With VPP, we've taken safety above and beyond

  • Published
  • By Lt. Gen. Ted Bowlds
  • Commander, Electronic Systems Center
The men and women of the Electronic Systems Center, whether military, civilian or support contractor, show they have what it takes to achieve mission excellence and make a real difference for our warfighters everyday.

Every once in a while, however, we get an opportunity to really demonstrate our proficiency and commitment to excellence as a team. Beginning May 18, we will have that opportunity once again as we host a team of specialists from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration who are coming to Hanscom to validate our commitment to a safe, hazard-free workplace through the Voluntary Protection Program.

We began our VPP journey at Hanscom in 2006 as one of the first nine bases in the Air Force to participate in VPP, pledging to work together as managers and employees at all levels to identify safety hazards and correct them to ensure every work place on base, whether an office setting, the motor pool, the Aero Club or a work bench in Civil Engineering, is the safest it can be. When we began, we were already meeting our safety standards, but VPP is about going above and beyond, and that is what we continue to do. 

The foundation of this successful program was an incredible teaming between our union leaders and our commanders, directors and managers, along with employee involvement at every level. All of us are stakeholders and equal partners in this process. Through brainstorming and continuous process improvement techniques, we have built a culture of safety, where people are encouraged to identify where the next slip, trip or fall may occur, and work with our Safety Office, so we can fix the problem before an accident occurs.

The Safety Office has established a reporting tool on Centernet that has allowed people to quickly identify hazards or unsafe working conditions. As a result, hundreds of problem areas have been fixed and hazards mitigated.

During the OSHA inspection, I encourage you to put your best foot forward and show the auditors we understand the tenets of VPP, and we have taken them to heart, creating a safer place to work, live and play at Hanscom.