Story by PO2 Ryan Seelbach on 06/28/2019NEWPORT NEWS, Va. USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) held a safety culture workshop May 20 through the 23 to highlight and overcome safety challenges in departments across the ship.
Ford brought experts from the surface, sub-surface and aviation communities to accomplish the ship-wide workshop where Sailors talked, trained and provided solutions to the everyday problems that specific work centers face on a daily basis.
Cmdr. Bryant Nunn, Ford's safety officer, explained that in aviation, workshops like this are frequent but this has never been done across multiple departments on an aircraft carrier.
"In aviation, we bring in senior aviators, former skippers and command master chiefs as well as maintenance master chiefs. As a team, they will talk to squadrons in focus groups, ask questions and provided feedback to the commanding officer," said Nunn.
"We learned a long time ago, we learned that communication and an environment where there is trust makes us safer and a safer unit."
Over the week, more than 30 sessions were held throughout the ship with safety professionals and Sailors from air, deck, navigation, reactor and operations departments.
Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 1st Class Kiara Harris, assigned to Ford's air department, attended the workshop and was able voice concerns for her department and division.
"I went because I wanted to talk about the safety of the ship and wanted to see the perspective of other people and what we can to better," said Harris. "We were able to have a dialogue and talk about our safety concerns. We also talked about work arounds for our tasks while keeping the shipyard work in mind."
Harris also explained that completing the job safely, by all hands including shipyard personnel, is everyone's responsibility.
"My favorite part was during the dialogue, to talk with different ranks and rates, to see their safety concerns and to learn things we can do as a whole to make it better for the Sailors aboard the ship and of course the shipyard workers to get the job done and the ship out to sea.
Nunn said that initial reactions to the workshop exceeded the feedback that he received.
"Everyone saw the value of it, while it was progressing and after it was done. We don't sit around and talk enough as a unit so it was really important to hold this workshop and I'm thrilled that we got it done."
Gerald R. Ford is a first-in-class aircraft carrier and the first new aircraft carrier designed in more than 40 years. Ford is currently undergoing its post-shakedown availability at Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding.
For more news from USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), visit www.dvidshub.net/unit/CVN78 or www.facebook.com/USSGeraldRFord.