Kentucky Guard Soldiers one step closer toward a safer workplace

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Story and photo courtesy Kentucky National Guard State Safety and Occupational Health Office

Mark Houghton of the Kentucky Labor Cabinet Training Division (right) joined 60 Kentucky Guard Soldiers at this year's Annual State Safety Conference at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center . (Photo courtesy Kentucky National Guard State Safety and Occupational Health Office)

GREENVILLE, Ky. (June 15, 2011) – When do you think about Army Safety?  How do you effectively manage a Commander’s safety program?  What can you do to mitigate unnecessary risks while controlling inherent risks?  Kentucky Guard Soldiers tackled these challenges head-on at this year’s Annual State Safety Conference.

The G1 State Safety Office traditionally provides a four day training conference each spring.  The event is segmented into a two day course for full-time Soldiers such as armory managers and shop supervisors followed by drill weekend for M-Day personnel serving as Additional Duty Safety Officers.   In all, over 60 Soldiers received focused Kentucky specific safety training this year at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville.

While the 7-8 April event was directed toward maintaining OSHA compliance at Kentucky Army National Guard facilities and shops, the 4-5 June training was specifically intended to empower Soldiers charged with unit level safety responsibilities as an additional duty.  A new program of instruction entitled “Managing the Commander’s Safety Program” was created for these 27 students.  Through practical exercises and live computer based training these ADSOs learned about the 28 program elements defined in NGR 385-10, The Army National Guard Safety Program.  By participating in the conference they were able to see and understand how resources have been organized and prepared for them on the Kentucky Safety Program SharePoint site and other Army safety sites.  This knowledge will enable them to more effectively engage their respective units through meaningful Composite Risk Management (CRM).

Col. (ret.) George Phillips, current Safety Director for U.S. Army Forces Command, served as keynote speaker on both 8 April and 4 June.  His message to the Soldiers focused on goal setting, aspiring to professional development and leveraging the enormous volume of available Army safety resources.  With 35 years of diverse experience in ground and aviation safety, Phillips’ participation in the Annual Safety Conference was a highlight.

“The man definitely knows his Army Safety!” said 1st Lt. Ben Roberts of the 206th Engineer Battalion.

Mr. Mark Houghton of the Kentucky Labor Cabinet Training Division also participated as a guest instructor and resource throughout the conference.  Participants were able to walk through the unit training and equipment site with Mr. Houghton and model the hazard recognition and site inspections they need to lead at their own armories and motor pools.

“A cooperative relationship between the Kentucky National Guard and the state labor cabinet just makes sense,” stated Houghton.  “We’re not the fox in the hen house … we’re here to help you keep Soldiers safe!”

Not only did Houghton provide excellent insight throughout the practical exercises and review, he also offered an onsite demonstration of the Kentucky Occupational Safety and Health IMPACT RV.

“This outstanding training platform will hopefully become an integral part of our joint efforts to train and educate Guard Soldiers across the Commonwealth,” said 2nd Lt. Joshua Witt, State Safety and Occupational Health Manager.

“There’s just so much information to work through as a Unit Safety Officer,” said Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Day, an attendee from the 1103rd MP Detachment in Harrodsburg.  “You have to dedicate the time and effort in order to understand the regulations and how to navigate the resources.”

While it may only be step one in the journey, attendees at the 2011 Annual State Safety Conference are well on their way!

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