doors. Heavy concentrations in closely confined spaces,
however, are dangerous and may be lethal because they
reduce the amount of oxygen in the air. Anything more
than a brief exposure to the gases of combustion, or to
screening smokes, should be avoided or should be
protected against through the use of an appropriate
ORDNANCE HANDLING SAFETY
LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Recognize safety
precautions, practices, and principles
applicable for the handling of ordnance. List
general ammunition safety precautions. List
and define standard commands for gun crews.
The utmost care and prudence must be exercised in
supervising the handling, inspecting, preparing,
assembling, and transporting of all types of ammunition.
People tend to become careless and indifferent when
continually engaged in work with explosives and, as
long as nothing occurs, are inclined to drift gradually
into neglecting the necessary precautions. Nothing but
constant vigilance on the part of the all concerned will
ensure the steadfast observance of the rules and
regulations that experience has taught are necessary.
Safety is everyone's responsibility. Awareness of
danger, knowledge of how danger can be avoided, and
constant vigilance are the three basic requirements to
prevent accidents when working with explosives. If a
thorough understanding of the basic ideas behind the
precautions is developed, unsafe conditions can be
recognized and corrected and further suitable action
taken instinctively when the unexpected occurs. Safety
precautions pertaining to the handling of and working
with explosives may be found in OP 4, Ammunition
Afloat; OP 1014, Ordnance Safety Precautions, Their
Origin and Necessity; and OP 3347, United States
Ordnance Safety Precautions.
Safety precautions, rules, and regulations for
handling explosives should be made the subject of
frequent review, and the necessity for strict compliance
with these precautions should be firmly fixed in the
minds and habits of all hands involved in handling
explosives so that they will react in an emergency to the
instruction previously received.
Note that in the early stages of the use of explosives,
experience was gamed at a great pricenot only in
dollars, but in human lives. No relaxation should be
tolerated, since this tends to create the impression that
the rules are arbitrary.
All personnel assigned to handle ammunition or
gunnery equipment should receive a thorough
indoctrination from a qualified chief petty officer or
petty officer regarding the general safety precautions
and procedures to be followed in the course of their
duties. This indoctrination is MANDATORY before
ANY weapons-handling/firing evolution.
Periodic drills should be conducted to provide
realistic training and to identify and/or eliminate any
unsafe practices. Inexperienced personnel will
constantly be under the direct supervision of skilled and
experienced personnel until adequate experience is
Because of the nature of gunnery and ammunition,
safety precautions should be of extreme importance to
every Seaman. Compliance with all safety procedures
will ensure a safe ammunition transfer.
The following general safety precautions
concerning gunnery and ammunition should be of
extreme importance to every Seaman:
Ammunition should ALWAYS be handled carefully
and ONLY when necessary.
The proper way to handle ammunition is to hold the
base of the projectile downward with one hand
covering the base, while supporting the top of the
round up at a 45° angle and cradling the top, like a
baby, in the elbow.
Smoking is prohibited in magazines and any area
containing explosives or ammunition, as well as in
the vicinity of handling or loading operations
Naked lights, matches, lighters or other spark-,
flame-, or heat-producing devices should NEVER
be taken or stowed near magazines or any other area
where explosives are present.
Unauthorized personnel should not be permitted in
magazines or in the vicinity of handling operations
involving explosives or ammunition.
Personnel assigned to gunnery stations during
general quarters should ALWAYS know the type of
ammunition being handled.
Ammunition handlers should wear appropriate
clothing and safety shoes. Ammunition handlers
should never wear keys, gloves, rings, watches, or
headgear when handling ammunition. Belt buckles
should be turned inside or be removed to avoid the
possibility of striking a primer on a projectile.