We Are Safety Services: Lesson Learned

By Shaun Kelly

Posted on Thursday July 13, 2017


The Sergeant Major was doing the rounds of the Administration Company (Admin Coy) of an Infantry Battalion one night during a recent exercise. As the Admin Coy was behind the lines it was set up as a bivouac with modular tentage and generators running to power the radios and lights. As the Sergeant Major arrived at the Command Post, he noticed that a soldier was busily filling up the already running diesel generator with Naphtha. The Sergeant Major’s immediate reaction was to get the soldier to stop what he was doing by saying so in no uncertain terms, “ turn off the generator, clear the area around the generator and ensure the Naphtha is purged from the system before restarting it”.

It turns out the soldier was a new recruit being used for “general duties” at the headquarters and had not been properly briefed on how to refuel the generator and had picked up the container closest to the generator from the POL point.

This is a classic case of an inattentive supervisor endangering lives by not ensuring that a soldier was properly trained to carry out a routine task. It is not clear what the results of Naphtha combusting in the engine would be, but if it had combusted, there would surely have been more consequences than injuries to that soldier.

Lessons were learned by the soldier filling the generator and by the supervisor who had more than his fair share afterwards of filling the generator.

Any comments or questions can be forwarded to +Safety Svcs GSO@4 CDSG Safety Svcs@Petawawa..