2/9/2004 12:00 AM
The first Brigade Combat Team intern class graduated last fall from the TEEX-OSHA Army Safety and Occupational Health Career Program at the Army Safety Center, Fort Rucker, Ala. The 22 intern and career safety officers are assigned to tactical units at military installations across the U.S. and overseas.
The goal of the Army Safety Program is to train Department of the Army civilians and military personnel to enhance combat readiness through proactive risk management, said program coordinator Dr. Ben Cranor. In addition to the U.S. Army, the graduates included two members of the Marine Corps and one warrant officer.
They represented several military installations, including Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Campbell, Ky. All students are now classified as deployable civilians, and about half have been deployed to Iraq, said Cranor.
“It was such an amazing day and an amazing group of people that we (TEEX) have developed and sent out into the world,” said Teresea Madden-Thompson, TEEX-OSHA director. “During graduation there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as our students talked about leaving their families and heading for ‘the sand box.’ But you could just feel their enthusiasm.”
The graduates began the training program on June 2, and studied a range of topics, from operational safety and risk management to asset protection of troops and hardware, which is an integral part of wartime operations. The students completed 660 hours (the equivalent 1.5 years) of classroom experience before their graduation Oct. 16.
All 22 participants received OSHA certification and became Certified Safety and Health Officials. After completing two online courses and two on-the-job practicums, about half of the group will earn their master’s degree from Texas A&M-Commerce in December 2005.
“They (the participants) received both military-specific risk management and civilian best safety practices training, and they are very ready and dedicated to applying their training to saving soldiers’ lives,” said Cranor, who received the ‘Outstanding Instructor of the Year Award’ during the graduation ceremonies. “They were a really phenomenal group. They knew exactly where they were going and were very focused.”
Army safety professionals are required to anticipate, identify and evaluate hazardous conditions and practices; develop and implement hazard programs. The Army loses more soldiers due to controllable accidents than enemy combat loses, said Cranor. The Army takes safety seriously and this group of students exemplified the Army’s resolve to protect the soldier from preventable injury, he added.
TEEX has been conducting the Army Safety and Occupational Health Career Program for six years.