Teamwork - are you doing all you can?



Commentary by Staff Sgt. Larry Ebell
55th Wing Safety


4/17/2008 - OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- It is easy to get engrossed in our exciting summer activities and become complacent when it comes to safety. The goal of the 180 Critical Days of Safety Campaign is to keep people in a safety mind set.

"This year's concept is to emphasize, at the lowest level, that we all have a part in doing our best to ensure the success of our unit, wing, and ultimately the Air Force mission."

Like the mechanical parts of an aircraft, we as Airmen are all important parts of the well oiled machine we call the Air Force.

Regardless of rank, age or skill level, each one of us plays an important part in the air force mission.

Just as an aircraft missing the smallest part would affect the flight of that aircraft, an injury or death to an Air Force member would affect the Air Force mission.

It is essential for the security of our country to keep the Air Force mission moving. To do so we must try our best to prevent people from getting injured or killed. One of the tools we use is the 180 Critical Days of Safety Campaign.

It is up to each of us to be sure we are doing our part to keep mission effectiveness. Part of that is using personal risk management (PRM) on and off duty to ensure we are doing thing as safe as possible.

When an Airman is hurt or killed it puts stress on the mission in many different ways. One effect is the shock of the incident.

When a person is badly hurt or killed, the co-workers will feel the sense of loss which may affect them emotionally. This may cause people to lose focus result in a drop in production and the lack of focus may even lead to another injury.

Manpower may also be affected. With the injured individual out of the work area, others will need to pick up their workload also effecting production. Both of these examples will be unfavorable to performing the Air Force mission. To prevent this unwanted stress members should use the ACT method of PRM. The acronym ACT stands for:

Access the situation- What are the potential hazards?

Consider the options- What are some ways to avoid the hazards?

Take appropriate action- What is the safest option?

As individual parts of the Air Force machine we need to look out for one another as well as ourselves. Sometimes we get complacent or busy and forget to use proper PRM.

It's times like these when we need to look out for each other. Keep and eye on your friends and co-workers to ensure they are doing things as safe and efficient as possible.

Sometimes it is easier to accept constructive criticism from a friend rather than a supervisor. If you see someone doing something unsafe regardless of rank, don't hesitate to speak up and let your concerns be heard.

Knowing the effects of the loss of a co-worker in the work center it's in everyone's best interest to look out for our fellow Airmen.

So remember PRM during this year's 180 Critical Days of Safety and how important each of us is to keeping our country safe. Be sure the activities you do on and off duty are done in the safest way possible and keep an eye on your friends and family.

We are all critical to the Air Force mission. Each one of us truly makes a difference and is a necessary parts of the Air Force team.