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Safety is important year-round

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Brian Hastings
  • 51st Operations Support Squadron commander
As the summer approaches and the Air Force gears up for the "101 Critical Days of Summer," it made me think about "Safety Culture." We put a great deal of emphasis on the summer based on the statistics and the increased risks to our Airmen during this period of the year, but we must not forget that safety should receive the same attention all year long.

Here at Osan, safety is achieved by a sense of Mustang pride, military professionalism and combat proficiency. If our Airmen are proud of their job and home, act in a professional manner at all times and are proficient in all they do, risks will naturally be reduced. This is the vision of our wing leadership and the foundation of a healthy safety culture.

Safety starts with our commanders and supervisors. Airmen need to feel comfortable that they have the support and wherewithal to call a "knock it off" when things don't look right. Commanders and supervisors can instill this confidence in their Airmen by stressing personal operational risk management and supporting those Airmen who make smart risk decisions, while at the same time mentoring those who fail to accept any risk and those who take unnecessary risks.

As my tenure as Mustang Chief of Safety comes to an end, we are in the transition from the 151 Wintry Daze to the 101 Critical Days. The 151 Wintry Daze was developed to highlight the unique risks associated with the colder months and is a testimony to the importance our wing leadership puts on safety. In reality, safety culture shouldn't change with the seasons, only the safety topics, as witnessed by the change of focus to off-duty activities during the 101 Critical Days of Summer.

I wanted to congratulate all of our Airmen on a banner winter season with regard to safety mishaps. Even though Osan had an average year for Class C Ground Mishaps, it is important to note that Osan still achieved a greater than 50 percent reduction in total ground mishaps than the average of the previous five years - this includes all Class C, D and non-reportable mishaps. This reduction speaks volumes about the safety culture at Osan. Whether it is being a good "wingman" or a "flight lead," taking care of a facility, spot corrections on the street for safety infractions, changes to intramural sports rules, or personal ORM ... the Airmen of Osan have made the difference. Job well done!

The nature of our operations at Osan is dangerous and risk is an inherent part of our daily lives, but the mission comes first. As we enter the 101 Critical Days of Summer, I am confident that our Airmen will continue to make smart decisions on and off-duty based on ORM so that we preserve our combat capability. Have a great summer and it has been a pleasure being your Chief of Mustang Safety!