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Home : Safety Promotions : News
NEWS | June 22, 2023

NAVSAFECOM Addresses RMI Concerns During Review

By Rebecca Coleman, Naval Safety Command Safety Promotions

More than 70 Navy, Marine Corps and civilian representatives from across the naval enterprise gathered here at Naval Air Station Oceana, June 14-15, to address feedback on the Department of the Navy’s Risk Management Information (RMI) system.

The Naval Safety Command (NAVSAFECOM), which oversees RMI, hosted the first RMI External Standards Review to discuss nearly 325 comments the command received in response to a request for feedback. Since the Navy’s RMI launch in August 2020, NAVSAFECOM has rolled out a series of modules to expand and improve the safety reporting system, which consists of four capability areas: Streamlined Incident Reporting (SIR), analysis and dissemination, safety program management and single point of entry.

RMI promotes a safer environment for the naval enterprise by capturing and analyzing safety incident reporting data and streamlining the reporting process. RMI, which replaced the Web-Enabled Safety System (WESS), was built for the Navy and Marine Corps and expands and adds new capabilities onto the Air Force Safety Automated System (AFSAS). Four of the five services, as well as other Defense Department agencies, use the AFSAS platform.

Chris Tarsa, NAVSAFECOM executive director, opened the meeting with an RMI overview, noting the 137 minimum data elements required in RMI that are mandated by the Department of Defense (DoD), and the continuous improvement cycle with the phased release of RMI’s safety program management modules or capabilities

“We continually solicit feedback from our customers to make this program better, to hear what our RMI customers are saying and to be responsive and transparent,” said Tarsa. For example, one area of improvement addressed the quality of internet bandwidth. Following testing, the Navy implemented enterprise-wide changes making at-sea bandwidth speeds comparable to shore-based speeds, increasing RMI consistency and behavior for users at sea.

During the conference, a robust discussion took place on a number of issues that RMI stakeholders had submitted to NAVSAFECOM before the meeting. Comments addressed a wide range of RMI categories including hazard abatement, analytics, inspections and training; however, the majority of feedback received centered on the investigations portion of RMI. Each comment was discussed with proposed resolutions provided or tabled for further action and follow up either by NAVSAFECOM or by an integrated project team.

Examples of comments ranged from RMI being too cumbersome, the need for additional drop-down fields while inputting data or duplicative drop-down fields and lack of clarity in some sections. A few comments conflicted with the DoD-mandated elements, which were quickly acknowledged.

For the attendees, the meeting was an opportunity to hear what issues other users had encountered, how they addressed problems, and that NAVSAFECOM was listening and receptive to their concerns.

“With any type of system, you’re going to have different perspectives, different intentions,” said Kimberly Cannon, director, safety engineering, Naval Surface Warfare Center headquarters. Communication is very important to ensure stakeholders know what to expect, she said. For example, if a module isn’t ready by the scheduled delivery date, communicating any delays ahead of time will help alleviate stakeholders’ frustration.

One frustration expressed by several stakeholders was a request for additional, or a lack of, training, which NAVSAFECOM Commander Rear Adm. Christopher Engdahl noted.

“RMI training is one of the most critical items NAVSAFECOM is working through,” said Engdahl.

“We’re working hard to figure out the right delivery method to Sailors and government employees. The training has to be ready and relevant to the individual. We may leverage train-the-trainer models, regional SMEs or include online training. NAVSAFECOM is receptive to all suggestions,” he said.

WESS was the first of five safety reporting systems that RMI will replace or consolidate. The other four systems are the Enterprise Safety Application Management System, the Injury/Illness Tracker, the Medical, Mishap and Compensation, and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s Occupational Accident and Injury Report Systems.

To date, the following RMI Safety Program modules are complete: Inspections, Hazard Abatement, Training and Confined Space. The remaining modules are scheduled for delivery through fiscal 2027: Job Hazard Analysis, Medical Surveillance, Self-Assessment, Respiratory Protection, Fall Protection, Operational Risk Management and Safety Committee. Once fully implemented, the modules will help ensure all safety information is captured to help support mitigation and that the functions will perform sufficiently regardless of location.

“The real goal of this program is mishap prevention,” said Tarsa. “Learning is lost when we don’t really look at the factors that lead up to an event.”

At the end of the second day, the commander thanked attendees for their participation and candor and encouraged them to keep the feedback coming.

“The goal is to make RMI better,” said Engdahl. “It’s the program we have, and feedback from the fleet ensures it is getting better every day.”

He added subsequent meetings will occur at least once a year with next year’s agenda building upon this first one.

“You are all part of a growing RMI community of interest, and we must collectively work to make mishap reporting, analysis and investigation better,” said Engdahl.