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NEWS | Feb. 2, 2022

Tobyhanna Army Depot nets high-level Army safety award

By Ms. Danielle E. Weinschenk

Tobyhanna Army Depot nets high-level Army safety award | Article | The United States Army

An overall commitment to employee wellbeing and workplace safety earned Tobyhanna Army Depot impressive recognition last week.

The organization was honored with the 2021 U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) Industrial Operations Safety Award for its impressive safety program, which adheres to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 45001 safety standard. Recognized across the world as benchmark for workplace safety, ISO 45001 certification places the depot on par with private industry when it comes to safety and occupational health programs. Tobyhanna was the first organization within the Department of Defense to obtain the accreditation in 2019.

Tobyhanna secured the award based upon four areas of program excellence: management and employee involvement; modernization efforts; hazard and prevention control (including its response to the COVID-19 crisis); and a robust safety and occupational health training program.

Tobyhanna’s safety culture starts from the top-down, according to Safety and Occupational Health Office (SOHO) Chief Dana Bilotta.

“Our senior leadership is committed to ensuring a safe workplace for all members of Team Tobyhanna. This starts with our Corporate Philosophy, which requires a weekly review of safety metrics by all leaders and also empowers employees to report safety hazards as a proactive measure.”

Depot Sergeant Major Michael J. Wiles agreed.

"Safety is the top priority for Colonel Horn and me," he said. "This is our organization, and Team Tobyhanna's safety and occupational health efforts have our full and unwavering support. We invest in our people and organization every day by dedicating resources, providing training, and taking a proactive approach towards safety. Ultimately, it is our employees that make it happen; they are Tobyhanna's most precious resource."

Aggressive modernization efforts focused on employee safety also contribute to Tobyhanna’s status as an exceptional Army workplace. The depot was praised for ongoing renovations of industrial areas such as the existing plating and tactical vehicle shops, as well as the creation of a prototyping facility designed to provide enhanced engineering capabilities. An additional modernization project will increase the number of pedestrian lights on a highly traveled depot street, safeguarding employees while they move across the depot at various times of the day.

Coleman Nee, chief of the Installation Services Directorate’s Engineering Branch noted the importance of employee safety when planning depot modernization projects.

"Our modernization designs must focus on increasing the safety and health for Tobyhanna’s employees."

Tobyhanna’s hazard and prevention control strategies also played a large role in the accolade – particularly those designed to keep the workforce safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. SOHO personnel have worked tirelessly alongside the depot’s COVID-19 Task Force to develop and enforce public health policies on-post. Just a sampling of implemented mitigation measures include a comprehensive contact tracing process, a deep cleaning protocol that sanitized nearly 1M square feet of depot property and the installation of ionization and temperature check systems across the base. Depot leadership says COVID mitigation strategies remain a top priority.

“Tobyhanna is part of the National Defense Critical Infrastructure and must continue to operate during the pandemic. Our COVID Task Force has allowed operations to continue safely since day one. It will continue to develop and execute our installation response plan to keep Team Tobyhanna safe and continue our mission supporting the warfighter,” said William Ramey, Director of Installation Services.

All members of the Tobyhanna workforce are also engaged in safety and prevention efforts. Core safety training is provided during the onboarding process, and enhanced training is provided to all new supervisors.  Informal safety training takes place each week as part of the Safety Star Point Program, which charges a team member in each work area with briefing their co-workers on a pertinent safety topic. This process sparks safety-related communication up, down and across the organizational chain and prioritizes safety as a common topic of discussion.

Tobyhanna’s safety program will now compete against other federal entities for recognition at the Department of the Army level.

Employee safety is a fundamental part of Tobyhanna’s long-range strategic plan, TOBY2028. The plan aligns with the depot's four strategic focus areas: Investing in Our People, C5ISR Readiness, Shape the Future and Strategic Communications; and aims to posture the organization for future success.

Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for C5ISR systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna’s Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C5ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.

Tobyhanna’s unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters.

About 3,500 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command’s mission is to empower the Soldier with winning C5ISR capabilities.