Commander says DSCR is ready for OSHA star at Safety Town Hall

By Cathy Hopkins DLA Aviation Public Affairs Office

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Defense Logistics Agency Aviation Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Allan Day hosted a Voluntary Protection Programs Safety Town Hall Sept. 6, at which he told Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, employees that Defense Supply Center Richmond is ready for its star.

DLA Installation Support at Richmond’s Safety Office has been pursuing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s VPP as its safety management system and as a guide to develop a fully compliant safety management system for the past several years.  Next week the OHSA team will evaluate the center’s safety program and determine its eligibility as a VPP Star installation.

When Day opened the town hall he asked for a show of hands from employees who were part of the safety program, who felt it was important to them. All hands in the audience went up.

“I feel we are ready,” said Day. “It is game time and next week we show we are ready.”

During these last few days leading up to the visit, Day asked employees to go back to their worksites, and look at them “with new eyes, with the eyes of an inspector.”

David Gibson, DLA Installation Support at Richmond site director, also spoke to employees sharing his recent participation at the annual VPP conference in Florida. 

“DLA and DLA Aviation were well represented with roughly 23 attending from management, to employees, to union members,” he said.

Gibson echoed Day’s comments in regards to the site’s readiness and attributed part of that readiness to a focus on metrics and safety as part of our everyday business.

Gibson said next week the VPP team will look at our safety program documentation, the condition of our facilities and our employees’ awareness of the safety program.

Michael Kneip, DLA Aviation’s VPP program manager said the team will hold scheduled interviews with approximately 300 individuals, as well as on-the-spot interviews with employees as they travel around the center.

During the town hall, the center’s Safety Team performed an interview skit to help put employees at ease about the interview process.  

“It is a low-threat environment,” said Gibson.  Kneip went on to say the team is just checking that employees are aware of the safety program, how they can find out additional information on the program and report hazardous or unsafe working conditions, as well as accidents or mishaps.

In closing, Day said safety is a mindset.  “We need to prevent safety incidents by proactively looking for safety concerns, and we need to change behavior after near misses or accidents,” he said.

It is more than just getting the star site status, he said.  “We have to continue to perform beyond expected OSHA compliance and once we gain the status, we have to be willing to serve as a mentor to other sites seeking star status.

“So take a last look around, tune it up, shine it up,” he said.  “We are ready.”

OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs promote effective work site-based safety and health. In the VPP, management, labor, and OSHA establish cooperative relationships at workplaces that have implemented a comprehensive safety and health management system. Approval into VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health.