Safety is always critical, whether an ammunition unit or platoon is operating in a peacetime, combat, or SASO environment. This chapter focuses on munitions safety. It covers the three levels where safety awareness is most effective. It discusses the Army Safety Program and explores areas of special concern, including the handling, loading, and unloading of munitions; the safe handling of explosives; unexploded ordnance procedures; proper use of tools and MHE; and reports of malfunctions.
7-1. All soldiers and leaders must maintain a proactive posture towards safety in day-to-day operations. The need for total commitment to safety should be evident to commanders, senior soldiers, and their subordinates. The importance of safety is intensified for units and personnel engaged in munitions-related activities. Safety awareness is most effective at three levels: command, leader, and individual. These levels and the specific responsibilities of key personnel and individuals are discussed below.
7-2. Commanders are responsible for protecting personnel and equipment under their command. Safety, to include risk assessment and accident reporting, is an inherent responsibility of commanders at all echelons. They must take an active and aggressive leadership role in safety planning and programs. Responsibilities include appointing a safety officer/NCO IAW AR 385-10 and DA Pam 385-1, determining the cause of accidents, and taking necessary preventive and corrective measures. Also, commanders must establish an explosive safety program IAW AR 385-64 and DA Pam 385-64.
7-3. Unit safety officers are appointed on written orders and must complete a safety officer course. They report directly to the commander on safety-related matters and administer the unit safety program. The unit safety officer or NCO accomplishes the following duties:
- Prepares a unit safety program and a field safety SOP focused on awareness (rather than on reactive safety reporting).
- Reviews regulations and TMs and recommends procedures for increasing safety in unit operations, as well as in operations involving receipt, handling, storage, transport, and issue of munitions.
- Recommends procedural changes to the commander that will reduce accident risk, injury, and property loss.
- Organizes a safety committee, if needed, to assist with inspections and the formulation and recommendation of safety procedures.
7-4. Leaders must ensure that soldiers perform their duties safely by taking the following proactive steps:
- Make soldiers aware of hazards through continuous training.
- Stress safety in operations.
- Halt unsafe operations.
- Prevent accidents through planning and preparation.
7-5. The key to a good safety program, and the focus of the unit safety effort, is to prevent individual soldiers from having accidents. Individual soldiers are responsible for their personal safety. Part of this responsibility includes taking the following actions:
- Becoming familiar with the Army's general safety policies for ammunition and explosives and related operations (see AR 385-64 and DA Pam 385-64).
- Learning the principles of how munitions function, how to handle, store, and transport munitions safely, and how to safely operate MHE.
- Becoming familiar with the hazards and safety precautions that apply to specific munitions.
A relaxed attitude regarding any one of these elements can lead to an accident. A problem with more than one of these elements often leads to disaster. The one who normally knows whether or not all elements are in proper balance is the individual. The safety equation below is important for soldiers to remember.
|Training + Equipment + Motivation + Execution with Caution = Safety|
RISK ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT
7-6. Risk assessment is the identification of hazards and their possible effects. In peacetime, leaders learn to assess risks during training exercises. Techniques learned in peacetime training can be used successfully in combat and SASO. However, after careful evaluation of the mission, a certain amount of risk can be taken in combat and SASO that would be unacceptable in peacetime operations. See DA Pam 385-64.
7-7. During the planning phase of any operation, safety personnel must conduct a task hazard analysis and safety evaluation before writing unit SOPs. This allows sufficient time for safety input to ensure that operational changes can be made efficiently. The basic concerns during hazard analysis are METT-TC, physical layout, and the personnel involved in the operation. Experience has shown that preplanning significantly reduces accident potential and increases efficiency.
7-8. Risk management is the decision-making process that balances operational demands against identified risks. Risk assessment and risk management must be fully integrated into operational planning and execution. Risk management is a closed-loop, five-step process that can be used for any type of mission. The five steps are as follows:
- Identify all hazards, including those to soldiers, equipment, and stocks.
- Assess hazards to determine the risks involved and their impact in terms of potential loss and cost. To a degree, assessments are based on probability and severity.
- Develop control measures that eliminate or reduce hazards and risks; continually reevaluate risks until they are reduced to a level where the benefits outweigh costs.
