Safety office cracks down on hard falls

By Airman Ariel Owings | Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs | May 24, 2018


    The 87th Air Base Wing Safety Operations office hosted fall protection and confined space rescue classes here, May 16 and 17.

    Safety personnel premiered a new program with the Safety and Survival Training company to target careers that regularly work in confined spaces and have potential fall risks such as aircraft maintainers or electrical systems technicians, to equip themselves on how to handle high and low angle ropes and confined space operations.

    “The classes bring awareness of how important the safety measures are,” said Nicholas Deluca, 87th Air Base Wing Occupational Safety specialist. “Slips, trips and falls are one of the leading causes of injuries in construction.”

    Employees who require fall protection and confined space rescue certifications must complete the classes within the first month of being operational in their career field.

    Each class of approximately 24 students is given a safety brief and taught different techniques and types of knots to use for work related duties such as creating safety lines and equipment relocation. Students are then taken to various hangars or vacant buildings on base for hands-on training to rescue an incapacitated individual who might have injured themselves or inhaled any dangerous chemicals inside the engine of an aircraft or from a leak in a tunnel under a building.

    U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jason Cormier, 87th Air Base Wing Occupational Safety technician, said his organization noticed Joint Base MDL has a lot of confined spaces due to the nature of military jobs: maintaining aircraft, fuel tanks or underground pipelines, which bring concern to potential incidents. They worked to develop a training program specifically for confined space operations and to prevent falls.

      “When we do safety inspections, sometimes we will see that people don’t have proper fall protection equipment,” said Deluca. “Sometimes they don’t have the proper training and don’t know how to put the equipment on correctly.”

    The installation leaders are keen on providing mission-ready, motivated, expeditionary military members to execute rapid global mobility. To ensure this, the safety office continually conducts safety inspections of the base’s training programs, properly filling out confined space permits and risk mitigation forms.

    “Although there haven’t been a lot of incidents with confined spaces [on Joint Base MDL], learning the steps and teaching people what to do helps them to identify those hazards and mitigates those risks before they even get in the confined space prevents mishaps,” said Cormier.

    Tim Moore, Safety and Survival Training lead instructor, said the training is important because if a mishap does occurs, people need to be prepared to successfully rescue an individual without hurting themselves or becoming incapacitated as well. This can cause the rescue to become more dangerous and difficult for others.

    “Even down to the types of knots tied in the ropes you use or the direction you point the ropes in could be the determination of your survival,” said Bryan Emenecker, Safety and Survival Training lead instructor. “Every minor detail is important and every step should be cautiously and carefully thought through.”