A record low accident rate and a command-wide emphasis on safety helped the USACE earn the 1998 Chief of Staff of Army's Major Army Command (MACOM) Safety Award
. USACE, one of only two commands to earn the 1998 award, has earned it three of the past four years.
The award recognizes the continued improvement of the USACE safety record
in FY 98. In FY 98, there were no accidental federal employee fatalities during normal duty hours, and only 470 lost-time injuries and illnesses, compared to one fatality and 527 lost-time claims in FY 97. The USACE rate for lost time accidents is 42 percent lower than the Army average.
USACE also showed improvement in contractor safety. There were two contractor fatalities and 217 contractor injuries, compared to eight fatalities and 227 injuries in FY 97.
Accident rates were a historic low in FY 98. The lost-time accident rate (or number of lost-time incidents per 100 workers) for federal employees fell five percent from 1.32 in FY 97 to 1.25 in FY 98. In the past four years the rate has been reduced 30 percent from 1.76. Similarly, the contractor lost workday accident rate fell three percent from FY 97 to 98, from 0.61 to 0.59, and 21 percent from .75 in the past four years.
In addition to the lower accident rate, USACE significantly lowered the cost of fraudulent accident compensation through an investigative unit developed by the Vicksburg (Miss.) District. Recent joint investigations by the Fraud Investigations Unit and the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of the Inspector General, resulted in prison sentences for fraud offenders, probation, hours of community service, and fines and restitution of more than $450,000. The investigations also saved taxpayers future costs and reduced annual charges by more than $500,000.