Safety is always at the top of a commander's priority, while at the same time looking for new ideas to eliminate accidents.

Lt. Col. Lee Hr. Schiller, Jr., Sierra Army Depot Commander, never lets a day go by when he does not stress the importance of safety to his staff. He believes that every employee needs to take ownership for the success of safety in their work place.

To accomplish this task in one of the largest organizations on Depot, Schiller tasked his AJ1 Director, John A. Dingman, to come up with a way to help prevent accidents before they happen. There are currently 164 employees in nine separate sections of this directorate; the majority of these employees are young and inexperienced working with hazards associated in an industrial area. Dingman thought the best method to get the message across was to use a visual aid that most people see on a daily basis and can readily identify.

Hence the thought of a traffic signal light came to mind. Dingman discussed the idea with one of his supervisors, Mr. Albert Shoars, and the two were able to design and incorporate their thoughts into a safety visual aid that is now being recognized throughout the work force. The main idea behind the eight foot highly visual sign is to encourage the work force to take ownership of their work area.

Now during their daily start up meetings, the employees in AJ1 discuss and go over any and all hazards that may exist in the area. They also have to ensure that all employees have their personal protective equipment on. Once all the employees and the supervision agree the area is accident free and personal protective equipment is with each employee, the green light is turned on and the work shift begins.

If for any reason one of the employees notices a near miss or a potential accident they are empowered to switch the light from green to yellow and sound the alarm. This gets the work forces attention; the near miss is addressed, corrected and entered into the Accident Logbook to track and correct future accidents. Once the incident has been addressed and all is safe again, the light can then be switched back to green.

If an accident does occur, the light is switched to red, the alarm sounds and all the employees know they must stop immediately and muster together. This is to ensure the safety of all personnel in the operation and their co workers, the accident is addressed, corrected, logged and discussed to prevent reoccurrence.

This visual sign and alarm system has been very successful in preventing accidents and the evacuations of the buildings. The employees are instrumental in preventing accidents and promoting safety.

A special thanks to Nani Rowland & Michele Bussell from graphic arts that put the sign together along with Blake Marsters, Ray Stovall & Donald Hassenplug, who supported the making of the sign.