RANGE SAFETY AND RISK MANAGEMENT
All personnel training on a rifle range should be briefed on the safety and local requirements for that range. The briefing fulfills the minimum requirements for a rifle range safety briefing. Information may be added to conform to local requirements and safety regulations. ARs 210-21, 385-10, and 385-63 should be reviewed by all range personnel (OIC, safety officer, NCOIC, and so on) before operating any range.
The first priority on any range is training, but safety must be at the forefront of the training program. The safety program will prescribe safety precautions necessary to minimize the possibility of accidents in the firing and other uses of ammunition by troops in training and range operations. The safety program should include the following:
- Identify surface danger zones (SDZ) as described in AR 385-63.
- Inspect for objects located near the muzzle of the weapon before firing, especially during unassisted night fire.
- Identify the location of medical personnel.
- Identify left and right limits of the range. Firers never fire outside of these limits.
- When not on the firing line the weapon selector lever is on safe and the bolt locked to the rear.
- Firers always enter and exit the firing line at the entry or exit point.
- Before occupying a firing position, inspect it for wildlife or obstructions.
- Always keep the muzzle of the weapon pointed downrange when on the firing line, finger outside of the trigger housing area.
- Identify the designated smoking area (if applicable).
- Never touch a weapon while personnel are downrange or in front of the firing line.
- Load the weapon only on command from the tower or control point.
- Never fire without the use of hearing protection.
- Left-handed firers will fire their weapon with a left-handed brass deflector attached to the weapon, if necessary.
- When entering or exiting the firing line the weapon must be cleared with a cleaning rod.
- Consider the rifle loaded at all times, even in break areas. Never point the weapon at anyone.
- Anyone observing an unsafe act will immediately call "CEASE FIRE", place the weapon on safe, place it in the v-notched stake or lay it on the sandbags, and give the verbal and visual command of cease fire.
- Once cleared off the firing line, firers report to the ammunition point and turn in all brass and ammunition.
- No one will leave the range until they have been inspected for live ammunition and brass.
- In case of an electrical storm, personnel will be directed to lock and clear all weapons, ground their equipment (except wet weather gear), and disperse into a predetermined area.
- Eating and drinking are not permitted on the firing line unless the tower operator permits drinking from the canteen. (Drink water often to prevent heat injuries.)
To provide both a safe and efficient range operation and effective instruction, the following is an example of personnel and duties that may be required.
a. OIC. The OIC is responsible for the overall operation of the range before, during, and after live firing.
b. Range Safety Officer. The range safety officer is responsible for the safe operation of the range to include conducting a safety orientation before each scheduled live-fire exercise. He ensures that a brass and ammunition check is made before the unit leaves the range. He ensures that all personnel comply with the safety regulations and procedures prescribed for the conduct of a live-fire exercise. He ensures that all left-handed firers use left-handed firing devices. This officer should not be assigned other duties.
c. NCOIC. The NCOIC assists the OIC and safety officer, as required; for example, by supervising enlisted personnel who are supporting the live-fire exercise.
d. Ammunition Detail. This detail is composed of one or more ammunition handlers whose responsibilities are to break down, issue, receive, account for, and safeguard live ammunition. The detail also collects expended ammunition casings and other residue.
e. Unit Armorer. The unit armorer repairs the rifle to include replacing parts, as required.
f. Assistant Instructor. One assistant instructor is assigned for each one to ten firing points. Each assistant ensures that all firers observe safety regulations and procedures, and he assists firers having problems.
g. Medical Personnel. They provide medical support as required by regulations governing live-fire exercises.
h. Control Tower Operators. They raise and lower the targets, time the exposures, sound the audible signal, and give the fire commands. If possible, two men should be chosen to perform these functions.
i. Maintenance Detail. This detail should be composed of two segments: one to conduct small-arms repair and one to perform minor maintenance on the target-holding mechanisms.
To provide a safe and operational range, the following are recommended procedures for handling ammunition.
a. Locate all ammunition at firing sites outside the backblast area (when applicable) for the weapons involved. Store ammunition at a position that will minimize the potential for ignition, explosion, or rapid burning.
b. Issue ammunition to firing units immediately before scheduled training exercises. Distribute small arms ammunition to troops only when they are on the ready line or firing line.
c. Cover all ammunition to protect it from the elements and direct rays of the sun. Provide air circulation between the ammunition and cover for proper ventilation.
d. Limit the unpacking of ammunition at the firing line to the minimum number of rounds needed for efficient fire of the exercise. Retain packaging material until firing is complete. Units will not burn wooden containers or indiscriminately fire ammunition to preclude return to a storage site.
Risk management and assessment of training and operations will be performed in accordance with requirements of AR 385-10, TRADOC Reg 385-2, FM 25-100, FM 25-101, FM 100-14, and this manual. This paragraph assigns responsibilities for risk management and assessment.
a. Safety Manager. The safety manager will-
- Provide overall coordination of the risk management program.
