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Medical department deficiencies.

A review of the data collected during the safety surveys of CY 2002 has shown a continuing trend in a couple areas of the medical departments review. These areas, heat stress, WBGT PQS, and personal eye wash bottles, were commented on in FLASH (Feb-Mar 02), and continue to be an ongoing deficiency. Unfortunately, there seems to be some difficulty in correcting these two issues. The paragraphs below provide a few ideas to help resolve this ongoing trend. Additionally, the poison control phone numbers were posted incorrectly. Finally, I'll preview those areas that are progressing well and some insight with helpful ideas to improve your safety posture.

* Are heat stress surveyors assigned to perform WBGT surveys trained and qualified using heat stress surveyor watch station 303 of the Safety Programs Afloat PQS, NAVEDTRA 43460-4B?

Solution: OPNAVINST 5100.19D (w/chg 1) states that the MDR is responsible for conducting WBGT surveys in engineering and non-engineering spaces on submarines. Although the responsibility is placed directly on the MDR, the instruction does allow other personnel to be trained as a surveyor. The requirements for heat stress surveyors are outlined in paragraph B0206. However, one of the biggest questions received is where to get the PQS. One way is by downloading it from the CNET web site: You must log in and go to the NAVEDTRA 43400 section to find NAVEDTRA 43460-4B, Safety Programs Afloat PQS. In this PQS book, there is a section on heat stress training. And, yes, I can hear everyone saying, "That's great if you have access to the Internet on the boats." Here is one other way to get the PQS booklet; ask your safety officer for the CD-ROM provided to them from the Naval Safety Center during the last safety survey. Along with the PQS, there is a wealth of other information there that you may find useful. Once you have the PQS, you can begin training surveyors. I found that using the MSs or EMAT to be the best personnel to train as back-up surveyors to the MDR. Use the time during ship's drills to provide the training. During a recent survey, I found one MDR who solicited the local NEPMU (Naval Environmental Preventive Medicine Unit) to come down for a couple of hours and provide the training. Conducting a little training at frequent intervals helps to ensure retention of the information.

* Are approved eye wash bottles readily available, in sufficient quantities in lieu of permanent or portable eye wash stations in nucleonics/water chemistry and secondary analysis stations? Are all eye wash stations and personal eye wash bottle locations distinctly marked with highly visible signs?

Solution: Since there is no permanent eye wash station in the engine room, the personal eye wash bottles (NSN 6515-01-393-0728 or 6540-01-353-9946) should be installed. The eye wash placard (NSN 9905-01-345-4521) has a green background with white lettering and a picture of the eyewash station. In many instances, MDRs state the placards are difficult to obtain. Try this; make a placard/sign on your laptop, laminate it, and post it until you get the correct one. Finally, during some recent surveys, there has been a trend of inoperative eye wash stations that has begun to spiral upward. Encourage everyone onboard to periodically check, visually, that the permanent eye wash station is free of obstacles and in good working order.

* Is the phone number of the nearest poison control center and the national poison control center conspicuously posted on the locker?

Solution: There is a new nationwide poison control hotline phone number, which is 1-800-222-1222. This phone number will work from anywhere in the U.S., including Hawaii. You should also keep an up-to-date local poison control hotline number posted. During 2002, nearly 70% of the medical departments were deficient in posting the correct local and national numbers.

With that aside, what are we doing well? Plenty! The use of SAMS has helped MDRs to be nearly 100% in injury reporting, effectively manage hearing conservation, documenting NAVOSH training and potable water testing. Also, during sanitation inspections, MDRs are improving their skills in reporting hazards as well as those requirements outlined in NAVMED P5010, Chapter 1. Finally, an additional area that we have historically done well in has seen a slow decline in efficiency: quarterly pressure testing of oxygen bottles. This is one area that should always be in complete compliance. An empty oxygen bottle in an emergency is a great mishap to the crewmember that needs it most.

Have any helpful ideas, improvements, or concerns regarding safety onboard? E-mail or call, and I will do my best to help you and get the information out to everyone. Keep up the continued improvements and great work out there.
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Title Annotation:submarines
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Previous Article:Safety officer deficiencies.
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