Tag Archives: injury

Plane Dive Caused by Personal Camera Results in Court-Martial

By ThinkReliability Staff

On February 9, 2014, a Royal Air Force Voyager was transporting 189 passengers and a crew of 9 towards Afghanistan when the plane suddenly entered a steep dive. Many passengers were unrestrained and were injured by striking the ceiling or other objects. Other passengers were injured by flying objects or spills of hot liquid. More than 30 passengers and crew members reported injuries, all considered minor. The Military Aviation Authority’s final report contains details of the impacts from the dive, the causes of the dive, and recommendations that would reduce the possibility of a similar issue in the future.

These impacts, the cause-and-effect relationships that led to them, and the recommended solutions can be captured within a Cause Map. The Cause Map process begins with filling in a Problem Outline, which captures the what, when and where of an incident, followed by the impacts to the goals. The problem covered by the report is the aircraft dive and resulting injuries which occurred on February 9, 2014 at about 1549 (3:49 PM) on an Airbus A330-243 Voyager tanker air transport flight. Things that were different, unusual or unique at the time of the incident are also captured. In this case, the plane had experienced prior turbulence, and the co-pilot was not in his seat at the time of the dive.

The next step is to capture the impacts to the goals on the Outline. In this case, the safety goal is impacted because of a significant potential for fatalities, as well as the more than 30 actual injuries. Customer service is impacted due to the steep dive of the plane, and the regulatory goal is impacted due to the court-martial of the pilot, as well as 10 lawsuits against the Ministry of Defense. Production was impacted because the plane was grounded for 12 days, the property goal is impacted because of the potential for the loss of the whole plane, and the labor goal is impacted by the investigation.

Beginning with an impact to the goal, all the cause-and-effect relationships that led to that goal are captured on the Cause Map. In this case, the potential for fatalities resulted from the potential loss of the plane. According to Air Marshal Richard Garwood, previous director general of the UK’s Military Aviation Authority (MAA), “On this occasion, the A330 automatic self-protection systems likely prevented a disaster of significant scale. The loss of the aircraft was not an unrealistic possibility.” The potential for the loss of the plane resulted from the steep dive. The reason the plane was NOT lost (and this becomes a significant near miss) is the plane was recovered to level flight by the flight envelop protection system, which functioned as designed. (Although this is a positive, not a negative, it’s a cause all the same and should be included in the Cause Map.)

The steep dive resulted from the controller being forced forward without being counteracted. These are two separate causes that resulted in the effect, and are listed vertically and joined with an “AND” on the Cause Map. More detail should be provided about both causes. The command could not be counteracted because the co-pilot was not on the flight deck. He had been taking a break for several minutes before the incident. The investigation found that the controller was forced forward by a camera that was pushed against the controller. The camera had been placed between the seat and the controller, and then the seat was pushed towards (as is normal to occur during flight).

The investigation found that, despite concerns for about a year prior to this incident, loose personal articles were not prohibited on the flight deck. While there was a requirement to stow loose articles, it was not referenced in the operational manual and instead became one of thousands of paragraphs provided as background, resulting in a lack of awareness of controller interference from loose articles. The pilot was found to be using the camera while on the flight deck, likely due to boredom on the highly automated plane. (Analysis of the camera and flight recordings provided evidence.) The pilot was court-martialed for “negligently performing a duty, perjury and making a false record”, presumably at least partially due to the use of a personal camera while solo on the flight deck.

The report provided many recommendations as a result of the investigation, including increasing seat belt use by passengers and crew during rest periods, which would have reduced some of the injuries caused by unrestrained personnel striking the ceiling of the aircraft. Recommendations also included ensuring manufacturer’s safety advice is included in operational documents, promoting awareness of the danger of loose articles, and maximizing use of storage for loose articles, all of which aim to reduce the risk of loose articles contacting control equipment. An additional recommendation is to manage low in-flight pilot workload in an attempt to combat the boredom that can be experienced on long flights.

To view the Problem Outline, Cause Map, and recommendations, please click “Download PDF” above. Or click here to read the Military Aviation Authority’s report.

Is Having a Lockout/ Tagout (LOTO) Procedure Enough?

