October 2, 2014 --
A Voluntary Protection Programs Readiness Assessment Team scoured Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, recently, to help the command rehearse for its Occupational Safety and Health Administration VPP on-site evaluation.
After visiting 27 different areas and interviewing 285 people, the five-person team determined the installation is on track to become a VPP star sight.
“With my professional experience as a safety specialist and being affiliated with a star sight organization, I see no reason why this base will not pass the OSHA VPP inspection,” David Romero, safety specialist, Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, California, said.
The team used the same program standards OSHA will use and reviewed the same documentation OSHA will be inspecting when they arrive.
Romero commented on how motivated employees were about safety. Everyone here is really concerned with being safe and not just passing an assessment, which he said was key.
“The excellence is not in obtaining the star, but is achieved by the commitment to safety and with that comes the accolades of the star,” Romero said. “This base is committed to safety, and I believe you will earn a star.”
Although MCLB Albany received high marks from the assessment team, officials were advised there were areas that could use some improvement. One area mentioned was employee comfort with impromptu interviews.
“People around here know the answers to VPP questions,” Mike Host, senior environment health and safety engineer, Department of Defense Safety Management Center of Excellence, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, said. “But when we did interviews, some could not articulate to us what they knew.”
Some of those questions included: What does VPP mean to you? What are the safety goals for this base? What are the four elements of VPP?
Host suggested everyone practice to become comfortable with answering those types of questions during informal interviews.
Host praised MCLB Albany on its ability to correct noted deficiencies on the spot.
“We pointed out a deficiency, visited another area, and when we walked back through, the problem was corrected,” he noted. “That is what OSHA will be looking to find.”
He said the assessment team will not expect perfection, however, they will expect errors to be corrected quickly.
The VPP On-Site Evaluation from OSHA will begin Nov. 3. Employees are encouraged to continue to review the VPP passport, which is a booklet containing OSHA information for VPP.