News: 97th MX VPP makes OSHA Star status
ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – The 97th Maintenance Directorate’s Voluntary Protection Program is the first civilian and active-duty Aircraft Maintenance unit in the Air Force to achieve "Star" status in the Occupational Safety and Health Administrations VPP Program.
“Entering OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program and making Star status lets everyone know what the employees of the 97th Aircraft Maintenance Division already know—that they are team members of one of the elite safety programs in the country,” said Bryan Doyle, 97th MX safety office supervisor.
According to the OSHA website, the Star Program is designed for exemplary worksites with comprehensive, successful safety and health management systems. Companies in the Star Program have achieved injury and illness rates at or below the national average of their respective industries.
The 97th MX’s VPP is self-sufficient in its ability to control workplace hazards, according to OSHA’s requirements to be in the Star Program.
“To even be considered for the Star, we had to maintain our three-year average injury rates below the industry standards,” Doyle said. “This was accomplished through teamwork, better reporting, trend tracking and by completing a Job Safety Analysis on potentially dangerous worksite tasks.”
The new interactive employee-based safety program that the 97th MX created helped prevent a significant number of injuries.
“By encouraging employee involvement and giving them an avenue to report safety concerns, we have received more than 300 potential safety concerns from the people who know the issues in their worksites the best—the employees,” Doyle said. “All safety concerns are tracked and mitigated.”
Through constant worksite evaluations, 2012 became the safest year for the 97th MX since they started the VPP.
“Thank you to the employees of the Maintenance Directorate, VPP mentors from the Ardmore Oil refinery, base commanders and vice commanders, directors, chiefs—past and present—and the local 2586 Union Team members,” Doyle said. “You all made this achievement possible.”