By Staff

The number of possible types of injuries occurring when performing work on energized equipment is impossible to count.  They can range from burns, to electrical shock, to crush injuries, to cuts/lacerations, and beyond.  In an effort to help eliminate some of these injuries, the OSHA standard for Control of Hazardous Energy (29 CFR 1910.147), more commonly known as lockout/tagout (LOTO), went into effect in 1989.  The purpose of the standard is to help companies establish the practices and procedures needed to prevent injury to workers when they are performing maintenance activities to equipment requiring an energy source.  Any company in violation of the standard is subject to a fine.  It is estimated that in 2013, there were approximately $14 million in federal and state fines, and lockout/tagout was the 5th most frequently violated standard in 2015.

However, the REAL goal of the standard is to keep people safe.  So how is the standard violated?  It can happen in many ways, but this blog takes a look at one specific incident to better understand  how it can happen.  This analysis is based on a case study presented in the article “Lockout/Tagout Accident Investigation” from the August 2014 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

In this incident, several contractors were working on a project involving a particular switchgear.  Many of these contractors had performed lockout/tagout for the switchgear box related to the projects that they were working on.  After the work began, a worker from a different contractor was asked to clean out part of the switchgear.  Unfortunately, an arc flash occurred when he reached in the switchgear, resulting in burns to his hand and a blow-out injury to his knee.  Fortunately, the employee survived, recovered, and was able to return to his normal life.

A Cause Map can be built to analyze this issue.  The first step in Cause Mapping is to determine how the incident impacted the overall goals.  For this incident, the safety goal was the most obviously impacted goal due to the injuries that the worker sustained.  The goal is always for employees to leave the workplace in the same health in which they arrived.  Additionally, the regulatory goal was impacted since the injuries were severe enough that they were classified as recordable.

The Cause Map is a visual representation of the cause-and-effect relationships that contributed to the incident.  Starting with the impacted safety goal, ‘why’ questions can be asked to identify the key factors that caused the problem.  In this case, the injuries were caused by the fact that an arc flash occurred when the worker reached into the switchgear and he was not wearing personal protective equipment.  The worker was probably not wearing PPE because he thought that the switchgear was de-energized, and this was an effect of the fact that there were locks and tags already on the switchgear.  The arc flash was a result of the fact that the circuit breaker was energized when the worker reached in to clean it.  The circuit breaker was energized because of three factors: a different contractor had put it back in service the night before, the circuit was not tested by the worker, and the worker didn’t do his own lockout procedure.  Each of these problems can be further analyzed to reveal problems with communication, adding the task at the last minute and not including every task in a job safety analysis.

For this situation, and many like it, eliminating a cause anywhere on the map could have minimized the risk of the incident occurring.  For example, had the worker taken the time to put on protective equipment or test the circuit breaker, he might not have been injured.  Similarly, had the other contractors taken the time to update their locks/tags and ensure that they had communicated that the circuit had been reenergized to all interested parties, the worker might not have been injured.  This example demonstrates that having a lockout/tagout procedure is the first step in avoiding injuries.  Ensuring that the procedure is followed in combination with other safety standards is also important to minimize the risk of injury.

Rollercoaster Crash Under Investigation

By ThinkReliability Staff

A day at a resort/ theme park ended in horror on June 2, 2015 when a carriage filled with passengers on the Smiler rollercoaster crashed into an empty car in front of it. The 16 people in the carriage were injured, 5 seriously (including limb amputations). While the incident is still under investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), information that is known can be collected in cause-and-effect relationships within a Cause Map, or visual root cause analysis.

The analysis begins with determining the impact to the goals. Clearly the most important goal affected in this case is the safety goal, impacted because of the 16 injuries. In addition to the safety impacts, customer service was impacted because of the passengers who were stranded for hours in the air at a 45 degree angle. The HSE investigation and expected lawsuits are an impact to the regulatory goal. The park was closed completely for 6 days, at an estimated cost of ?3 M. (The involved rollercoaster and others with similar safety concerns remain closed.) The damage to the rollercoaster and the response, rescue and investigation are impacts to the property and labor goals, respectively.

The Cause Map is built by laying out the cause-and-effect relationships starting with one of the impacted goals. In this case, the safety goal was impacted because of the 16 injuries. 16 passengers were injured due to the force on the carriage in which they were riding. The force was due to the speed of the carriage (estimated at 50 mph) when it collided with an empty carriage. According to a former park employee, the collision resulted from both a procedural and mechanical failure.

