Seal Beach Sets New Standards with Explosives Safety Inspection

Story Number: NNS071025-13Release Date: 10/25/2007 3:50:00 PM
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From Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian Brannon, Fleet Public Affairs Center Pacific

SEAL BEACH, Calif. (NNS) -- Results of the explosives safety inspection (ESI) were announced Oct. 3 for Navy Munitions Command (NMC), Continental United States (CONUS) West Division (CWD), Detachment Seal Beach, Fallbrook Annex and its Fallbrook detachment.

The ESI was held Sept. 10-21 and conducted by the Naval Ordnance Safety and Security Activity (NOSSA). An outstanding score of 100 percent on inventory accuracy and eight minor findings were noted for each activity.

"The inspection reviewed the effectiveness of the explosives safety program and included a review of the activity's explosives storage and handling policies and procedures, personnel training and qualification/certification program, explosives safety awareness program, and use of standard operating procedures," wrote Capt. Robert W. Fowler, NOSSA commanding officer.

The outstanding results at both sites were made possibly through the combined efforts of the NMC CWD Detachment Seal Beach and Fallbrook Annex, located on Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach (NWSSB), public works, environmental, fire and security, Navy Occupational Safety and Health, port operations, and every tenant aboard, said NWSSB Ordnance Director Jack Norris.

"Ammunition management and explosives safety is a team effort," he said. "If any one worker fails to do their job, then the entire team fails."

When it comes to handling ammunition and high explosives, safety is paramount, Norris said. Through a culture of safety and command climate that emphasizes operational risk management in every aspect of ordnance handling, Navy personnel continually maintain the highest degree of explosives safety.

Norris credits Explosives Safety Officers Tony Kennedy and Jim Oliver for developing and managing Explosives Safety Self-Assessments (ESSA) that resulted in the installations' high safety ratings.

"From an ammunition management perspective, it began for us by getting rid of everything we didn't need [basic house keeping and cleaning out the garage], followed by consolidating what remained into as small an area as possible [basic warehousing], and only storing what the customer uses or needs [basic grocery store stocking]," Norris said.

Kennedy said that employing the ESSA programs throughout the year combined with the culture of safety throughout the command was the key to success.

"It is due to these continuous ESSA programs, teamwork within the command, and sense of pride and professionalism on behalf of the ordnance employees in performing their duties that has contributed to the outstanding ESI results we achieved," he said.

With 15 programs contributing to the overall outstanding score, Norris said four pillar programs helped keep the program on track: administration, qualifications and certifications, standard operating procedures, and inventory management.

Noting that the outstanding results of 100 percent for inventory accuracy are a tribute to the professionalism of the entire team at NWSSB, the report stated, "they represent a dedicated effort Command wide in implementing and maintaining inventory accuracy processes and controls. NMC CWD Detachment Seal Beach has set the standard for ammunition inventory management and accuracy for both CONUS and OCONUS shore activities."

While their lives literally depend upon explosives safety, Norris said that his teams take pride in the fact that they are able to safely and continually deliver ordnance and ammunition to the fleet.

"Without ammo, [a warship] is just a high-priced cruise liner," he said. "It's truly an honor to be able to feel like I can contribute something to the defense of this great country that has given so much to so many."

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