The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) on Monday honored Christopher A. Buzbee from Ingalls Shipbuilding with its 2018 Safety Management Innovation Award during a ceremony at the Safety 2018 Professional Development Conference & Exposition at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The award celebrates those who bring creativity to managing safety in the workplace. Buzbee's winning innovation is an interactive and real-time safety training simulator designed to rapidly improve hazard control skills.

“Christopher’s innovation recognizes that workers learn best when immersed in the environment where important safety decisions must be made,” said ASSP President Jim Smith, M.S., CSP. “It’s inspiring how occupational safety and health professionals are constantly developing new programs that minimize common hazards. We owe a lot to these talented innovators who are committed to finding solutions that enhance workplace safety.”

Buzbee is an ASSP member and system safety engineer based in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Ingalls Shipbuilding calls his safety innovation “SPACES,” which stands for Situational Perception And Condition Evaluation Simulator. It was originally engineered to give newly hired employees a rapid infusion of work environment reference and hazard control skills. The program’s success led to its expansion into safety training for a full spectrum of production workforce personnel. The interactive program requires a worker to physically react to real-time incidents, providing an assessment on the participant’s skill levels in situational awareness and hazard recognition.

Buzbee received a plaque as well as $3,000 for his safety achievement. Two honorable mentions for the Safety Management Innovation Award each received $500:

♦  ASSP member Samuel B. Merrell, CSP, ASP, CHST, is director of safety and health at Hensel Phelps in Austin, Texas. He developed virtual safety training in which the construction jobsite is brought into the classroom. Users virtually walk through an environment to learn hazard recognition techniques and navigation of safety regulations and company policy. The immersive learning experience is a revolutionary way to deliver self-paced training in a controlled and real-life setting. Skills verification techniques are embedded in the training along with videos.

♦  ASSP member Jean Ndana, CSP, ASP, PMP, is project health and safety manager at AECOM. He created an at-a-glance labeling system that uses color-coded shapes and symbols, and portable secondary containers, to reduce the likelihood of mismatches and cross contaminations. In organizations where several types of hydraulic oil are used, and where machines need multiple oils to run smoothly, the chances of using the wrong oil or mixing two incompatible oils can be high.

The Safety Management Innovation Award, sponsored by Cintas Corporation, is presented annually at ASSP’s Professional Development Conference. It honors occupational safety and health professionals who have developed a dynamic workplace innovation that achieves safety program and efficiency improvements; enhances safety decision-making; eliminates hazards and exposures; and reduces incidents, injuries and fatalities on the job.