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In July 2006, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) was tasked with the effort of reducing the number of occupational injuries and illnesses occurring at their worksites nationwide. It was soon identified that private industry was well-versed in the development of safety and health management systems (SHMS) to address such issues through OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). DoD was up for the challenge of the rigorous program requirements to attain VPP recognition and the 88th Air Base Wing (ABW), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB), Command Section, began their journey to safety and health excellence.
The 88th ABW WPAFB is the administrative arm of the entire base. The base’s function supports airfield and administrative operations, a fire department, a hospital, public works, acquisitions, explosive ordnance, logistics, laboratories, aircraft maintenance, security forces, recreation, restaurants, lodging, vehicle maintenance, fueling, retail, and housing.
The 88th ABW WPAFB took the first step towards achieving VPP status by identifying 146 opportunities for improvement during their initial site visit. Prior to this site inspection, there had not been any OSHA enforcement activities at this location. The 88th ABW WPAFB has continued to maintain an excellent relationship with OSHA’s Cincinnati Area Office which exhibits the spirit of cooperation that is expected from VPP Star sites. In October 2008, the 88th ABW WPAFB’s hard work paid off, as the result of their onsite evaluation validated the worksite as VPP New Star material.
Injury and Illness Rates Decline - Days Away, Restricted and Transfer (DART) and Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR)
Leadership commitment and employee involvement are part of the core elements of VPP and were key in the success of the 88th ABW WPAFB’s achievement of attaining VPP status this past October 2008. Cynthia Bryant, VPP Program Manager of the ABW WPAFB, stated:
"It’s recognition of our safety and health programs here on the base and taking care of our people … It shows that we’re looking out for each other that the leadership has commitment to the safety and health of the people here on the base, that the employees are actively involved and looking out for each other."The 88th ABW WPAFB serves as a prime example for other DoD installations working towards meeting this same goal to attain VPP Star recognition.
Although the site was able to identify 146 areas in which safety and health could be improved, prior to adopting the VPP model, the 88th ABW WPAFB was already demonstrating injury and illness rates below the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) national average. From this exemplary starting point the site continued to improve workplace safety and health as effective SHMS were developed and implemented. Currently, the installation’s three-year Days Away, Restricted Activity, or Job Transfer (DART) rate is zero (100 percent below the 2006 BLS industry average), and their three-year Total Case Incidence Rate (TCIR) is 1.2 (61 percent below the 2006 BLS industry average). The below table presents the 88th ABW WPAFB’s injury and illness data over the past three years:
Origin: Region V, Cincinnati Area Office
Entered VPP: October 2008
NAICS Code and Description: Facilities Support Services (NAICS Code 561210, SIC Code 88744)
Source and Date: Lt. Col. Wade Weisman, Pentagon, Air Force, Washington, DC (December 2008)
88th Air Base Wing Commander Col. Bradley Spacy and 88th ABW Vice Director Randy Parker accept the VPP Star Award, OSHA’s highest level of recognition from Sandra Taylor, Deputy Regional Administrator, Region V, US Department of Labor, OSHA.
Taylor, Parker and Spacy are joined by Cynthia Bryant, VPP program manager, James Womack, Karin Getschow, and Anthony Cohn to receive the VPP flag.