San Joaquin’s Voluntary Protection Program Hazard Prevention and Control Team receives top honor

By Annette Silva, DLA Distribution San Joaquin Public Affairs

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The Hazard Prevention and Control Team Voluntary Protection Program subcommittee of DLA Distribution San Joaquin, California was awarded the Employee Safety/Voluntary Protection Program team award at the Defense Logistics Agency 52nd Annual Employee Recognition Program ceremony Dec. 6 held at the Andrew T. McNamara Complex, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. 

“The members of our Hazard Prevention and Control Team devoted more than 400 hours to bolster our installation’s safety culture and ultimately enhanced safer working conditions for team San Joaquin employees,” commented safety manager Bryan Bailey. “Their messages were received by more than 1,500 workers and their projects were benchmarked across industry lines.”

Throughout the year, the team continued their strong tradition of making the installation safe for employees by providing the energy and motivation to continually improve the Safety and Occupational Health program. They were key in providing information, encouraging employee participation, and highlighting the importance of VPP involvement.   

During the 2018 OSHA Safe and Sound Week, they championed a memorable and fun event for the workforce. The week consisted of relevant daily safety briefs in all work centers, where topics included: housekeeping, defensive driving, industrial hygiene, safety at home, and ergonomics/proper lifting. After the briefs, employees put their newly gained safety knowledge to the test while participating in safety themed carnival, filled with fun safety activities. 

The team played an important safety role in the redesign of our Consolidation and Containerization Point where materiel is shipped to customers overseas. They worked together with the CCP leadership team and ensured safety was on the forefront of the critical project. Due to the well thought out design of the new system and its ergonomically designed workstations, the need for employees to twist, turn, bend, or stoop while handling material was greatly reduced.  

The diverse background of the team proved beneficial when dealing with various types of safety issues across the installation. For example, deaf team members were able to provide firsthand experience on how our culture has improved over the years to provide more accommodations and assisted in highlighting areas where there are more opportunities to improve safety for all employees.  

One deaf team member provided training on Video Remote Interpreting and Video Relay Service to all members of the team. They received training on how to use the equipment and were able to communicate with all deaf employees on the installation in the absence of an interpreter. Further, they identified areas where additional strobe devices were needed to aid in emergency situations. This VPP team created and posted signs to raise employees’ awareness and to alert them of deaf personnel working in their areas to help prevent mishaps.  

Another highlight of the team was the Buddy System that was created. The Buddy System is a technique used for deaf employees and “buddies” them up with a non-deaf employee to ensure they evacuate an area safely during an emergency. The VPP Team even met with area supervisors that manage deaf employees and spoke about the importance of identifying a “buddy” at the start-of-shift meeting to ensure the program is a normal part of their daily activities.  

“This elite team demonstrated an unwavering commitment towards safety and their efforts truly warranted their selection as the Employee Safety/Voluntary Protection Program team award recognition,” added Bailey.