Fort Riley, Kansas



SAFETY NOTES - Helpful steps for healthy workforce

By Alex Bender | GARRISON SAFETY OFFICE | March 10, 2014

During the calendar year 2013, the Fort Riley Department of the Army civilian work force reported 64 recordable work-related accidents or occupational illnesses.

The breakdown of these accidents is as follows: 24 cases with 108 days away from work, 19 cases with 176 days of job restriction or transfer, and 21 cases where employees were injured, treated by medical staff and returned to work.

DA civilians are essential to the Army’s ability to accomplish the mission in the continental U.S. and overseas. On-the-job civilian injury results in lost workdays significantly affect readiness.

The Garrison Safety Office has conducted a review of the installation’s civilian accident history for fiscal year 2013 and established a reduction target that addresses the most pressing hazards.

The Garrison Safety Office identified and selected the three common hazards that actually led to lost-time accidents and established a lost-time reduction target for these types of accidents. The three areas of emphasis according to all accidents reported in 2013 were: Strains and sprains; struck by or with; and slips, trips and falls.

In order to provide employees a safe and healthful workplace free of known hazards, employers must implement and enforce the Safety Management System:

Management leadership and employee involvement

Work site analysis

Safety and health training

Hazard prevention, control Some tips in establishing the Safety Management System for a safer workplace: (This list is not inclusive of all sub-elements of the safety management system).

Post the senior commander’s and garrison commander’s safety policy letters on bulletin boards.

Supervisors conduct a daily walk through of the work site for the purpose of showing employees leadership is concerned about their working conditions and make on-the-spot corrections when hazards are identified.

Supervisors conduct documented monthly work site inspections. This should help supervisors meet the accident prevention requirement, a rated portion of the performance evaluation and to promote workplace safety.

Conduct a work site hazard assessment to identify sources of hazards employees are exposed to; establish a mitigation system to lessen the severity of exposure; identify personal protective equipment, or PPE, where engineering or administrative controls are not able to mitigate/control hazards. Train employees how to wear, maintain and discuss limitations of PPE, turn-in and replacement procedures. Finally, prepare a documented certification signed by the supervisor reflecting the assessment was completed for a specific work site.

Supervisors conduct accident investigations to identify the root cause, implement controls that will prevent recurrence, review and update the job hazard analysis for the task.

Supervisors provide employees with standard operating procedures, so when followed, it will allow them to safely perform their jobs. Have employees acknowledge in writing they have read and understand the work site SOP. Have a realistic disciplinary and retraining program in place to deal with employees who violate workplace safety policies. SOPs are reviewed and updated at least annually.

Everyone attends safety training to meet the level of your safety responsibilities as required in IAW DA PAM 385-10, Appendix C and Tables C-1 to C-5.

Establish a hazard-reporting system, so employees can report unsafe conditions with the expectation they will be investigated and corrected in a timely manner.

Health surveys for work sites where industrial processes take place. Industrial Hygiene Branch, Preventive Medicine, Irwin Army Community Hospital will evaluate, identify and provide supervisors with information related to noise, air quality, lighting, ergonomics, process safety and rule out any employee exposure to occupational hazards.

Practice your emergency plans at least annually, making adjustments as required. Maintain a record of the drills conducted, results and any corrective actions taken.

Never store heavy objects out of sight in overhead locations. Stack items using the tier method to prevent them from leaning and falling over.

Conduct toolbox and tailgate safety sessions and conduct composite risk management to identify and mitigate hazards prior to starting tasks.

Provide and enforce the use of guards on machinery so blades, and nip-and-pinch points of operation are protected from employee exposure.

Make sure entry ways, floors and sidewalks are cleared of water and ice, respectively, and place warning devices to warn personnel of slippery floors.

Provide dollies, carts and other mechanical means for employees to move heavy items. This includes training on proper lifting techniques.

Do not allow cords, cables and hoses to cross doorways or other foot-traffic areas.

Inspect all emergency equipment monthly and replace all defective items.

Do not block access to emergency use items, like exits, extinguishers, fire sprinklers, electrical panels, eyewashes, deluge showers or first aid equipment.

Install permanent wiring, instead of using extension cords.

Clean up spills immediately. Know what to do in case of a chemical spill.

Keep chemicals in properly labeled containers and keep them closed when not in use.

Know where the safety data sheet is located for any chemical you use.

Oily rags must be removed from the workplace daily and disposed of in metal containers designed for that purpose.

Eating and drinking takes place in areas free of hazardous materials. Smoke only in designated areas.

Keep emergency numbers posted at each telephone, with street address and telephone number of your work location to assist anyone calling for emergency help.

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