The benefits of maintaining a safe workplace are many, but what should remain at the forefront of your mind is this: Safety is about protecting Soldiers and equipment, whether in garrison or on the battlefield. A solid unit safety program allows leaders and supervisors to protect their best resources -- Soldiers, equipment and facilities -- as well as reduce the costs and time spent with avoidable injuries, accidents and damages to equipment.
The overall effectiveness of a safety program is measurable through leadership engagement, personal involvement and supervision. Leaders must insist on adherence of established safety rules and standards. At the same time, they should continually evaluate their mission for innovative preventive measures to enhance the unit's safety program.
To ensure the safety of personnel during maintenance operations, leaders and supervisors must develop and implement safety standard operating procedures and policies. In addition, they must educate personnel on existing Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and National Fire Protection Association regulatory requirements. Implementing and adhering to good safety practices while conducting maintenance operations is a force multiplier, and Soldiers and leaders alike should continue to follow established safety procedures. Here are some tips and considerations that might just prevent the next mishap in a maintenance facility or motor pool:
• Keep maintenance bays clean, neat and free of fire hazards at all times.
• Maintain vehicle speeds at a minimum, usually 5 to 10 mph, or as posted, when operating within the limits of a maintenance facility. Always use ground guides!
• Create and post a safety board in an easily accessible area.
• Ensure eyewash stations and emergency showers are available in areas where personnel use hazardous chemicals.
• Store petroleum, oil and lubricant products in approved containers and in well-ventilated and marked areas. Frequently inspect storage areas where hazardous materials are stored. Ensure the proper disposal of contaminated oil and POL products.
• Chemical agent-resistant coating painting will be conducted only by trained and authorized personnel with appropriate personal protective equipment.
• Ensure spill clean-up supplies are available, to include shovels, dry sweep, brooms, empty containers and protective clothing.
• Store and secure gas cylinders to a wall or fixed surface to prevent tipping, falling or rolling.
• Post and observe floor load-bearing capacities.
• Clearly mark designated smoking areas.
• Operate power tools away from explosives, flammable liquids, gases or dust. Power tools create sparks, which may ignite dust or fumes.
• Store battery packs away from other metal objects.
• Place large, bulky or heavy items away from doors to facilitate easy movement in the event of an emergency.
• Gasoline/gasoline byproducts (rags, pans, brushes, etc.) will not be stored inside any maintenance facility or storage room at any time.
• Maintain all lifting devices (jacks, jack stands, hoists, cranes) in serviceable condition. Inspect these devices periodically in accordance with equipment maintenance manuals and SOPs.
• Stencil the max load capacity on both sides of the support assembly of overhead cranes and hoists so it is visible to personnel.
• Store and secure gas cylinders to a wall or fixed surface to prevent tipping, falling or rolling.
• Conduct refueling operations in a safe manner and under supervision.
• Only allow fully trained and qualified personnel to weld. Ensure there is adequate shielding and ventilation.
• Close off battery shops from the general maintenance area and make sure the shop is clearly marked.
• Ensure fire extinguishers are serviceable and readily available.
• Use lubrication pits for servicing military vehicles only. Pits must be well illuminated. A cover must be used at all times when a vehicle is not over the pit.
• Ensure serviceable PPE is readily available to all personnel.

Whether working in a maintenance tent or motor pool, remember that the safety of Soldiers is paramount.

Page last updated Mon October 1st, 2012 at 00:00