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LOG NOTES

Safety Is Serious Business

Readiness is always of primary concern in all Army activities. It is the watchword for the conduct of the various operations required to maintain a mobile combat force. A unit measures its readiness by its capability to mobilize all its assets, people, and equipment. Deadlined vehicles, damaged equipment, and injured Soldiers are not combat ready.

A matter of growing concern is the direct drain that accidents in Army maintenance service and repair operations have on combat readiness. These operations are critical from a safety standpoint because of the high potential for accidents and injuries inherent in the type of work performed and the tools required. This accident risk demands an equal amount of safety measures.

I witness many safety violations in the magazines I receive through today’s military distributions. For example, the March–April 2008 issue of Army Logistician shows several photos of mechanics, including the cover photo of a mechanic with a high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle, working without personal protective equipment (PPE). This is incorrect. We need to work together to make safety the top priority while repairing equipment.

The first-line supervisor plays an important role in preventing personnel injuries and accidents. This individual should—

  • Check work areas daily for unsafe conditions and unsafe acts. Make on-the-spot corrections when safety violations are found.
  • Demand absolute compliance with safety rules and established work procedures.
  • Make sure personnel are trained for the job and what is expected of them.
  • Brief personnel on hazardous conditions to ensure they know the hazards. He should not assume that they will always act in the appropriate manner.

Everyone is required to wear goggles during grinding and drilling operations and when using chemicals, working with systems under pressure, and working under vehicles. Hearing protection is needed during operations that produce damaging noise. Appropriate gloves are needed when working with chemicals, wire rope, or other operations that have the potential to injure the hands. A welding apron, gloves, face protection and barriers are necessary for welding operations.

Not all of this important safety equipment is used. We do not go to battle without our M–4 carbines, so we should not work on equipment without personal protective equipment. Using worn hand tools and shop tools and conducting forklift load tests, jack stand checks, and hydraulics function tests and checks all present potential hazards that cause accidents.

Use a maintenance safety checklist to ensure the mechanics are complying with regulations, safety-of-use messages, and all safety standing operating procedures.

I am a field maintenance shop supervisor for the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and have been in this field for 34 years. Soldiers and civilians need to get with the safety program. We do not need the loss of any Soldiers to an accident.

Thanks you for all you do in the field, but remember— Safety First.

CW4 Geams R. Blevins
PAARNG

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