A team of safety professionals recently completed the first stage Corps of Engineers Safety and Occupational Health Management System assessment of the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville Safety Offices’ safety program.
The Stage 1 assessment was the first milestone in the implementation of the new safety management system. The Army-wide system enables the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to meet the Army’s goal of modernizing safety and occupational health programs.
There are four stages of CE-SOHMS implementation with several metrics to meet along the way to CE-SOHMS maturation, said Kellie Williams, Huntsville Center chief of safety and occupational health.
“We are at the foundation where the effort put forth will allow us to be effective and sustainable in our Center’s future,” she said.
The first CE-SOHMS assessment identifies gaps in Huntsville Center’s safety programs and processes. The assessment team evaluates more than 50 elements assessing them as: red – gap identified; amber – in process; or green – procedures in place.
According to Williams, the Stage 1 assessment showed the Center’s safety program is in reasonably good shape with 79 percent of the plans in place and 21 percent plans in progress. No gaps were identified, she said.
Williams said during the out brief, the assessment team identified two areas for improvement: contractor oversight and the tracking of safety training.
While the assessors recognized Huntsville Center integrates safety into many aspects of contractor oversight to include safety briefings, reviews and audits, the assessment team felt the process for documenting contractor’s oversight was not being performed consistently across the Center’s programs. In addition employee’s safety training is not being effectively tracked across the Center.
To address the contractor oversight and provide a consistent approach across Huntsville Center, Williams’ office has established a diverse project delivery team with representation from all programs and disciplines to develop a plan to correct shortcomings.
Williams said Stage II in the CESOHMS process requires the participation of all Huntsville Center employees.
“Basically, it’s where the rubber meets the road.” she said. The safety office can be 100 percent green in Stage 1 but will fail Stage II without employee participation.
“The next metric for us to meet is that 100 percent of Center employees receive CE-SOHMS training,” Williams said.
To achieve this, the safety office has developed a short presentation which we have begun to present at branch and division meetings. The entire training only takes about 15 minutes and is designed to provide awareness to employees and supervisors.
Col. John Hurley, Huntsville Center commander, said employee participation is vital to the success of safety and health program across the Center and is essential for the program’s effectiveness.
“While the safety office can write procedures and regulations, the safety office cannot implement the Center’s program effectively without the involvement of every employee. Safety is a top priority for the Army and the Corps of Engineers and we will strive meet our requirements,” Hurley said.
For employees, receiving the CESOHMS brief does meet a metric, but employee participation is also required, and Williams said employees can help the safety office’s efforts by staying engaged in safety.
“Be involved and participate,” Williams said. “The safety office doesn’t know what it doesn’t know, so if you see a hazard, report the hazard.”
Williams explained that the safety office has pushed to simplify the hazard reporting system, placing a hazard icon on the home page of the Huntsville Center intranet site.
“Click on it to report a hazard,” Williams said. “If it’s a building-related hazard it will send a message to the logistics management work request system. If it is not related to the building, it sends a message to the safety office organizational email inbox,” Williams said.
Williams also said volunteerism helps the safety program and urged people to consider being a first aid attendant, a floor monitor, road guard or a member of the safety committee.
- Report all Mishaps, even near misses.
- Actively participate in the preparation and review of your Position Hazard Analysis.
- Present a safety moment at the beginning of a meeting.
For more information regarding CE-SOHMS or any safety issues or concerns, call 256-895-1584 or send an email to Huntsville Center Safety.