After the bulk of OSHA citations were handed down last year, Major General Robert McMahon told the media and the Robins Air Force Base Community the buck stops with him. And over the last nine months he's completely changed safety measures at the base, for the better.
"The bottom line ladies and gentleman from my perspective is that we have made tremendous progress," said Gen. McMahon.
General McMahon began a transparent attack to resolve the citations and bring personnel together.
"We put together a team of about 25 folks, some of whom are in the room, to include our union leadership, to ensure that we're doing the right things for our people," said Gen. McMahon.
So far the base has resolved 36 out of the 39 OSHA citations. The base safety team includes representatives from different areas and ranks and provides a new culture when it comes to addressing safety.
"The work force has the say so of the safety and health issues in their work area and are now being encouraged to bring those forward," said Flight line leader, Maurice Zammit.
A big change within the maintenance division is better protective equipment. The base now supplies newer and safer respirators.
Base workers have updated changing rooms and now taking off their protective suits is a more secure process. A new swipe sampling system is in place, where the base can identify contamination at their facility quicker.
"All the samples are taken here for quick turn results and then a selected 10-20 percent are sent off to a confirmatory lab," said Lt. Col. Steve Novak.
Gen. McMahon continues to strengthen the relationship with union leaders. Robbie Tidwell of AFGE Local 987, says the teamwork approach will help turn things around.
"We had a problem and some issues and we've been steadily addressing it trying to build the trust of the work force back," said Tidwell.
Out of the three unresolved citations, base officials asked for modification on one that involved dust collection in an F-15 facility. The other two citations include the construction of cleaning rooms, which are on schedule to be complete by October.
Gen. McMahon says the raised safety standard will not go away anytime soon.
"When we are considered by all to be the model for the department of defense in terms of industrial safety, then we will quit. And then we will sustain that, until then we'll continue to make improvements."
Base officials say they've spent around $2 million over the last nine months, improving equipment, building better work spaces, and raising the safety bar.