Previous news stories inaccurately reported that the boots issued and sold for use with the Type III Navy Working Uniform may have contributed to an increase in ladderwell injuries aboard ships,

...the US Navy explained.

In this regard, NAVSAFECEN coordinated in March with the Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility (NCTRF), a business line of the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM), to perform a new study using an expanded data set and updated analytical techniques to more accurately review ladderwell injuries.

The new study concluded that the boots are not the problem. Among the most regularly seen factors leading to falls on ladders are running, carrying heavy objects that obstruct the view and movement, sliding down ladders, and not utilizing the handrails, the study revealed.

Our latest data shows, without a doubt, that the safety boots issued to and used by our Sailors are thoroughly tested by the research facility prior to issue to the Fleet and the boots perform as prescribed by the Navy,

...said NAVSAFECEN Commander, Rear Adm. Mark Leavitt.

The extended study also pointed out the need to remind sailors to take extra precautions when transiting up and down ladders aboard ship.

Meanwhile, most shipboard ladder mishaps can be prevented by taking deliberate steps in moving up and down ladders and using the trailing hand technique (THT).

The trailing hand technique is performed by trailing the strongest hand underneath the handrail behind, turning the body slightly toward that hand in order to provide more stepping space on each stair, and descending in a controlled manner.

If a slip or trip occurs while using the THT, physiologically an individual’s wrists and grip on the rail are much stronger, either completely preventing a fall, or directing the fall into a sitting position on the ladder or toward the handrail, preventing injury.

The prevention of slips, trips, and falls on ladders is one of many lessons learned that the Naval Safety Center will continue to provide to the Fleet in order to preserve combat readiness and save lives.