Safe today, safer tomorrow: BGCA safety program first in AMC to receive Army award

By Jana FeltsNovember 2, 2022

Safe today, safer tomorrow: BGCA safety program first in AMC to receive Army award
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Lt. Col. Tyler McKee, BGCA commander, David Moragne, BGCA safety manager, Guy Killian, Susan Kinmon, Sarah Dill, BGCA safety specialists, and Alan Lott, CMA deputy director, with the ASOHMS unit flag. (Photo Credit: Jana Felts) VIEW ORIGINAL
Safe today, safer tomorrow: BGCA safety program first in AMC to receive Army award
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Alan Lott, CMA deputy director, presents David Moragne, Blue Grass Chemical Activity safety manager, with a certificate recognizing BGCA’s Star Status. (Photo Credit: Jana Felts) VIEW ORIGINAL

The Blue Grass Chemical Activity is the first Army Materiel Command organization and second in the Army to achieve Star Status with the Army Safety and Occupational Health Management System, well ahead of the AMC deadline of October 1, 2028.

With the motto, “Safe today, safer tomorrow” featured prominently in the organizational crest, BGCA takes those words seriously.

“BGCA has an important and historic mission to safely and securely store the remaining chemical weapons stockpile in Kentucky, and support munitions movement for demilitarization,” said Lt. Col. Tyler McKee, BGCA commander. “These operations are critical to meeting international treaty obligations as well as keeping the workforce, community and environment safe. This organization takes their charge seriously and ensures safety procedures are threaded into each and every process and policy.”

The road to reaching star status is deliberate. BGCA’s journey began in 2014 when command leadership placed an organizational emphasis on the safety program in order to achieve the highest standards of worker protection while executing the mission. As a result of this focus, BGCA saw an increase in employee participation and has been awarded the U.S. Army Safety Streamer every year since 2014. Army units earn this streamer by completing 12 consecutive months without experiencing an at-fault Class A or Class B accident, 100% completion of risk management training and completing the Army Readiness Assessment Program survey.

“Responsibility, accountability and a willingness to stop operations are cornerstones to an effective safety program,” said David Moragne, BGCA safety officer. “This award demonstrates BGCA’s commitment to safety at all levels and recognizes the organization as a leader in occupational safety and health.”

The ASOHMS program was implemented in three stages of maturity using the plan-do-check-act methodology, which enabled BGCA to meet the six capability objectives. These objectives include leadership engagement and employee participation, investigations, training and promotion, inspections and assessments, hazard analysis and countermeasures, and health protection and readiness. Each phase and objective must be implemented intentionally over time in order to weave seamlessly into the fabric of a safety program.

In June 2022, representatives from the Department of Defense Safety Management Center of Excellence validated BGCA’s efforts to implement the six capability objectives. The inspectors not only determined that BGCA met the criteria for Star Status but also commended the safety program and culture, noting that it was among the best they have seen.

“The BGCA workforce’s determination to meet this significant milestone is impressive and sets the standard for CMA. Even more importantly, their commitment to the safety and well-being of one another is second to none,” said Alan Lott, deputy director of the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Activity, who presented the award to BGCA on Oct. 27. “I know that this group will extend its commitment into the future as BGCA continues to execute the mission.”

Reaching Star Status fulfills the first half of BGCA’s motto, “Safe today, safer tomorrow”. The chemical activity workforce won’t relax their standards now. Continuous improvement, a requirement of the ASOHMS program, ensures processes and procedures are reviewed and improved as they accomplish the mission to create a safer tomorrow.

BGCA is a tenant on the Blue Grass Army Depot with the mission to safely store the chemical weapons stockpile and support safe delivery to the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant for disposal. The BGCAPP is scheduled to complete destruction of the chemical weapons stockpile by the treaty commitment date of September 30, 2023.