Photo Information

U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Derek M. Wolford, battery gunnery sergeant with India Battery, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, left, and Gunnery Sgt. Jeremy J. Toteno, battery gunnery sergeant with Golf Battery, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, conduct a mock inspection of hazard identification during the Ground Safety for Marines (GSM) Course on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, April 24, 2023. GSM is a course for Marines and Sailors that provided occupational safety and health training to military and Department of Defense civilian personnel assigned to duties regarding ground safety. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Loriann Dauscher)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Loriann Dauscher

Ground Safety for Marines Course

17 May 2023 | LCpl. Loriann Dauscher Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

Ground Safety for Marines (GSM) is a two-week course that provides occupational safety and health training to military and Department of Defense civilian personnel assigned to duties in ground safety. Completing the course qualifies military personnel for the secondary military occupational specialty of 8012, Ground Safety Specialist, for Marines and 9571, Safety Technician, for Sailors.

“This course provides [students] with the basic understanding with the different programs rolled up in the safety management system,” said Paul Hollingsworth, an occupational safety and health specialist and instructor of the course. “They are a key part in that command to identify safety hazards and figure out a way to correct and mitigate them to keep the workforce safe and healthy.”

GSM recognizes that the persistent and headstrong attitude exemplified by Marines makes up our greatest strength but could also lead to errors when safety or health requirements are disregarded.

In line with the numerous professions Marines have, there are 31 different subjects taught during the course covering 80 training hours on Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Lejeune. They include explosives safety, confined space safety, fire safety, hazard communication, blood borne pathogens and material handling equipment.

“Most of the students are learning something completely new, but they may share their insight and experience on a specific topic,” said Hollingsworth. “Some of them, say in the aviation community, may have dealt with confined spaces with hazards associated such as low oxygen and gases. They need to be trained and know how to wear their respirators and protection.”

The course is currently conducted at seven different locations: MCB Quantico, MCB Camp Pendleton, Marine Forces Reserve New Orleans, MCB Hawaii, MCB Camp Butler, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, and MCB Camp Lejeune.

“I definitely wanted to do this course,” said U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Steven D. Gabbert, a formal schools instructor with Logistics Operations School at Camp Johnson. “Not only will it benefit me in my current billet, but it'll benefit me after I retire.”

Most of the Marines and Sailors spent time learning in a classroom with guided discussions, practical applications, PowerPoint presentations and written tests. The class also conducted a mock inspection, practicing their ability to spot possible safety concerns in the workplace.

“For me, what I learned,” said Gabbert after graduating the course, “I can teach the younger generation and show them the proper procedures so that their working environment could be safe and more effective.”

The group moved through the Base Motor Division warehouse, inspecting areas around trucks, large metal frames and other equipment while observing the work-site tools, uncovered wires, gasoline leaks on the floor as well as the emergency eye and face saline stations around the facility.

If the graduates utilize what they’re taught, explained Gabbert, it will undoubtedly further mission accomplishment and confidence in the workplace.

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