NEWS | May 15, 2018

Team Charleston trains during Fall Prevention Week

By Airman 1st Class Helena Owens Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

For the fifth year in a row, Joint Base Charleston is partnering with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to highlight fall prevention strategies with the goal of reducing the number of fall-related mishaps.

Fall Prevention Focus Week is a time period each May that Joint Base Charleston's Wing Safety Office uses to focus on reducing slips, trips and falls.

“Even the most careful workers are susceptible to accidents,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua O’Hara, 628th Air Base Wing safety office NCO in charge of safety and mishaps. “The Air Force experiences hundreds of fall mishaps annually that result in thousands of lost man-hours.”

Supervisors will take some time during May to hold an informal meeting with their units.  This can be as simple as open discussions, organized meetings, fall safety demonstrations and personal protection equipment checklist reviews.

“Fall protection is designed to prevent people from falling off of aircraft,” said Master Sgt. John Roberts, 437th Maintenance Squadron Aircraft Fuel Systems section chief. “I personally have fallen off an aircraft and was saved by wearing my fall protection.”

The Air Force Safety Center has partnered with OSHA and NIOSH in support of their "National Safety Stand-Down” this year in hopes of reducing mishaps in the work environment.

“The total number of on-duty fall-related injuries in the Air Force totaled 967in 2013,” said O’Hara. “Since the start of the Fall Prevention Focus Week the Air Force has reduced the total number of fall related injuries by 31 percent, totaling 670 fall related mishaps in 2017.”

There are many variables involved in a fall that are outside of a worker’s control, such as working conditions, the specific job site, and human error. Wearing the proper PPE helps to prevent and reduce as many accidents as possible.

“A successful fall protection program is vital to the accomplishment of the mission here at Joint Base Charleston,” said O’Hara. “The safety of all personnel working from heights should be a priority in all organizations across the base, because ensuring a safe and healthy workplace for every Airman is essential to mission success.”