DGMC's commitment to safety

3 Nov 2011 | 60th Medical Group Public Affairs

With a mission as large as the one at David Grant USAF Medical Center, safety is taken into consideration in all areas of the Air Force's flagship hospital. Maintaining a hazard-free environment takes total teamwork and each employee at DGMC, regardless of employer, is empowered to speak up when that person sees a safety deficiency.

DGMC has the distinction of being one of only 13 hospitals nationwide and the second in Air Mobility Command to earn the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Voluntary Protection Program "Star" status.

VPP Star status approval is OSHA's official recognition for employers and employees who demonstrate exemplary achievement in the prevention and control of occupational safety and health hazards and the development, implementation and continuous improvement of their safety and health management system. It is one that encompasses management commitment and employee involvement, work site analysis, hazard prevention and control, safety and health training.

DGMC's safety and health commitment remains strong as management, employees and the American Federation of Government Employees union cooperatively work together to continuously maintain its comprehensive safety and health management system to ensure a safe and secure environment for our patients, visitors and staff. DGMC employees are given the opportunity to be a part of an employee safety committee where their high level of participation, hazard reporting and identification is taught and interwoven with employee involvement from every squadron.

"Our employees are responsible for identifying over 100 average monthly safety work requests," said Capt. Amy Doyle, 60th Medical Support Squadron director of facilities management at DGMC. "Renovation projects such as the recent air handling retrofit to eliminate impurities in the operating suites and the installation of ventilation hood and dust collection system in the brace shop are just some of the examples where we exceed OSHA standards in eliminating hazards for anyone who enters our facility."

According to Doyle, each squadron and flight has designated safety and health professionals who assist their squadron commander and supervisors to reach the goal of no hazards, mishaps or personnel injuries.

"You can be assured that DGMC staff stays current in all aspects of safety training on a continuous basis," Doyle said. "More than 2,500 safety training records are verified each year to ensure 100 percent mission readiness. In this past year alone, 16 campus-wide fire drills were conducted and evaluated, educating more than 3,000 staff, patients and volunteers in fire evacuation procedures and extinguishment."

DGMC also has sent representatives to the Voluntary Protection Program Participants Association conferences for the past five years and returned from each conference with new ideas and concepts that have been shared by VPPPA members to help DGMC staff improve the existing safety and health program.

"One of the great advantages of attending a VPPPA conference is networking with safety professionals from so many different industries," said Margaret Banks, 60th Medical Support Squadron safety and resource protection manager at DGMC. "We soon found out that we share many of the same challenges and successes and can learn so much from each other. The Department of Defense sessions are some of my favorites to attend, especially when folks from other bases share what they've done to start up or sustain VPP."

According to Banks, DOD employees have implemented many creative safety ideas that promote VPP and improve on their safety and health programs at their worksites and the VPPPA Conferences offer a great forum to share them. There are educational benefits as well from attending the many workshops and courses, such as the Special Government Employee training program.

The SGE Program was established to allow industry employees to work alongside OSHA during VPP on-site evaluations. Not only does this innovative program benefit OSHA by supplementing its on-site evaluation teams, but it gives industry and government an opportunity to work together and share views and ideas.

Currently, Banks, along with Sean Zortman, 60th MDSS safety and health specialist, are DGMC's official safety and health professionals trained as SGEs.

"Safety is not only something that we just talk about. We live and breathe it every day. Everyone who walks through our doors at DGMC, whether they are a new or seasoned employee, patient, visitor or volunteer, or a contractor performing work on our campus, are our most valued and vital resource," said Adam Spears, 60th MDSS VPP safety specialist.

"We want our Team Travis members to have a safe and healthy experience when they come here for treatment or to provide the best care anywhere," Spears said. "If you see anything that you would like to suggest for improvement, please don't hesitate to contact DGMC's Safety office at 423-3897."

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31st Marine Expeditionary Unit