5 - June 2008 --
Have you ever noticed that we often see safety discussed in the context of an issue, i.e this is a safety issue?
The word "issue" is given a number of definitions in Webster's dictionary but two in particular are noteworthy. The first is "a point, matter, problem, argument, or matter of contention". The second is "publish, send out, circulate, disseminate". Safety has historically been an issue. Someone gets hurt, a new rule gets issued. The Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) is a concept that moves us past a top down mode of mere compliance and into a culture where safety is a mindset and part of the group culture.
VPP was created by the Department of Labor in 1982 as a way to partner with and recognize workplaces that show excellence in safety and health. Participants identify ways to prevent workplace injuries that go above and beyond compliance with safety regulations. Sites that participate in VPP have achieved mishap rates that are less than half of that of industry counterparts that do not participate in VPP.
In FY07, the Air Force began implementing VPP at selected bases in keeping with the overall Department of Defense VPP goal. In October, 2007 the primary units at Fairchild AFB, the 92 ARW, 141 ARW, and 336 TRG partnered to begin the process of making Fairchild AFB a Department of Labor Star VPP site. A site visit was conducted by the DOD VPP Center for Excellence and Fairchild AFB as well as the 141 ARW are clearly on their way toward achieving VPP status. What can an individual 141st member do to help?
Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Making Safety an opportunity:
-With your work center, take the opportunity to identify which parts of your everyday tasks are hazardous and what can be done to make them safer.
-Be on the lookout for physical hazards in your work area and around the base. Take action to correct them and please don't be afraid to get pushy. You have the opportunity to prevent others from avoiding the same mishap you did.
-Take the opportunity to pass your safety knowledge on to others. Share your experiences. More info on the Voluntary Protection Program can be found at http://www.vppcx.org/index.htm
The POCs for VPP at the 141 ARW are Col Hal Westbrook at 247-7201 and Senior Master Sgt Eric Norman at 247-7028. A situation may arise that concerns safety. Hopefully we can say, something has to be done, this is a safety opportunity.