Base receives accolades for safety program

21 May 2009 | Art Powell

A command safety program assessment was conducted at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., May 5-7, and the base Risk Management Office received high marks for their on-going efforts to address safety issues here.

“You have a very, very good program here,” said Richard M. Coyle, head, Occupational Safety and Health, Marine Corps Safety Division, following his inspection. “We just briefed the commanding officer and told him he has a safety manager who is superb in almost every way.”

The RMO oversees different safety programs on base to provide a safe infrastructure for tenants and base operations. Coyle referred to the RMO staff for their support of the overall program at MCLB Albany.

“Part of the success here is due to the outstanding staff that the safety manager has working for him. He’s got a tremendous staff that supports his efforts. Together, they’re one heck of a team,” Coyle added.

The RMO staff is credited for making the safety program here a success.

“I believe I have the finest team of safety professionals in the Marine Corps. You can ask any one of them, and they will tell you the work we do is tough, diverse, and sometimes hectic, but they never let me down.  They are completely dedicated to supporting the MCLB Albany Marines and civilian-Marines. When you work with great people and have command support for your program; it is a recipe for success,” said Merrill Dickinson, Installation Safety Manager, Public Safety Division, MCLB Albany.

While the Headquarters Marine Corps Safety Division inspectors were here, they had the opportunity to attend the base Commanding Officer’s Safety Council meeting May 6 to review local safety efforts, which gave them a first-hand opportunity to observe the command safety program.

 “We have a successful program, and the credit for it starts with first line supervisors and noncommissioned officers, because that’s where a lot of the prevention education takes place,” said Col. C.N. Haliday, commanding officer, MCLB Albany. “Let’s make sure they’re aware   that good things can happen when they give 100 percent to safety all the time.  Pass along my thanks to all of them,” he said at the meeting.

The purpose of the Safety Council is to review the installation and tenant safety performance and program effectiveness and to recommend changes to reduce unsafe practices and to strengthen the overall program.

“Our safety inspection results, by and large, are pretty positive, which is evidence that we have a good program. There is a good potential there for continued success, but what we have to be aware of is complacency creeping in after we have had a period of success,” he added.

The meeting also serves as the command’s Safe Driving Council, Operational Risk Management program oversight meeting and the Ergonomics Committee meeting.

After unit safety reports were presented, a video with graphics showing the flight path and actual audio between the pilot and air traffic controllers of the forced water-landing of US Airways Flight 1549 into the Hudson River in New York City Jan. 15 was shown.

“What was demonstrated by what we saw in the video?,” asked Dickinson. “They’ve been called the ‘Five Safety Lessons of Flight 1549.’ First, training and experience are the best defense when things start to go wrong. Then, be aware of changing conditions, follow the leader, follow the rules and continually learn everything you can about safety.”

Base officials discussed the upcoming summer months, Memorial Day through Labor Day, which historically bring with them increased opportunities for safety mishaps caused by alcohol consumption, heat, insects, vacation activities, increased outdoor activities and other events.

“Let’s make a deliberate effort to raise summer safety awareness among our Marines and civilian employees. Then, let’s not become complacent because we have a good safety record,” Haliday added.

He also told the council that he wants to see continued increased traffic enforcement on base.

“The leadership in here should make an effort to get the message out that strong traffic enforcement efforts on the base will continue. Get the word out that we’re looking for speeders, failure to stop at stop signs, failure to yield, not using seat belts and improper use of cell phones,” he explained.

The gathering represented the last one for Haliday, who will make a permanent change of station move before the next quarterly meeting.

“I’ve appreciated the opportunity to work with all of you. You are dedicated to safety, which is a hard job. There are many hazards out there and you take them very seriously. Thank you for your support,” he concluded.

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany