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News | Sept. 23, 2020

DLA Distribution Richmond’s Robins earns Safety Civilian Professional of the Year award

By DLA Distribution Public Affairs

For her outstanding performance during 2019, Safety and Occupational Health Specialist Ann Robins, Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Richmond, Virginia, was recognized as the DLA Distribution Safety Civilian Professional of the Year.

DDRV faced a multitude of safety challenges complicated with facility improvement projects in its contractor run operations – DLA’s Hazardous Center of Excellence. The Agency took extraordinary steps during the period of March to September to improve the situation by augmenting the hazardous operation with external contract support and civilian based volunteers from across the network. Robins was instrumental in identifying and mitigating risks for not only government employees, but for the assigned contractors as well.

Robins also provided outstanding support to the distribution center’s Ozone Depleting Substances Cylinder Maintenance Division and Mapping Division, including safety oversight for Disposition Service’s Richmond operations. Robins provided safety support to the operational control of this medium activity, which includes a robust tactical vehicle Foreign Military Sales program until DLA Aviation assumed responsibility for safety as part of the agency’s occupational safety and health modernization initiative.

Robins lent her expertise as a Virginia licensed lead supervisor, certified mold inspector, first aid instructor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration 10/30 trainer and visual cylinder inspector to DLA Aviation and its tenants during a period when the installation was suffering a shortfall with no industrial hygienists on staff. Additionally, she has provided OSHA 30 training to one of the Distribution branches, helping to enhance the collective safety knowledge of the distribution center’s employees. Near miss reporting – a calendar year 2019 goal and leading indicator – was up threefold from 2018, is a direct result of Robins’ support.

DDRV has had ongoing facility projects in its hazardous operations for several years, which have resulted in new storage racks, material handling equipment and fire protection systems. During the year, a combination of design, material handling equipment issues and operator issues precipitated multiple instances of rack damage and failure. Robins worked tirelessly with the contracting officer representative, the installation fire department and others to document those issues, mitigate risks and implement corrective measures. As a direct result of her efforts, crossbars will be installed in the balance of the bays in two warehouses to ensure heavy hazardous materials such as lead acid batteries can be safely stored and handled.

Robins initiated a monthly safety newsletter to focus the team on seasonal and other safety issues. A concise one-page newsletter which included original artwork by a local materials handler artist depicted a new adventure tied to the monthly theme and was much anticipated by the workforce. In the spring, she incorporated a cookout hosted by the distribution center’s supervisors with the annual safety fair, into a weeklong safety stand-down. The safety fair was interactive and a fun event featuring safety related games and prizes that included booths manned by the installation’s clinic and Emergency Medical Services team.

In April, the distribution center’s Mapping Division started a new mission that occurs in conjunction with the division’s other flight critical product cycles. Recurring every eight weeks, with critical required delivery dates to ensure  flight crews and aircraft can legally fly, this new work accounts for a 20% increase in the division’s annual workload. Robin’s worked with management to assess the operation before its initiation and participated in after action reviews to refine production and processes, while ensuring employee safety.
Robins is extremely vigilant, approachable, and focused on keeping DDRV’s employees safe, with no lost time mishaps in the sections under her leadership. She has earned the respect and trust of the workforce and management due to her focus on the team’s well-being, listening ear and ability to positively affect change.