Safety office encourages proper risk management during holiday weekend
By Senior Airman Shane M. Phipps, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 02, 2015
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 30th Space Wing safety personnel are encouraging all Team V members to practice sound safety techniques this Labor Day Weekend.
The former "critical days of summer" program reiterated risk management principles between the months of May and September. This program, however, has been replaced by a more year-round emphasis on safety -- and with a long weekend approaching, cautious behavior is a priority.
"Safety is always paramount, but this is usually the last 'hoorah' of the summer, and a lot of people view it as the last big party weekend," said Christopher Wolfe, 30th Space Wing occupational safety office technician. "We definitely don't want people to lose sight of the need to take precautions and take advantage of sound risk management principles."
Although responsible conduct is always encouraged, summer activities can pose unique hazard considerations.
"We encourage people to be mindful of things like using sunscreen, being safe while on the water, and drinking responsibly," said Michael Trudeau, 30th SW occupational safety manager. "We really just don't want people to forget the safety practices they implement the rest of the year. Also, proper planning and research are very important when coordinating any kind of trips."
After transitioning from the "critical days of summer" approach and focusing on a year-round safety method, Vandenberg has seen a significant decrease in mishaps.
"This is the first year without calling it the 'critical days of summer'," said Wolfe. "This is because when you look at the Air Force as a whole and the amount of mishaps in any given year, it's pretty even throughout. So, we wanted to get away from focusing so much on the 'critical days of summer'. We also have started focusing month-to-month on job related safety practices, which we hope will transfer to people's off duty habits as well."
Safety personnel assert risk management is as simple, or as complicated, as the activity engaged in and often is just a matter of taking extra time to perform a quick risk verse reward analysis.
"Risk management is not intended to be a difficult or time consuming process," said Trudeau. "It is intended to only be as complicated as the activity you are engaging in. With the more complex activities, you have a more formal risk analysis process, but when it comes to weekend activities - the simple act of stopping to think is effective. Stopping to think about what you're about to do, and if it is smart, is important. When you make the decision to do the activity, monitor your risks along the way and adjust as necessary."
While Vandenberg has seen a decrease in mishaps, safety professionals intend on continuing to strive for perfection.
"We went from 11 mishaps last year, to six this year," said Trudeau. "We reduced our number of mishaps, which is fantastic. I think we're taking what we've learned on-duty and applying it off-duty, but is six too many mishaps? We can always keep striving for a perfect zero. That's really what our intention is, just a constant push for fewer and fewer mishaps."
Despite a never-ending battle to prevent mishaps, those who are tasked with such a challenge wouldn't have it any other way.
"I love my job," said Wolfe. "It's a great feeling knowing I'm helping people stay safe. Whenever I can help implement a better safety procedure, or idea, I really feel like I won that day and accomplished my own personal mission in that moment."