FORT SHAFTER FLATS, HAWAII-- Office of the Surgeon General and Headquarters U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) Safety Management Office sent a representative to update safety officers of the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC), Hawaii Medical Command and the 5th Battlefield Coordination Detachment (BCD) on the Army's new safety changes Feb. 27, 2013.

MEDCOM Safety Management System Program (MS2) and Occupational Health Program Manager George LeFevre instructed the commands' safety officers about the new coordinated approach to the safety management system program.

LeFevre explained, "The U.S. Army MEDCOM has adopted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Department of Labor's Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) criteria as MEDCOM's safety management system. The Department of the Defense (DoD) is heading towards all services having some type of safety management system."
LeFevre's job is to instruct subordinate commands how to adopt and implement their own operating command model.

The Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho supports the VPP criteria as the basis for Army-wide safety management system programs.

The new program at MEDCOM is being called Safety Management System under the OSHA VPP system. The Army-wide new system will be the Army Safety Management System, once the new regulatory guidance comes out from DoD.

"What we are doing here at U.S. Army MEDCOM is we are helping the Army write the new doctrine," said LeFevre. "The safety management system that the safety officer learns in Germany will be the same as the safety management system that they will learn in Fort Bragg or here in Hawaii; it's a world wide effort in efficiencies that cuts down on the bottom line when it comes to costs and funding."

This program is really important in four major areas. The biggest one being management commitment and employee involvement. Other parts of the program include worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control, and safety training.

According to LeFevre, his group teaches the safety officers how to get the employees of their organizations involved in their commanders' local programs where everyone takes ownership of safety. "Safety is the commander's program and this program doesn't take that away from him, instead it takes it to a different level so that everyone says 'I am not just concerned about my safety but the safety of the person next to me,'" he said.

The students of the class conducted here in Hawaii all came from different backgrounds within the Army. They ranged from hospital workers to missile defense personnel, but all believe
that the Army is making the right move towards keeping Soldiers safe.
Jay Shareef, Safety and Occupational Health Manager, 94th AAMDC, a Texas native, said, "Our goal here at the 94th AAMDC is to make sure that we are doing everything within our power to protect the Soldiers, civilians and contractors."

Sgt. 1st Class Alberto Santos, Additional Safety Officer, U.S. Army Health Clinic Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, a native of Guam, explained why he feels the class is so important to his unit, "Because we are accredited by a joint commission, we fall under the same lines of OSHA, and safety plays big role in our organization."

By attending this recent training class, the Soldiers and DA civilians in various safety positions here on island should now be able to understand and implement their own safety management system back at their units and pass the knowledge on to others.