ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. --- The U.S. Army safety director delivered his plans for the future to a group of safety and occupational health professionals and presented a safety award to the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center Jan. 9.

Brig. Gen. David J. Francis, U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center commanding general and director of Army safety, presented the ECBC Chemical Biological Test Division, part of the Engineering Directorate, with the Army Safety Risk Management Award for exceptional performance and contributions to the U.S. Army Safety and Occupational Health program.

"By implementing an 'Operator Up' focused approach to safety, you have greatly improved your ability to safely work, while conducting extremely hazardous duties," Francis noted as he presented the award to Matthew Shue, ECBC division chief.

Addressing an audience of Career Program 12 safety professionals, who are trained in 34 competency and skill areas, Francis spoke about three ongoing initiatives: revising Army safety policy, developing a new reporting tool for the Army and revising training for safety professionals.

"We also continue to look at what the next mission for our Army may be and how we can reduce the potential risk that we may assume in a new theater," Francis said.

CP-12 professionals, responsible for safety and occupational health programs in their commands, are trained in areas including electrical safety, industrial hygiene, life safety code, safety and occupational health management, transportation and explosives safety.

"The diversity of the mission here at APG, including research and development, testing and chemical and biological work, makes reducing loss and mitigating risk the priority. The risk assumed at APG every day is different and sometimes higher than other areas of the Army, so making sure the senior commanders at APG can execute their missions without loss to personnel or equipment is our number one goal," Francis said.

Francis noted that off-duty driving mishaps are the leading cause of accidental fatalities across the Army, and he stressed the importance of adhering to standards to avoid accidents.

"We don't have safety issues, we have standards issues. When we have an accident, it is usually because we failed to meet a certain standard. One thing that I want everyone to focus on is following standards because then we don't have accidents," Francis said.

Francis served as the deputy commanding general (support), 2nd Infantry Division, Republic of Korea, before his current role as U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center commanding general and director of Army safety at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

"The command and safety professionals at APG are doing a phenomenal job with extremely high risk areas that they deal with on a daily basis. This is a case study on how to run high-risk operations," Francis said.
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The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities for decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the Joint Warfighter and the Nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.