By Aleah M. Castrejon | Mountaineer editor
FORT CARSON, Colo. — “The most important resource we have in any organization, but particularly in the Army Garrison here, is our people,” said Rod Chisholm, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Carson deputy commander.
Hundreds of garrison employees attended the Fort Carson Employment Safety Wellness Day at the Elkhorn Conference Center June 20, 2019. And while the training is an annually required event that every employee must attend, many agreed events like this help raise safety awareness and prove to be helpful.
Keeping the garrison workers safe and healthy is also good for the productivity of the installation — servicing Soldiers and Families, Chisholm explained.
“Also protecting the great amount of investment, the government and Fort Carson have made over the years,” he said. “We’ve got a high replacement
value, a lot of equipment, a lot of structures, and not only taking care of the people, but all the investment that’s been made into Fort Carson … since 1942; its an awesome responsibility and should be No. 1 priority in both leaders and (everyone) on the installation.”
With the interaction of the outside community, such as health organizations, fire department, wildlife and Colorado Springs Police Department taking the time to present hands-on information booths and talking to people about workplace safety proved to be helpful, said Ben Hutchinson, U.S. Army Garrison safety specialist and proctor for the safety day.
“Accident rates go up all the time within the community, El Paso County, so we want to reach out and touch the employees and remind them where they can be injured or killed,” said Hutchinson
Hutchinson pointed to accident and fatality rates last year, (about 632) for the state of Colorado. There were 81 fatalities in El Paso County, 48 in Colorado Springs from traffic incidents and 15 pedestrian deaths.
“That bleeds over into the community,” he said. “And, the military community bleeds into that outside community.”
Given those statistics, it’s important to ensure employees keep safety at the top of their “to-do” lists.
The Fort Carson military police set up a demonstration that simulated a traffic crash at just 7 mph. Another booth included a virtual reality simulator for distracted driving awareness. And, fitness instructors were present to show the importance of lifting weights correctly and give demonstrations.
“We do mandatory training that is required for safety,” Hutchinson said. “We try to prevent safety and health accidents for the garrison population.”
The safety day mostly focused on safety in the work place but also covered the importance of garrison employees’ health, with the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation booth set up to provide information on ways to stay active. Its display of mountain bikes and flyers drew in attendees, letting them know about upcoming outings and activities for the family. The booth promoted a healthy and active lifestyle to keep employees in tip-top shape, both mentally and physically, by getting out into nature.
It was a fitting placement because right next door was the Fort Carson Wildlife Education table which educated workers about the many animals that make Colorado home, from foxes to snakes and larger animals like bears and moose.
While classroom settings for safety information can be invigorating, one attendee agreed that a more hands-on approach was the way to go. Annual events like this keep the information and the priority of safety in the forefront of people’s minds, said Haylee Baird, banquet captain, Elkhorn Conference Center.