By Larry A. Taylor, command safety manager , Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center
August is recognized by the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC) as Workplace Health and Safety month, making it the perfect time to evaluate the safety of Sailor, Marine and civilian work locations, both ashore and afloat.
As command safety manager and safety and occupational health specialist at the NMCPHC, I respond to a variety of safety concerns, near misses and mishaps, many of which can be avoided if the proper precautions are taken. Unsafe work environments and high-risk operations can lead to incidents, injuries and missed work days. Even minor accidents can jeopardize productivity and mission-readiness; injuries pose a negative impact on the health and readiness of the U.S. Armed Forces during peacetime and combat.[i]
Prevention is key, but maintaining safety is not just the responsibility of safety officers; everyone plays a role in workplace safety.
What You Can Do To Stay Safe
- Be proactive: Participate in trainings, take advantage of the resources offered at your work location and through the Naval Safety Center, and apply what you learn to your job.
- Be aware of your surroundings: Familiarize yourself with your work area, locate exits, learn the location of fire extinguishers and safety devices, and take note of any potential hazards.
- Be diligent: Stay alert to identify potential mishaps such as spills and tripping hazards. Always use all appropriate safety equipment and follow safety procedures, regardless of how many times or how comfortable you feel with an exercise or operation.
- Do your part: Follow safety standards and SOPs, handle hazardous materials with caution and use common sense. Simple tasks, such as closing cabinets and drawers, using approved extension cords, and closing liquid containers can prevent potentially major injuries.
- Talk to your safety officer: If you have any questions or concerns, your Safety Officer is ready and available to answer them.
For safety officers like me, a safe and productive work environment is the number one priority. When Sailors, Marines and civilians join in efforts to reduce risks and the potential for injury, our chances of accomplishing safety goals can greatly improve.
Talk to your safety representative or command safety officer for information on how you can keep your work location safe. For more information on safety, visit the Naval Safety Center, download NMCPHC Health Promotion and Wellness (HPW) Injury and Violence Free Living campaign materials, and access the HP Toolbox for more information.
Editor’s Note: Larry A. Taylor is the command safety Manager for the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center and oversees safety operations at NMCPHC and its subordinate commands.
[i] Jones, B., Canham-Chervak, M. and Sleet, D. An Evidence-Based Public Health Approach to Injury Priorities and Prevention Recommendations for the U.S. Military. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2010; 38(1S):S1 – S10.