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MCA cited for safety awareness progress

By Art Powell | | October 2, 2008

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The latest safety inspection conducted by the Risk Management Office, Public Safety Division, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., at Maintenance Center Albany, detailed a sharp decline in the number of safety issues, compared to the previous inspections found by inspectors.

“We look at everything, everything they’re doing and how they do it,” said William Young, senior safety specialist, Risk Management Office, Public Safety Division.

“Anything that could be a hazard for personnel working in the area,” he added.

Four risk management specialists spent almost two weeks inspecting the MCA infrastructure during the latest inspection. Any safety concern they see is written up as a “finding.”

“The safety inspectors reported 89 safety findings in their February 2007 inspection. In the one they completed in August 2008 they reported only 24,” said Lamar Petties, office manager, Risk Management Office, MCA.

When asked what led to the drop, he pointed to teamwork.

“From the manager to the worker on the (MCA) floor, with everybody getting involved, we significantly reduced the amount of findings that we had,” he added.

Another program designed to enhance workplace safety, happening at the same time as the MCA safety improvements, is a directive from the Secretary of Defense calling for a Department of Defense-wide 75 percent reduction in the number of workplace mishaps. A mishap is defined as an event resulting in personal injury, and a finding is defined as a safety issue with no personal injury involved.

While MCA strives to reduce safety findings and meet the DoD mishap reduction directive, managers are also focused on achieving Occupational Safety and Health Administration Voluntary Protection program Star site status.

“A Star site is a facility that OSHA recognizes as one that has made significant progress in reducing mishaps,” said Petties, who began work at MCA 15 years ago.

During the most recent safety inspection by base safety specialists, several MCA supervisors were recognized for their work.

“The supervisors went above and beyond, based on their command of the safety processes in their respective work centers, recognizing potential safety risks, correcting them, making sure work requests were in to correct things that needed to be corrected,” said Col. Daniel J. Gillan, commander, MCA. “So, there was a good exchange of information with the base inspectors and ultimately we, the Maintenance Center, are the winners because not only do these hard chargers get recognized, but we have a safer working environment for all.”

Following the last safety inspection, three MCA supervisors were presented coins from the base Risk Management Office for their shop’s safety programs. They were Anthony Sangfield, supervisor, electroplating; Arthur Wright, Amphibious Assault Vehicle  mechanic’s supervisor, heavy mobile equipment and Santos Vazquez Jr, work supervisor, heavy mobile equipment mechanics.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the (safety) performance, the trend is getting better. The safety findings are significantly reduced from the last inspection. Not just because of management, but individual awareness at each level throughout the command,” Gillan added.

No matter how many safety programs are in place and how much supervisors focus on safety in the workplace, it eventually gets down to the individual.

“The person who can make the most difference in workplace safety is the person looking back at you from the mirror every day,” said Young, the base Risk Management Office lead safety inspector.

“The police tell us they can’t be everywhere 24-7 and the same is true for safety inspectors and supervisors.  It’s up to the individual to make a safety program work,” he concluded.


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