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Brig. Gen. Thomas Gorry, Marine Corps Installation East commanding general, commends members of the Air::r::::n::Station Safety office for winning the Marine Corps Achievement in Safety Award, April 13. Representatives from::r::::n::the Air Station accepted the award in Washington, D.C. in late March::r::::n::

Photo by Cpl.Justin M. Boling

MCAS Beaufort on top of safety

23 Apr 2012 | Cpl. Justin M. Boling

Marine Corps Air Sta­tion Beaufort earned the Marine Corps Achieve­ment in Safety Award last month.

The Air Station man­aged to beat out many larger installations in its category such as: Marine Corps Base Camp Pendle­ton, Calif., Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Marine Corps Air Sta­tion Cherry Point, N.C.

“We had to compete with level one installations, which made this a pretty significant award,” said Ron Lanoie, Air Station safety manager. “It was a surprise that we won.

“I never thought that we would be able to compete with the larger installa­tions. We have a staff of six people in this safety department compared to [Camp Lejeune] whichhas close to 40.”

The Air Station uses the Occupational Safety and Health Administrations Vol­unteer Protection Program as its primary safety man­agement system.

“We changed the culture [towards safety] on the Air Station through education,” said Lanoie “Safety does not fall only on the safety depart­ment it takes everyone do­ing their part to really make this place safe.”

According to Lanoie , the fact that the Air Station is smaller than other installa­tions it competed against is a strength allowing personnel to “wrap their arms” around safety issues.

The Air Station to date has completed 95 percent of re­quired elements of the VPP assessed by the Department of Defense’s Volunteer Pro­tection Program Center of Excellence.

“We have been lucky to have great support from both the command at the top and all of the Marines and ci­vilians at every level below,” continued Lanoie.

Installations were judged in many categories even the cases of personnel being re­stricted from duty due to a work related mishaps.

“The key is to apply opera­tional risk management to everything we do, whether it is our daily operations or a Marine Corps Community Service’s run that we con­duct on base,” said Lanoie. “Applying these principles has cut the incidents way down, almost 60 percent since 2009.”

During 2011, the Air Sta­tion improved traffic safety by putting 481 students through motorcycle training and con­ducted 12 seatbelt surveys observing 1,611 vehicles re­porting a 99.87 percent seat­belt usage.

According to Col. Brian Murtha, the Air Station’s commanding officer, this award is a true reflection of the entire safety team’s dedication to our Marines, sailors, civilians and their families.

“Ron and his team are expertly carrying out the commandant’s fourth prior­ity of ‘keeping faith with our Marines.’”

“From bottom up and top down the Air Station works together to make it safer for everyone who works here,” said Lanoie.