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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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."
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
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.