REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Leaders from U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command recently held a forum that allowed senior leaders to focus on current safety issues, share lessons learned and identify efforts to mitigate accidents and optimize command missions and resources.

The USASMDC/ARSTRAT Command Safety and Occupational Health Advisory Councils are held semiannually and are chaired by the commanding general or his designated representative. The command utilizes this forum to discuss safety issues and mitigation efforts to negate future accidents.

"As the command safety director, I ensure the coordination and administration of the council in an effort to bring the commanders and senior leaders together to discuss accident trends, trend analysis, any new guidance or safety issues that the brigades or major subordinate elements may be experiencing," said Randy Joyner, command safety director. "This is so we can bring them up to the commanding general's level during the council for resolution."

During the last council meeting, Col. Kevin Michaels, SMDC command surgeon, spoke about cold weather casualties and injuries and how to protect members of the SMDC team. During his briefing, he talked about the dangers of chilblain, hypothermia, frostbite, immersion foot and carbon monoxide poisoning.

"I discussed the importance of commanders' awareness for cold weather injuries," Michaels said. "I put an emphasis on cold weather injuries such as frostbite prevention, having appropriate equipment and clothing, and also carbon dioxide poisoning. Although it is not a cold weather injury, people try to move grills inside without properly aerating the room.

"I think I was successful," he added. "I know a lot of our leadership learned something and that is the important thing."

Also, the council discussed the different classes of accidents and ways to prevent them. The classes range from monetary damage to injuries and possible fatalities.

"One of the things we talked about was the categories of accidents," Joyner said. "Our highest category is 'Personal Injury: Other.' This consists of slips, trips and falls or any accident that doesn't fit in another category, for example, one of the last accidents we had was when an individual doing PT strained his back. This type of incident was 64 percent of our accidents in fiscal year 2012."

Joyner spoke about how the council is designed to learn from accidents so members of the command can prevent them from reoccurring in the future.

"The importance of the council is that it goes back to the purpose of bringing commanders together to be able to talk about issues that they are having, to capture lessons learned and to mitigate accidents in the future for safety prevention," Joyner said. "This is not the only safety council we have. We also have the Quarterly Safety Councils where the additional duty safety officers and the collateral duty safety officers, who are from each section in the command, also assist us with identifying safety issues that could be in the work area."

He also wanted to remind people that safety is important and that every accident and incident needs to be reported to section representatives in each office or directly to the command Safety Office.

Page last updated Fri January 18th, 2013 at 00:00