CECOM leading the way with SOHMS implementation

By Rachel PonderJuly 31, 2023

ASOHMS (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command is “well on its way” to implementing a Safety and Occupational Health Management System at each major subordinate command or center, according to Safety and Occupational Health Manager Wallace “Wally” Edwards Jr. of the CECOM Directorate for Safety.

There are three different stages in the implementation of the Army Safety and Occupational Health Management System (ASOHMS).

Stage I is the development of policies, procedures, and programs; Stage II is communication, training, and implementation; and Stage III is full implementation and continuous improvement. After an organization completes a third-party final assessment, they receive the award of an “Army SOH Star.”

According to the U.S. Army Materiel Command Safety and Occupational Health Management System Implementation Plan, the goal is to implement ASOHMS  Army-wide by Oct. 1, 2028.

Culture change

In FY 2023, the goal for CECOM is for each major subordinate command or center to complete the Stage I assessment. Edwards said that goal will be achieved the first week of August. In FY 2024, the goal is for each major subordinate command or center to complete the Stage II assessment.

The exception to this directive is Tobyhanna Army Depot and the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center-Korea because they are already recognized by another occupational health and safety management system, ISO 45001.

Edwards said implementing a SOHMS is about “creating a culture change.”

“Our personnel are the driving force to implementing a SOHMS,” he said. “Reach out to your ASOHMS champion or supervisor and ask how you can get involved with assisting during [safety and occupational health] inspections, becoming a collateral duty safety officer, or joining the safety committee.”

‘Health and safety are everyone’s responsibility’

Deputy Director of Integrated Logistics Support Center Nicole Dilorio Osaghae was appointed as ASOHMS champion in April 2022. ILSC completed their Stage II baseline in June 2023

“In this role, I am focused on developing the safety culture and encouraging personnel to embrace ownership of the safety management system,” she said. “Representing the ASOHMS implementation, I have scheduled and executed strategic engagements with ILSC personnel at all levels across multiple sites. It is critical for success that personnel see senior leadership’s involvement in ASOHMS; health and safety are everybody’s responsibility, and it starts at the top.”

Osaghae said the ASOHMS helps organizations develop a standardized occupational safety and health approach. With six capability objectives and fifty-six sub-criteria, ASOHMS helps leadership assess performance at a granular level, which allows leaders to highlight best practices and see opportunities for improvement.

“Cornerstones of continuous improvement are communication and safety ownership at all levels,” she said. “When it comes to safety, collaboration is the number one thing that we can do to accomplish our over-arching goal of reducing hazard exposures and injuries through analysis of leading indicators. ASOHMS helps us develop and organize resources so that we can conduct effective trend analysis and create risk-reduction strategies.”

Occupational Health and Safety Specialist Ian Torello, with ILSC, serves as a liaison between the DoD Safety and Management Center of Excellence and the ILSC. He said a “culture shift” takes time. In Stage II, ILSC is raising employees’ awareness about proactively reporting hazards and near-miss incidents, like slips, trips, and falls.

“We are trying to get people to say, ‘I am a primary stakeholder in the Safety Management System, I own this and my feedback matters,’” he said.

ILSC Safety Day

 On Aug. 9, join the ILSC Safety Office for safety information, hands-on experiences, and demonstrations on various safety, occupational health, and fire protection topics. The event in the C5ISR Campus Courtyard will include fire extinguisher training, a CPR demonstration, and an ergonomics evaluation.    The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The guest speaker for this event will be ILSC Executive Director Hector Rodriguez, who will speak from 9 to 9:30 a.m. in front of Bldg. 6000. This event is open to everyone.

For more information, contact Jurgen Williams, Jurgen.h.williams@army.mil, or Ian Torello, ian.p.torello.civ@army.mil.