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Soldering at O-level: led down the wrong path.

Analysts from our avionics branch have noticed a peculiar trend with Sailors and Marines who solder equipment at organizational-level activities. We frequently see two big problems during safety surveys: people not wearing PPE or not doing required safety training.

Solder is made of a tin and lead alloy, and, as we all should know, lead is dangerous to the human body in large quantities. The amount necessary to affect a person depends on an individual's body, and everyone is different.

We have noticed that most people do not know what type of PPE to wear, which kind of safety training to give, or how often that training should be held. The squadron's safety petty officer and workcenter supervisor, at the very least, should know these answers. They should spread the word and should enforce these procedures. The safety petty officer also should have a current copy of the latest industrial-hygiene (IH) survey. This document provides the necessary information on proper PPE and specific training required. But, as we also have noticed, the IH survey does not identify that avionics does any soldering. We all know that statement isn't reality. The workcenter supervisor should identify this problem as a discrepancy and ask the local industrial hygienist (who normally works at the base safety office) to come over to change the IH survey.

When working with solder, never put it or your hands into your mouth. After every soldering job, wash your hands thoroughly. Workcenter supervisors must make sure their people have all the necessary tools and training to do their jobs correctly. They need to take control of this growing fleet problem. It needs immediate attention. After all, our people are our greatest assets, and we can't lose them over a simple lack of safety awareness.

Senior Chief Thompson is an avionics analyst at the Naval Safety Center.
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Title Annotation:Avionics
Author:Thompson, Todd
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2004
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Next Article:RF hazards can kill.

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