***image1***America and the world are changed forever following the events of Sept.11, 2001.
In order to meet the challenges that follow, the Army is also changing – by approaching the issue of safety from a new direction.
The Army plans to enhance combat readiness through proactive risk management. The goal is to reduce preventable accidents by 50 percent over the next two years.
“Safety is vital for mission accomplishment; doing things the same way means the same results. Aggressive change is needed to meet an aggressive challenge,” said Brian Judge, the 21st Theater Support Command, command safety director. “Communication and consolidation of information is critical to safety and mission success.”
In an effort to reduce risk factors in everyday hazards and operations, first-line leaders will focus on enforcing company and brigade safety policies through clear, concise communications. Leaders will ensure Soldiers and their families are informed of the “Be Safe” campaign goals and objectives through formations and family readiness group meetings.
Additionally, leaders will continuously evaluate their troops to ensure standards and expectations are known, understood and enforced at all levels. Soldiers can identify hazards that exist in their operations or activities. Once hazards are recognized, Soldiers can act to mitigate their risk.
“Risk management is nothing more than anticipating real and potential hazards present in your on- and off-duty activities and deciding how to control them,” said Mr. Judge. “Just ask yourself, are the actions I’m taking worth the risk taken?”
According to statistics, privately owned vehicle accidents are the number one killer among Soldiers. First-line leaders should encourage defensive driving and make sure every Soldier keeps driving safety precautions uppermost in their minds.
Soldiers should ensure that vehicles are in good driving condition and that they are aware of the laws of the road.
“It’s important to just take a few minutes to look at the situation and make the right decision,” said 21st TSC’s Safety Specialist Reinhard Wolsiffer.
“Let’s say a Soldier is planning to drive four hours to Paris after a normal duty day to go to a concert, and he has to work the next day. There simply wouldn’t be enough time for that Soldier to drive back safely,” said Mr. Wolsiffer.
This scenario would offer a perfect opportunity for first-line leaders to explain that safety is a personal issue, which should be practiced at all times.
The safety program affects more than vehicle safety. Unit-level leaders are required to inform all Soldiers about the importance of water safety, environmental awareness, the dangers of heat injury, choking, sports safety and, in general, just being aware of accident prevention.