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    Ft. Indiantown Gap Army Aviation Support Facility achieves safety recertification

    Ft. Indiantown Gap Army Aviation Support Facility achieves safety recertification

    Photo By Sgt. Shane Smith | A view of the Army Aviation Support Facility #1, located at Fort Indiantown Gap's Muir...... read more read more

    FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, PA, UNITED STATES

    10.09.2018

    Story by Sgt. Shane Smith 

    Fort Indiantown Gap

    FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. – The Army Aviation Support Facility located at Muir Army Airfield here passed a rigorous safety recertification evaluation conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in March.

    OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program recognizes employers and workers in participating agencies that have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintain low injury and illness rates in the workplace.

    “This program is designed to enhance the safety of an organization’s employees,” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Joe Sandbakken, aviation safety officer. “It compares an organization’s accident and incident rates against a national industry standard to determine if the agency is meeting or exceeding the established safety rates,” Sandbakken added, “It’s a challenging program and definitely raises the expectation bar for safety across the board.”

    Each year agencies participating in the Voluntary Protection Program submit summaries of accident and injury data to identify any focus areas that may need addressed. A compressed recertification process is conducted every three years, which involves an onsite visit from an OSHA team to validate work practices, records keeping, and the overall safety culture of an organization.

    “Safety focus from all levels is key. Every worker needs to know why it is important, and be provided the tools, training, and environment to work safely and effectively,” said Lt. Col. Ken Smith, Army Aviation Support Facility commander. “In addition, leadership at all levels needs to support the program by being actively involved and leading by example, to ensure a safety-oriented workforce.”

    According to Capt. Angela Cochran, a ground safety officer with the Army Aviation Support Facility, the evaluation itself was of the facility as a whole – to include staff, management, and employees. Cochran states that each person should be involved and contribute in the process of eliminating workplace hazards.

    “The entire Army Aviation Support Facility works well as a team, and this validation by OSHA reinforces that, as an organization, we are doing the right things,” Smith said proudly. “Overall, the Voluntary Protection Program experience has definitely brought a higher level of awareness to our safety program, and I think we’ve learned some valuable lessons to be shared across Army Aviation as a whole.”

    The Army Aviation Support Facility team has already begun preparing for the next inspection after completing this year’s evaluation and identifying several areas of improvement.

    “To be successful, we must recognize that it is not just an inspection,” Smith concluded, “It’s a culture and a way of doing business on a day-to-day basis to ensure we are keeping our people as safe as possible, so that they are able to return home to their families each night.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 10.09.2018
    Date Posted: 10.09.2018 16:03
    Story ID: 295791
    Location: FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, PA, US 

    Web Views: 272
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