BREMERTON, Wash. –
The Naval Safety Center announced March 21, 2021, that Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility won the Fiscal Year 2020 Chief of
Naval Operations Shore Safety Award in the Large Industrial category.
The award recognizes PSNS & IMF’s outstanding support and achievement in safety and occupational health. Notably the command was praised for excellence in the implementation of its Safety Management System, for achieving high-velocity learning and for embracing other initiatives to reduce mishap trends and costs. Additional award criteria included strong safety leadership; innovation and enthusiasm; and a workplace that promotes a “superior level of safety culture within their commands.”
Other Fiscal Year 2020 winners included:
Command – Category
Southeast Regional Maintenance Center -- Small Industrial
U.S. Naval Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center -- Medium Industrial
Naval Station Everett -- Small Non-Industrial
Naval Base Kitsap -- Medium Non-Industrial
Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport -- Large Non-Industrial
Assault Craft Unit 5 -- Fleet Operational and Support Unit Ashore
Cody Matheson, deputy director, Code 106, Environment, Safety and Health, wrote the PSNS & IMF award submission. He based the write-up primarily on the command’s Safety Management System, the PSNS & IMF Voluntary Protection Program application, and on COVID-19 guidance and mitigation strategies used to protect the workforce during the pandemic.
While kudos from outside agencies are a measure of success for the command’s safety program, Matheson said what the award communicates to the PSNS & IMF workforce is just as important.
“The real benefit of winning this award is acknowledging to our people and each other that we care,” Matheson said. “We know how important they are, and this award demonstrates our commitment to each and every one of our fellow employees. We cannot fully succeed in the mission unless everyone returns home safely.”
Matheson said there are a couple of areas he feels PSNS & IMF excels in regarding to employee safety.
“We were the first of the public shipyards to formally issue a Safety Management System,” he said. “While we still have a lot of work to do to fully implement and integrate the system into our command safety culture, it firmly establishes the foundation and direction for the command to continue to promote safety as a core value.”
The command’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was immediate and decisive with regard to employee safety, he added.
“PSNS & IMF led the pack for COVID-19 mitigations in proactive and innovative ways, such as backshift distribution, telework, cleaning kit production and distribution, personal protective equipment manufacturing, and hand sanitizer production,” Matheson said. “This helped maintain mission effectiveness while supporting our regional and national partners by sharing knowledge and internally produced safety products.”
Matheson said Code 106 managers, safety specialists, and shop and code safety advocates keep the focus on safety at PSNS & IMF, which is a contributing factor to winning the award. He also credited a few key people for their efforts that likely contributed to the win.
“Special thanks go to Joe Maute (safety specialist, Code 106.2) and Cowboy Kalcso (program analyst, Code 900S, Waterfront Safety) for all the effort that went into preparing and issuing both the Safety Management System Manual and the VPP application,” Matheson said. “Also, thanks to Jason Dirstine (production manager, Code 900B, Production Resources), Cindy Sims (PSNS & IMF Occupational Safety and Health manager) and everyone who participates in the Command Safety Action Team for their proactive support to improve safety.
“Safety is everyone’s responsibility,” Matheson said. “We are building upon strong management partnerships throughout the command to promote safety and asking for everyone’s help to own and engage in safety in every aspect of our job.”