Make safety a priority at work, home

  • Published
  • By Col. Tim Cahoon
  • 459th Air Refueling Wing commander
As your new commander, I want to make my safety policy clear. We cannot afford for you to get injured or worse. Your families can't afford for you to get injured or worse. You don't want to be injured or worse. Be smart, do it right, take your time, watch out for your buddies.

That's a common sense policy right? Certainly, many of us think ground safety is just common sense. Well, it ought to be, but its not. We have great safety programs in place; we are taught good safety practices from the day we enter the military, yet people still get hurt and/or break things. Good safety programs are only good if every single one of us participates fully, if we think ahead, if we look out for one another, if we intentionally work to avoid complacency, if we follow technical data, if we don't take unnecessary risks.

I need your full involvement in safe operations. I need your undivided attention to safe practices at work and at home. I want you to report to work every single day, be able to do your job and contribute to the mission, and to be able to go home everyday and take care of your family.

Mission success depends upon good planning, capable personnel, and a smart safety approach. You cannot have one without the other. You need to speak up and take action if you think something unsafe is about to happen. Don't just assume the other person knows it. We are a team and that applies to safety just as much as anything else.

Come on, stay with me here. This is important stuff; you, your co-worker or your family member's life or well being counts on it! We cannot afford for you to get complacent. Too much depends upon you concentrating on doing things the smart way; on using good Operational Risk Management. Our nation has too much invested in you to lose your service.

Your family needs you, and your country needs you too. You must pay attention, get your rest, weigh the benefits against the risk, follow checklists, wear proper protective gear, plan and prepare. I could go on and on, but you already know this. Most of this you learned as a child, but now you are old enough and wise enough to make sure you follow it.

Here is the bottom line: we are busy -- deployments, inspection preparation, training, etc. You are hot and tired. You want to get your work done as fast and easily as you can. You want some fun. It is just too easy to get complacent! Stop. Think about it. Don't do something stupid just because it is easier or quicker than doing it the right way. Do it the right way! Also, watch out for your co-workers, friends and family members. Just because you may be experienced enough to do it right doesn't mean they are. The mission cannot succeed if we don't conduct it in a safe manner and we lose valuable team members or equipment.

The mission must succeed and it can't without all of you. Now, please go out there and work and play hard and smart.