F-15 shop awarded VPP silver Published March 5, 2012 By Jenny Gordon 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The 561st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron's F-15 rewire shop in Bldg. 20031 was awarded silver status in the Air Logistics Center's Voluntary Protection Program during a January ceremony. Other safe site facilities within the 402nd Maintenance Wing have earned this honor, also bypassing the bronze level altogether. The 402nd Aircraft Maintenance Group currently has 60 safe sites, which includes 28 silver sites; in the Commodities Maintenance Group there are14 silver sites. This was the first assessment conducted at the F-15 shop, which removes and replaces wiring on the F-15. Its VPP journey began in 2010. With the recent VPP honor, employees are proud that current hangar space has adapted well to the rigorous work environment. "We had 100 percent participation in a brand new rewire program which is unique in itself," said Eric Langston, 561st AMXS aircraft electrician. "The highlight of the success story of VPP in this hangar was the implementation of meetings. We also always had a representative on call if we needed to address a problem immediately. The resources were always there, and management participation was a huge ingredient." Communication between employees and management has been key, leading to decreased work orders, and weekly Wednesday meetings to address employee concerns, and new and ongoing work issues, said Jeff Owens, F-15 rewire flight chief. This was just one of many initiatives implemented to create a new image for VPP, while staying on top of production and adhering to safety standards. "People really took interest which shot us up to silver. It is so ingrained in us now that it's VPP whether we know it or not. That is what really carried us over with the VPP assessment team," added Electrician Thomas Rivers. While maintaining a safe work environment while working on an estimated 20 aircraft per year, the F-15 rewire crew also performs about 2000 hours of sheet metal work to include double vertical changes per aircraft. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's VPP promotes worksite-based safety and health, and sets performance-based criteria for a managed health and safety system. OSHA's VPP initiative at Robins empowers workers to take ownership of their personal safety and the safety of others.