chemicals, and risks everywhere."

Safety is a universe where 95 percent of accidents can be attributed to human error, Tate asserts.

"It all gets down to shortcuts, skipping steps, rushing or being distracted. What we do in our Garrisons is inherently safe. With proper implementation of safety policy and procedures, and ensuring that our personnel are trained, we can reduce the frequency and severity of accidents. Our focus inevitably is risk analysis and mitigation."

"Gordon repeatedly demonstrates a can-do attitude, providing excellent service to the IMCOM-Readiness and Army personnel," said Stephen Fant, IMCOM's safety director. "Professionalism while managing a complex array of duties is what we look for in a leader. Gordon is that professional who maintains the highest level of integrity, while showing respect for everyone he interfaces with -- customers and coworkers. If you know him, he exudes self-confidence."

Tate also designed, manages and sustains the database on Workers Compensation claims, for both Appropriated Fund and Non-Appropriated Fund employees.

"We use the data to help identify those conditions which increase risk, and that way, we can develop strategies to reduce the costs associated," Tate said. "But you have to remember, IMCOM's safety mission and goals are simple -- to send all our Soldiers and Civilians home to their families in one piece. To do that, we have to harvest everyone's support and focus."

SCI is focus on leadership, which lifts the focus, concern and productivity of the entire workforce. The beneficiary is the customer -- wherever they reside in the scheme.

"Gordon is committed to improving IMCOM's value by ensuring the command focuses on safety," Fant said. "His impact and value to the IMCOM safety program directly affects the readiness of the Army -- our facilities and our people."

"What keeps me awake at night? Safety managers can easily get overwhelmed in this environment." Tate said thoughtfully. "Our commitment is to remain vigilant so that we can better focus our resources, targeting areas in the command where we need them the most."

Service culture can also inspire innovation.

"My mission is the identification of loss producing conditions and the reduction of hazards and related costs, whatever the source," Tate said. "My vision, my wish list as it were, is to do an Army pilot, where we take maybe three garrisons and fully staff a safety management team, and measure the effect on time lost and cost. Not only would this study potentially reduce accidents and loss to our employees, but would also benefit our bottom line."