- Provide guidance and assistance to facilitate effective implementation of the program.
- Review the risk management worksheet for operations and training determined to have high or extremely high residual risk.
- Check worksheet during range and training inspections.
b. Commanders. Commanders will-
- Develop, in writing, and implement a comprehensive risk management program that meets the requirements of this manual.
- Integrate risk management into all operations and training.
- Train all leaders in risk management concepts, the requirements of this manual, and the organizational risk management program.
- Ensure a formal, documented risk management worksheet is completed for each training activity and each operation using the procedures and form described in this manual. This document will be completed during the planning phase of the operation or training.
- Ensure worksheets are reviewed by, and the risk accepted in writing by, the leader at the appropriate level as designated in this manual.
- Maintain copies of all worksheets in the appropriate organizational files, and at the training or operation site.
- Develop a comprehensive daily risk assessment checklist, which addresses those factors that may change from day to day or iteration to iteration, and identifies new hazards not addressed in the risk management worksheet.
- Ensure a daily risk assessment checklist is completed before beginning the training or operation. This document will be completed immediately before the execution phase of the operation or training. For those operations conducted on a repetitive basis, the checklist must be completed before each days training or operation. If conditions change significantly during the operation, the checklist should be reevaluated.
- Require the leader conducting the operation or training to consult with and receive approval from the individual who accepted the risk on the risk management worksheet when the daily risk assessment checklist indicates the overall rating for the operation or training is high or extremely high, when any factor is rated as extreme risk, or when more than one factor is rated as high risk.
- Ensure daily risk assessment checklists are maintained at the operation or training site until the event is completed. If an accident occurs during the operation, the checklist should be maintained until the investigation is complete.
- Ensure risk management worksheets are reevaluated before each operation or training event in coordination with the daily risk assessment checklist by the individual(s) responsible for the operation or training.
- Ensure the worksheet and daily risk assessment checklists are used as the basis for preoperational or training safety briefings of involved personnel.
c. General Procedures. Risk management will be integrated into every operation and training event conducted on the installation or by installation organizations at other locations.
(1) A formal, documented risk management worksheet and daily risk assessment checklist will be prepared for every operation and every training event.
(2) The worksheet and daily risk assessment checklists will be prepared and risks will be accepted using the methodology and form described in this manual.
(3) For those training events or operations conducted on a repetitive basis, there is no requirement to complete a new worksheet before each iteration. The initial worksheet is sufficient unless changes have been made to the training scenario or operation plan that would affect the safety of personnel, equipment, or the environment, or new hazards are identified on the daily risk assessment checklist that are not on the initial risk management worksheet.
(4) Whenever there is a change of command or supervision, the risk management worksheets accepted by the outgoing commander or manager will be revised, updated, and submitted to the new commander or manager for acceptance of risks.
(5) The worksheet will be revised whenever a change in the training or operation could affect the safety of personnel, equipment, or the environment, or hazards are identified that are not on the current risk management worksheet.
d. Rules of Risk Management. No unnecessary risk will be accepted. The leader who has authority to accept a risk is responsible for protecting his personnel from unnecessary risk. An unnecessary risk is one that could be reduced or eliminated without hindering mission accomplishment.
(1) Risk decisions must be made at a level consistent with the risk involved. The leader ultimately responsible for the mission should make the risk decision.
(2) Risk is acceptable if benefits outweigh costs. Leaders must understand that risk-taking is a decision-making process that balances mission benefits and costs. They must be prepared to take acceptable risks to accomplish the mission.
e. Risk Management Process. The process of risk management is a complete cycle that feeds back to its start point in a logical manner. A key consideration in managing risk is to match the process to the extent of the risk probability. If the risk is high, the process should be complete and detailed. At lower levels of risk, the process may be abbreviated. Generally, all steps of the process should be retained with curtailment achieved by cutting back on the details of each step, not by eliminating a step. Steps will be documented on the risk management worksheet and the daily risk assessment checklist.
(1) Identify the Hazards. The hazards are the potential sources of danger that could be encountered while performing a task or mission. Leaders must try to identify all hazards associated with the operation or training. Special attention should be paid to identifying those hazards that have the potential to change such as weather, level of supervision, soldier alertness, terrain, equipment conditions, and so on. In this situation, each possibility should be identified; for example, weather changes could include heat, cold, lightning, high wind, tornadoes, and so on.
(2) Assess the Hazards. Identified hazards must be assessed to determine their cumulative effect on the operation. Controls will be developed for each identified hazard to reduce or eliminate the risk. The risk level for each hazard and the overall operation will be determined before implementation of control measures (initial) and after controls are implemented (residual).