- Implement controls that are effective in eliminating hazards and reducing risks.
- Enforce control measures through supervision and continually evaluate them for effectiveness.
7-9. The proper use of risk assessment and risk management procedures is a primary force protection method. Protecting personnel, equipment, and stocks from damage or loss is the bottom line.
STANDING OPERATING PROCEDURES
7-10. A written SOP must be developed and used for all munitions operations. Procedures must describe the operation so an inexperienced soldier can perform the operation safely. Failure to follow an SOP is a major cause of munitions-related accidents.
7-11. Many publications contain procedures and standards that may be used in developing reliable and useful SOPs for munitions operations. The following publications are among the most applicable:
- US Army Materiel Command regulations, pamphlets, and drawings.
- Army regulations and DA pamphlets.
- Bureau of Explosives publications.
- Code of Federal Regulations.
- Department of Defense Standards.
- Department of Transportation publications.
- Depot maintenance work requirements.
- International Air Transportation Association publications.
- International Atomic Energy Agency publications.
- International Civil Aviation Organization publications.
- International Maritime Dangerous Goods publications.
- Joint and other service regulations.
- Military standards and handbooks.
- Standardization agreements.
- Supply bulletins.
- Technical bulletins and manuals.
- Command guidance and SOPs from higher headquarters.
7-12. Soldiers must have the information necessary to perform their tasks safely. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that all soldiers involved in an operation or task read the applicable SOP before the operation begins. The SOP must be available at the operations site and will identify potentially hazardous items or conditions that could arise. The unit safety SOP must include the following:
- Safety personnel activities and responsibilities.
- Safety training requirements and training schedule.
- Inspection procedures to detect safety violations, and recommend and enforce corrections.
- First aid training requirements and training schedule.
- Provisions for briefings on new ammunition items and technical intelligence updates.
- Procedures for accident investigations.
MUNITIONS AND EXPLOSIVES STANDARDS
7-13. AR 385-64 establishes munitions and explosives safety standards to protect military personnel, Army civilian employees, the public, and the environment. It is supplemented by DA Pam 385-64. These publications prescribe the Army's general safety policies and standards for munitions, explosives, liquid propellants, and related facilities and activities. They cover the following topics:
- Q-D standards.
- Waiver authority and requests for waivers.
- Effects of explosions.
- Permissible exposures.
- Hazard classification.
- Compatibility groups.
- Personnel protection.
- Facilities construction and siting.
- Electrical standards.
- Lightning protection.
- Chemical agents and munitions standards.
- Accident reporting relating to the storage, packing, shipping, maintenance, and destruction of munitions.
7-14. Beyond unit SOPs, commanders must ensure that safety regulations and directives or other policies established by higher headquarters are followed during munitions operations.
7-15. Due to the destructive nature of munitions, all responsible personnel, including the user, must be constantly aware of safety procedures. Carelessness, faulty equipment, hazardous working conditions, and unsafe practices may result in injury, loss of life, and property damage. In wartime, these factors may seriously disrupt munitions support and thus have a negative impact on the outcome of operations.
7-16. Concern for the safety of personnel and property is paramount in DOD and DA safety regulations. These regulations prescribe universally applicable standards and practices. They require the preparation and implementation of safety programs, including fire plans (i.e., prevention, protection, and fighting), destruction plans, accident and incident control, and reporting plans.
7-17. Whenever and wherever munitions are handled, stored, or moved, rigid enforcement of safety regulations and strict observance of safety practices is mandatory. The ASCC announces policies and, through the TSC and COSCOM, prescribes safety procedures for munitions in the theater.
MUNITIONS AND EXPLOSIVES HAZARDS
7-18. Many potential hazards are associated with munitions and explosives. These hazards exist in various areas as discussed in the following paragraphs.
7-19. All operations involving munitions will be limited to the minimum number of soldiers needed to accomplish the mission safely and efficiently. Tasks not necessary to an operation must be prohibited. Also, personnel not required for an operation will be denied entry to the area. Official visits by safety inspectors and higher headquarters staff must be coordinated through command channels to ensure that personnel limits are not increased during critical operational periods.