The passenger-filled carriage should not have been released while an empty car was still on the tracks, making a test run. It’s unclear what specifically went wrong to allow the release, but that information will surely be addressed in the HSE investigation and procedural improvements going forward. There is also believed to have been a mechanical failure. The former park employee stated, “Technically, it should be absolutely impossible for two cars to enter the same block, which is down to sensors run by a computer.” If this is correct, then it is clear that there was a failure with the sensors that allowed the cars to collide. This will also be a part of the investigation and potential improvements.

After the cause-and-effect relationships have been developed as far as possible (in this case, there is much information still to be added as the investigation continues), it’s important to ensure that all the impacted goals are included on the Cause Map. In this case, the passengers were stranded in the air because the carriage was stuck on the track due to the force upon it (as described above) and also due to the time required for rescue. According to data that has so far been released, it was 38 minutes before paramedics arrived on-scene, and even longer for fire crews to arrive with the necessary equipment to begin a rescue made very difficult by the design of the rollercoaster (the world record holder for most loops: 14). The park staff did not contact outside emergency services until 16 minutes after the accident – an inexcusably long time given the gravity of the incident. The delayed emergency response will surely be another area addressed by the investigation and continuing improvements.

Although the investigation is ongoing, the owners of the park are already making improvements, not only to the Smiler but to all its rollercoasters. In a statement released June 5, the owner group said “Today we are enhancing our safety standards by issuing an additional set of safety protocols and procedures that will reinforce the safe operation of our multi-car rollercoasters. These are effective immediately.” The Smiler and similar rollercoasters remain closed while these corrective actions are implemented.

Dr. Tony Cox, a former Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advisory committee chairman, hopes the improvements don’t stop there and issues a call to action for all rollercoaster operators. “If you haven’t had the accident yourself, you want all that information and you’re going to make sure you’ve dealt with it . . . They can just call HSE and say, ‘Is there anything we need to know?’ and HSE will . . . make sure the whole industry knows. That’s part of their role. It’s unthinkable that they wouldn’t do that.”

To view the information available thus far in a Cause Map, please click “Download PDF” above.

Plane Narrowly Avoids Rolling into Bay

By ThinkReliability Staff

Passengers landing at LaGuardia airport in New York amidst a heavy snowfall on March 5, 2015, were stunned (and 23 suffered minor injuries) when their plane overran the runway and approached Flushing Bay.  The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is currently investigating the accident to determine not only what went wrong in this particular case, but what standards can be implemented to reduce the risk of runway overruns in the future.

Says Steven Wallace, the former director of the FAA’s accident investigations office (2000-2008), “Runway overruns are the accident that never goes away.  There has been a huge emphasis on runway safety and different improvements, but landing too long and too fast can result in an overrun.”  Runway overruns are the most frequent type of accident (there are about 30 runway overruns due to wet or icy runways across the globe every year), and runway overruns are the primary cause of major damage to airliners.

Currently, the NTSB is collecting data (evidence) to aid in its investigation of the accident.  The plane is being physically examined, and the crew is being interviewed.  The data recorders on the flight are being downloaded and analyzed.  While little information is able to be verified or ruled out at this point, there is still value in organizing the questions related to the investigation in a logical way.

We can do this using the Cause Mapping method of root cause analysis, which organizes cause-and-effect relationships related to an incident.  We begin by capturing the impact to an organization’s goals.  In this case, 23 minor passenger injuries were reported, an impact to the safety goal.  There was a fuel leak of unknown quantity, which impacts the environmental goal.  Customer service was impacted due to a scary landing and evacuation from the aircraft via slides.  Air traffic at LaGuardia was shut down for 3 hours, impacting the production goal.  Both the airplane and the airport perimeter fence suffered major damage, which impacts the property/equipment goal.  The labor goal was also impacted due to the response and ongoing investigation.

By beginning with an impacted goal and asking “why” questions, we can begin to diagram the potential causes that may have resulted in an incident.  Potential causes are causes without evidence.  If evidence is obtained that supports a cause, it becomes a cause and it is no longer followed by a question mark.  If evidence rules out a cause, it can be crossed out but left on the Cause Map.  This reduces uncertainty as to whether a potential cause has been considered and ruled out, or not considered at all.

