By Mr. Thomas Peske (AMC)June 30, 2009
CRANE, Ind. - Every command in the U.S. Army talks about safety, but one measure of how important it is to them might come from the lengths it goes to reinforce that culture of safety. Putting work and production on hold for one day, Crane Army Ammunition Activity showed that it is the safety of its people, not money, that matters most.
More than 500 Crane Army employees attended its third annual off-site, command safety stand down in Bloomington, Ind., June 18 in order to cultivate a culture of change that emphasizes safety first.
The single-day event, comprised of speakers and a health and wellness fair, is one of the rare times during the year that all work for the Army activity is halted for a day as the employees attend under one roof. The stand down allows for all the employees to receive valuable safety information and reinforce the mindset of the employees that even one accident is one too many.
"I know everybody in this room understands the importance of safety. I want you to take this time to look at safety in the way we do business," Crane Army Commander Col. Charles Kibben said. "I believe it is the personal responsibility to make sure they do their job the safest way possible."
The training included presentations by speakers who brought a fresh outlook to the audience about the topic. Through the use of humor and sobering personal revelations, the speakers reinforced Kibben's statement that the responsibility to be safe begins with each individual and then falls on the whole organization to uphold.
Following an award ceremony honoring Crane employees who served in various locations in the Middle East, safety speaker and certified hypnotherapist John Drebinger used magic to help illustrate his points about thinking and acting safely on the job. Drebinger also held a special break-out session for Crane's leadership in order to help them understand better how they can cultivate the culture of safety.
Another safety speaker, William "Jack" Jackson did his best to energize the crowd by changing their perspective about safety and getting away from traditional attitudes. Jackson emphasized the SafeStart program that Crane follows as a good way for the command to get away from traditional safety thinking and into a mode that helps prevents accidents before they happen. He said, "Traditional safety is that the accident occurs and the policy is developed around it," He said. "Tradition makes one person responsible for everyone. Everyone is responsible for safety."
Finally, speaker and humorist Billy Robbins inspired the audience with his own personal story, entertained them with audience participation and challenged them to believe that zero accidents are a very real goal to achieve. Robbins attempted to make the audience understand that they had nothing to gain by not thinking that zero accidents were possible, as well as how life might be for them if they became disabled from an accident as he was.
Also speaking at the event was Ronald Neff from Milan Army Ammunition Plant, Ky., who discussed an ammunition accident that occurred there killing two employees and injuring a third. His sobering talk provided a real reminder to the Crane employees that the ammunition they handle can be very unforgiving when an accident occurs.
At the conclusion of the day, Crane employees were able to engage various vendors on a variety of safety and health topics at a health and wellness fair. The vendors offered employees blood pressure readings, glucose tests, and other health screenings to alert of possible medical problems.
CAAA was established in Oct. 1977 and is a tenant of the Navy Region Midwest, Naval Support Activity Crane. The Army activity maintains ordnance professionals and infrastructure to receive, store, ship, produce, renovate and demilitarize conventional ammunition, missiles and related components.