Ground Forces sees large drop in injuries

Last year saw a decline of 32 percent in the number of injuries sustained during operational activity and the lowest number of deaths in 20 years

Date: 06/02/2013, 11:22 AM     Author: Yael Zahavi

New information published by the Ground Forces' Department for Safety and Quality Control reveals significant downward trends in the number of injuries and accidents in the IDF in 2012. The data was compiled by safety officers from all units of the Ground Forces for an internal yearly review.

Among the noteworthy data is a 17-percent drop in total injuries between 2011 and 2012. That statistic includes injuries sustained both by soldiers on active duty and by soldiers on leave.

Additionally, the number of total deaths of soldiers in 2012 is the lowest it has been in 20 years.

"The strong emphasis is on the preventive measures taken by commanders – before the accident and not after. In the IDF [we] absolutely see safety in the unit as part of its quality and professionalism," said Col. Tzvika Dan, Head of the Department for Safety and Quality Control in the Ground Forces.

Fighting traffic accidents

The command staff of the Ground Forces set high targets for a reduction in traffic accidents for 2012, and the results indicate its success: A drop of 21 percent in all traffic accidents was registered in 2012.

Road safety education is the primary field of activity for the Department of Safety and Quality Control. Last year, this unit conducted over 1,250 instructional activities in which some 56 thousand soldiers participated. Safety training content was also included as part of the training courses for company, battalion and brigade commanders.

The Department is also furthering its efforts in the field through the implementation of an Advanced Driver Assistance System, which monitors every aspect of a vehicle in real time. The system records everything  from engine data to irregular driving patterns – including sudden breaking, drastic accelerations, sharp turns, sudden changes of direction, zigzagging and excessive speeds.

One of the Department's major projects for 2013 is to keep reservists informed of safety guidelines, and it is currently developing an Internet application for updating reservists regarding changes in these guidelines before they report for duty. The application, which is expected to be online by mid-2013, will also serve regular service commanders, who will be able to access the site from their mobile devices in real time.

The IDF began its "war against road accidents" in 2007, and since then it has seen a clear drop in the number of road deaths of soldiers on leave. Although traffic accidents still constitute the number one cause of death among soldiers on leave, 2012 registered the lowest number of total road deaths among soldiers in 11 years: nine soldiers killed, six of whom were on active duty.

"When looking at the data, [we] see that the preventive measures are undoubtedly resulting in a reduction in accidents and injuries," said Col. Dan.