Making headway in personnel safety

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jacob T. Stephens
  • 355th Wing Public Affairs

Safety has been and remains a top priority for senior leaders throughout the Air Force and Department of Defense as it ensures that their most valuable resource, their people, are taken care of and able to execute the mission. The 355th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron is testing the next solution in creating a safer work environment for maintenance troops.

The way the 355th AMXS is doing this is “bump caps,” which are tactical ball caps with a protective lining inside, that are a potential form of personal protective equipment.

“The bump cap is a cap with a plastic insert designed to add a level of protection to mitigate head injuries for Airmen working around the flight line,” said Airman 1st Class Philippe Darius, 355th AMXS A-10 Thunderbolt II crew chief. “This allows us to be more consistent in what we do and not have to worry about head injuries.”

Maintenance Airmen across the force have sustained a variety of head injuries, which the bump cap is being tested to mitigate and eliminate by creating safer operating procedures.

“There are several low-hanging antennas on the A-10 [Thunderbolt II] that come to sharp points, which have led to multiple instances where other maintainers have had cuts, abrasions and even needed stitches,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Dalton Musselman, 355th AMXS avionics technician. “We are testing these hats to ensure that they will truly prevent injuries and do what they are designed to do. This has the potential to be distributed Air Force wide to save the Air Force money and prevent personnel from getting injured.”

The 355th AMXS is testing this equipment in conjunction with other Air Force entities that will decide if these are effective and should be implemented across the force.

“It is exciting to be a part of an initiative at the higher Air Force level,” Darius said. “This could be implemented at bases around the country and across the world, which is an awesome thing to be at the spearhead of. I’m really glad to see these steps being taken to make the job better for our maintainers because it can be a rough, rugged job.”

The 355th AMXS testing this next potential form of personal protective equipment is just one part of an on-going effort across the service to ensure the safety of the Air Force’s most valuable resource, its Airmen.