Susquehanna employees support VPP, demonstrate safety skills in Forklift Rodeo

By Brianne M. Bender DLA Distribution Public Affairs

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Anyone visiting DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pa., will take notice of the Voluntary Protection Program banners proudly displayed around the installation, touting the motto “if it’s not safe, we don’t do it!” The employees of Susquehanna are constantly searching for ways to improve safety skills for themselves and their coworkers around them.

On July 20, DLA Distribution Susquehanna hosted a forklift rodeo in the forklift training and licensing center in honor of National Forklift Safety Day which is celebrated each year on June 14 as well as in support of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program.

The forklift rodeo is one way DLA Distribution Susquehanna is improving safety skills in their quest for OSHA’s VPP star status. The OSHA management system, centered on VPP, includes hazard prevention and control, management commitment, employee involvement, worksite analysis and training.

Hosted by the DLA Distribution Susquehanna safety office, participants were chosen to complete by canvasing the three major organization areas of Susquehanna: East Bulk (New Cumberland’s outer warehouses), West Bulk (Mechanicsburg warehouses) and the Eastern Distribution Center. The initial participant list had 23 names.

“Once we had a list of names from each area dates were set for preliminary rounds,” explained Christopher Few, DLA Distribution Susquehanna safety and occupational health specialist. “We traveled to each of the three major organizations with small obstacle courses that would ultimately provide our rodeo finalists.”

The final round, consisting of eight phases, was held July 20. The three finalists completed a written test, followed by a preoperational forklift safety checklist. After a random number draw, the participants participated in a six stage obstacle course that culminated with carrying a basketball through a series of cones and finally, dropping the basketball through a hoop.

At the end of the course, each participant was given the opportunity to discuss their performance with the judges.

“They were told what they did well, as well as safety practices they need to improve on,” said Few.

West Bulk employee, Daniel Ickes was declared the winner of the rodeo after demonstrating his outstanding knowledge and overall skill in forklift operation. The second place winner was Andre Brown from East Bulk. Third place was David Stiles from the EDC.