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U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Andrew M. Niebel, commanding general, Marine Corps Installations – East, presented Ron Lanoie, safety director, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Installations Safety Department, the 2021 Marine Corps Achievement in Safety Award on April 19 on behalf of Gen. David Burger, Commandant of the Marine Corps at the Base Safety Building. MCAS Beaufort was recognized for their outstanding safety program. Photo by Cpl. Aidan Parker, USMC.

A culture of safety

MCAS Beaufort again recognized for hazard management

By Cpl. Aidan Parker, USMC

MCAS BEAUFORT – Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort was recognized for their outstanding safety program during 2021 and received the Marine Corps Achievement in Safety Award. Brig. Gen. Andrew M. Niebel, commanding general, Marine Corps Installations East, presented Ron Lanoie, safety director, MCAS Beaufort Installation Safety Department, the award for the installation on behalf of Gen. David Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps on April 19 at the Base Safety Building.

“I know it takes deliberate effort to win a Headquarters Marine Corps level award, so there is something special about the MCAS Beaufort Safety Division down here,” Niebel said.

Installations throughout the Marine Corps submit a package containing annual safety data to Headquarters Marine Corps, to name a few; total number of mishaps, severity of mishaps, light duty days and days away restricted time. Everything is tracked through the Naval Safety Center and Headquarters Marine Corps to help designate which installation wins in the following categories; The Marine Corps Warrior Preservation Award, The Marine Corps Superior Achievement in Safety Award and The Marine Corps Achievement in Safety Award.

MCAS Beaufort has been recognized as a Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star Site since 2016 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). A VPP Star Site implements an effective Safety and Occupational Health Management System (SOHMS) and maintains injury and illness rates below the National Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries. To participate, employers must submit an application to OSHA and undergo a rigorous onsite evaluation on the four elements of VPP which include management leadership and employee involvement, safety and health training, worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control.

“Our SOHMS must effectively identify, analyze, and prevent or control hazards, which ensure the protection of Marines, Sailors and employees, while continuously supporting the prevention of workplace injuries and illnesses,” Lanoie said. “As a result, VPP worksites serve as role models of safety and health excellence, demonstrating the benefits of a system approach to employee protection. VPP Star Sites, are expected to be the leading edge of hazard prevention and technology.”

This air station is one of the few Marine Corps installations that offer the OSHA 10-hour course and 30-hour course for free. Those who successfully complete this specialized training become familiar with recognizing, avoiding, preventing and stopping potential jobsite hazards, which has contributed to preventing mishaps on and off duty, according to Lanoie.

“The installation maintains, as part of its operational posture, a world-class safety program. Our safety climate is strong and we’re always seeking continuous improvement to ensure the safety and well-being for all MCAS personnel, including contractors and visitors,” Lanoie said.MCAS Beaufort has received this award for the second year in a row by delegating safety. This type of delegation creates a culture where leaders at every level understand the importance of safety within every part of their planning process.

MCAS Beaufort has received this award for the second year in a row by delegating safety. This type of delegation creates a culture where leaders at every level understand the importance of safety within every part of their planning process.

“MCAS Beaufort leadership and employees are keenly involved in safety. Over time, this has manifested itself into a culture whereby safety program responsibility has shifted from a few people to everyone, and risk management is now incorporated into all mission planning,” Lanoie said. “Everyone had a part in it and everyone should take pride in the fact that MCAS Beaufort is one of the safest places to work in the entire country.”

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