It’s an unfortunate reality that work mishaps happen. However, they create a unique opportunity to learn from the situation and help prevent them from occurring in the future. Vonya Lofties, an occupational safety and health specialist for the Safety and Occupational Health Office at Defense Logistics Agency Installation Support at Richmond, helped educate the DLA workforce on workplace accidents through a two-day Mishap Investigation and Reenactment Training held Aug. 29 – 30 on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia.
The training, comprised of two sessions, one for mishap investigation and the other for reenactment training demonstrated the major difference between the two, Lofties said.
The investigation training focuses on immediately responding to a serious workplace mishap in order to preserve and document the scene and conduct witness interviews. Reenactment training looks at reviewing all the collected evidence gathered from the investigation team, identifying the direct, indirect and root causes, and making recommendations to prevent the accident from happening again.
Lofties explained that a mishap is an unintended event resulting in injury, illness or property damage. DLA classifies each mishap as a Class A, B, C, or D.
Class A work-related mishaps result in death; permanent, total disabling injury, or illness; or property damage equal to or greater than $2 million. Class B work-related mishaps result in a permanent partial disabling injury or illness (including loss of an eye or amputation); inpatient hospitalization of one or more employees or property damage between $500 thousand - $2 million. Class C mishaps result in non-fatal injury or illness that results in employees missing one or more days away from work not including the day of the injury or property damage between $50 thousand - $500 thousand. Class D mishaps result in a total cost of property damage between $20 thousand - $50 thousand or a recordable injury or illness not classified as a Class A, B, or C mishap.
“We base the training on real events that happen,” said Lofties. “I used my coworkers to help stage a workplace mishap.”
She explained that in her fabricated scenario an employee was cutting open a box and accidentally cut her arm open.
“The first team has to preserve the scene and gather evidence, to include, physical, medical and training records, standards of operating procedures, pictures and witness interviews,” said Lofties. She explained that the investigators have to collect as much information as possible about the mishap for the reenactment team. The reenactment team then has to piece together from this information that a new supervisor who was frugal refused to buy the proper safety equipment and told the employee to use an unsafe method to open boxes.
“I think the training went really well,” said Lofties “It’s important for everyone in the workforce to participate. She explained that DLA Aviation uses the Navy Safety and Environmental Training Center’s Navy and Marine Corps Mishap Investigation Course material and she attended the 40-hour course to be certified to conduct the training at DSCR.
“For 2016, there were 21 recorded mishaps that were valid,” said Lofties. “Out of those, only seven were Occupational Safety and Health Administration reportable. We will always use and adopt new safe practices, but being observant is the best method to avoid a workplace mishap.