MCLB-Albany employees celebrate safety milestone

Wearing proper safety gear is one of the details that helped Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany achieve a safety milestone.

Wearing proper safety gear is one of the details that helped Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany achieve a safety milestone.

MCLB-ALBANY — More than 1.2 million man hours without a serious loss-of-time workplace injury is a milestone that has been achieved by civilian Marines at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany.

The accomplishment marks the one-year anniversary for base civilian personnel, who have proven that safety in the workplace can be attainable.

“This is an unprecedented achievement,” said Merrill Dickinson Jr., the installation Risk Management safety manager at MCLB-Albany. “It is undisputable evidence that we work at a very special place.”

MCLB-Albany is home to the corps’ largest and most complex industrial facility, Marine Depot Maintenance Command/Production Plant Albany. The focus there is on industrial safety and, according to Dickinson, the Risk Management staff applies the same safety management principles used by high-performing businesses and corporations in private industry.

Marine Depot Maintenance Command/Production Plant Albany is a subordinate command of Marine Corps Logistics Command located here.

“The base’s safety program has always been one of the most comprehensive and robust programs in the Marine Corps,” Dickinson said.

According to Dickinson, implementing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program has taken mishap prevention to a new level by engaging employees and soliciting their input in every aspect of the program to include developing safety policies, hazard abatement, assessing the program and establishing annual safety goals.

“The base’s injury rates have been below the national average for the past three years,” he said.

“This success is largely due to first-line supervisors valuing safety, caring for their employees and enforcing safety standards.”

Dickinson continued: “Safety is a core function of leadership. Valuing safety is just one way leaders demonstrate to their workforce that they care.”

Connecting safety to leadership is echoed in MCLB-Albany commanding officer Col. Don Davis’ safety policy.

An excerpt from his safety policy reads, “Safety is a shared responsibility between individuals and their leader. Creating an appropriate command climate rests with me and my subordinate leadership.

“Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany exists to provide the full range of installation support services that enables our tenants to accomplish their mission in support of the warfighter,” Davis said.

“Safety is critical to mission success, not just for our mission, but for the entire Marine Corps. We cannot succeed unless we jealously guard our precious resources: our people, our equipment and our facilities.”

The installation safety manager encouraged directors and supervisors to demonstrate their value for personnel by providing them safe and healthful work environments.

Bob James, deputy director of the Operations and Training Division at MCLB-Albany, offered some suggestions on how managers can train personnel to assist in this effort.

“Being aware of your surroundings, knowing your environment and paying attention to common hazards such as electrical wiring, proper lifting techniques and looking out for the safety of fellow employees are just a few ways we can assist in providing a safer workplace,” James explained.

According to James, the Risk Management staff includes a team of qualified, knowledgeable personnel who have the customized training, written resources and assets necessary to provide information to optimize safety at the base.

MCLB-Albany has already been recognized for safety excellence 11 times in as many years and is the recipient of multiple awards from the Department of the Navy, Headquarters Marine Corps and Marine Corps Installations East.

As a result of MCLB-Albany’s compliance performance earlier this year, OSHA has accepted the base’s application to become a VPP Star site. Upon completion of the on-site evaluation, which is tentatively slated for 2014, the installation is expected to become the first VPP Star site in MCIEAST and the second in the Marine Corps.