CAMP CARROLL, South Korea – Although it already has an outstanding safety record, a unit here takes things up a notch when it comes to promoting safe habits and instilling an organizational culture of safety. security.
Army Field Support Battalion – Northeast Asia held a quarterly security event highlighted by the launch of Phase Two of their Security Administration Voluntary Protection Program and occupational health at warehouse 15 here on June 2.
The event featured presentations and discussions covering a variety of security topics. Zone IV Fire and Emergency Services also held demonstrations, including how to safely evacuate a smoke-filled building (with simulated smoke) and how to properly operate and extinguish a fire with hands-on training on fire extinguishers.
To implement phase two of the battalion’s VPP, leaders and employees signed a VPP banner, signifying their personal commitment to the program.
“The Voluntary Protection Program recognizes employers and workers in private industry and federal agencies who have implemented effective safety and health management systems and keep injury and illness rates below national averages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for their respective industries,” according to the VPP’s website. “In VPP, management, workers and OSHA work cooperatively and proactively to prevent death, injury and illness through a system focused on: hazard prevention and control; site analysis; coaching; and management commitment and worker involvement.
Participating in VPP is not a simple task.
“To participate, employers must submit an application to OSHA and undergo a rigorous on-site assessment by a team of safety and health professionals,” according to OSHA. “VPP participants are reassessed every three to five years to stay in the programs.”
The VPP consists of three phases. The first phase focuses on documentation – in large quantities.
“OSHA requires that all elements of a safety and health management system be in place,” said Chance Long, occupational safety and health manager, 403rd Army Field Support Brigade. “In the first phase, all safety-related documentation including VPP checklist, SOPs, regulations, safety data sheets, inspection forms are reviewed.”
Phase two brings together senior management, leaders and all assigned workers, including contractors, to engage in the program as a team – top-down and complete the required training. Once the training is complete, the team from the Department of Defense Security Management Center of Excellence conducts on-site inspections. They inspect the organization’s documents, facilities and all aspects of security. They also conduct interviews with management and a percentage of the workforce to ensure that they understand the elements of the VPP and what their roles and responsibilities are in implementing the safety management system in their work centers.
“Stage three is when you have all the pieces in place, you’ve implemented the VPP concepts and have been able to sustain them for a year,” Long said. “Once you have done this for a year and there are no outstanding OSHA violations, you will achieve VPP Star certification which must be recertified every three to five years.”
The 403rd Army Field Support Brigade, the higher headquarters of the AFSBn-NEA, implements the VPP in its other subordinate units on the peninsula and in Japan.
“VPP is not about compliance,” Long said. “We are building a culture of safety that encompasses everything we do – where safety is embedded in every job. Safety is always a priority and must be integrated into all aspects of what we do.
AFSBn-NEA currently has a safety record of over 1,500 incident-free days.
To view and download more photos from the event (and other 403rd AFSB events), go to the Brigade’s Flickr album page at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/afsb403d/albums
To learn more about the VPP, visit: https://www.osha.gov/vpp