[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                    January 25, 2008

Council meets quarterly to discuss 
Fort McCoy concerns

By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff

      Prevention is a key component to help keep the Fort McCoy work force safe, as personnel have fewer accidents if they are sufficiently trained and/or knowledgeable about the task at hand before they do it.

      Representatives of various Fort McCoy organizations/activities met Jan. 16 at a quarterly Safety and Occupational Health Advisory Council meeting to discuss safety programs and trends occurring at Fort McCoy.

      Deb Heise-Clark, an Installation Safety Office (ISO) safety specialist, coordinated the meeting, and noted that some of the meeting procedures have been changed to better address safety issues and to bring out trends.

      "Many of the issues are discussed and settled in safety meetings in the various organizations," Heise-Clark said. "If they can't be solved at the organizational level, they bring them to the Safety and Occupational Health Advisory Council meeting."

Round-table discussion

      The issues often will be discussed at the council's round-table discussion, a new meeting feature where the representatives report on issues from their organizations. Heise-Clark said if a specific subject is coming up during the council meeting, the responsible organization is invited to send a subject-matter expert so everyone knows the correct policies and procedures.

      For example, one of the timely topics Jan. 16 was snow and ice removal. Several representatives commented about snow (piles) and ice on/or near their facilities and what steps were being taken to clear it.

      A representative from VT Griffin said changes in snow removal, including removing snow piles, need approval from the Directorate of Public Works (DPW) to become effective. Personnel who have snow piles in inappropriate places should call the DPW Help Line at (608) 388-4357 to report these changes.

Accident prevention

      A key element of the meetings is to scrutinize the accident statistics and how to properly report them so that steps can be taken/procedures developed to help prevent the accidents.

      Heise-Clark noted many accident/incident investigation forms that are submitted contain only brief information that doesn't tell much about an accident. If people would include more information, such as time of day (is it dark?), weather conditions (was it snowy or icy?), what other ambient conditions existed, etc., it would give the ISO a better idea of what might be done to prevent an accident.

      "Many people think the accident investigation is a criminal (prosecutory) or collateral (legal) investigation," Heise-Clark said. "That's not the purpose. The purpose is to get enough information to help recommend actions to prevent accidents."

      Renee Davis, the Fort McCoy Post Exchange (PX) store manager, said her organization recently received a third-quarter safety award from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES). They honor organizations for compiling good safety records, including accident prevention. AAFES won the award for the second quarter as well.

      "We strive to have a good safety record at the PX," Davis said. "It's not always easy to meet the AAFES criteria when you have 50-plus people working here, but we hope to achieve another quarterly safety award from AAFES. It is eye-opening to see the dollar figures on what recordable accidents all the way up to worker's compensation can cost (at Fort McCoy)."

      Heise-Clark said the ISO has extensive information about safety prevention, programs and procedures on the Fort McCoy Extranet, which is accessible through the Fort McCoy Corporate Network or the public Web site at http://www.mccoy.army.mil.

Safety assistance

      Gene Ruetten, an ISO safety specialist, said personnel who fill out and submit work orders or other reports about incidents should be sure to note if they involve a safety/health issue.

      "This will help ensure the reports come back to us and we can monitor their status," he said.

      Lt. Col. Randall Eddy, the ISO safety officer, said organizations that submitted work order reports concerning safety -- that haven't heard about the progress for a while -- can furnish the ISO with a copy or put ISO in the copy furnished (cc) block if it is being submitted electronically.

      "This makes us aware of the reports," he said. "We meet weekly with the work order personnel and we can follow up on the status of these reports at that time."

Safety information

      Heise-Clark said she presents informative topics during the meeting that personnel can take back to their organizations and use at their weekly/monthly safety meetings for discussion.

      One recent topic was a video about seat-belt usage.

      Gay Foust, the grocery manager for the Fort McCoy Commissary, said the video was presented at the monthly Commissary Safety/Security briefing and opened a lot of eyes about the topic.

      "I asked if I could go to the next safety meeting," she said. "I will take back the video about driving and text messaging for review at our next meeting. I'm also glad I attended (the Jan. 16 meeting) because I learned how the installation's snow-removal system works, and that any problems are being fixed."

      Davis said she enjoys attending the meetings because of Heise-Clark's presentations and zest for providing safety information.

      The next quarterly Safety and Occupational Health Advisory Council meeting is scheduled for April 16.

      Personnel in the Fort McCoy work force who want more information about safety or the Safety and Occupational Health Advisory Council can contact their organization's representative or call the ISO at (608) 388-3403.


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