VPP: The way ahead for 2010

  • Published
  • By Galen Williams
  • 66th Air Base Wing Safety Office
It's been a great year for Team Hanscom and the Voluntary Protection Program. For Hanscom newcomers and those who haven't heard the news, Hanscom was the first Air Force installation to achieve VPP "Star" status. Our challenge in the years to come will be to sustain the outstanding safety performance we have achieved during the last three years. Before I get into sustainment areas, let me recap some things we've accomplished.

We began the program on Hanscom with a massive training initiative to get everyone familiar with the four VPP tenets and initiatives: Management, Leadership and Employee Involvement; Worksite Analysis; Hazard Prevention and Control; and Safety & Health Training. The training culminated in an invigorated safety culture and enhanced programs that went beyond compliance. We accomplished this by providing everyone with weekly VPP tips, information sharing between the wings and bargaining units, interaction with our mentors from General Electric Aviation, implementing an aggressive media campaign and attending training conferences that exposed VPP team leads to other industry processes that could be used at Hanscom.

The new challenge is sustainment. We intend to meet this challenge by continuing our processes above, invoking more unit safety representative participation in VPP initiatives and providing "general industry" safety training. We also intend to utilize our Wingman program as a forum to provide active counseling and as an opportunity to solicit ideas from Team Hanscom that will further our sustainment initiatives.

Once per year, the safety office will initiate a self-audit to get a clear picture of our compliance stature. The audit is a requirement by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the first one will take place from Jan. 11 to 15. All auditors will utilize Unit Compliance Inspection checklists and USRs will be provided a copy to assist with their Self Inspection Program requirements. This will save time for future inspections and get an extra benefit of an "outside" look. This cross functional audit will be another Hanscom "VPP Best Practice."

I urge Team Hanscom to attend town hall meetings and utilize the commander's "Straight Talk" forum as another avenue to voice community safety concerns. There were several inputs in 2009 that changed some procedures and processes or generated work orders for repairs. As always, talk to your supervisor and USR as a first line of defense to resolve safety issues at the lowest level first.

Lastly, I recommend that supervisors put more emphasis on individual and team safety awards. Let's continue to reward our colleagues for the great ideas and work that goes into keeping Hanscom a safe place to work. Our sustainment process, attention to detail and support for our Wingmen, community and families will provide Team Hansom with many future safety successes.