YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — The Army Corps of Engineers Far East District took a break Thursday from its core mission — building, inspecting and improving installations throughout the region — to focus on something just as important: safety.

Some 300 FED employees gathered at Yongsan Garrison for the district’s 10th Annual Safety Day stand down, which has evolved over the years into a one-stop lesson on occupational and personal safety.

On Thursday, workers could get their blood pressure tested, learn about diabetes and hear tips about healthy living. It’s a far cry from “Hard hats must be worn in this area.”

While the basic emphasis has remained the same over the years, officials said, the focus has broadened.

“We want everyone to take a little time, pause and reflect not just on safe practices on the projects but have it expanded into the wellness, health and quality-of-life areas,” said Col. Frank Kosich, district commander.

This year, FED invited the Korean Diabetes Association and the Korean Occupational Health and Safety Administration to give presentations. With a large number of South Koreans on the FED payroll, many of the services were offered in both Korean and English.

“We are here to promote diabetes awareness. The number of people diagnosed with diabetes rises every year,” said Dr. Ko Kyung-soo, of the Korean Diabetes Association and Inie University Sanggye Paik Hospital. “Korean food is probably one of the healthiest foods in the world. However, even in Korea, the numbers are rising due to all the popular Western foods.”

FED also invited safety officers from commands and organizations throughout the peninsula to the event, hoping they would make use of the assembled experts.

“We’re focusing on safety but also want to heighten and rekindle a 24-hour, seven-day-a-we-ek commitment on everyone’s part,” said Daniel Fujimoto, an FED safety specialist. “It’s not something we talk about just one day a year, but this day serves to get them organized again for the rest of the year.”

Over the next fiscal year, Fujimoto said, the district will implement monthly meetings at its seven locations in South Korea. They’ll also continue with the larger peninsula-wide safety day.

“If they come away having learned something, then it’s been worthwhile,” Kosich said.

— Jennifer Kleckner contributed to this report.

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