Safety program saves lives
December 12, 2012
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. -- First Army Division East's safety record showed significant improvement during FY 2012, with only one reported fatality this year as opposed to three last year.
First Army Division East's safety record is in line with the rest of the Army, according to a recent report. According to the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center, fiscal year 2012 rates as one of the Army's safest years for accidental fatalities. Accidental deaths in fiscal year 2012 showed a nine percent decline which continues a downward trend which began in FY 2007, making it the second-safest year for Soldiers on record.
According to First Army Division East Safety Officer, Maj. Michael Sabatini, Division East's one fatality this year involved a privately owned motorcycle. This contrasts to three fatalities in FY 2011, including two by motorcycle and one by privately owned vehicle.
"I believe this is a reflection on the command teams' focus on raising awareness and educating our Soldiers, civilians and Family members of the dangers and risk mitigation with operating POVs," said Sabatini. "The main areas of emphasis include telling our people about the dangers of distracted driving.
Army-wide, a total of 161 Soldiers died in accidents during FY 2012, a tie with numbers recorded in FY 2000. Fiscal 1997 was the Army's safest year, with 150 accidental fatalities reported both on and off duty.
"Our leaders, Soldiers, safety professionals and Family members should be very proud of what we've done for safety," said Brig. Gen. Timothy J. Edens, director of Army Safety and commanding general of the U.S. Army Combat Readiness / Safety Center.
"Many people think about texting and talking on cell phones as distractions, and they are correct," Sabatini said. "However, manipulating radio and navigation systems, eating, drinking, reaching for objects or unrestrained pets; and talking to passengers can also cause a driver to momentarily lose focus. And a moment is all it takes."
Two categories that Division East improved significantly from FY2011 to FY 2012 were POV and POM accidents
"In FY 2011, Division East incurred six vehicle and 10 motorcycle accidents, compared to just two vehicle and one motorcycle accidents in FY2012," Sabatini said. "That's a 66 percent decrease in vehicle and 90 percent reduction in motorcycle accidents in just one year."
While accidents and accidental deaths are down, Sabatini said personnel injury is up within Division East.
"We have gone from four recorded PI accidents to 17 in FY12, an increase of 325 percent," he said. "It's important to note there were no permanent partial or permanent total disabilities."
Ten of the PI accidents were physical training/organized sports-related incidents that involved injuries to hands, feet, knees, ankles, and wrists.
"We can drastically reduce our PI accidents by just taking the time to conduct risk analysis and implement risk mitigation strategies prior to conducting physical training and organized sports," Sabatini said.