Located on a picturesque 6,000 acres in Northeast Tennessee, the Holston Army Ammunition Plant (HSAAP) is a Government-Owned, Contractor Operated (GoCo) facility. The facility was built during World War II and designed to produce Comp B, a combination of RDX and TNT, which was the most powerful explosive prior to the atomic bomb. The plant employed roughly 7,000 people, 40% of which were women, initially. After WWII, the facility was decommissioned, but it was reopened during the Korean Conflict and renamed HSAAP. The U.S. military has used HSAAP explosives in every battle since WWII. BAE Systems has been the operating contractor for HSAAP since 1999.
Celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year, HSAAP currently employs about 900 people and manufactures high explosives for the U.S. Department of Defense and commercial customers and is one of the largest employers in Kingsport. Because of the nature of our processes the safety, wellbeing, and overall health of our team is paramount. We strive to ensure that our people are not only safe and healthy while they are on our site, but also at home and in their daily lives.
In 2005, Holston implemented a comprehensive wellness program in an attempt to offset and contain rising health care costs. Our Human Resources team developed a results-oriented and employee-friendly strategy that was immediately embraced by over 90% of the workforce. Since then, Holston has eliminated the number of health risks among its workforce by 42%. Among all participants, over 90% has improved or eliminated specific health risk factors. Holston also avoided an increase in health care premiums for five years in a row. The program has delivered a return-on-investment of $2.30 for each dollar invested while eliminating 459 health risks among the workforce.
In the fall of ‘07, the Holston wellness coordinator spent numerous hours identifying barriers that were preventing employees from living a healthy lifestyle. The two barriers that were overwhelmingly identified were convenience and affordability. Many Holston employees indicated that they wanted to make lifestyle changes, but that they often found it difficult due to work and family responsibilities. Therefore, Holston found it necessary to make healthy living as accessible and affordable as possible. With this concept in mind, Holston began programs that would enable employees and their families to make lifestyle changes easily and with minimal to no financial burden.
In March 2010, Holston opened an on-site health clinic to provide services for employees and spouses that are fully integrated with the Holston medical benefits design. Medical services offered at the clinic include acute primary care, health coaching, disease management, and medication dispensing. The onsite health clinic is open 40+ hours per week and staffed by a physician’s assistant and 2 nurses. All staff serve as health coaches.
After the clinic opened, our team continued to work diligently to ensure our team members had the best and healthiest opportunities. We have been involved with Healthy Kingsport from the beginning, and during our partnership, we have fulfilled 30 Small Starts at work and now boast Healthy Kingsport signs around our plant. We are a certified Healthier Tennessee Workplace, and a Platinum Member of the Healthy Kingsport Program. Our on-site food options include a wide array of fresh, healthy choices; there are even vegetarian and gluten-free options. The BAE Systems HSAAP Team won the Walk Across Tennessee competition, making it all 585 miles in the fastest time. We participated in the Mile High City program, and have participated or sponsored a variety of other Healthy Kingsport activities. Bob Winstead, our Director of Safety, Health, and Environment, was a key speaker in the 2016 Healthy Kingsport Press Conference. Also in 2016, as a direct result of HSAAP’s dedication and our partnerships with key health organizations, such as Healthy Kingsport, BAE Systems recognized HSAAP with a Gold Chairman’s Award, which is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon any business unit in the greater international company. Today we continue to strive to maintain our high standards and work closely with Healthy Kingsport to help our team members live healthier, happier lives.