An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

HomeNewsArticle Display

Airmen reminded ORM saves lives

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif-- Maj. Jerame Cohen of the 30th Logistics Readiness Squadron makes seat belt checks at the Lompoc Gate here Aug. 1. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif-- Maj. Jerame Cohen of the 30th Logistics Readiness Squadron makes seat belt checks at the Lompoc Gate here Aug. 1. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- We might hear it a lot in today's Air Force, but what is Operational Risk Management?

The definition in AFI 90-901 states that, "Operational risk management is a decision-making process to systematically evaluate possible courses of action, identify risks and benefits, and determine the best course of action for any given situation." In layman's terms ORM is an ongoing process that helps Airmen identify hazards, decide how toeliminate them and evaluate how effective these decisions are in protecting everyone from the hazards.

As an example of how each step works, a person could consider wearing seatbelts using the "ACT" process, which is one such process used to eliminate risks:

A - Assess the Environment for Risk. There are plenty of risks involved with not wearing seatbelts or not properly installing and securing children in a Child Restraint System (better known as car seats). These risks include being injured or killed. A person weighing 180 pounds travelling at 65 mph (weight multiplied by speed equals force) will experience 11,700 pounds of force against their body when the vehicle impacts a stationary object. An infant at age 1 or younger weighing 18 pounds and travelling at 65 mph will experience 1,170 pounds of force against their body when the vehicle impacts a stationary object. That's a lot of force that can result in severe trauma. How about living with the fact of making a decision not to use a device that can prevent tragedy and would only takes seconds to apply? The impacts are far reaching, such as the loss of family members and friends, grief and financial implications. Are these risks worth it?

C - Consider Options to Limit Risks. A person should ask themselves, "Do I want to risk serious injury or death to myself and others or is it better to wear the safety devices provided prior to going out in a vehicle?" Proper wear of seatbelts and installation of a CRS are the means of limiting risks. Seatbelts and CRS cannot prevent an accident from happening, but they greatly reduce the effects of an accident. These devices are designed and tested to protect drivers, their passengers and others on the road.

T- Take Appropriate Actions. It's simple - wear seatbelts and correctly install a CRS. These safety devices have been designed and installed to protect the driver and their passengers. The DOD and California state law require the use of these safety devices. Vehicle manufactures and National Safety Organizations spend countless hours and money on research, development and testing the safety to ensure the vehicles people are in are provided with the safest means of protection.

The 30th Space Wing safety office referred to a recent article from the California Highway Patrol that said after the bloodiest July 4 holiday weekend in six years, the CHP over the Labor Day Weekend will turn up the heat on motorists who ignore their safety belts and drive drunk.

"I'm putting every available officer on the road during the weekend," said CHP Commissioner D. O. "Spike" Helmick. "I never want to see another holiday with so many needless deaths."

Helmick said that of the 50 people who died in CHP jurisdiction over the recent July 4 holiday, 32 were not wearing safety belts. In all jurisdictions, 63 people died over July 4.

"Many of the people who died would be with us today, celebrating Labor Day with their friends and family, if they had buckled their safety belts," Helmick said.

The CHP is launching a major campaign to increase seat belt use in California that includes two federal grants.

"At 91.1 percent, we already have the best record in the country. But we're doing everything in our power to get that other 8.9 percent of motorists to buckle up. That means a balanced approach of enforcement and education," he said.

The officers' other Labor Day target will be drunk drivers. CHP officers arrested 1,377 drunk drivers statewide over the 2001 Labor Day Weekend.

"Before you attend that holiday barbecue, designate a driver. Don't drive if you've had even one drink," Helmick said.

Seatbelts and drinking and driving are only one example of using ORM.

"RM should be used in many tasks we do - our work, sports and recreational activities, leisure time, vacations," said Mark Stortecky, 30th Space Wing safety office. "We as safety professionals can provide the information, the facts and statistics of using ORM. The ball is in your court. Live life safely."

(Editor's note: portions of this article were taken from an article written by the California Highway Patrol.)