From Rear Adm. Erica G. Schwartz, Director of Health, Safety, & Work-Life (HSWL)
While many of you will be participating in traditional holiday activities, others will continue to carry out Coast Guard missions. Whether you are on leave, traveling, or standing the watch, I urge you to be safe during the holidays.
Coast Guard activities require discipline and training for mission success. Unfortunately, many do not take advantage of these skills and strategies to plan beyond the mission. In FY2016, the Coast Guard family lost eight people. Off-duty motor vehicle mishaps continue to be the number one cause of fatal mishaps in the Coast Guard, and speed, alcohol, drugs, and distraction are the primary causal factors in these mishaps.
Nationwide, holiday travel results in more fatal motor vehicle mishaps than any other time of the year. One advantage of being in the Coast Guard is the ability to use the Travel Risk Planning System (TRiPS) to assess risks associated with motor vehicle travel and to access recommendations to improve safety.
—> TRiPS can be accessed here.
—> Winter driving tips can be found on the Motor Vehicle Portal page.
Coast Guard units experienced 66 operational mishaps during the last holiday season. There were 17 mishaps directly associated with boat operations caused by grounding, collisions, allisions and laser strikes. Slips, trips, and falls accounted for 14 mishaps that occurred either underway or along the waterfront. The remaining 35 mishaps were associated with activities not in keeping with required safety programs including: lock-out/tag-out, improper lifting techniques, missing or incorrect Personal Protective Equipment, and unintentional firearm discharges.
The holiday season is an excellent time to consider conducting unit safety stand-downs.
Let’s take a pause and remind ourselves of the hazards associated with an often hectic and rushed period in our lives. Safety topics to consider include:
- mishap planning and reporting procedures
- risk management
- fire prevention
- the Unit Safety Assessment Tool
- safety training readiness
Have a safe holiday season and look out for your shipmates!