The ESOHCAMP cometh...are you ready?

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Josh Mead
  • Public Affairs, 103rd Airlift Wing
Recently, the 103rd Airlift Wing received direction from the Air National Guard Readiness Center that an Environmental, Safety, Occupational Health Compliance Assessment (ESOHCAMP) will be coming the wing's way Oct. 19-23, 2009. The acronym has been thrown around at meetings and awareness of it has been raised to new levels, but what does it actually mean for the rest of the base? 

The ESOHCAMP is a base-level auditing program that helps in achieving compliance with local, state and federal environmental, safety, and occupational health regulations. 

The assessment is conducted every three years and requires the participation of all Airmen. 

"The ESOHCAMP affects all members of the Connecticut Air National Guard," said Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Johnstone, safety manager, 103rd Airlift Wing. "The overall results of the inspection depend on each and every one of us." 

The inspecting team will be asking each person to demonstrate what knowledge they have of personal protective equipment and waste disposal. 

According to Johnstone, the Air Force Form 55 is another area where the ESOHCAMP is influenced by the individual. By having all training signed off and having a good understanding of the material on the form and then implementing the training into your work practices as well as having a positive attitude towards the inspectors, we ensure compliance in that area of the ESOHCAMP. 

This inspection is not of safety or environmental management only, the ESOHCAMP is an inspection of how everybody on base implements the programs set in place by these offices. 

"If you are following all the environmental, safety and occupational health procedures outlined in the training, we will have a successful ESOHCAMP in October," said Johnstone. 

In addition to safety, the ESOHCAMP looks at the environmental management of the base. Environmental management refers to the proper handling and disposal of biological waste such as oils and JP-8 fuel. 

"Our biggest environmental impact here at the base is to cut down on waste and re-use as much fuel as we can," said 2nd Lt. Dawn Surprenant, environmental scientist, 103rd Civil Engineering Squadron. 

"We have to make sure we are in compliance with how to handle and get rid of waste. One way is to offer training to the areas and get Guardsmen on board." 

Getting on board means changing the way we think. 

According to Capt. Douglas Scheirey, an environmental management augmentee, "the ESOHCAMP can really direct the culture of the Air Force for all of us by, not only working in a safer environment, but also ensuring the Air Force is doing its part to be greener and cleaner and to make sure we have a positive effect on the environment." 

This positive effect requires following the Air Force Instructions and regulations that govern our work areas. Complying with proper storage of chemicals and flammables, recycling cans, bottles and cardboard, not putting ladders and tables against electrical panels and wearing proper personal protective equipment are all aspects of Air Force culture rooted in the Air Force Instruction. 

"These regulations and AFI's were written for a reason. We have to assume someone got hurt or there was damage done somewhere and that's why need to take these regulations seriously," said Scheirey. 

The ESOHCAMP is not to be feared, it is a tool to help the unit become better at managing safety, health and the environment. 

"The intent of the ESOHCAMP is to assist the commander in identifying areas of non-compliance with ESOH regulations and Air Force policy," said Johnstone. "The Air National Guard feels that it is better to have non-compliant areas identified for corrective action rather than have them cited by a regulator." 

"We have experts in our field come out so when they come out to look at us, they look at us with the view point of a certified industrial hygienist, which is a step above where we are. They are paramount in the field and they really know the job. So we are getting a really good assessment of what we do," said Master Sgt. Scott McIntosh, bio-environmental engineer, 103rd Medical Group. 

For more information regarding the ESOHCAMP, refer to the commander's policy statement that highlights the intent of the unit's environmental plan and, additionally, any of three offices--Safety, Bio-Environmental, or Environmental Management will be glad to assist you to ensure full compliance. 

"The Air Wing has an interest, not only in maintaining the property that we sit on, but in cleaning it up and making sure that we're doing what we can to 100 percent comply with federal standards," said Surprenant.