ISHMC Meeting Brings Together Institutional Safety and Health Experts

ISHMC Meeting Brings Together Institutional Safety and Health Experts

3-minute read
Group Meeting

The Institutional Safety and Health Managers Council (ISHMC) brought together safety and health leaders from across the agency this April at Kennedy Space Center. The meeting marked the beginning of a new approach to safety and health management at the agency level.

“This meeting is a good representation of where OSMA, and the Institutional Safety Management Division, is heading strategically,” said Grant Watson, Institutional Safety Management Division (ISMD) director. “It was a true collaboration between safety and health. Although we’re still separate organizations, there’s a lot of opportunity for us to build on what the other is doing, share resources, maximize efforts, and better serve the centers and employees by staying abreast of what the other is doing.”

The three-day meeting, led by Watson, Jerry Piasecki, Occupational, Facilities, and Operations Safety program executive; and Angel Plaza, senior environmental health officer, included sessions on Office of Safety and Mission Assurance (OSMA) strategic planning, safety and health in the workplace of the future, working in a hyper-matrixed environment, and risk identification. Several of these sessions had follow-on breakouts where attendees further discussed the challenges facing the community.

The breakout on working in a hyper-matrixed environment focused on how the separate safety and health organizations can function as one community and how that joint community can best help enterprise organizations. During the breakout on risk, attendees explored the issues, concerns and risks from a safety and health management system perspective. Discussions focused on management leadership, worker participation, hazard identification and assessment, hazard prevention and control, education and training, program evaluation and improvement, contractor management, and multiemployer worksites. The final breakout focused on developing a safety and health strategic plan. Each group looked to answer what products and services does it need from a Headquarters-level safety and health program, what the relationship between Headquarters and centers should look like, and what initiatives are important for an actionable and effective strategic plan.

“These breakouts generated a lot of great discussion between our safety and health community members,” said Watson. “Angel and I rotated through the rooms to listen to the exercises, and everyone was truly engaged in identifying issues and challenges and also in learning from each other. These discussions will guide us as we plan for the future. I don’t want ISMD to be a separate Headquarters organization, I want it to reflect the needs of the centers and the community. We’re here to help champion the concerns, challenges and necessary solutions for the centers. Hearing what’s on the mind of these safety and health leaders is essential to us doing that effectively.”

Russ DeLoach, chief of Safety and Mission Assurance, also joined the group to offer his OSMA leadership perspective, touching on many of the themes for the week. Among the things he shared was that the future of work is front and center of his mind. While he doesn’t think the work environment will look like what many used to consider “normal,” he feels strongly that the human element, especially when it comes to Safety Culture, is vital.

“It’s always good for the community to hear directly from the chief his vision and concerns within the safety and health world,” said Watson. “He addressed their questions but also, I think, made clear that we’re ultimately one team here to help the centers achieve safety and mission success.”

This June a few safety representatives will join the Occupational Health meeting at Kennedy, continuing the collaboration between organizations.