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Ministry of Defence Publishes Safety Investigation Report

The Ministry of Defence has published  its Safety Investigation Report into the RAF Bobsleigh, Luge and Skeleton Association (BLSA) accident which occurred on 29th January 2018.  During the BLSA Novice Ice Championships in Austria, on 29th January 2018, a service person was involved in a luge sporting accident and suffered a serious head injury.  At least 4 other injuries were sustained by luge athletes and staff at the Championships, including another head injury leading to unconsciousness, requiring hospital treatment.  Following the  accident,  the Defence Accident Investigation Branch (DAIB) undertook an investigation.  The subsequent report found that the injured service person lost control of the sled and was unable to execute corrective steering actions before entering a turn on the track. She fell from a height of approximately 4.5M and was subjected to a  high

energy impact with the ice wall. In examining, the events preceding the incident, the DAIB could not establish that the injured person had received all of the necessary training that would have meant she could bring her sled back under control. She had only conducted 1 run on the Ice Track before the accident. The RAF BLSA did not deliver any formal novice luge training and did not conduct formal checks to ensure on-ice competency of the injured person before the accident.  The Coach was not aware of the safety policy and not all of the requires risk assessments were conducted or reviewed prior to starting the on-ice activities. 

The military provides great opportunities for sporting activities and they are an important feature of military life. However this event is a sobering reminder of what can happen and that all appropriate safety precautions must be taken. Our specialist Armed Forces team has experience of acting for service personnel who have suffered serious injuries during water sports, climbing, boxing  and winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. Equipment must be in a serviceable condition,  thorough training and instruction must be given along with proper supervision and monitoring.

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