Cold Weather Injuries: Military Capability & Training

Squad, Cold WeatherResearch Paper Title

Cold Weather Injury Risk Analysis and Management in a Tasmanian Army Reserve Battalion.

Abstract

Cold Weather Injury (CWI) is a significant threat to military capability in Tasmania.

In 2011, the Royal Tasmanian Regiment implemented a cold weather training policy and training package to formalise risk management and preserve military capability in training and operations.

This article summarises relevant literature pertaining to military CWI and outlines an approach to risk mitigation based on the hierarchy of controls.

A whole of command approach to preserving capability and preventing casualties in cold climate training is outlined and potential broader applications of this approach are discussed.

Conclusions

CWI is a potentially significant threat to military capability throughout Australia. Without active case-finding, CWI may be overlooked in current risk management practice because the incidence of death or reported injury is low.

However, a CWI is a sentinel event, representing a failure of WHS processes within an organisation and indicating the requirement for procedural review. Moreover, international research demonstrates that there is likely to be significant unrecognised degradation of capability preceding documented injury.

Therefore, risk management should be systematic, not only to prevent casualties, but to ensure that all soldiers operate at peak performance at all times, in all environments

Source: Mahoney, A. (2012) Cold Weather Injury Risk Analysis and Management in a Tasmanian Army Reserve Battalion. Journal of Military and Veteran’s Health. 20(3).

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