7-20. Although some operations can be performed by one individual, at least one additional person must be nearby to watch and assist in an emergency. All operations must be supervised properly to ensure that safety precautions are observed and enforced.
7-21. Munitions and explosives hazards include (but are not limited to) fire, explosion, fragmentation, and contamination. Fire and excessive heat are among the greatest hazards to explosives. Fires in storage areas may be spread by hot fragments from one stack to another or by fire spreading along the ground through combustible materials.
7-22. Storing incompatible munitions together presents another hazard. Appropriate Q-D and compatibility tables in AR 385-64 and DA Pam 385-64, or HN or specific Army theater requirements, will be used to determine which munitions may be stored together. Conforming to these requirements ensures that safe distances are maintained between all munitions. In combat and SASO, peacetime Q-D and compatibility requirements must be followed to the maximum extent possible. Deviation from these requirements must have command approval. Ammunition and explosives under US title, even when stored in or by a host country, are the responsibility of the US commander. Storage must conform to DOD and Army standards unless the use of other criteria is mandated or has been agreed to in an HN agreement.
7-23. Explosive licenses are an important element in safe storage. They are permanent documents developed by authorized safety personnel that may be reissued when storage objectives, METT-TC factors, or Q-D standards change. The responsible safety manager reviews each license annually for compliance and encroachment. The license and maps of the site and surrounding area will be available at both the site and servicing safety office. See Chapter 9 for more information on storage.
7-24. Identification systems assist in identifying specific hazards associated with different types of munitions. Appendix F explains in detail methods for identifying munitions using NSN, DODIC lot numbering, and the color coding system.
7-25. Munitions and explosives must be handled carefully. Any improper, rough, or careless handling may cause them to detonate. These items are safe to handle as long as proper consideration is given to the characteristics of each type of munitions or explosive, how it is assembled, the operation, and normal safety precautions. All soldiers working with munitions must observe the following safety precautions:
- If a hazardous operation is observed, report it immediately to a supervisor. Hazardous operations must be corrected at once.
- Don't conduct operations without an approved SOP.
- Don't carry heat- or fire-producing items (matches, lighters, etc.) into a storage area.
- Don't smoke in a storage location, except in a designated area.
- Ensure munitions are handled only by trained soldiers who fully understand the hazards and risks involved. (See AR 385-64, DOD Std 6055.9, DA Pam 385-64 and SB 742-1.)
- Don't use bale hooks to handle munitions.
- Don't tumble, drag, drop, throw, roll, or walk on containers of munitions. Containers designed with skids may be pushed or pulled for positioning, unless otherwise marked on the container.
- Don't tamper, disassemble, or alter any munitions item unless authorized.
- Keep munitions in containers as long as possible to prevent exposure to the elements. This is especially true of items packed in barrier bags or sealed metal containers.
- Open munitions boxes carefully. Return all inner packaging material to the container, and close it to keep out the elements.
- Repack munitions that are opened and not used.
- Don't use familiarity or experience with munitions as an excuse for carelessness.
- Don't carry initiating devices in your pocket. Detonators, initiators, squibs, blasting caps, and other initiating devices must be carried in protective containers. The containers must prevent item-to-item contact. Also, mark the container to identify the contents.
- Ensure that each soldier involved in handling munitions can perform first aid.
- Don't drive nails into shipping or storage containers containing munitions.
- Don't allow waste materials or litter to accumulate in storage areas.
- Be familiar with the location of fire points, the fire plan, and the organization of firefighting crews.
- Handle treated packing material carefully IAW Surgeon General directives and USAEHA Technical Guide 146.
7-26. Before moving palletized/containerized munitions, pallets and containers must be visually inspected for broken banding or for damage to container or pallet. Repair or replace damaged items. Use USAMC unitization drawings to palletize properly. Select the appropriate drawing using AMC DWG 19-48-75-5. Manual handling of munitions, along with banding and strapping, are often necessary during palletizing operations. At minimum, handlers will wear proper protective gloves, safety shoes, and eye protection. If there is not enough space to work safely, the operation will be moved just outside the magazine or storage structure, but no closer than 30 meters to any magazine containing explosives.
