One sailor has lost his life — outside of combat — so far in fiscal year 2011, which began Oct. 1. Any such loss — this one occurred during a physical training-related incident in late October — is tragic. But it’s the only one so far. And that’s a big improvement over the same period last year, the Naval Safety Center’s April Phillips says. After the first two months of fiscal year 2010, the Navy had already seen three on-duty fatalities, five personal motor vehicle fatalities and one off-duty recreational death. The Safety Center does not track fatalities caused by enemy fire.
Despite that rough start, fiscal year 2010 ended with record low numbers of Navy fatalities and Class A mishaps in “many” categories, Phillips reports. The improved start to this fiscal year, the center’s commander says, is due to sailors taking more responsibility for their actions.
Clearly, personal accountability is a big reason the mishap numbers are improving,” said Rear Adm. Arthur J. Johnson. “Whether it’s the risk of driving while fatigued, riding a motorcycle too fast or over-extending themselves during off-duty activities, sailors realize that they have choices, and they are choosing to manage those risks. They are accountable to themselves and their shipmates, and they’re making decisions that lead to success.
But with the approaching holidays comes the potential for increased mishaps, when sailors are more likely to travel long distances to visit family members and friends, Phillips reports. There are tools available to reduce such risks, such as the Travel Risk Planning System (TRiPS). TRiPS is an online risk survey accessed through Navy Knowledge Online. More than 200,000 TRiPS surveys have been completed to date, and there hasn’t been a single fatality for any sailor traveling on an approved assessment, Phillips says.
Johnson says the improving trends are more than just statistics.
“It’s not just a number when we talk about reducing fatalities and injuries,” said Johnson. “We are enhancing our mission readiness.”