MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The rate of mishaps and accidents for Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune civilian employees has decreased by 28 percent during the first half of 2013.
“There are less people getting injured at work,” said Stanley Dutko, the director of MCB Camp Lejeune’s Safety Department. “These are people who are leaving work safely and getting home where they can enjoy a good quality of life.”
The decrease put the safety department on track to reach their goal of achieving an annual incident rate at or below the general industry rate by 2015.
The average rate of incidents nationwide is 3.5 mishaps per 200,000 hours of work. On average, the base has an incident rate of 6.7. This year the incident range from Jan. 1 to June 30 has fallen to 2.4.
The decrease is due to an added focus on individual ownership and accountability of on-the-job mishaps, said Dutko.
Rather than the usual annual online safety course, Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Gorry, the former commanding general of Marine Corps Installation East, requested every civilian employee take Back in the Saddle safety training in person, Dutko added.
“(Gorry) thought it was important to help drive down our (mishap) rates by bringing visibility to safety,” said Dutko.
Between January and June 2013, Security Emergency Services, which includes police officers and firefighters, did not lose a single workday to mishaps. G-6, which manages communications, lost only one day, reducing their work time lost by 97.8 percent.
The reduction of rates at G-6 is due to an aggressive program with weekly safety discussions by the division’s directors to staff, said Tony Gillespie, the assistant chief of staff for Marine Corps Installations East G-6.
Telecommunications Support Division and Maintenance Support Division are amongst the G-6’s highest risk section.
Telecommunications Support Division manages the base’s copper and fiber infrastructure. Members dig and trench throughout the underground manhole duct systems. Members of the Maintenance Support Division maintain information technology equipment.
“(Division directors) have taken a personal and very active role in constant and vigilant risk assessment management,” said Gillespie. “I am proud of the entire organization for their professionalism and dedication to the mission.”
The safety department aboard the base functions differently than safety programs elsewhere because the base operates more like a small city than a corporation, said Dutko.
“This base has so many different dynamics, for us to be able to bring our rates below the industry average attests to the fact we have a world class safety program everybody can be proud of,” said Dutko.
Base employees provide a wide range of services including public works, fire departments, police departments, retail, food service and child care.
The safety department governs occupational, traffic, off-duty and recreational safety. The department supports military training and operations. Their scope extends to ground, aviation, tactical and explosive safety aboard the base.
The department also conducts inspections and develops safety policy.
When employees are injured, the most common ailments are back and lower body injuries. Many back injuries are due to improper lifting.
With the recent furloughs throughout MCB Camp Lejeune, Dutko said it’s important to keep safety in mind while accomplishing tasks.
“We run the risk of somebody trying to do a two-person job alone and hurting themselves,” said Dutko. “We want to make sure that doesn’t happen. We want people to keep their eye on the ball for the second half of the year. Work safely. If you can’t get something done without two people, don’t do it without a second person. Don’t put yourself at risk to accomplish the mission, talk to your supervisor about safety concerns.”
MCB Camp Lejeune’s employees are responsible for the dropped rates, said Dutko. By wearing proper protective equipment, analyzing hazards, mitigating risks and not cutting corners they are ensuring their wellbeing and helping the safety department meet their goals.
“We gave ourselves realistic goals and we’re exceeding that,” said Dutko. “A world class safety program starts with eliminating mishaps at work.”