Base celebrates safety milestone

This accomplishment marks the one-year anniversary for base civilian personnel, who have proven that safety in the workplace is attainable. / File

More than 1.2 million man-hours without a serious, loss-of-time, workplace injury is a milestone achieved by civilian-Marines at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany since last year.

This accomplishment marks the one-year anniversary for base civilian personnel, who have proven that safety in the workplace is attainable.

"This is an unprecedented achievement," Merrill Dickinson Jr., installation safety manager, Risk Management, MCLB Albany, said. "It is undisputable evidence that we work at a very special place."

"The base's safety program has always been one of the most comprehensive and robust programs in the Marine Corps," Dickinson said.

According to Dickinson, implementing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Voluntary Protection Program, has taken mishap prevention to a new level by engaging employees and soliciting their input in every aspect of the program to include developing safety policies, hazard abatement, assessing the program and establishing annual safety goals.

"The base's injury rates have been below the national average for the past three years," he said. "This success is largely due to first-line supervisors valuing safety, caring for their employees and enforcing safety standards."

Dickinson continued, "Safety is a core function of leadership. Valuing safety is just one way leaders demonstrate to their workforce that they care."

Connecting safety to leadership is echoed in MCLB Albany's commanding officer, Col. Don Davis' safety policy.

An excerpt from his safety policy reads, "Safety is a shared responsibility between individuals and their leader. Creating an appropriate command climate rests with me and my subordinate leadership.

"Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany exists to provide the full range of installation support services that enable our tenants to accomplish their mission in support of the warfighter," Davis said.

"Safety is critical to mission success, not just for our mission, but for the entire Marine Corps," the commanding officer said. "We cannot succeed unless we jealously guard our precious resources: our people, our equipment and our facilities."

The installation safety manager encouraged directors and supervisors to demonstrate they value personnel by providing them safe and healthful work environments.

Bob James, Deputy Director, Operations and Training Division, MCLB Albany, offered some suggestions on how managers can train personnel to assist in this effort.

"Being aware of your surroundings, knowing your environment and paying attention to common hazards such as electrical wiring, proper lifting techniques and looking out for the safety of fellow employees are just a few ways we can assist in providing a safer workplace," James said.

According to James, the Risk Management staff is a team of qualified, knowledgeable personnel who have the customized training, written resources and assets necessary to provide information to optimize safety at MCLB Albany.

The base has already been recognized for safety excellence 11 times in as many years and is the recipient of multiple awards from the Department of the Navy, Headquarters Marines Corps and Marine Corps Installations East.

As a result of MCLB Albany's compliance performance earlier this year, OSHA has accepted the base's application to become a VPP Star site. Upon completion of the on-site evaluation, which is tentatively slated for 2014, the installation is expected to become the first VPP Star site in MCIEAST and the second in the Marine Corps.

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