Fall-related mishaps decline with increased awareness, education

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Work-related fall injuries have decreased 31 percent since the Air Force began its focus on fall prevention in 2014, according to Air Force safety reporting data. Air Force safety leaders credit increased education and awareness for the significant decrease in costly fall-related injuries.

Air Force Occupational Safety led the first Fall Prevention Focus in May 2014 in conjunction with Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s National Safety Stand-down as a way to remind and educate all Airmen about fall prevention and the risks associated with heights.

According to mishap data reporting, there were 368 non-sports related slips, trips and falls in fiscal year 2014. That number fell to 308 in fiscal 2015 and 255 at the close of fiscal 2016.

“This downward trend in fall-related mishaps tells us our increased efforts are working,” Air Force Chief of Occupational Safety Bill Parsons said. “Participation in Fall Prevention Focus is growing, and we expect to see even greater results next year.”

Secretary of Labor R. Alexander Acosta noted the impact of the Air Force effort during a recent meeting with Air Force Chief of Safety Maj. Gen. John Rauch and Parsons. The Air Force achievement was also highlighted in OSHA’s semi-monthly newsletter with information about workplace safety and health.

With increased emphasis on outreach, the 2017 efforts of Air Force Occupational Safety reached more than 2 million people, including active duty Airmen, Air National Guard, Reserve, civilians, contractors and family members. Commanders at every level were encouraged to conduct activities that raise awareness of fall prevention and the risks associated with working at heights. Organizations across the Air Force hosted fall hazard awareness training, conducted live fall prevention demonstrations, displayed safety messages and promoted public service announcements broadcast by American Forces Network.