Ceremonies were held Friday morning to celebrate Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division (NSWC IHD) receiving star status in Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). At the ceremonies, NSWC IHD’s new culture of putting safety first was emphasized.
 
NSWC IHD Safety Director Ray Geckle said VPP is a roadmap to ensure NSWC IHD is builing safety excellence in to their program.
 
“You’ve worked very hard to demonstrate your safety excellence,” Geckle said.
 
“My number one responsibility is to end the day with the same number of healthy employees that I start the day with,” Captain Andy Buduo, Commander of NSWC IHD, said. “Our safety department is one of the United States Navy’s best.”
 
“Back in 2007, when OSHA asked the union to back VPP, it was a no brainer,” Lorena Sinkler, Vice President of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1923, said. “We did so. And it’s not often the union and commanders are in 100 percent agreement.”
 
“A lot of work went behind the scenes to make this possible,” NWSC IHD Technical Director Denny McLaughlin said.
 
“Since 1982, VPP Star programs have sustainable safety culture,” Teresa Penn, OSHA region three VPP program officer, said. “I was impressed with many things.”
 
“You cannot buffalo your way in to VPP Star status,” Vice Admiral Kevin McCoy, commander of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), said. “OSHA people are no fools. Indian Head is one of eight in NAVSEA to reach this bar. It’s about workers caring enough about each other to confront each other about unsafe work practices.”

McCoy said NSWC is a “world class safety operation” and said they were on a journey.

 
Charles County Commissioner Debra Davis (D: 2nd) and a representative for United States Senator Barbara Mikulski (D) were in attendance for the ceremony. A flag and a plaque were presented to Captain Andy Buduo.