Air Force Fall Prevention Focus hits home
By Susan Merhege, Air Force Safety Center
/ Published July 18, 2020
KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFNS) --
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when more Airmen and Space Professionals have been asked to telework to prevent the spread of disease, the Department of the Air Force is highlighting its annual Fall Prevention Focus at home and on the job from July 20-24.
“Calling All Fall Prevention Warriors” is the theme for the 2020 Fall Prevention Focus. Though the event is normally hosted in partnership with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s national safety stand-down in May, the Air Force is pushing forward with their effort to highlight the risks of falls associated with working from heights and ground level. OSHA postponed its fall prevention event until September 14-20, 2020 due to COVID-19.
“I think it’s important to reinforce fall prevention safety right now,” said Mike Ballard, Air Force chief of occupational safety. “Fall Prevention Focus is something we do every year, and this vital part of safety doesn’t stop being an issue because many of our people are working from home.”
Ballard also added that the Air and Space Forces have a great many people still at their jobs on installations keeping the mission going despite COVID-19.
“Since 2015, we’ve had 15 fatalities and permanent disabilities caused by on- and off-duty falls,” Ballard said. “It’s crucial Airmen and Space Professionals understand fall prevention and safety are of utmost importance, whether they are on or off duty, teleworking or at the jobsite.”
The 2020 Fall Prevention Focus is designed to encourage Airmen and Space Professionals to be vigilant in taking measures to protect themselves against slips, trips, and falls wherever their location.
The Air Force Safety Center is asking all members of the Air and Space Forces to evaluate their fall prevention personal protective equipment for damage or active recalls. Assess procedures and make sure their fall prevention program complies with Air Force Manual 91-203, Air Force Occupational Safety, Fire, and Health Standards.
Fall prevention doesn’t stop at work. Be mindful of the hazards at home by checking ladders and step stools to ensure they are in good working order and everyone knows how to properly use them. Clear household spills and clutter in high traffic areas and stairwells right away to prevent future falls. Ensure walkways are clear of tripping hazards.
Finally, Airmen and Space Professionals can demonstrate their understanding of fall prevention by speaking with their peers and family members about the dangers associated with slips, trips and falls. By knowing the hazards, everyone can become Fall Prevention Warriors.
All of the information needed to participate is available on the Fall Prevention Focus website: https://www.safety.af.mil/Divisions/Occupational-Safety-Division/Fall-Prevention-Focus/ along with Air Force fall prevention statistical analysis, graphics, videos and other helpful links.