(3) Make a Risk Decision. Leaders are expected to weigh the risk against the benefits of conducting training or performing an operation. Initial risk levels, controls, and residual risk levels should be considered when making a risk acceptance decision. Risk decisions must be made at a level that corresponds with the degree of risk.
(4) Implement Controls. The controls established as a result of the first three steps are implemented in step four. Included is leader action to reduce or eliminate hazards. Specific controls will be integrated into plans, orders, SOPs, training performance standards, and rehearsals. Knowledge of controls down to the individual soldier or employee is essential.
(5) Supervise. Supervision goes beyond ensuring that personnel do what is expected of them. It includes following up during and after an action to ensure that all went according to plan, reevaluating the plan or making adjustments as required to accommodate unforeseen issues, and incorporating lessons learned for future use.
e. Preparation of the Risk Management Worksheet. This form will be completed during the planning phase of the operation or training.
(1) Each hazard will be noted in column one.
(2) Each of the hazards will be analyzed using the risk assessment matrix to determine the probability of its causing an accident and the most likely severity of the consequences should an accident occur. The matrix will first be applied to the hazard before controls are implemented. The initial probability of an accident occurring from each hazard will be noted in column two of the form, initial effect will be noted in column three of the form, and the initial risk level of extremely high, high, medium, or low for each hazard will be noted in column four of the form. The initial overall risk for the operation will be circled at the bottom of the form. The overall initial risk equals the highest initial risk identified in column four.
(3) Specify controls for each hazard. Controls should be keyed to each identified hazard and should address differing levels of the hazard, if appropriate. For example, where heat is listed as a hazard, address specific measures to be taken at each heat category level as well as general requirements such as taking wet bulb readings at the operation site rather than depending on readings taken at another part of the installation.
(4) Each of the hazards will again be analyzed using the risk assessment matrix (Figure D-1) to determine the probability of its causing an accident and the most likely severity of the consequences should an accident occur. The matrix will be applied to the hazard after controls are implemented. The residual probability of an accident occurring from each hazard will be noted in column six of the form, residual effect will be noted in column seven of the form, and the residual risk level of extremely high, high, medium, or low for each hazard will be noted in column eight of the form. The residual overall risk for the operation will be circled at the bottom of the form. The overall residual risk equals the highest residual risk identified in column eight.
(5) The signature block of the appropriate risk acceptance authority will be placed in the lower right of the first page of the form.
f. Approval of the Risk Management Worksheet. The residual risk level determines who may accept the risk and sign the risk management worksheet.
(1) Acceptance of risk and signature on the worksheet will be accomplished by the following based on the overall level of residual risk.
(a) Extremely high: MACOM commander.
(b) High: Installation commander.
(c) Medium or low: Major subordinate commander, director, or activity chief.
(d) The first colonel-level commander in their chain of command or the Directorate of Operations and Training will approve medium- or low-risk training conducted by Reserves or other units.
(2) The signature block of the individual accepting the risk will be entered on the bottom of the first page of the worksheet. The form will then be signed and dated. Requests for risk acceptance decisions at the installation or MACOM level must be properly staffed through the Safety Office, the Directorate of Public Safety (DPS), and the Directorate of Operations and Training at least 30 days before the event.
(3) Safety Office personnel will be available for consultation during the preparation of all risk management worksheets and during range inspections to ensure that all hazards are identified and appropriate control measures are implemented. Risk management worksheets that have been assigned a residual overall risk level of medium or lower will be signed by the appropriate individual authorized to accept the risk.
g. Preparation of Daily Risk Assessment Checklist. The purpose of this document is to evaluate those conditions that may have changed since the worksheet was completed, to identify any new hazards not addressed on the worksheet, and to serve as a final check to ensure the safety of the operation.
(1) The daily risk assessment checklist will be completed immediately before the execution phase of the operation or training. For those operations conducted on a repetitive basis, the checklist will be done before each days training.
(2) The daily risk assessment checklist is to be used in conjunction with the risk management worksheet.
(3) The factors listed represent key concerns that may affect the risk level of an operation between the planning and execution phases, or that may change from iteration to iteration for those operations and training events of a repetitive nature. The using organization may tailor the factors and the point totals for categorizing the operation or training as extreme, high, medium, or low risk to fit the mission of the particular organization. For example, the unit may want to add additional factors; change the extreme, high, medium, or low criteria for one or more factors; or increase the point total requirements in the last row.
(4) The following conditions require consultation with, and approval by, the individual who signed the risk management worksheet before beginning the training or operation.
(a) The overall risk level for the operation or training as determined using the checklist is extreme or high.
(b) Any factors are rated as extreme risk or more than one factor is rated as high.
(c) Any controls listed on the worksheet are not in place.
(d) Hazards are present that are not listed on the worksheet.
Figure D-1. Risk assessment matrix.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|