7-27. Electroexplosive devices (i.e., electric blasting caps, squibs, switches, and igniters) are designed to be initiated by electric current. It is possible that such devices may be energized to dangerous levels by outside sources (i.e., static electricity, induced electric currents, radio communications equipment (including commercial cellular phones), high-tension wires, radar, and TV transmitters). It is also possible that induced RF current may cause premature detonation of blasting caps. Therefore, safety precautions must be taken to prevent the premature initiation of all devices.
7-28. Protection from lightning is another essential part of protecting soldiers, munitions, and equipment involved in storage operations. For more on protection systems, grounding, bonding, surge protection, testing, and warning systems, see DA Pam 385-64.
STATIC ELECTRICITY HAZARDS
7-29. The generation of static electricity is not in itself a hazard. The hazard arises when the static is allowed to accumulate and discharges a spark in the presence of combustible material, thus providing a source of ignition. This hazard can include sparks discharged from a person. Areas containing combustible dusts, flammable gases or vapors, or ignitable fibers are especially vulnerable to static electricity. Exposed explosives (e.g., primers, initiators, detonators, igniters, tracers, incendiary mixtures, and pyrotechnics) are also sensitive to static electricity. See DA Pam 385-64 for procedures to mitigate static electricity hazards.
7-30. Transportation hazards include traffic accidents or saboteur incidents. The commander of the shipping unit is responsible for coordinating safe transit. Use DA Pam 385-64 and local policy to develop unit field SOPs. Safety precautions for night operations must receive special emphasis. Several publications dictate procedures for transporting hazardous materials. These include DOD 4500.9-R, 49CFR, TM 38-250, and HN regulations. Additionally, TB 9-1300-385 must be checked for suspensions or restrictions before offering ammunition and explosives for shipment. Only school-trained and certified personnel can release shipments of ammunition. Regulations and publications for specific types of shipments are discussed below. See Appendix G for transportation overview, including dimensions and cargo capacities of movement assets.
7-31. Railcar inspections are a critical part of shipping by rail. Shippers ensure that railcars receive a valid inspection. DOD 4500.9-R, DA Pam 385-64, and 49CFR cover safety inspection criteria, precautions, loading, blocking and bracing, certification of railcars, and spotting of loaded railcars. USAMC load drawings will be followed when loading large items (e.g., MLRS). Refer to AMC DWG 19-48-75-5 for a list of USAMC drawings and ordering instructions.
7-32. Before loading vehicles, ensure that the following actions have been accomplished: all motor vehicles have been inspected, MHE has been load-tested, brakes have been set before loading and unloading, wheels are chocked, and munitions are properly prepared and packaged. DA Pam 385-64 covers safety requirements, inspection criteria, blocking and bracing, loading, placarding, and compatibility. FM 55-60 and FM 55-70 cover shipper and carrier responsibilities and placard requirements. See Appendix H for DOT hazardous materials information.
7-33. Aircraft commanders, loadmasters, or crew chiefs supervise the loading and unloading of their aircraft using TM 38-250. A Hazardous Materials Declaration accompanies containers or pallets of munitions on aircraft. AR 95-27, TM 38-250, and DOT regulations cover safety precautions, aircraft specifications, operating standards, loading and unloading procedures, and special handling certification.
7-34. The USCG regulates transportation of explosives and/or ammunition on water under US jurisdiction and in vessels engaged in commercial service.
UNEXPLODED ORDNANCE HAZARDS
7-35. All soldiers must remember that munitions are designed to kill, maim, injure, and destroy. Soldiers must be able to recognize and react to UXO hazards. Reactions include avoiding the hazard, if possible, and marking and reporting it. Under no circumstances will soldiers approach, touch, or pick up UXO items. This rule is valid whether the items are identified as US or enemy. Inexperienced soldiers must be trained to react properly to UXOs.
7-36. If the UXO cannot be avoided, protective measures may be necessary to reduce risk to personnel and to minimize damage to equipment and facilities. All soldiers must be trained on appropriate tasks to ensure that they are not exposed to unacceptable risk.
7-37. Reporting UXOs on the battlefield requires timely and accurate information. The UXO spot report (Figure 7-1) starts with the soldier on the battlefield and moves through command channels so EOD assets can be tasked to respond. It is the initial report by the soldier who found the UXO that supplies the information needed to task resources and prioritize the UXO response. For more information on UXOs, see GTA 9-12-1 and FM 21-16.
