MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY --
Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany is the recipient of the 2017 Department of Defense Voluntary Protection Program Achievement Award.
Col. James C. Carroll III, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, accepted the award on behalf of the installation from Maureen Sullivan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health, during the Voluntary Protection Programs Participant’s Association National Conference held in New Orleans, Aug. 29.
“It was very exciting to be recognized but more important to have a team that is committed to safety and living it in a way that really resonates throughout the command,” Carroll said. “The award signifies to me is that we ‘win to the end.’”
Carroll noted MCLB Albany was designated a VPP Star site in 2015.
“We continue, as a team, to build upon that and were recognized this year as the 2017 DOD installation of the year in terms of continuing to improve upon safety,” he said. “We are driving our mishaps down and we continue to (take care of) one another, both on duty and off duty. We continue to make the workplace safe by calling out those near misses so we can continue to stay in front of potential accidents.”
Carroll said base safety officials are taking VPP lessons learned and sharing them with other organizations and installations with hopes of helping them make their programs stronger.
During the VPP Conference, Sullivan highlighted two Marine Corps installations, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, and MCLB Albany for their accomplishments in VPP as she addressed nearly 4,000 attendees.
“(Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany) is (home to) one of the largest and most complex Marine Corps maintenance facilities and warehouse depots,” Sullivan said. “The (command) has reduced their total number of serious injuries (by) 86 percent, eliminated on duty class A and B Marine mishaps over the past 12 years and avoided $7 M in injury costs to the Marine Corps and civilian workforce.
“That’s what it’s all about,” she added. “It’s protecting the people and also achieving the savings.”
Merrill Dickinson, installation safety manager, Risk Management, MCLB Albany, was recognized as the Special Government Employee of the Year for OSHA Region IV at the conference.
“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program recognizes private industry and federal agencies who have achieved an elite level of safety and health management while maintaining injury and illness rates below national averages,” Dickinson said. “To achieve star recognition, a site must exceed OSHA standards, submit a VPP application that generally reflects a 3-5 year effort, and undergo a rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of OSHA professionals.”
Achieving VPP Star site recognition involves the active engagement of every member of the organization, he pointed out.
Dickinson added only 58 of 500+ DOD sites and organizations under OSHA jurisdiction have received the prestigious VPP Star designation.
For Earl Schlegel, union president, American Federation of Government Employees Local 2317, he was a first-time attendee at the national VPP conference.
“I was asked to attend the conference on behalf of the union because MCLB Albany, a star site, was receiving an award,” Schlegel said. “The union partners with (MCLB Albany) on safety as much as possible.”
Schlegel said he has a new appreciation for the importance of safety.
“I saw, at the conference, safety topics from the office environment all the way to the industrial environment and it was really enlightening,” he said.
According to Schlegel, “the depth and breadth of what safety really is and our world today,” is what stood out the most.
“I saw, from the (safety) workshops and vendors, how big of a deal safety really is,” he stated.
The union president vowed to make safety more of a value.
“I think safety should be addressed agency-wide,” he stressed. “Anytime I meet with a manager or director, I will make sure that safety is on the agenda. Safety is very important and I saw during the conference how important it is to the Department of Defense.”
Schlegel indicated he wants to become a SGE.
“I want to become a SGE and learn more about safety personally,” he added. “Not necessarily to move into the safety field as a profession, but I want to know more because I want to help.
“After going to the conference, I want to be more involved in safety,” he said. “If we can bring that kind of message back to the agency locally, I think we can make more (positive) changes.”