In this case, the NTSB will be looking into runway conditions, landing procedures, and the condition of the plane.   According to the airport, the runway was cleared within a few minutes of the plane landing, although the crew has said it appeared all white during landing.  The National Weather Service reported 7″ of snow in the New York area on the day of the overrun.  Procedures for closing runways or aborting landings are also being considered.  Just prior to the landing, other pilots who had recently landed reported braking conditions as good.

The crew has also reported that although the auto brakes were set to max, they did not feel any deceleration. The entire braking system will be investigated to determine if equipment failure was involved in the accident.  (Previous overruns have been due to brake system failures or the failure of reverse thrust from one of the engines, causing the plane to veer.)  The pilot also reported the automatic spoiler did not deploy, but they were deployed manually.

Also being investigated are the landing speed and position, though there is no evidence to suggest that there was any issue with crew performance.  As more information is released, it can be added to the investigation.  When the cause-and-effect relationships are better determined, the NTSB can begin looking at recommendations to reduce future runway overruns.

Extensive Fire on USS George Washington Placed Crew at Risk

By ThinkReliability Staff

When fire broke out in 2008 on aircraft carrier USS George Washington in an unmanned space that was being used to improperly store flammable materials, it took more than 8 hours to find the source of, and extinguish, the fire. In the Navy’s investigation report, Admiral Robert F. Willard, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, stated “It is apparent from this extensive study that there were numerous processes and procedures related to fire prevention and readiness and training that were not properly functioning. The extent of damage could have been reduced had numerous longstanding firefighting and firefighting management deficiencies been corrected.”

The processes and procedures that were implicated in the investigation of the fire can be examined in a Cause Map, or a visual root cause analysis. This process begins by identifying the goals impacted. In this case, the primary goal impacted was the safety goal. Thirty-seven sailors were injured; one was seriously burned. There were no fatalities. In addition, the damage to the ship was estimated at $70 million and left the ship unusable for 3 months.

Beginning with the impacted safety goal, asking ‘Why’ questions allows us to develop the cause-and-effect relationships that led to those impacted goals. In this case, the injuries to sailors resulted from the extensive fire aboard ship. In addition, some of the affected sailors (including the sailor who was seriously burned) did not have adequate protective clothing. Specifically, liners worn underneath firefighting gear were not available in one repair locker because they were being laundered. Both the fire and the inadequate protective gear were causally related to the injuries so they are both included on the Cause Map and joined with ‘and’.

Asking additional ‘why’ questions adds more detail to the Cause Map. When investigating a fire, it’s important to include the factors that resulted in the initiation of the fire (heat, fuel and oxygen) as well as those that allowed the fire to spread. In this case, the ignition (or heat) source was believed to be a cigarette butt. On-scene evidence showed that smoking was occurring in the area, against regulation. The ship was found to have inadequate training regarding the smoking policy and inadequate control over the locations where smoking was occurring, because regular zone inspections were not being held.

The initial fuel source was determined to be refrigerant oil and other flammable materials improperly stored in an unmanned space where the fire began. The oil was not turned in as required by procedure over a concern about the difficulty of retrieving it. Because the oil was never entered into the inventory control system, the storage discrepancy was not noted. The unmanned space in which it was stored was not inspected. Unmanned spaces were not included in zone inspections and the area had not been designed as a tank or void to be identified in the void and tank inspection.

Once a fire breaks out, the speed in which the source is found and extinguished has the most impact on the safety of personnel. In this case, the source of the fire was not found for eight hours.   Not only did the fire begin in an unmanned area, the drawings showing the layout of the ship were inaccurate, because the ship was in the midst of alterations.

Developing the causes the resulted in the impacted goals allows for identification of all the processes and procedures that need to be re-examined to reduce risk of recurrence. In this case, the report identified multiple processes and procedures that were re-evaluated in the wake of the disaster, including those for hazardous material storage, training, inspection and firefighting.

To learn more, click here to read the Navy investigation report. To view a one-page overview of the Outline and Cause Map, please click on “Download PDF” above.

Fingertips Amputated After Slip on Ice

By ThinkReliability Staff

Information on a slip that caused severe damage to an electrical contractor in Newcastle in August 2013 was recently released by Great Britain’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Though this incident didn’t make the front pages of the newspaper, it is representative of many of the injury investigations which we facilitate using the Cause Mapping method.

