February Safety Brief

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Trey Hamm
  • 117th Air Refueling Wing
The Air Force has experienced ninety-three finger amputations from FY03 through FY12. This is an average of 7.25 amputations per year:

FY 03: Six
FY 04: Two
FY 05: Thirteen
FY 06: Seven
FY 07: Twelve
FY 08: Ten
FY 09: Eleven
FY 10: Seventeen
FY 11: Five
FY 12: Three
FY 13: Seven and counting...

Already in FY13, we are matching our ten year average for the year - although we aren't even halfway into the fiscal year. This fiscal year's mishaps included (on-duty) fingers being amputated by doors, manhole covers, and pallets. Off-duty, fingers were amputated by an automotive winch and by an unguarded table saw. Other common culprits in past years are various trailers, vehicle doors, tail gates, and rings.

Why does the AF track mishaps? One answer is: so that we can learn from the mistakes. Another answer is: so that we can target our prevention efforts. Don't lose your situational awareness and don't accept unnecessary risk. If we could poll the 93 AF members who lost fingers, I suspect that almost all of them would say with hindsight that the gain did NOT justify the risk.