ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Trample the weak and hurdle the dormant - this seems like a strange phrase to use when the discussion is safety and the Voluntary Protection Program, but the visual impact of what must be done is perfect.

With VPP, the weak in an organization are the naysayers and complainers. This group follows, but with reluctance. Constant complaining and a sour attitude stagnates a team and can slow the entire VPP process.

First, and most important, is leadership -- the manager and/or supervisor -- who must have an unconditional commitment to the VPP journey.

Employee buy-in is also critical. Our first step in the VPP journey is to get total commitment from everyone and ensure every employee understands the reason behind the Occupational Safety and Health Administration compliance rules.

Once everyone on the installation understands the reason for safety compliance, the installation must become OSHA compliant. VPP is the next step, going above and beyond compliance.

As more employees willingly join the VPP team, the wave gets stronger, prompting more employees to join. This will eventually turn into a "tidal wave," sweeping up all of the installation employees for a common cause.

Hurdle the dormant. In terms of safety, the dormant will be those who refuse to join the process.

This could be a career-limiting decision.

By refusing to participate in the VPP process, an employee's commitment to safety will be questioned. No one should want to be placed in the dormant category.