LANSING, Mich. –The Michigan Army National Guard State Safety Office recently received the first, across-the-board 100 percent rating in every category of the National Guard Bureau, Composite Army National Guard Safety Development and Assessment Program (CASDAP) inspection.
The comprehensive CASDAP inspection evaluates each state's safety program across 26 different program elements. It is comprised of three, year-long phases: self-assessment, remote assessment, and on-site assessment.
The Michigan Army National Guard State Safety Office tackled the first phase in 2016. The results were not pretty. Ten elements were rated at zero percent or not applicable, five more were seriously red (19.05%-66.67%), three were yellow, and eight elements made it into the green at over 85 percent. Note however, that self-assessment ratings, like those performed during phase one, are notoriously unreliable measures. Note also, that critical elements such as Explosives Safety Management, Range Safety, Aviation, and Motor Vehicle Accident Prevention, were all green, even in the not-so-good days of phase one.
Year Two, the remote assessment phase, was a period of time where program documents and data were uploaded from the MIARNG Safety Office to a centralized collection system to be remotely assessed by National Guard Bureau evaluators. At the conclusion of the NGB evaluation a summarized report of findings was provided back to the MIARNG Safety Office with recommendations for improving performance. From a 20 percent (average) green initial assessment in 2016 through the second year of assessment and program development in 2017, the MIARNG average green rating rose to 55 percent - an admirable gain in and of itself, simply through the process of program evaluations.
By the time Year Three, the on-site assessment phase, came around, the state safety manager, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Thomas Holly, and his crew had created programs recognized as "best practices" for the nation. They included: a strategic safety plan, standard operating procedures developed by MIARNG Major Subordinate Commands in the newly directed "program element" format, along with Safety Scorecards to efficiently measure performance. The crew established an Ammunition Safety Council meeting format, they developed and conducted Additional Duty Safety Officer workshops, created a State Job Hazard Analysis program, and also developed a State Safety Awards Program, among a host of other actions. Additionally, the Fort Custer Training Center Ammunition Supply Point was recognized for their redesigned Ammunition Turn-In Checklist that makes the process safer, faster, and more accurate, and Chief Warrant Officer 4, Lee Fuller, was recognized for the aviation safety program he developed for the Army Aviation Support Facility in Grand Ledge — demonstrating the power of group effort when improving MIARNG safety programs.
"It's been a team effort," Holly said. "A lot of hard work went into the program by many people. Readiness is our number one priority so we set high standards for ourselves in Safety, to demonstrate our support of that initiative. We wanted to design safety programs that support Readiness by minimizing injury to Soldiers and damage to equipment in order to maintain strength within our formations."
And demonstrate they did. Shortly after the completion of the on-site assessment the team was thrilled to learn that they had received 100 percent scores in all 26 evaluation categories — the first state in the nation to do so.
"While the MIARNG State Safety Program has been recognized as the best in the Army National Guard, we still have work to do," Holly said. "The foundations of our programs are in place to take us to the next level. Now we need to execute our plans and implement programs to the company and platoon levels where they will benefit our Soldiers the most."
Holly said the 100 percent CASDAP score is especially important because it demonstrates MIARNG commitment to safety across the organization. He said, "Demonstrating that our state is getting results validates that we are moving in the right direction. The acknowledgement and recognition for our program places us in a leadership role to assist other states building similar programs, which in-turn improves overall readiness of the Army National Guard, fully in sync with our highest priority."
Habit #2 of Steven Covey's world renowned, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," recommends those wanting improvement should, "Begin with the End in Mind." Teams should start with a clear vision of the desired direction and destination in mind and in this case it's evident that Readiness was the goal driving the MIARNG State Safety Program improvements.
Chief Holly has been the State Safety Manager for three years and is supported by team members: Chief Warrant Officer 4 Rick Stone, Command Sgt. Maj. Bryan Dick and Staff Sgt. Scott Kinney. The MIARNG SSO currently falls under the MIARNG Director of Aviation and Safety.