By Lt. Col. James Smith, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety CenterJune 25, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 25, 2013) - In recognition of National Safety Month, members of the Ground Directorate encourage everyone in the Army Family to take time and integrate risk management into their planned activities; day, night, tactical, non-tactical, on or off duty. While there's been a recent decline in Army accidental fatalities, there's still room for improvement when it comes to reducing losses.
On- and off-duty ground accident fatalities decreased 33 percent last year. We've made great strides in Army safety with user-friendly tools and initiatives to assist leaders identify hazards and implement mitigation strategies. However, in recent months, we have lost 19 Soldiers -- many due to indiscipline or leaders failing to enforce standards.
To combat these unnecessary losses, the Army must improve its safety efforts. Leader's must ensure that risk management is integrated into all operations process activities and mitigation strategy is communicated throughout their formations. We can reduce unnecessary losses in our formations through effective communication.
Another area in which leaders can improve their safety efforts is pre-operations checks and inspections. These checks ensure Soldiers, units and systems are as fully capable and ready to execute the mission as time and resources permit. Inspections ensure the force has the resources necessary to accomplish the mission. During pre-operations checks and inspections, leaders also check Soldiers' ability to perform crew drills that may not be directly related to the mission. Some examples of these include drills that respond to a vehicle rollover or an onboard fire.
According to USACR/Safety Center statistics, the risk for injuries and accidents traditionally soar in the last two quarters of each fiscal year. During summertime, Soldiers and their Families are more likely to go outdoors for entertainment and are exposed to risks associated with activities such as swimming, sports and physical training.
In our directorate, we'll continue to identify the trends and focus our efforts on providing Soldiers, leaders and safety professionals with tools that will assist them in accomplishing their mission safely.
We conduct analyses of Army accidental loss, identifies trends and proposes courses of action to affect loss prevention. The directorate leverages Army, Department of Defense, other government agencies and civilian sector best practices to develop programs to influence change and improve combat readiness Army wide.