By U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public AffairsAugust 24, 2015
WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii -- Workplace safety is about preventing injuries and protecting the health of Soldiers, civilians and contractors by ensuring safe and healthy workplaces, whether it's in a Fort Shafter Flats office building or in the middle of a Schofield Barracks construction worksite.
It's about protecting the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii's most valuable asset -- people.
By Taking a Stand! to protect the Soldiers and civilians who make up the workplace, the Army Safety Program assists leaders to get jobs done and missions completed.
Each duty day brings its own unique set of hazards to the workplace.
Because of our daily routines, it's easy to get complacent and not recognize these hazards.
A proactive workplace safety program reduces risks by identifying the hazards and developing control measures before accidents occur. It also looks at the connections between employees, their duties, equipment and tools, and the working environment.
The Army's workplace safety program manages the many hazards, including these:
Electrical (shock/short circuit, fire).
Ergonomics (strain, human error)
Fire/heat burns (burns, smoke inhalation).
Slips, trips and falls (ladders, equipment).
Mechanical (vibration, amputations).
Noise (hearing damage, stress).
Material handling (failure to follow correct guidance).
Power tools (improper use or storage).
Visibility (lack of proper lighting, obstructed vision).
Weather (hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanoes).
Clint German, director, Directorate of Installation Safety, USAG-HI, says that sometimes all that's required to maintain a safe work environment is using a little common sense. Implementing an element of on-the-job safety can prevent many accidents in the workplace.
"Think about safety as you go about your day," German said. "Workplace safety has to happen all over garrison. Any environment on post has factors that can impact the safety of others.
"All post operations, not just some," German added.
Not paying attention to what you're doing can also cause problems. For instance, falls remain one of the most common workplace accidents throughout the world, with three of the top five workplace violations reported by Occupational Safety and Health Administration involving accidents caused by working at dangerous heights.
According to OSHA, some of the top workplace safety violations in the U.S. are fall protection, hazard communication, scaffolding protection, respiratory protection and ladder safety standards.
For Army Hawaii personnel, simply following regulations isn't enough. The deeper challenge is adopting a culture that values safety and seeks to reduce risks whenever possible, even if it means delays until deficiencies can be corrected.
Workplace safety applies to everyone. Employees need to stay alert and aware at all times to avoid accidents, while supervisors need to know the most common causes for workplace accidents and be able to spot the risk factors early to prevent them.
Part of the goal of the workplace safety program is to prevent accidents and injuries by complying with OSHA standards and effectively using Risk Management, a program that specifically targets Soldiers and Department of Army civilians performing non-combat roles during training, contingency operations, field operations, and office and industrial operations.
As the new fiscal year approaches, the Army Hawaii community should strive to make 2016 the safest year ever.
(Editor's note: This article was localized from an Army News Service story out of Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.)