Crane Army Ammunition Activity Earns VPP Star Status

By Mr. Thomas Peske (AMC)July 13, 2010

CRANE, Ind. - Crane Army Ammunition Activity earned a Star Status designation in the Voluntary Protection Program after follow-up inspections by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, making it only the second organization in the Army Materiel Command to earn this distinction.

The Star Status marks a first for a Joint Munitions Command site and only the second command in the AMC to receive the honor along with Tobyhanna Army Depot. The Star Status reflects the overall commitment to employee safety fostered at Crane.

According to CAAA Commander Col. Charles Kibben, VPP is a natural extension of Crane Army's current culture of safety and dedication to those serving in the military. He said, "VPP represents a direct commitment to excellence in supporting the Warfighter."

VPP promotes effective worksite-based safety and health. In the VPP, management, labor, and OSHA establish cooperative relationships at workplaces that have implemented a comprehensive safety and health management system. Approval into VPP is OSHA's official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health.

In a letter from the Assistant Secretary for OSHA David Michaels, PhD, MPH, CAAA was praised for its accomplishment. Michaels wrote, "You have joined an elite group of organizations that provide exemplary occupational safety and health protection and serve as models for others."

He also wrote, "Your qualification for OSHA's premiere recognition program is a testament to the efforts you and your employees have made to develop and implement a VPP-quality safety and health management system."

While every Army command tries to practice safety, it is the hope of Crane Army that by embracing VPP and encouraging the employees to take it on as their responsibility, CAAA will truly have a safety-first culture.

In 2009, Kibben challenged CAAA employees directly when he told them, "While our work effort has been tremendous this year, we all need to take a moment to reflect on what needs to be done to improve safety within the organization. The ultimate goal for this organization is to have zero lost time accidents next year and while this objective may seem ambitious, it is something we all need to focus on. One accident that injures any employee on the job or at home is too many from my standpoint and I fully believe the only way to make this place a true safe work environment is through your individual and collective effort."

Since then CAAA has passed a safety milestone of more than 2 million hours worked without a lost workday incident, dating back to June 11, 2009. Both this milestone and the Star Status reflect the success of CAAA's behavior-based approach to safety through empowering their employees and having the local AFGE Union's full support and backing.

The culture of safety is driven from the top down and relies on all employees to make it happen. The major way that VPP is affected by the employees is through its employee safety councils. The employee safety councils get ideas from employees, find ways to fix safety issues, assist the Safety Office, investigate safety mishaps, and are the key drivers in helping CAAA achieve and maintain its VPP Star Status. It also utilizes the SafeStart program to ensure employees are well trained and constantly thinking safety first.

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.