[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                    January 23, 2009
Safety

Preparation helps prevent injuries, accidents during winter

By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff

With winter in full force in Wisconsin, members of the Fort McCoy work force are encouraged to take steps to ensure their safety, said installation safety representatives attending the quarterly Safety and Occupational Health Advisory Council meeting Jan. 13.

Photo: Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company conduct flexibility exercises during a physical fitness training session at Rumpel Fitness Center. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company conduct flexibility exercises during a physical fitness training session at Rumpel Fitness Center. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

Deb Heise-Clark, Installation Safety Office (ISO) safety specialist, said the ISO offers and is developing a number of safety training opportunities. These will include information about general safety, supervisory safety responsibilities, workersí compensation programs, forklift operations, and Motorcycle Safety Foundation courses. She also noted that the Army Accident Avoidance Course can be accessed through a new Web site at https://www.lms.army.mil.

Installation personnel should use common sense and available knowledge to help plan countermeasures ahead of time to combat cold, snowy and icy weather, Heise-Clark said.

The example provided was an installation supervisor sent written communication before the current cold spell to her employees, which advised them to think about winter safety, including wearing appropriate clothing, Heise-Clark said. "Timely reminders often get employees thinking about the hazards and plans to prevent injuries," Heise-Clark said. "Wearing clothing in layers is good. Jeans may be a better choice of clothing in cold weather, than thinner fabric pants."

Even if personnel are working outside only briefly, they may experience frostbite or frostbite symptoms if theyíre not wearing proper clothing, such as gloves, because of the cold and wind chill. Personnel at Fort McCoy can check the temperature and wind chill readings by calling (608) 388-2468 (2-2HOT).

Snow should be removed thoroughly from vehicles before driving. Otherwise, snow can blow from rooftops onto vehicle windows and reduce visibility.

The snow also may blow onto other vehicles, reducing visibility for other drivers as well, Heise-Clark said.


"Timely reminders often get employees thinking about the hazards and plans to prevent injuries."

Deb Heise-Clark,
ISO Safety Specialist

Likewise, personnel should allow extra time for travel to and from work or to other destinations.

Wisconsin road conditions are available by calling a new Road Conditions number at 511 or by checking the Web site http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/travel/road/winter-roads.htm.

The new Road Conditions number can be called from a cell phone (all cell phone charges apply) or from a home phone. Those that cannot dial 511 from their phone can dial the toll-free number (866) 511-9472 (WISC).

Several safety representatives said it was better to drive a safe speed and arrive safely at a final destination, rather than trying to drive faster to make up lost time and putting yourself and other motorists at risk.

1st Sgt. Tom Aiello of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison Fort McCoy, said he changed the time of his unitís physical fitness training (PT) from morning to afternoon because of the winter weather.

"We didnít want personnel rushing to make it to PT on time early in the morning when conditions may not be the best," Aiello said. "Making it in the afternoon helps ensure everyone will get there on time. When the weather gets better, we will change the time back to morning."

Randy Eddy, ISO Safety manager, said garrison organizations also are working diligently to reduce the number of workers compensation incidents/claims and lost work time.

Photo: Personnel from Headquarters and Headquarters Company conduct push-ups during Army physical fitness training at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Personnel from Headquarters and Headquarters Company conduct push-ups during Army physical fitness training at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

"Weíre definitely heading in the right direction and making progress," Eddy said.

Everyone is encouraged to report all injuries incurred on-the-job, during training, etc., Heise-Clark added.

"If you donít report them, we canít take or develop control measures to prevent them," she said.

Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. David E. Chesser told safety representatives that he was very impressed with the safety operations environment at Fort McCoy.

For all the training and work accomplished by installation work force employees, Fort McCoy has had very few major accidents or injuries reported, he said. During an Army Readiness Assessment Program survey, a large percentage of personnel in the Fort McCoy garrison said they didnít know who their safety representative was.

Chesser said each garrison directorate/organization must appoint a safety representative and have that person responsible for safety information, including from the Safety Council meetings. The next meetings are scheduled for April 14 and July 14.

"We can talk about safety measures here," Chesser said. "Your responsibility is to take what was talked about here back to your employees and tell them what happened."

More information about safety in the Fort McCoy work force is available by visiting the Extranet Safety Section, which is accessible through the Fort McCoy Public Web site at http://www.mccoy.army.mil or by calling the ISO at (608) 388-3403.

 

 

[ Top of Page ]

[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]