RD Corner: Safety Is Imperative
We are at that time of the year when we start gearing up for the field season. The Midwest Region is committed to a culture of safety and April is Safety Month. We began April with a region-wide reminder of the need for all employees to operate safely. To that end, I asked everyone to take some time during that first week of April to participate in some training activities that focus on safety.
We have much to be proud of. We have been very successful in reducing the number of OSHA recordable injuries and the severity of the injuries to our staff. It is critical to report all injures as the injury data, even for minor injuries, helps the Safety staff to identify trends requiring attention. To help you train employees, volunteers, and YCC workers, the Safety Division has job hazard assessments (JHAs) that can be used to inform staff of the hazards associated with work tasks. If they don’t have the JHA that you need, they will assist you in developing the JHA to meet your needs. Another tool is a daily safety briefing. This can be a five-minute talk to discuss the work for the day, recognized hazards, and controls. Employees should be encouraged to ask questions and discuss any issues that have come up.
Again, I want to stress the importance of keeping our employees, volunteers, YCC workers and visitors safe. Our people are our most important asset, without which we could not protect and preserve our natural environment. I encourage you to take some time to read the safety stories Best Practices, Safety Week and Airboat Training that we have in this month’s issue.
April is also a time when we start seeing not only the arrival of migratory birds but the annual cycle of life for many of those migrants in establishing territories and nests. A good indicator of our bird community is our eagles as they return to a homing site. These birds have given us an excellent opportunity to educate the public on the needs of migrants. There are many cameras set up to show their nesting activities and we use them to track migration and learn more about their needs. I encourage you to read the articles Bald Eagle Hunter Outreach and the Breeding Bird Survey.
At present, I’m at our NCTC training facility in West Virginia with our Directorate Team looking at a number of issues from surrogate species to SHC. We are also discussing workforce planning and budget issues. Secretary Jewell is also planning to attend the Directorate meeting. It’s been great to interact with her and I am in high hopes that she will have the opportunity to come back to the Midwest sometime soon to enjoy the resources that we are managing.
Thank you for your fine work. Be safe!
Navigating Inside Region 3
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