During a ceremony June 24, Winn Army Community Hospital, part of the United States Army Medical Activity, or MEDDAC, on Fort Stewart, was recognized by the Army for excellence in health and worker safety and awarded the Voluntary Protection Program Star Status, designating the base as a Star site within the Department of Defense.
The ceremony, officially recognizing the hospital for the most challenging participation category in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s achievement program, served to recognize MEDDAC Fort Stewart as only the second Army MEDDAC in the continental United States to earn the Army Safety and Occupational Health Star Award. The presentation of the Star flag was made to Col. Kirk Eggleston, then the MEDDAC commander, by Maj. Gen. Jimmie Keenan, deputy commanding general of United States Medical Command.
“We are proud of this accomplishment because you have to get 100 percent employee buy-in for safety,” said Joe Petrotta, safety manager of MEDDAC Fort Stewart. “It takes a collective effort to make an organization safe; it is everyone’s responsibility to engage in safety, not just the Safety Office.”
Within the OSHA program, three levels of designation or achievement can be attained: Star, Merit or Star Demonstration. The Star designation indicates the hospital’s successful demonstration of continued and ongoing planning, implementation, integration and control of the four interdependent elements of the Voluntary Protection Program at the highest level:
• Management leadership and employee involvement
• Worksite analysis
• Hazard prevention and control
• Safety/health training
“It’s a unique event for military hospitals. Being only the second military hospital and we achieved it on the first attempt,” Eggleston said.
“It helps us validate that we are a high-reliability organization, and we have a good staff that takes safety seriously for everyone who walks through our doors,” Eggleston said.
Col. Patrick Ahearne has since taken command of MEDDAC Fort Stewart from Eggleston, who is retiring after nearly three decades of Army service.