For the 30th consecutive year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, was named one of Nebraska’s Safest Companies with Distinction by the National Safety Council, Nebraska Chapter May 19. The award was presented to representatives from the district safety office at an online ceremony.
The district received this award for its comprehensive safety programs and exemplary safety record that is more than 50% better than the national average compared to their industry standard.
The NSCN was founded in 1924 and is a private, non-profit organization led by industry professionals and leaders. The NSCN works to reduce injuries and save lives in the workplace, home, and road by partnering with businesses and organizations. They also provide a variety of safety and occupational health classes, ranging from workplace safety to drivers’ training.
Maintaining safety throughout the district is no small feat—the Omaha District covers about 700,000 square miles in the Great Plains, encompassing all or part of ten states. The district’s programs range from military and civil construction to power plant and natural resources management. Each program has different safety and occupational health needs, so maintaining safety programs throughout the District is a huge undertaking.
Jeff Skrivanek, District Chief of Safety and Occupational Health, says that this award represents the commitment to safety by employees throughout the District, and that it is only through their collective efforts that they are successful.
The safety office works to implement the Safety and Occupational Health Program throughout the District, but many have additional safety measures that are tailored to their specific environment.
“There’s places throughout the district that have their own safety plans, ensuring those are implemented and executed,” Skrivanek said.
The huge range of district missions means that not all safety measures are relevant to all employees, so individual programs take on the responsibility of creating appropriate safety standards.
Although the district is only required to meet the NSC’s basic safety requirements, Skrivanek said employees have a proactive attitude towards safety and work to exceed these requirements by implementing additional measures.
This year presented unprecedented safety and occupational health challenges. Skrivanek cites the COVID-19 pandemic as the biggest challenge, and again cites employees’ collective efforts as essential to maintaining a safe work environment, saying “it was basically a community effort, from wearing a mask to prevent the spread, to washing your hands, sanitizing hands, disinfecting the workplace.”
He also credits leaders, managers, and supervisors for accomplishing the challenging task of fulfilling the District’s various missions amidst a major health crisis.
The National Safety Council, Nebraska Chapter Safety Awards bring together organizations from throughout Nebraska to create a large community that values proactive safety measures. Other awardees include Kiewit Corporation and the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base, who have worked with the district in the past.
“Not only are we participating in the recognition program, but we’re also participating in the community. Sometimes those people are our stakeholders. It’s a great thing to build collaboration and continual focus on safety and health in the workplace and in business projects,” Skrivanek said.