News: Accidents on the decline in USD-S
BASRA, Iraq – According to the official Army accident database, the Army closed out Fiscal Year 2010 with 3,911 accidents and 505 fatalities. It was a 50 percent decrease in accidents and two percent decrease in fatalities since FY 2009.
The downward trend in accidents is evident in United States Division-South in southern Iraq. Since spring, the average monthly accident rate in USD-S has dropped by a third from about three per 1,000 service members to just under two.
USD-S Safety Director Paul Inman attributes the decline in accidents to an increased emphasis on safety by leadership.
“A successful safety program is based upon everyone fulfilling his or her responsibilities,” said Paul Inman, United States Division-South safety director. “Safety awareness events and community involvement are all good programs, but command emphasis and leader involvement is the key to a successful safety program within units.”
As today’s Army is challenged by a wide range of threats and operating environments, safety measurements and programs can provide positive protection for Soldiers, civilians and equipment.
There are many resources that provide safety information. The USD-S commanding general’s safety philosophy published in Feb. 2010 sets the tone for coordination and establishment of safety policies, standards and guidance for all USD-S operations and is built around the Composite Risk Management process, which is the Army’s principal risk reduction methodology.
CRM is a five-step process of identifying and assessing hazards, developing and implementing controls, supervising the task and evaluating the effectiveness of the controls.
“If the CRM process is understood and used for all activities, whether in garrison or in a tactical environment, it will help in identifying and assessing hazards to help mitigate and reduce accidents across the Army,” Inman said.
Units are required to conduct command safety councils that meet quarterly to review risk control options, make risk control decisions, and direct the implementation of risk control options, Inman said.
“Reporting helps the commander in developing trends and analysis to understand what types of accidents or hazards are in the workplace,” Inman said.
Commanders sometimes schedule safety stand-downs when a number of accidents occur in a short period, but they can also be scheduled as a precautionary measure to prevent accidents before they happen.
Accidents will happen, Inman said, but they are very much preventable.
“It takes leadership at all levels to enforce the standards and set the example for others to follow,” Inman said.