7-38. Tools and equipment may pose safety hazards during munitions operations. These hazards can be overcome through awareness training and using well-written SOPs.
7-39. Safety hazards are inherent in electrical equipment. Many munitions are extremely sensitive to electricity. When using electrical equipment, soldiers must follow operating instructions exactly. Only approved electrical equipment will be used. To prevent electrical sparking, all electrical switches, sockets, plugs, and outlets must be of the standard explosion-proof type. Use of electrical equipment in facilities containing explosives must comply with DA Pam 385-64 and the latest edition of NFPA Standard 70.
Tools and Equipment
7-40. Munitions tools and equipment are designed to be safe when properly maintained and operated. Problems are usually the result of operator misuse or error. Training programs must stress proper use, care, and maintenance of tools and equipment. Supervisors must continually inspect condition and ensure that on-the-spot corrections are made.
7-41. A wide variety of hand tools and equipment is used in munitions maintenance, care, preservation, and storage operations. They range from simple hand tools (i.e., hammers and screwdrivers), to specialized tools (i.e., banding equipment), to tools specifically manufactured to maintain munitions. See TM 43-0001-47 for a listing of this type equipment.
7-42. Hand tools are widely used by munitions soldiers. Only tools made from nonsparking materials (i.e., bronze, lead, beryllium, alloys, K-monel, or polymers) may be used. Specialized materials, such as copper wool and nonflammable solvents, are often used with nonsparking tools. Only properly maintained tools will be used around hazardous concentrations of flammable dust, gases, vapors, or exposed explosives.
7-43. Tools used in the vicinity of hazardous materials must be handled carefully and kept clean. Tools must be checked for damage before and after operations. Tools of lead or beryllium alloys that require sharpening or reshaping may be sharpened only if the area has adequate exhaust ventilation.
MHE and Lifting Devices
7-44. Lifting devices are used to raise, lower, hold, position, or pull a load from one location to another. Examples are forklifts, cranes, and pallet jacks. MHE is used to store, handle, and move munitions. Examples are forklifts, towing tractors, cranes, pallet jacks, PLS trucks, and conveyors. Forklifts and cranes are the most common MHE used by ammunition units. Operators, supervisors, maintenance, and safety personnel are key to ensuring a safe MHE operating environment. See DA Pam 385-64 for more information.
7-45. Operators. MHE and lifting device operators have a limited field of vision when moving a load. For this reason, ground guides are needed when forklifts, cranes, and PLS are in use. Personnel must assume that operators cannot see them and stay clear of the areas where MHE is in operation.
7-46. Size and load limits for MHE must be established and enforced. Operators must understand the danger of exceeding fixed load limits. The following rules will be observed:
- Keep hazardous material moving uniformly through the process steps.
- Minimize rehandling.
- Eliminate heavy manual lifting.
- Reduce transportation distances whenever possible.
- Provide special handling equipment where practicable.
7-47. Supervisors. Supervisors must ensure that operators and other personnel comply with the following:
- Inspect forklifts and cranes prior to use.
- Don't use unsafe equipment until needed repairs are made.
- Become thoroughly familiar with the hand and arm signals used to direct MHE and lifting devices (both ground guides and operators).
- Don't move loads that exceed the rated capacity of the forklift or crane.
- Don't strike munitions with the MHE.
- Follow proper lifting procedures. Deviations from lifting procedures must be approved in writing.
- Avoid/stop careless operating procedures.
- When munitions are moved with forklifts, forks must be tilted back and no more than a foot off the ground, except when moving containers with the 50K RTCH. In this case, forks must be raised to a height that offers the operator maximum visibility.
- Don't disconnect safety devices (i.e., dead-man switches).
7-48. Maintenance personnel. Maintenance officers are responsible for ensuring that MHE is properly inspected, tested, and maintained, and that only qualified personnel operate this equipment. Other responsibilities include scheduling and documenting equipment tests and initiating and maintaining historical records for each item. Historical records include the following information:
- Identifying markings.
- Acceptance certification (test operator and test director signatures on forms).
