Since we obviously cannot expect to experience
everything in life ourselves, we must learn from the
experiences of others. We need to heed the lessons
learned by those who have gone before us.
Safety precautions and operating instructions
provide documentation of experiences that teach us
clear lessons. By heeding these precautions and instruc-
tions, we can prepare ourselves to live successfully and
safely in our everyday environment.
We can learn about mishap prevention from actual
mishaps. Experience shows what went wrong and how
often. It also shows what has to be done to correct a
potential mishap problem. Safety rules and operation
and maintenance procedures and practices reflect
lessons learned from past mishaps.
Environment, equipment design, or lack of finding
or training increases the hazards of some conditions. For
example, the best setting for a piece of equipment and
its operator is a stable platform. However, the shipboard
environment cannot always provide the ideal setting.
The environment of a naval ship is potentially
dangerous. Fuel, ammunition, high temperatures,
electrical circuits, steel decks, salt water, ladders, voids,
and machinery create conditions that can catch the
unwary. In the aviation community, high-performance
aircraft make the hazards even greater. Everyone in the
Navy must be aware of these hazards.
Make sure you provide hazard awareness training.
The hidden hazards are the ones that often cause
mishaps. Routine tasks may lull people into a false sense
of security; they may then be tripped up by something
that appeared irrelevant or that they did not notice. A
detailed review of the conditions that existed at the time
of a mishap might reveal hazards that would have been
obvious to the trained observer.
Teach people that they should not take risks when
they suspect something is wrong or take shortcuts to
avoid the inconvenience of safe practices. Make them
realize that a disabling injury or lost or damaged
equipment is much more inconvenient in the long run.
Use formal and on-the-job training to develop
hazard awareness. Measure that awareness by the ability
of your people to identify hazards. Although you can
teach people to identify known hazards, you may have
difficulty teaching them to recognize hidden hazards.
Their skill level, experience, attitude, and sense of
responsibility may affect their ability to identify hidden
hazards. You must be able to recognize and evaluate
those areas that affect your peoples ability to learn. You
must be able to teach others what you know and what
you have learned through experience.
As a result of changing technology, the working
environment constantly undergoes new developments
and receives new equipment. Therefore, in spite of
conscientious mishap prevention, you must always
watch for hazards in the work environment. Hazards
may exist because of mistakes made by others or
because of your own behavior. Although hazard
awareness training teaches people to be more observant
of hazardous conditions, it requires a certain amount of
self-awareness by the trainee. Education, training, and
experience improve the trainees awareness.
In chapter 1 we reviewed safety training require-
ments. In chapter 2 we discussed safety attitudes and
promoting a safety program. All of that information
involves hazard awareness.
This chapter exposed you to some of the causes of
mishaps and ways to prevent them. For further
information and guidance, you may find the following
references in Appendix I helpful. Remember, take steps
to prevent mishaps BEFORE they happen.