Contact with equipment tops Anniston injuries list
Robert Strickland works on a turret hatch in Anniston Army Depot's Tracked Systems Division. Hatches that are not secured in an open position are one cause of injuries on the installation.

ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala -- Contact with equipment, which is any accident or incident where an employee is struck by, struck against or has body parts caught between objects, is historically the primary cause of injuries at Anniston Army Depot.

In 2012, it topped the list again. Contact accounted for 83 of the 199 recordable injuries on the installation.

Some of the reasons for these contact injuries, according to the Safety Office are:

•,Using tools with excessive wear or cracks

•,Not locking hatches in the open position

•,Cutting corners during job processes

"Sometimes you can't prevent these injuries," said Erica Long of the depot's Safety Office. "But, if employees have a tool that needs to be repaired they should take it out of service and everyone should always be aware of their surroundings."

The other categories of injuries in 2012 included:

• Overexertion, with 67 incidents

• Indoor falls, with 28 incidents

• Outdoor falls, with four incidents

• Exposure, with two incidents

• Transportation, with one incident

Additionally, 14 injuries fell under the "other" category, which includes a variety of accident causes, such as burns and other heat-related injuries.

In addition to the recordable injuries, which are documented per Occupational Health and Safety Administration regulations, the depot's Safety Office maintains records of first aid injuries.

First aid injuries often do not take the employee away from work and can be cared for by personnel in the Fire and Emergency Services Division or the Dear Occupational Health Clinic.

Among these injuries in 2012, contact with equipment again ranked highest with 27 followed by overexertion (19), indoor falls (6), outdoor falls (2) and other injuries (6).

Though most of the accidents occurred in the industrial area, some injuries, such as overexertion and falls, also occurred in office areas.

The Safety Office recommends everyone, no matter if they work in a shop or office setting, ensure proper housekeeping is done in their work areas to reduce slip and trip injuries.

Goals for VPP

The Voluntary Protection Program made great strides in the last year, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

Contractor CH2M Hill has been working with the Safety Office to develop tools for each cost center that will give employees all necessary safety information in one location.

The Go-to-Reference manual, a green binder filled with I Care cards, job safety analyses and other important information will soon be placed throughout the Nichols Industrial Complex.

"It's going to be a green book for safety, just like environmental has the Red Book," said the Safety Office's Daley Speer.

Personal Protective Equipment

One of the basics of VPP is that every employee should take the steps they know are right for their safety every day.

A big part of that is wearing the proper Personal Protective Equipment.

"The most fixable accidents are the ones that wearing basic PPE would have prevented," said Dale Larry a safety technician in the Safety Office. "We have had eye injuries and cuts that safety glasses and gloves would have prevented."

Additionally, all visitors to the industrial area should adhere to the same PPE guidance as employees in the area.

"If you are going to enter a building, you should wear the same PPE as the people who work in that building," said Susie Vernon, a safety technician in the Safety Office.

Machine Guarding

Along the lines of protective equipment are the guards that protect employees who work on grinders, lathes and other machines. Using these guards properly can prevent material from flying out of the work space and striking the employee or a passer-by.

Driving

Though transportation only accounted for one injury during 2012, the Safety Office is concerned about the number of distracted drivers on depot.

They remind the workforce that driving while talking on a cell phone is prohibited, as is smoking in any government vehicle, including forklifts.

"Some people are still traveling too fast in forklifts and we still find people not wearing their seat belts when they should be," said Ken Fagan, a safety technician in the Safety Office.

2013 Goals

Naturally, the principle goal for 2013 is to lower the injury rate. The goal for this year is to lower the number of injuries by five percent.

To do this, the Safety Office has established specific actions. These include:

•,Improve ownership in processes and procedures by establishing goals tied to the Group Award Payout.

•,Conduct safety sensing surveys to gauge employees' awareness and involvement in the elements of the safety program.

•,Expand education and training for employees and supervisors.

•,Visually depict safety performances in work centers. This will include safety films for The Morning Show that are filmed in shops throughout our industrial area.

•,Continue Lean/6S involvement and other initiatives to improve safety involvement.

•,Complete Stage III of the Department of Defense VPP checklist.

•,Ensure accountability at work center level through employee action teams and supervisor responsibilities.

If you have any concerns about safety in your work area, speak to your supervisor or call the Safety Office at Ext. 7541.

Remember, safety is everyone's job.

Page last updated Thu January 31st, 2013 at 12:13