ARABIAN GULF - Deployments can bring many hazards to servicemembers. Danger is always present, whether it’s working on the flight deck, conducting well deck operations or working down in the engineering spaces, and one constant danger is becoming complacent.
Complacency is when a person loses awareness while performing the day-to-day tasks which can result in an injury or preventable mishap.
Aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), the Safety Office decided to stand up against complacency and get the ship’s crew involved by holding a safety poster contest, Dec. 3-27.
“This was the perfect time to get the word out,” said Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class Matthew Vitello, assigned to Boxer’s Safety Office. “Mid-deployment is when a lot of us get into a routine and that is when complacency strikes. Being aware of complacency is the first step to avoid becoming a statistic of it.”
The rules for the competition were: one entry per contestant, the poster had to be work-related, and be made in good taste.
“We [Safety Office] thought all the entrees were great,” said Vitello, from Charleston, W. Va. “There are a lot of talented people onboard. Some were coming to us for statistics on accident and injury reports. Others were setting up scenes to capture a complacency situation in a picture. I was surprised how involved everyone was.”
Boxer Sailors and Marines voted for their favorite entry, and the top six posters received prizes ranging from a night in the commanding officer’s guest stateroom to getting a duty day off.
“The competition was a great idea,” said Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Levi Horn, first place winner. “Many of my duties as a Gunner’s Mate require me to stay focused in order to avoid hurting myself or others.”
The winning poster is now seen around the ship as a reminder to the crew about hazards in the workplace.
“No one wants to get hurt out here and our routines don’t really differ from day to day, which is why complacency is a very real hazard to all Sailors and Marines,” said Horn, from West Jefferson, N.C. “We must always remind ourselves and our shipmates not to cut corners and always maintain situational awareness.”