Armaments Center at Picatinny Arsenal wins the Army Exceptional Organization Award

By Eric KowalSeptember 26, 2022

Personnel assigned to Picatinny Arsenal’s Risk Management Office - U.S. Army photo
Personnel assigned to Picatinny Arsenal’s Risk Management Office - U.S. Army photo (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

The U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center (USACRC) recently named the winners of the fiscal 2021 Secretary of the Army and Chief of Staff annual Army safety awards. Out of 53 total nominations received, 17 winners were selected by an awards review board.

The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Armaments Center, the largest organization at Picatinny Arsenal, was awarded the Army Exceptional Organization Safety Award at the Brigade level.

“DEVCOM Armaments Center is at the tip of the spear in all areas – safety procedure development that is shared across the Army and the safe execution of work that has varied levels of risk,” Anthony J. Sebasto, Acting Armaments Center Director, said in an email to the workforce.

To be considered for an award, individuals and organizations must have made significant improvements and contributions to mishap prevention, among other criteria, during the previous fiscal year, according to Army guidelines.

Award winners were announced just after the former Armaments Center Director, John F. Hedderich III, retired earlier this year.

“Leadership begins from the top. The Risk Management Office (RMO) supports the lines of effort and cross-functional teams (CFTs) of Armaments Center by ensuring that they are ‘mission enablers,’” Hedderich said in an email to the Picatinny workforce.

“The RMO must have a highly skilled and trained safety and environmental workforce that is in the right places at the right time to prevent, identify and correct hazards before they lead to loss,” Hedderich continued.

The Armament Center RMO consists of a Safety and Occupational Health Team, an Ammunition and Explosives Team, an Environmental Team, Radiation Safety Officers, Physical Security and Electrical Team, a Quality Assurance Specialist (Ammunition Specialist) Team, and an Equipment Maintenance and Sustainment Team.

The RMO seamlessly supported CFTs by providing continual and immediate continuity during normal and pandemic operations.  They were able to protect the health and welfare of the warfighter and Army civilian as they participated in high-profile technical demonstrations using new, unfamiliar, and novel equipment. They also participated in worksite evaluations, promoted non-concurrent operations, and sharing of workspaces to meet general and pandemic safety requirements.

“The RMO consistently works in collaboration with many key supervisors and operators in the mission critical operational areas as well as other organizations, such as Garrison Safety Office, Industrial Hygiene and Fire Department, which support and promote the Armaments Center’s strong Safety Culture focused on placing the safety of personnel at the forefront and promoting safety as everyone’s responsibility,” said Sybil Lusardi, Deputy Director, Risk Management Office.

“The Armaments Center strives to consistently improve and strengthen the safety culture by promoting the reporting of near misses and conditions that could lead to a mishap, providing numerous safety training opportunities (multi-day Safety Stand-down events), leadership engagement in standing operating procedures of hazardous operations, and real-time visibility of workplace hazards via the Picatinny Safety Management System, to name a few,” Lusardi continued.

To further demonstrate and solidify the Armaments Center’s position for the award, several other accomplishments came into factor.

In 2019, Picatinny scored 100% on industrial ammunitions and explosive operations in a worldwide DoD munitions logistics/surveillance/explosives safety review program review.

In May 2021, Headquarters Department of the Army conducted a special interest survey with a focus on radiation and explosives. As a result of the study, Jim Patton, Director of Army Safety stated that “Picatinny Arsenal has one of the best safety programs in the Army.”

In a joint message to the list of winners of the FY21 Army Awards of Excellence in Safety, Christine Wormuth, Secretary of the Army and Gen. James McConville, Army Chief of Staff, congratulated this year's winners saying, "The accomplishments of these winners reinforces the importance of proactive risk management integrated throughout our plans, operations and training. Effective loss prevention is central to Army readiness and is especially important in light of force reductions and resource challenges. Thank you for your hard work and accident prevention efforts. You can be justifiably proud of this significant accomplishment."

The Army Safety Awards Program is designed to recognize, promote, and motivate success in mishap prevention through risk management by recognizing safety accomplishments of individuals and organizations in the field. It features positive measurements of current Army goals, improved plaques and certificates and a streamlined submission processes. The program also allows organizations to develop additional awards tailored to their unique mishap prevention and risk management goals.

The Armaments Center is currently in the process of implementing the Army Safety and Occupational Health Management System and will go through an initial assessment in FY 2023.