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Would you stake your life, right now, on the condition of your equipment?
NEWS | Sept. 9, 2022

All Fleets: Promote Safety by Avoiding the “Dirty Dozen”

BLUF: Be mindful of and avoid 12 common errors that contribute to maintenance mistakes and mishaps

Dirty Dozen List
Courtesy of the US Army Combat Readiness Center
Click on image to open PDF version
One of MSG Half-Mast’s favorite movies is about a group of 12 convicted felons during World War II who are enlisted for a secretive military mission to “take out” a group of German officers. They and the movie are called The Dirty Dozen.
Aviators, and Soldiers in general, need to heed a dirty dozen of another type—the 12 most common causes of mishaps that wreak havoc in Army aviation and across other fleets, too.
Historically, human factors account for about 86 percent of all Army aviation mishaps, not to mention mishaps across all Army fleets. Check out this list of the dozen most common, and make sure you and your unit work hard to prevent them.
  1. Lack of crew coordination: Communicate continually across your team about what’s been done and not done.
  2. Complacency: Don’t rely on the know-it-all mentality and think you don’t need to refer to the TM, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and approved checklists.
  3. Distraction: Stay focused. Always pay attention to detail and stay on task.
  4. Exceeding one’s limitations or abilities: If you don’t know something, don’t wing it. Get with the subject-matter expert or someone senior who does know what to do.
  5. Indiscipline: When you disregard rules or instructions, you increase the risk for unsafe situations.
  6. Fatigue: Face facts and recognize when you’re tired and need assistance. Then ask for help.
  7. Stress: Recognize stressors and how they impact your work so you can focus. Implement stress-reduction strategies to mitigate their impact.
  8. Peer pressure: Don’t just follow someone because they and you think they know what they’re doing. Make sure you know the procedures and do what the TM says.
  9. Lack of knowledge: Admit what you don’t know before you attempt to perform a maintenance task.
  10. Lack of training: Make sure you get the training necessary to perform your job proficiently.
  11. Lack of leader involvement: If you’re a leader, always ensure subordinates can perform, even when you’re not present. More involvement leads to better mission success. If you’re not a leader, invite those above you to double-check your work.
  12. Lack of pre-mission planning: Ensure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities. Include battle drill rehearsals that minimize surprises and confusion.  
Every Soldier has a vested interest in ensuring Army mishaps don’t happen. So take these 12 common errors to heart and avoid them daily.
For an slightly different, aviation-focused Dirty Dozen, see Don't Be Done in by Aviation's Dirty Dozen Part 1 and Part 2, from PS 747 and PS 748 (click on Part 1 and Part 2 to open PDFs of those articles).
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