The first step in the Cause Mapping method of root cause analysis is to capture the what, when and where of the incident and the impacts to the organizational goals. In this case, the what (contractor slip and hand injury), when (August 30, 2013) and where (a moving conveyor at a baguette manufacturer in Leeds) are captured, as well as any differences and the task being performed at the time of the incident. There were two notable differences during the incident as compared to an “average” day that should also be noted: the safety guard had been removed from the conveyor and ice had accumulated on the floor. These differences may or may not be causally related to the incident. Additionally, the task being performed (cleaning up after contract electrical work) is captured as it, too, may be causally related to the incident.

The impacts to the goals are analogous to what stood in the way of a perfect day. A serious injury involving the partial amputation of two fingers and the injury of a third is an impact to the safety goal in this example. The £8,500 fine levied by the HSE is an impact to the regulatory goal. The worker had four weeks off work due to the injury, which is an impact to the labor goal. It is unclear if any other goals were impacted by this incident.

Once at least one impact to the goals has been determined, asking “why” questions helps us complete the second step, or analysis. In the analysis, we capture cause-and-effect relationships that map out the issues that led to the incident. In this case, the injury was caused by the contractor’s hand striking an unprotected drive chain on a moving conveyor. This occurred because the hand struck the area, the drive chain was unprotected, and the conveyor was moving. All three of these causes had to occur for the resulting injury.

The contractor’s hand struck the area because of a slip on an icy floor. Ice from an open freezer door (which appeared to be malfunctioning) had built up and had not been removed.   The drive chain was unprotected because the safety guard had been removed from the conveyor, which was moving likely due to normal operations.

According to Shuna Rank, the HSE inspector, “This worker’s injuries should not and need not have happened. This incident was easily preventable had Country Style Foods Ltd ensured safety guards were in place on the machinery. The company should also have taken steps to prevent the accumulation of ice on the freezer floor. Guards and safety systems are there for a reason, and companies have a legal duty of care to ensure they are properly fitted and working effectively at all times. Slips and trips are the biggest cause of major injuries in the food and drink industry with 37% of all major accidents in the industry being as a result of slips.”

The inspector’s quote clearly identifies the areas for improvement that could reduce the risk of similar incidents occurring. Namely, the manufacturer must ensure that damage resulting in ice buildup is fixed as soon as possible and that in the meantime, ice is regularly cleared away and the area is marked as a slip hazard. If a safety guard is removed for any reason, the conveyor should not be operating until it has been replaced properly. Ensuring that equipment is in proper working order is essential to reduce the risk to workers such as the injuries demonstrated in this case.

To view the Outline and Cause Map, please click “Download PDF” above. Or click here to read more.

Supply of Disposable Diapers Threatened by Explosion at Chemical Plant

By Kim Smiley

On September 29, 2012, an explosion at a chemical plant in Japan killed a fire fighter, injured 35 others and did significantly damage.  Chemicals produced at the plant are used in disposable diapers.  The damaged plant will be inoperable for the foreseeable future, which will likely impact the global supply of disposable diapers, a thought that strikes fear in the hearts of many parents of small children.

This incident can be analyzed by building a Cause Map, an intuitive, visual format for performing a root cause analysis.  The first step in building a Cause Map is to identify which goals were affected.  In this case, the safety goal is obviously impacted since there was a fatality and injuries.  The production goal is also a major consideration since the supply of disposable diapers is threatened because the plant will be unable to produce chemicals for a significant amount of time.  The next step is to ask “why” questions to add additional boxes to the Cause Map.

Starting with the safety goal first, we would ask “why” there was a fatality and injuries.  In this example, people were hurt because there was a fire at a chemical plant.  The fire occurred because a tank exploded and it was near other tanks full of flammable chemicals.  The tank exploded because the temperature inside the tank was increasing and it wasn’t cooled in time.  It isn’t clear yet why the temperature was increasing inside the tank, but investigators are working to find the cause.  Once it is known, it can be added to the Cause Map.

At the time of the explosion, efforts were underway to cool off the tank, but they weren’t effective.  Firefighters were working to spray down the tank with cool water to help lower the temperature, but the temperature rose too quickly.  This is also a cause of the fatality.  A fireman was working to connect spray lines near the tank at the time it exploded and he was sprayed with hot chemicals.  Other injuries occurred at the time of explosion and others were sustained during the effort to fight the fire.  It’s possible that one of the reasons that the workers were unable to cool the tank was that the usual method of cooling the tank, injecting nitrogen to decrease the oxygen and control the chemical reactions occurring, might not have been functioning properly.  This is another area that can be clarified on the Cause Map as more information is known.

