MCAS BEAUFORT, S.C. --
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.