- Schedule and record periodic inspections.
- Schedule tests and record results.
- Maintenance services schedule.
- Parts replacement record.
- Added identification or safe operation data.
7-49. Upon receipt of new equipment, maintenance personnel inspect the item for a load rating. Every lifting device has a load rating established through testing. The load rating is the maximum authorized load that the device is allowed to lift. The manufacturer's rating must never be extended. The manufacturer's rated load can be found on the equipment capacity data plate or in the operating instructions. See TB 43-0142 for more information.
7-50. Maintenance personnel mark all equipment with the load rating. The only circumstances where markings or tags may be painted over or removed are maintenance, testing, or to change the equipment's rated load.
7-51. Maintenance personnel must conduct maintenance inspections or tests when the equipment is received and at prescribed intervals thereafter. Preventive maintenance is scheduled and performed according to pertinent technical publications.
7-52. Designated personnel perform load tests for all types of cranes and hoists. Weights used can be built locally, or a calibrated load indicator, a dynamometer, or any item of the proper weight may be used. All load-testing devices must have a valid calibration label displayed in a conspicuous place. Attachments, such as slings, chains, and spreader bars, may be tested together. Test loads for forklifts are made using pallet loads that correspond to the manufacturer rated load data and supplemented by factors stated in the vehicle operator's manual.
7-53. Safety personnel. The safety officer must ensure that maintenance inspection or testing programs are in place for all lifting devices, and that the devices are inspected before use. Also, the safety officer must ensure the following:
- Lifting devices that fail inspections and tests are removed from service immediately.
- Operator selection and training programs are effective.
- Load tests are performed after disassembly, overhaul, or replacement of part of the load-bearing system. Perform tests before returning the system to service.
7-54. Pallet jacks and conveyors. Pallet jacks and conveyors present special hazards to all personnel and must be handled with care. Personnel will observe the following rules:
- Use conveyors and pallet jacks in areas where they will not create hazards.
- Ensure sectionalized conveyors are supported and sections are interlocked or secure.
- Use conveyor stands to support conveyors so that they remain stable. Don't use boxes or crates of munitions.
ACCIDENT AND INCIDENT CONTROL PLAN
7-55. Every unit that handles or stores munitions must develop plans for controlling accidents and incidents. These plans are part of the command accident/incident control plan, which includes procedures for the following:
- Reporting accidents or incidents.
- Getting assistance from supporting emergency forces.
- Supporting area military and civilian agencies.
- Establishing unit emergency technical escort teams.
- Radiation control.
- Munitions safety control.
- Munitions evacuation.
- Unit firefighting teams.
- Unit decontamination teams.
7-56. Training plans, including emergency exercises designed to maintain team efficiency and readiness, are part of the command accident/incident control plan. Such plans encourage personnel assigned to emergency response teams to remain proficient in individual and team duties. Accidents or incidents involving munitions are reported and investigated IAW AR 385-40.
REPORTING MUNITIONS MALFUNCTIONS
7-57. A munitions malfunction is the failure of an item to function as designed when fired, launched, employed, or subjected to functional tests. Malfunctions include abnormal or premature functioning of an item when properly handled, maintained, stored, transported, or deployed. Malfunctions don't include accidents or incidents resulting from negligence, vehicular system accidents, fires, and misuse.
7-58. A munitions malfunction may have been caused by operator error, equipment failure, environmental conditions, or defect in the munitions item. The following steps must be taken to determine the cause of the malfunction:
- User immediately secures the site, equipment, and munitions.
- Commander of the using unit reports all facts through command channels.
- Higher headquarters may assemble a team to investigate the incident.
- The operational command may suspend from use the munitions or equipment involved, based on METT-TC.
- Investigating team determines cause of the malfunction and provides disposition instructions for the items involved.
- The team provides reports required by higher headquarters IAW AR 75-1.
7-59. Safety awareness must be a primary concern of all soldiers regardless of rank. While the unit commander and the safety officer/NCO bear the primary responsibility for ensuring that appropriate procedures are in place, supervisors and individual soldiers are responsible for ensuring that these procedures are followed. References cited in this chapter contain more detailed information and must be used to develop SOPs and support an active safety training program.
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