Looking at the production goal now, a potential shortage of disposable diapers may occur as a result of this accident because the plant produced a significant amount of a chemical used in manufacturing diapers.  This plant produced 20% of world’s supply of one chemical in particular needed for diapers.  Combine this with the fact that the other plants manufacturing this chemical are already operating at maximum capacity and the supply will likely be less than the demand.

The final step in the process is to use the Cause Map to develop solutions to help prevent similar problems from occurring in the future.  It’s premature to discuss specific solutions in this example since the investigation is still ongoing, but the initial Cause Map can easily be expanded and used when all the information is available.

Deadly Tiger Attack

By Kim Smiley

On December 25, 2007, a tiger escaped her enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo and attacked three people.  One 17 year old boy was killed and the other two were injured. The enclosure was built in the 1940s and had safely contained tigers for more than 60 years without incident.

So how did this happen?  How did the tiger escape?

A Cause Map can be built using this example to help determine how this incident was able to occur. To begin a Cause Map, the impacts to the organizational goals are first determined and then “why” questions are asked to add causes to the map.  In this case, there was obviously an impact to the safety goal because one zoo patron was killed and two were injured.  The customer service goal was also impacted because the zoo was closed until January 3, 2008 following the incident.  Why was a zoo patron killed?  He was killed because he was mauled by a tiger.  Why was he mauled?  Because the tiger escaped her enclosure and she went after the victims.

Let’s focus on the question of how the tiger escaped her enclosure first.  An investigation was conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the government body who is charged with overseeing the nation’s zoos.  Based on claw marks and other evidence at the scene, they determined that the tiger jumped from the bottom of a dry moat and was able to pull herself over the fence surrounding her enclosure.  The investigation also determined the fence was lower than typically used around tiger enclosures.  The Association of Zoos & Aquariums recommends that walls around a tiger exhibit be at least 16.4 feet and the fence around the San Francisco Zoo was only 12.5 feet at the time.

The second question of why the tiger went after the boys is not as easy to answer.  A few experts have stated that the tiger didn’t behave in a typical way.  There has been significant speculation in the media that the victims taunted the tiger or provoked her in some way, but nothing has ever officially been determined.

This focus on the behavior of the victims is a good example of some of the issues that can come up during an investigation.  It can be tempting to focus on assigning blame when investigating an incident.  But the real question is “What should we do to prevent this from happening again?”.  Whether or not the boys provoked the tiger, she should never have been able to escape her enclosure.

After the incident, the zoo extensively remodeled the tiger enclosure, adding a much higher fence and with hotwire at the top to prevent any similar incidents from occurring.

Tackling Injuries in the NFL

By Kim Smiley

It’s no secret that a lot of players get hurt in the National Football League (NFL).

But why does this happen?  Why do so many players get hurt?  And what may be a better question, is there a way to prevent injuries?

This problem can be approached by performing a root cause analysis built as a Cause Map using root cause analysis software you probably already own – Microsoft Excel.

The first step is to determine how the organizational goals are impacted.  In this example, the safety goal will be considered.  The safety goal is impacted because there is a potential for injury.  Causes can then be added to the Cause Map by asking “why” questions.

Why do football players get hurt? Football players routinely slam into each other and the ground. It’s the nature of football. Even when the rules are followed, football is a very physically demanding sport with a potential for injuries to occur.

Another reason players get hurt is that they are wearing inadequate protection to prevent injury. Right now the rules only require uniforms, helmets and shoulder pads.  Most players wear very little padding because they want to maximize their speed and mobility.

As a potential solution to this problem, NFL officials are reconsidering the rules that govern the pads worn by players. Currently knee, hip and thigh pads are only recommended, but there is possibility that this will be changed for the 2011 season.

Twelve teams will experiment with lightweight pads during training camps and preseason games this year.  The players will have the option to continue wearing the pads during the actual season if they want.

Depending on the outcome of the trials, there is the possibility that additional padding will be mandatory starting in the 2011 season.  Hopefully, the additional padding will be successful at preventing some injuries, but only time will tell.