VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Navy safety and occupational health and environmental managers shared innovative ideas, trends, and information impacting safety, occupational health, and environmental protection at the Naval Warfare Center’s annual Safety and Environmental Face to Face Symposium, Oct. 22-24.
More than 30 managers – all experts in safety and occupational health and environmental protection – arrived from the Naval Sea System Command’s 10 warfare centers, Naval Air Station Oceana’s Regional Safety office, and the Navy Safety Center to discuss safety and environmental successes and challenges at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division Dam Neck Activity (NSWCDD DNA).
NSWCDD DNA Commanding Officer Cmdr. Joe Oravec kicked off the event with welcoming remarks. NSWC Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division Commanding Officer Capt. Scott Kraft focused his keynote address about the purpose of the annual meeting.
“I believe that we are truly stronger together,” said Kraft, who is also Naval Sea System Command’s Safety and Occupational Health and Environmental Community of Practice champion. “This gathering of dedicated professionals affirms that.”
Throughout the three-day event, representatives from the warfare centers took turns sharing their ideas with each other in a larger group and in breakout sessions that were safety or environment centered. During one session, Nicholas Sellarole, Safety and Occupational Health representative for NSWC Corona Division, spoke on training deficiencies across the community and accessibility to consensus standards.
“I always walk away from these meetings knowing that I’m not alone and other commands have some of the same challenges I have,” said Sellarole. “As a community, we should not be so compartmentalized. We need to break those barriers down and pool our resources together.”
According to Kimberly Cannon, NSWC headquarters’ program manager for environmental and safety, the annual event is necessary to provide synergy across the environment, safety and health divisions, to discuss issues, and collectively find solutions while reinforcing the Safety Center’s motto: ‘Preserving Combat Readiness, Preventing Mishaps and Saving Lives’.
When asked about the accommodations NSWCDD DNA provided for this gathering, Carmen Ferrer, Environmental manager for NSWC Panama City Division, remarked that they were comfortable and had plenty of space for their breakout sessions.
“It’s always great to collaborate with my counterparts from the other warfare centers in order to exchange ideas and discuss issues we’re facing as we learn some possible solutions,” concluded Ferrer.