Adequacy of Safety Procedures at Fort A. P. Hill and National Guard Training Facilities

FPCD-81-16: Published: Oct 22, 1980. Publicly Released: Oct 22, 1980.

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GAO conducted an investigation into National Guard safety programs because of the deaths of two National Guardsmen which occurred while their units were training at Fort A. P. Hill, Virginia. GAO inquired whether the safety procedures were adequate, the extent to which safety procedures were followed and enforced at Fort A. P. Hill, whether any previous accidents involving fatalities or serious injuries had occurred at Fort A. P. Hill, and whether the two deaths might be indicative of safety problems throughout the National Guard.

Accident investigation reports indicated that the National Guard units either did not enforce and/or did not follow established safety procedures in the two fatal accidents. The records show that the National Guard accident rate exceeds that of the active Army, and the rate for disabling accidents greatly exceeds the active Army rate. GAO was unable to conclusively state the extent to which the higher accident rates in the National Guard may or may not be caused by failure to follow and/or enforce safety procedures. The regulations and procedures at the National Guard level appear adequate for implementing the Army's safety program. In the case of the two units investigated, these procedures were supplemented with specific safety procedures for the training functions. For the specific accidents investigated, the units did not enforce and/or follow established safety procedures during training activities. The National Guard's Safety Branch is designing a safety training course for unit safety officers and other officers. At Fort A. P. Hill, a comprehensive safety program exists. The regulations and safety operating procedures were adequate; and, if they had been followed, the accidents might have been prevented. Records were not available at Fort A. P. Hill for all serious accidents that had occurred there. The National Guard should determine the cause for its higher accident and disabling injury rates and take corrective action. The National Guard Bureau agreed to look into these matters.

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