Robins Air Force Base employees must follow heat safety protocols
Along with different amounts of times for working and resting, workers are also required to intake specific amounts of water.
WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)- The sun is both a blessing and a curse. We need it for warmth, to help plants grow and to provide us with much needed vitamin D. Too much sun can be fatal though.
On its own, the heat from the sun isn’t so bad. Pair it up with Middle Georgia’s high humidity, and you have the perfect combination for overheating and dehydration.
Robins Air Force Base is all too aware of this deadly combination. With crews working out on the flight lines where sun and humidity are serious threats, RAFB works to ensure that its team stays safe.
“Basically what we do is having a basic understanding of what our temperature index is and the way we do that is we have the wet bulb global temperature and we have a maintenance control area that notifies us when we have conditions based on different flag warnings.” said Travis Gully.
He is the Weapons Systems Support Flight Chief. Gully oversees operations on the C-130 aircraft and makes sure his employees have everything they need and are protected. Gully along with Forrest Duston, the Occupational Safety and Health Manager, monitor employees to make sure they’re complying with heat safety measures known as work rest cycles.
“Workers are required to work a certain amount of time and take a break, so for a black flag condition where it’s over say about ninety degrees we’re talking about a work rest cycle that looks like ten minutes of work with fifteen minutes of rest.” said Duston.
Along with different amounts of times for working and resting, workers are also required to intake specific amounts of water. Employees must consume at least one quart of water per hour. There are five different flag conditions used to determine the work to rest ratio with black signaling the most danger.
Out on the flight lines, employees have ample access to water, air conditioned rest areas and covered work spaces to keep the airplanes out of direct sunlight. If the planes stay in the sun too long, they could cause severe burns to anyone working on them.
All employees are notified of heat warnings through notifications on computers, through emails and most conveniently through text.
The wet Bulb Globe Temperature is monitored using a special device. Second Lieutenant Sydney Taggart is the Environmental Element Program Chief for the Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight. She’s the one responsible for monitoring the device.
“It’s taken using these three sensors, we take into account reflective heat, humidity and dry temperature. So the meter then calculates what the ambient conditions are and that’s how we call different flag or heat conditions on base.” Taggart explained.
The numbers are calculated in real time from the device and into computer systems at Bioenvironmental, where the flag condition is quickly determined and notifications are sent out.
Though summer can be hostile with high temperatures, the people at Robins Air Force Base are doing their part to make sure everyone can work outside as safely as possible.