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Personnel gain stake in, responsibility for workplace safety

20 Jan 2015 | Cpl. U. Roberts 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing

Imagine a world where every person has the power to make a difference, to impact safety in the workplace.  Imagine having the ability to look at a job in front of you, to look at the work environment around you, to look at your organization as a whole – and being given an open invitation to offer suggestions or seek solutions for issues that affect the safety of yourself and those around you.

Thanks to an innovative program that has the endorsement of every single Marine or Sailor in your chain of command, you are already living in that world – the world of Voluntary Protection Program, commonly known as VPP.

During a brief ceremony at the air station Jan. 14, Col. Chris Pappas III, commander of Cherry Point, introduced VPP as a risk mitigation and management tool for all Marines, Sailors and Defense Department employees here.

VPP promotes effective worksite-based safety and health measures and provides participants with the necessary tools to effectively identify, report, prevent and control hazards in the workplace.

Program participants are enrolled in the Enterprise Safety Application Management System, an online portal for leaders to track safety in station work places. Service members and civilian employees use ESAMS to document safety training, report mishaps and conduct job hazard analysis.

All air station service members and civilian employees are currently enrolled in ESAMS and will receive thorough training about its use and the importance of VPP during the next several months. Through participation and engaged leadership, the program gives air station leaders a chance to be proactive about workplace safety, according to Lt. Cmdr. Amy Varney, the air station's safety manager.

"It is clear that other commands that use VPP have experienced dramatic reductions in the total number of workplace mishaps and days away from the job as a result of a mishap,” said Varney. “The VPP program works."

The four main components of VPP are management leadership and employee involvement; worksite analysis; hazard prevention and control; and safety and health training. With the four components in place, leaders in the workplace have the necessary tools to prevent workplace injuries.

Installations that have adopted VPP have been successful at reducing workplace mishaps. Leaders at the air station plan to reduce the total amount of workplace mishaps by no less than 15 percent during the next several years, Pappas said.

For more information about VPP and ESAMS, contact the Installation Safety Office at 466-3711.

2nd Marine Aircraft Wing