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Stand Down for Safety


MCLAUGHLIN AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, W.Va. -- Falls and slips are common throughout the workplace. According to the Air Force Safety Center, between the years of 2012 and 2016 there were almost 3,500 falls with 13 fatalities on duty. Fortunately, many of these mishaps could have been prevented.

This month, the Air Force Safety Center [NH1] (AFSEC) is partnering with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to showcase the annual “Fall Prevention Focus” May 8 through 19, with OHSA having its “National Safety Stand-Down,” May 8 through 12.  

For Daniel Hughes, this partnership takes on a greater meaning as he is both a Guardsman and a member of OSHA. In the military, he serves as an Occupational Safety Craftsman with the 130th Airlift Wing and in his civilian role, he is Compliance Safety and Health Officer working for the U.S. Department of Labor/OSHA.

Hughes believes that his experience as a compliance officer helps him teach other unit members how to identify hazards before they become mishaps.

“As an OSHA Compliance Officer, it is our mission to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for working men and women,” he said. “One way we do that is through providing training, outreach and education. I take every opportunity to pass on my knowledge and experiences with the members of the Wing, to hopefully provide them with some tools to work safe, improve workplace safety and eliminate hazards.” 

On May 11, 2017, Hughes got an opportunity to speak with unit members on the meaning of the stand-down and impart wisdom about safety precautions and statistics.

 “The stand down is an opportunity to talk about fall hazards, ways to prevent falls, and other company safety policies, goals and expectations,” he explained. “It is a prevention tool to raise fall hazard awareness and help reduce fatalities and injuries related to falls.”

Hughes noted that in 2015 alone, more than 640 fatalities were recorded across all industries due to some type of fall but he reminded attendees that these statistics could have been far less because the falls were preventable.

“Safety isn’t something that should be overlooked for the sake of completing the mission,” he said. “It’s not ‘just another requirement’ or ‘way to discipline,’ it is essential to protect the companies, and in this instance, the Air National Guard’s most important assets - which for us, is every unit member.”

“As part of the 130th AW safety office, we truly care about the health and well-being of all members of the Wing, and it is our goal, along with the help of Wing Leadership and Supervisors, to ensure everyone goes home every day as healthy as they came through the gate,” Hughes said.

To date the U.S. Air Force active duty, reserves/guard, and civilian personnel worldwide have taken an active role in this event with 1.5 million personnel participating since the start of the stand down events. For more information go to  http://www.safety.af.mil/Divisions/Occupational-Safety-Division/Fall-Prevention-Focus/ or https://www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown/.  

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