Excellent operations enable continuous compliance
By Lt. Col. Dean Borsos, 374th Medical Support Squadron
/ Published July 18, 2007
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan --
With the Environmental Safety and Occupational Health Compliance Assessment and Management Program rapidly approaching and the Unit Compliance Inspection arriving shortly thereafter, some personnel are a little anxious about how we will be rated during the upcoming inspections.
Such a concern is perhaps understandable if you consider the high operations tempo and routine deployment of many of our personnel.
However, we need to remember the old adage "a little preparation goes a long way", and ensure that mindset is continuously pervasive throughout our operations.
I believe excellent operations enable continuous compliance. In short, if we follow our checklists everyday, do our job to the best of our abilities and perform routine assessments, we should have excellent operations.
Accordingly, if we sustain those excellent operations we remain in continuous compliance.
Of course this is not quite as easy as it sounds, or is it?
I submit it comes down to desire, planning execution and commitment.
Everyone comes to work every day desiring to perform the best job possible; therefore, we have attained the first step.
Next, it is important to have a plan. The plan should include scheduled routine assessments of our programs to validate proper and proficient execution.
Likewise, use process improvements or Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century analyses to streamline processes when possible.
Sometimes the ops tempo peaks and we fall a little behind. However, do not cut corners, stay committed to the course of excellence by continuing to use your checklists and ask for assistance from your supervisor, if needed.
As part of the plan for ESOHCAMP preparations, a few months ago wing leadership drove an assessment of our operations via the Internal ESOHCAMP. Our shops followed this with their own self-assessments and they are finalizing the performance of assessments on each other.
Subsequently, our plan includes another review by our base experts to ensure we have not overlooked anything. However, similar to all units on base, our preparations such as planning and execution, started well before that.
Our Environment of Care monitors, safety officers and Bioenvironmental Engineering staff have been diligently inspecting their shops, running checklists, validating compliance and conducting educational briefings.
We must ensure similar processes and reviews are occurring for the UCI, as well as all important programs and operations.
We have benefited from base Staff Assistance Visits and audits on several commander support staff, security and readiness programs.
These assessments support our preparations and validate our excellent operations which are all good tests and summations of our execution.
In the medical group, our self-assessments continued and we partnered with wing experts from the 374th Communications Squadron to review our Functional Area Records Manager, Electronic Records Management and software licensure programs.
They not only provided very good assistance and advice, they did so in a timely manner so we have plenty of time to take corrective actions.
Such teamwork will help take satisfactory or excellent programs to the next level and then they will be sustained at that level.
Beyond doing well on inspections, sustaining excellent operations is a team effort. No one person can enable us to pass an inspection or accomplish the mission by themselves.
Knowledge is power but knowledge is more powerful when it is shared.
As such, ensure appropriate Team Yokota assets and experts are included when developing and sustaining your excellent operations.
Have you developed a plan to enable excellent operations? Have you trained, motivated and empowered your staff? Reviewed Air Force Instrcutions, comprehensive checklists or conducted routine assessments?
We have to stick to the plan and stay committed to doing the right thing.
If we do all the little things correctly, your expertise, professionalism and continuous review and application of AFIs, PACAF supplements, checklists and requirements will facilitate excellent operations.
Use SAVs to fine tune your operations; work with your section leadership to identify issues in advance so we can request SAV teams bring operating instructions, best practices, or specific expertise with them to enhance our services immediately vice our having to do so after they depart.
Accordingly, continuous compliance with Logistics Standardization and Evaluation Team, Operational Readiness Inspection, ESOHCAMP, Health Services Inspection, Joint Commission and UCI criteria and standards should be enabled by our operations vice short-notice and long hours trying to generate a documentation-trail to show we have good processes in place.
In short, doing a good job every day prepares us for our surveys and inspections. Therefore, our emphasis needs to be on developing good processes and excellent operations; if we do this correctly, the compliance for inspections will follow...not to mention our ability to accomplish the mission.
We have done very well on the JC, HSI, LSET, and Initial Response Readiness Inspection, but we cannot rest on our laurels, we must continue with excellent operations, use our self-inspection checklists, show our ongoing commitment to excellence and document our actions so we stay in continuous compliance.