Fort McCoy News November 22, 2013

Seasonal hazards, UXO focus of safety meeting

Public Affairs Staff

The Fort McCoy Safety and Occupational Health Advisory/Community Health Promotion Council held its first meeting of fiscal year (FY) 2014 in early November.

Deb Heise-Clark, Installation Safety Office (ISO) safety specialist, said fall/winter seasonal safety hazards include, hunting, riding ATVs, cold weather, slippery surfaces, winter driving and holiday celebrating.

The ISO has information covering detailed safety tips for each of the topics. Personnel can request the information by calling the ISO at 608-388-3403.

Heise-Clark emphasized the importance of tree-stand safety while hunting. "One in three tree-stand users will become an injury statistic," she said. "Of those injuries, 80 percent will occur while ascending or descending the stand."

Tips to mitigate risks associated with tree stands include:
• Select an appropriately sized tree to support weight.
• Understand and follow factory-recommended procedures for installing stand.
• Inspect the stand each year prior to hunt.
• Maintain three points of contact on the ladder when climbing.
• Use a safety belt or harness while climbing into or out of the stand.
• Use a haul line to raise and lower equipment.
• Make sure someone knows the location of your tree stand and when you will be hunting.

Tim Cumberworth, ISO safety specialist, presented information about unexploded ordnance (UXO). He said UXO can be old or new and have many shapes, sizes and types but they all can have the possibility of being dangerous. He said if UXO is found, personnel need to remember the three Rs — Recognize, Retreat and Report. UXO found on ranges can be reported to the Range Branch Fire Desk at 608-388-4848, or, if found in the cantonment or housing area, to 608-388-2266 or 911.

Heise-Clark said the Supervisor Orientation training dates for 2014 are Jan. 8, April 16, July 17 and Oct. 8. The initial training is a one-time requirement for all garrison supervisory and management employees and the refresher training must be taken by first-line supervisors every four years.

The training provides education on safety and occupational health awareness, accident prevention, accident reporting and investigation procedures, supervisor responsibilities for initiation and administrating compensation claims, and provision for restricted duty return to work programs.

Heise-Clark noted that incident analysis of specialty equipment used at Fort McCoy documented two cases where operators needed training on the equipment they were using. She stressed that supervisors must ensure their employees are properly trained.

Garrison Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Rich Harvey went over the four Safety and Occupational Health Objective objectives for FY 14:

1) Leaders must take a proactive role in conducting workplace hazard assessments.

2) Supervisors will establish employee training programs for specialty equipment that includes operating instructions, safety precautions and proper maintenance and care.

3) Adverse weather conditions can impact employee performance and morale and can be a contributing factor for mishaps while at the workplace.

4) Supervisors must ensure employees promptly report all mishaps.

Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. Steven W. Nott and Garrison Command Sergeant Major Command Sgt. Maj. DeeAnn K. Dunstan both emphasized the importance of time management and planning during winter. Personnel may need to allow for more time for things like scraping ice and snow from vehicles and driving slower on slippery roads.

"Ice is here, and snow is coming," Nott said. "Timeliness is important. Plan for the extra time in the morning, and get ahead of the power curve by inventorying equipment on hand, such as ice melt, in your buildings."