Army outlines 2021 safety, occupational and environmental health objectives

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The Army has released its safety, occupational and environmental health objectives for fiscal 2021, calling on leaders to improve unit performance in several key areas.

Typically, senior leaders release the objectives, supported by specific goals with metrics, annually to highlight actionable areas across the SO&EH spectrum. This year’s metrics include reductions in mishaps, lost work days and hearing loss, along with increases in medical follow-ups and surveillance in certain populations of Army personnel.

“This year’s objectives target issues that directly affect the day-to-day well-being of our Soldiers and Civilian employees,” said Hon. Alex Beehler, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment. “Saving lives is our ultimate priority, and these proactive objectives highlight that preventing less severe occupational injury and illness is critical to the readiness of our force.”

Fiscal 2021’s objectives and goals include a blanket 20 percent reduction in military and Civilian lost work days across Headquarters, Department of the Army commands and a 15 percent reduction in Class A-C mishaps Army-wide; reductions of 3 and 4 percent for Soldiers and Civilians, respectively, in hearing threshold shifts, along with 70 percent compliance for follow-up audiometry appointments; achieving 90 percent compliance for occupational medicine surveillance examinations for personnel exposed to hazards defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration; and 90 percent compliance for emergency services personnel required to undergo medical qualification examinations.

“These objectives call attention to the more invisible illnesses and injuries that keep many of our personnel from maximizing their full potential,” said Brig. Gen. Andrew C. Hilmes, director of Army Safety and U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center commanding general. “We need our people healthy and at their best to accomplish our missions. I believe these goals are attainable for our military leaders and Civilian supervisors.”

During fiscal 2020, nearly 1,300 Class A-C mishaps were reported across the Army, with 96 fatalities and total costs just shy of $1 billion.

“The impact of these losses was enormous, even with COVID-19 restrictions possibly playing a role in driving down mishaps during much of the year,” said Hilmes. “Focusing our safety programs on these objectives will help the force meet the 15 percent Class A-C reduction goal and, most importantly, save lives.”

The full fiscal 2021 objectives and goals document is available at https://safety.army.mil/Portals/0/Documents/HOME/Standard/Army-SOEH-FY21-Objectives.pdf.

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