SAN DIEGO — The Fort Cavazos Directorate of Public Works Operations and Maintenance Division was honored by the American Public Works Association with a 2023 Exceptional Performance in Safety Award Aug. 28.
“Safety is a core value and an essential part of our DPW culture. It requires everyone’s attention, involvement and commitment to accomplish our mission while taking care of our employees,” Brian Dosa, director of DPW, said. “This national honor recognizes the amazing work our Operations and Maintenance Division is doing to integrate safety into their daily operations.”
During the APWA’s Public Works Expo at the San Diego Convention Center, DPW OMD was the only military installation of more than 100 outstanding individuals, groups and chapters who were honored for representing the best in the public works profession.
“The primary and highest goal we should have is … ensuring the safety of our employees, the general public and contractors to make sure that everyone is operating in a safe manner because we all want to go home at the end of the day,” Keith Pugh, past president for APWA, said. “These awards are very competitive. I applaud you for putting an emphasis on safety, and the fact that it won.”
Pugh and Scott Grayson, chief executive officer for APWA, presented the award to Dosa and Mike Cruz-Miyasaki, Alvis Perry, Josh Musselman, Nick Campagna and Mark Branch, OMD unit safety officers.
“This award is a blessing and an honor,” Cruz-Miyasaki said. “It was under the radar and not something we expected. Without thinking about what we could receive, we continued to do our part daily to promote safety.”
“Integrity is a fundamental component of the safety culture for DPW and OMD,” Campagna added. “If you see something, say something. Having the courage to speak up about it, and doing the right thing when no one’s looking is the epitome of safety.”
Notable successes include implementing safety measures to prevent issues caused by flash floods; integrating risk management into routine as well as non-routine activities; conducting a job hazard analysis for every OMD employee; and participating in community and outreach events like the Fort Cavazos Safety Day and Earth Day.
At the helm of the directorate’s safety program is a dedicated two-person team who leads the DPW Safety Office and also a team of seven USOs, representing each work center and branch within OMD, who make up the safety committee. The committee meets weekly to share lessons learned and best practices that can be implemented across multiple work environments and teams.
“Safety is always evolving. Meeting up every Tuesday gives us an opportunity to talk about what’s going on with the different shops and how we can help make our shop’s safety culture better by learning from our peers,” Perry said. “Everything you do in life is safety. If you aren’t planning out what the next move is, on the job that you’re doing, then you are not thinking safety.”
Recently, the division included each work center and branch along with leadership across DPW to create video and explain the Army Safety and Occupational Health Management System known as ASOHMS.
“We were first to take on the lead to do an ASOMHS video and express the importance of the Army’s safety program and explain what ASOMHS is,” Branch said. “This is one of the ways our team continues to make strides in safety. Safety has to be intentional; it has to be purposeful and something that we always put energy to. The more we do that, the safer we can make our employees, their actions and work practices.”
The USOs also praised their leadership, predecessors and teams for their commitment to safety.
“What has made our program so successful are the people before us, who transitioned and passed on a successful safety program that we continue to sustain and evolve,” Campagna said.
Safe operations and maintenance are a team effort, and especially critical since the directorate is responsible for maintenance of 5,751 buildings and structures, totaling 38 million square feet; 99 Soldier barracks with 14,054 beds; 450 miles of roadways; and 200 miles of tank trails.
By motivating and empowering team members, leaders have inspired employees to take ownership of their safety program and strive for excellence. OMD’s successes illustrate how the division is doing its part to enhance mission capabilities, reduce safety and health-related mishaps, improve the standards of safety and health within the workplace, increase personnel readiness and boost employee morale.
“Safety is a shared responsibility, and when everyone is doing their part to integrate safety in their daily work, we can better support the Soldiers and families of Fort Cavazos,” Dosa said. “This award is a testament to our team’s exceptional professionalism and absolute commitment to each other.”