Safety top priority;
By Cpl. Nicholas Tremblay
| | December 5, 2002
MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- Change is not always for the best. But for some Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany employees things are looking up due to improvements in their work habits.
The Maintenance Center's Trades Department supervisors and branch heads implemented new procedures at the beginning of the year to emphasize the importance of safety and to reduce injuries. The implementations recently paid off when the Trades Department achieved approximately 68,000 working hours without any mishaps or accidents within a 31 day period.
The 68,000 mishap-free hours in the Trades Department is the most any work section at the Maintenance Center has achieved.
Last year the department experienced 108 injuries and mishaps, said Donald Jensen, manager of the Trades Department. At the beginning of this year Jensen and the other supervisors and branch heads discussed ways to cut down the number of injuries that occur in the Trades Department.
One implementation Jensen feels has contributed to the reduced number of mishaps is the daily observance of safety, which was part of the Safety Training and Observation Program. Twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, supervisors stop the employees from working to point out safety.
"The supervisors take time to remind the workers to look at what they are doing," said Jensen. "So far it has worked, and the employees have paid closer attention to what they are doing and to ensure they are wearing the proper safety equipment."
Another positive change to the Trades Department was cleaner work areas, said Jensen. The workers have organized their work areas so there are fewer hazards that can create accidents, said Jensen.
The majority of the work conducted by the Trades Department is extremely hazardous, including vehicle rebuilds, welding, mechanical work and sandblasting. The 470 Trades Department workers deal with some of the most hazardous operations at the Maintenance Center on a daily basis.
Every time an employee misses work due to injury, it costs the Marine Corps an average of $1,500. But the supervisors wanted to limit the number of accidents because they care about their employees, said Jensen.
The employees' accident-free achievement has given them a new sense of pride in their jobs. In fact, the pride they already had in the work they perform has increased even more and is extended to their ability to complete any task the Marine Corps requires without mishaps or injuries.
"Every time the workers in the Trades Department are challenged, they rise to the occasion to make it happen," said Jensen. "It takes every single person in our department to make something like this happen."