Banner ’12 start for VPP in 402nd MXW

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
The 402nd Maintenance Wing's Voluntary Protection Program Wing Steering Committee was established in 2011 as a way to interact with shops from across the installation, and it's already busy in 2012. It recently gave well-earned recognition to two squadrons.

"VPP is alive and well," said Doug Keene, 402nd MXW deputy director, whose team initially met last June. "2012 is going to be our year, and we have come off of some tough years. We are looking at exceptional performance of our wing."

One of the tasks of the 12-member team is to visit shops unannounced, where they perform a VPP cultural assessment, learn about a particular area's safety journey, and provide information and opportunities for discussion.

A tough safety culture scorecard, with 10 being the highest score, includes assessing such elements as management leadership and employee involvement, work site analysis, hazard prevention and control, as well as safety and health training.

For the first quarter, the team gave a nod to the 402nd Maintenance Support Squadron's industrial services, consisting of its installation and maintenance flights, and the 567th Electronics Maintenance Squadron.

Both tied with a score of 7.7, and were presented this week with "Outstanding VPP Performer" banners for their efforts.

In the 402nd MXSS in Bldg. 321, the two flights include more than 160 employees. The installation flight consists of seven industrial project shops whose mechanics and technicians work in the areas of welding, electrical, sheet metal, millwright, pipe, paint and carpentry.

The maintenance flight includes four industrial equipment maintenance shops, encompassing electronics, motor, and preventative and corrective maintenance. These shops provide technical installation and repair of 146 depot maintenance areas and over 3,400 items of depot industrial plant equipment for the entire maintenance wing.

A site visit was conducted Oct. 12. Russ Mills, 402nd MXW VPP Wing Steering Committee member, commented on the industrial flights' VPP journey and transformation.

"The key to these flights' successful performance is the employees and supervisors knowledge, attitudes and overall enthusiasm about safety, occupational health and VPP," Mills said. "That really stood out to the assessment team, as well as the 'employee-owned' workplace environment, which included personalized safety and occupational health signage, and the overall cleanliness and housekeeping standards of the shops.

"All team members agreed it was evident that this organization has worked hard to enhance their safety, occupational health and compliance culture. These flights achieved VPP Gold Safe-Site rating in February 2010, and have worked hard toward sustainment," he added.

Members of the 567th EMXS in Bldg. 645, a VPP Gold Safe Site and 2009 ALC Pinnacle VPP Award winner, also enjoyed congratulations following a site visit Oct. 26.

The flight includes a workforce of 64 people, whose responsibilities include repairing B-1B test station components, C-5 and C-17 signal actuator remote components, and C-17 avionics test station components.

Its mission is to overhaul, repair, modify, analyze and test a wide range of avionics and electronic equipment supporting electronic warfare, communication, navigation and engineering monitoring systems.

"Everyone is very aware of VPP and believes in the program," said Willie White, 402nd EMXG VPP Wing Steering Committee member. "They do an excellent job of keeping it alive, while also making work a family atmosphere. They are very supportive of one another."

White added that safety training is conducted not only for work, but also home. Among training workers receive is CPR and how to use automated external defibrillators, which helped save the life of a worker who was experiencing a heart attack several months ago.

Although the work may be different, the two squadrons maintain the same high standards when it comes to workplace safety and health. 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.

The 402nd EMXG plans to apply by April to become an OSHA Star Site; the 402nd MXSG has already submitted its application.

According to OSHA, Star Site recognition is reserved for those who have demonstrated exemplary achievement in the prevention and control of occupational safety and health hazards and in the development, implementation and continuous improvement of safety and health management systems.